Category Archives: Sermons

Sermon: Hope in a time of pandemic

As we realise our vulnerability, we are offered reassurance. When we are tempted to despair, we are given hope. Continue reading

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Sermon: The Return of the King

Whenever we celebrate the Feast of the Reign of Christ, the last Sunday in the church year, I remind us of what a new festival this is. When people united their loyalty to ‘God, King, and country,’ as they did right up to the First World War, there was little suggestion that their loyalty to God might contradict their loyalty to an earthly ruler. But after that war fascism and communism began to dominate Europe, and so the Roman Catholic Church introduced the Reign of Christ as a feast to be celebrated in 1925. Continue reading

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Sermon: The faith and generosity of Hannah

Both Hannah’s and Mary’s songs are deeply political songs about the way God wants the world to be; a world in which the hungry are ‘filled with good things’ (Luke 1:53), in fact the ‘hungry are fat with spoil’ (1 Samuel 2:5); a world in which God lifts the needy from the ash heap to sit with princes (1 Samuel 2:8) while the proud are brought down from their thrones. (Luke 1:52) Both Hannah and Mary sing of a world overturned. Continue reading

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Sermon: Is the poor widow a good example or an awful warning?

If we read the story this way, then Jesus’ attitude to the widow’s gift is disapproval rather than admiration. The story is not about the difference between arrogant scribes and poor widows, or about the relative value of the gifts of the rich and the poor. Instead, it is an example of the ways that the official religion of the time was oppressing the poorest members of society. Continue reading

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Sermon: On not blaming the poor for their poverty

The end of the Book of Job does not simply return Job to the situation he was in at the beginning. He has been transformed by his experiences, and so have his friends, and so, hopefully, have we. Continue reading

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Sermon: The cosmos was not created for us

We do not know why bad things happen to good people, or even why bad things happen to people like ourselves, middling good and middling bad. The Book of Job does not give us answers; maybe there are none. What it offers us, instead, is the reassurance that despite the immensity of a universe that seems indifferent to us, we have not been left alone in it. Continue reading

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Sermon: Faithful complaint

Job complains and accuses God of wrongdoing, but he does that because he believes in a God of justice. Job does not believe in a God who is indifferent to human suffering. If he did, there would be no reason for him to demand a confrontation with God Continue reading

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Sermon: Job’s wife was right!

Reading Job through the Holocaust we can see that we should not accept the bad from God’s hands as well as the good. It would be unfaithful to accept a god who conspired with ha-satan to torment Job, a God who ‘sent’ the evils of the holocaust. Job’s wife is right; Job should charge God with wrongdoing; he should curse the God who has sent him evil. Continue reading

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Sermon: Why is Esther in the Bible?

The Book of Esther is a counter-narrative to that. Life is complicated, and while our religion and our scriptures can provide us with some explanations, there are times when our questions remain unanswered. Continue reading

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Sermon: Avril preaches to herself

James tells his readers: ‘the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy;’ and I confess that I am frequently not peaceable, gentle, and willing to yield. So in this Reflection I am preaching first to myself. Continue reading

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