Tagged: disciples

Pentecost Sunday – The promised Holy Spirit


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Acts 2.1-21; John 15.26-27; 16.4b-15

Anyone who uses computers knows the feeling.

You press the on button and wait – and nothing happens. Or it starts up but never finishes – it just switches on and never quite finishes loading everything. And you start to get that awful sinking feeling deep down inside. Everything is on the computer – all your email, thousands of family photos, the book you’ve been writing, twenty years’ worth of sermons! And you start to say to yourself:

  • I knew I should have paid for another year of that anti-virus software
  • Why on earth didn’t I install the firewall
  • I know I said that backing everything up could wait until tomorrow – what on earth was I thinking

The computer is dead. And everything on it is gone. And because you didn’t look after it properly there’s no recovery, or if you’re lucky and can afford it an expert might – just might – be able to dismantle it and get your stuff off the hard disk. But there’s that lingering feeling – if only I’d done what I knew I should, everything would all be safe. If only … Continue reading

In the world but not of the world


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Mother Anne-Marie was preaching this week on Acts 1.15-17, 21-end and John 17.6-19.

A week last Thursday we had a general election and through the night a surprise result emerged. A result none of the polls, until the exit poll at 10 p.m., had come near to predicting. The next day leaders toppled as those parties who had had disastrous, or just not too good results, expected their leaders to fall on their swords and take full responsibility for the failure. We are now into a period of uncertainty in most of the opposition parties as Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP struggle to rebuild and find new leadership. And we have a government with an overall majority they didn’t expect, so there is perhaps more change ahead than was anticipated. We are in a time of uncertainty and change. Continue reading

In the upper room – Easter 3


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A little late, for which my apologies. I was away last week with the Church Army Mission Community, of which I am a member, for our residential Gathering, and have only just found time to sit down at the PC to post the sermon for Easter 3.

Luke 24.36b-48

A lady was being shown around a very old and gloomy stately home. And in one particularly gloomy part of the house she turned to the guide and said, “Tell me, are there any ghosts here?”

The guide assured her, “Madam, in all the years I’ve worked here I’ve never seen a single ghost!”

“And how long have you worked here,” she asked him. Continue reading

2nd Sunday of Epiphany – Do you ‘get it?’


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Here is the sermon I preached for last Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Epiphany. The gospel reading is the story from John about Jesus meeting Nathanael who becomes one of the twelve. Nathanael only appears in John’s gospel. Bartholomew is listed as one of the twelve in the synoptic gospels but not in John. Traditionally it has been assumed that Nathanael and Bartholomew are therefore one and the same.

1 Samuel 3.1-10; Revelation 5.1-10; John 1.43-end

Sometimes when you hear a joke it simply isn’t funny. No matter that other people laugh at the joke – you simply don’t get the punchline.

Take the joke that won the award for the funniest joke at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year, as voted for by the public. I looked it up this week as I was preparing this sermon, but it didn’t seem funny at all – not to me, at any rate. It’s from the comedian Tim Vine: Continue reading

What I said this Sunday – Epiphany 3


This week the gospel reading was Matthew’s account of the calling of the first four disciples. I got the congregation to think about the reaction they might have got from their families.

Matthew 4.12-23

Family is the most important thing in the world! Perhaps that’s one of the most famous things that Princess Diana ever said. And it’s a sentiment that many people would echo, though perhaps sometimes we are not always as honest as we might be about the real nature of family life today. One of my favourite quotes about family is this from George Carlin, an American comedian who died in 2008, and who was a little more realistic: The other night I ate in a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going. Continue reading

Pentecost – my sermon for this week


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Back from two weeks in Crete, where the priest I live with and I went to get some sunshine – a much needed respite from the unseasonable cold and wet of our English spring this year – but also to coincide with Orthodox Easter. Back in time to preach for the feast of Pentecost.

John 14.8-27

There’s not much that’s more annoying than returning from holiday to find a note on the table from the person who’s been feeding the cats while you’re away saying: Welcome home, the cats are fine … and by the way you’ve got a flat tyre. We went out to have a look. Yes – there it was. It was fine when we went away – and now it wasn’t. So on Wednesday morning, as the car belongs to the priest I live with, she phoned the RAC (Note: the royal Automobile Club, a vehicle breakdown service in the UK) to come and change the wheel so that she could drive to the garage to get a new tyre. The man from the RAC was there in seconds – literally! Turned out he lives in Caterham and this was his first call, and the priest I live with had hardly put the phone down when he arrived! He quickly put on the temporary wheel, and then before he went said: All I need to do now is check your oil level. They never used to do that – but in these recessionary days people are not having their cars serviced so frequently, so now the RAC check on every call. Just as well – the oil level was very low as the car is somewhat overdue for a service. Continue reading

Easter 6 – my sermon for this week


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This Sunday the gospel reading was Jesus giving the disciples the new commandment of love. Here is what I said.

John 13.31-35

Every Saturday night, as I cook our Saturday Supper, I close the kitchen door and put on some good, loud music to cook by. And you can’t help but notice just how many of the great songs released over the past fifty years or so have something to do with love.

There seem to have been more songs written about love – whether requited or unrequited love – than about anything else. There are thousands of them – and many of them instantly forgettable, though some of them have stood the test of time. “All you need is love”, sang the Beatles, tuning in to the mood of the Sixties but rather missing the point that life is not quite that simple. And, I suspect, thinking of love as warm feelings, feelings of kindness, a desire to do good to others, even, perhaps, as desire for others, but without any of the sense of deep commitment that Jesus calls his disciples to in today’s Gospel reading. Perhaps Michael Ball was closer to the Christian concept of love when he sang the words of Andrew Lloyd Webber: “Love, love changes everything, how I live, and how I die”.

Abba sang about love a lot. I should know. I listen to Abba a lot. Take their song “People need love” which I listened to again last night while preparing our Jambalaya. Continue reading

What I said this Sunday – Trinity 16


Having had a few weeks off preaching – three weeks annual holiday, and then a visit from the archdeacon to rededicate our newly refurbished and rebuilt organ – it was back to normal last Sunday. Here’s what I said.

Mark 9.30-37

Many of you will remember the television series Dallas which ran for thirteen years from 1978. I don’t mind admitting I was addicted to it. It told the stories of the two brothers Bobby and J R Ewing and their constant power struggles with each other and with people like Cliff Barnes for control of the oil industry. It has recently been revived for a new series, currently being shown on Channel Five. And in last week’s episode, J R Ewing – in his 80s but still craving power and money, said to his son John Ross: “Nobody gives you power – real power is something you take.” Continue reading

What I said on Sunday – Saint Mary Magdalene


This Sunday was the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. Here is my sermon. During it I refer to an icon I have in my study of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women. I purchased it from the excellent Orthodox Store Skete.com and you can see details of the actual icon here.

John 20.1-2, 11-18

Andrew Lloyd Webber wants to find Jesus. Continue reading