Two sermons for the price of one this week, as both of us were preaching for Bible Sunday. I was preaching at home, while Mother Anne-Marie was preaching at a neighbouring church. Here’s what I said.
I still remember Mr Jones clearly. Mr Jones was my English master at Secondary School. He introduced me to great works of English Literature that have remained favourites ever since.
And I still remember how, in the very first term in the first form, he decided to put our brains to work by introducing us to famous but somewhat obscure – to an eleven year old at least – sayings of famous writers.
He started us off with: The child is father to the man and asked us what we thought it meant. It sounded profound but we had no idea what it meant, so we struggled with that one at first though after a great deal of discussion and explanation I think we finally got to grips with it at a somewhat basic level. It is from William Wordsworth’s poem My heart leaps up. Don’t ask me to explain what Wordsworth meant in his poem, but I seem to remember it had something to do with looking at rainbows!
And then Mr Jones moved on to: The apparel oft proclaims the man. Continue reading
Today’s gospel reading is Mark’s account of the beheading of John the Baptist, famous for his dress sense and strange diet. As I was preparing this sermon I got a distinct message to use Johnny Cash’s song Man in Black. Although I’ve long been a fan of Cash’s music I wasn’t really familiar with the words of this particular song, so I had to look them up. You can see him singing the song here.
Here’s what I said.
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
why you never see bright colours on my back.
And why does my appearance seem to have a sombre tone?
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on.
Not the words of a priest, but the words of the great country and western singer, Johnny Cash.
Johnny Cash was well-known for always dressing in black. And people often wondered why. And in 1971 he wrote a song called “Man in Black” to explain:
I wear the black for the poor and beaten down,
living in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
but is there because he’s a victim of the times. Continue reading
Last Sunday we had, in the Church of England, the option of keeping either the Last Sunday after Trinity (Proper 25 in the Revised Common Lectionary) or Bible Sunday. I opted for the latter as it never hurts for people to be reminded of the centrality of Scripture. I decided to preach on the New Testament reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
I’ve always liked clothes that make a statement.
By that, I mean clothes that really do make a statement – t-shirts, sweatshirts and the like that have a message written on them. I have a growing collection of t-shirts at home that come out for holidays in the sun, or days off when the weather permits.
One I particulary like says right across the from for anyone I meet to read, “I don’t know everything, but I can see how from your point of view it might look that way.” But one of my favourites has drawings of cats down the front with a quotation, “Time spent with cats is never wasted,” with the name of the author of the quotation. Anyone know who said that? Sigmund Freud, the famous founder of psychoanalysis. Who’d have thought that Freud was into cats? Continue reading
The priest I live with was preaching on the 19th October. We were then off the next day on the delights of our five-yearly diocesan clergy conference, hence the late posting of what she said. Better late than never, here is Mother Anne-Marie’s sermon on the parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew.
In this morning’s gospel we have an image of the Kingdom of Heaven as a great wedding feast. A wonderful meal is awaiting the guests, the wine will flow and no doubt there’ll be music and dancing – a really good time to be had by all. It’s a wonderful image of what awaits us in God’s Kingdom. And here as the church of God, we are a microcosm of that Kingdom, we are meant to be a taste of the Kingdom to come. Here within this church people should catch a glimpse of that glorious kingdom, with its upside down values, its joy, its love, its merriment, and its embracing of life in all its fullness. But the image Jesus gives us in the Gospel reading tells us that however good it is, there will be people who don’t want to come. The King has many refusals to his invitation to the great wedding banquet which tells us that God is aware that many will refuse his invitation to be part of his Kingdom both in this world and the next. Continue reading