Author Archives: Avril Hannah-Jones

Sermon: Exercising our gifts

one ministry that absolutely does not depend on being active and mobile is the ministry of prayer. I do not want to say that ‘anyone can pray,’ because for me one of the signs that my clinical depression is becoming acute is an inability to pray, but it is true that prayer does not require the person praying be filled with youthful vigour. It can be done as well, if not better, by the elderly and frail as by the young and strong. Continue reading

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Sermon: Day of Mourning

Today, the Sunday before the 26th of January, is commemorated by the Uniting Church as a Day of Mourning, remembering that while the raising of the Union Jack in Sydney Cove was ultimately wonderful for all the Second Peoples who have been able to live here, it was the beginning of centuries of dispossession, disease, and violence for Australia’s First Peoples. Continue reading

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Sermon: Maybe we’re the answer

One of the commentators I read this week said that Jesus might have initially been reluctant to do anything because ‘the expectation that Jesus be a cash and goods dispenser is both ridiculous and corrupting’.[3] But maybe his mother’s response to Jesus’ words is a reminder of the importance of trust and persistence. Maybe we should, like her, keep prodding God to do something in situations of need and poverty, because we know that God wants a world abundance and generosity. Continue reading

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Sermon for the Epiphany

When I look at the refugee crisis in the world, I wonder whether it happened to remind us that anyone can become a refugee, that God himself became an asylum seeker in Jesus. Continue reading

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Sermon: Being wowsers, do-gooders, virtue signallers, etc

Here at the beginning of the new year we are reminded of the imperative to live out our faith by doing good, knowing that this will sometimes be misunderstood, and that we will sometimes be called names. But if we are, if people accuse us of being wowsers or do-gooders, of being woke or virtue signalling, of being hypocrites or of endorsing a particular sort of politicised virtuous liberalism, we can still rejoice. Continue reading

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Christmas Day: The unity of humanity

Covid19 has shown us that the unity of humankind, and the importance of universal justice and care, are not simply nice sentiments to be paid lip-service at Christmas time, but plain, down-to-earth, common sense. Continue reading

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Reflection: Uncertainty on Christmas Eve

Now Omicron has happened and finally, after almost two years, I know not to make any predictions at all. I have not only no idea what 2022 will bring, I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. But, really, that has always been true. We may think we live in a stable, predictable, world, but at every moment the unexpected can shatter it. Continue reading

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A bit cut out of the Christmas Day sermon

I wrote this, about Psalm 96, but in the end didn’t fit. So I cut it out. I hate having to do that. But I like it; so have an outtake from the Christmas Day Sermon, about God’s care for … Continue reading

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Sermon: Small and insignificant

Reflection for North Balwyn Uniting Church 19th of December, 2021 Micah 5:2-5a Luke 1:39-55 This week we were finally able to hold a memorial service celebrating the life of Marcelle Maisey. Jenny Preston presided, and she preached on the Bible … Continue reading

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Sermon: Rejoicing and repenting, or vice versa

We know that poverty and disaster can cause people to feel ashamed if they need help. Australia was for so long considered to be a ‘working man’s paradise’ that it was even a joke in an Agatha Christie story. A wealthy young man disowned by his uncle asks his uncle’s butler whether he should leave for Australia.

Rogers coughed discreetly.
‘Well, sir, I’ve certainly heard it said that there’s room out there for anyone who really wants to work.’
Mr Rowland gazed at him with interest and admiration.
‘Very neatly put, Rogers. Just what I was thinking myself. I shan’t go to Australia – not today, at any rate.’[2] Continue reading

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