I don’t know whether any of you know St. Leonard’s on Sea, but if you do you will probably know the church on the sea front after which the place is named.
I visited the church many years ago when I was doing a placement nearby, during my Church Army training, at the Youth Centre in Bexhill. And the church has always remained in my mind because of its pulpit. The church was destroved by a V1 flying bomb in 1944 and soon afterwards, Canon Cuthbert Griffiths, the Rector of the church and who would later oversee the rebuilding, had a dream. He dreamt that Jesus was preaching to the church’s congregation from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Soon afterwards he went to Galilee, and bought the front half of a fishing boat – he had it brought back and installed it in the rebuilt church as the pulpit.
And there it is – the front half of a boat, protruding from the wall of the church. And so, just as Jesus had preached from a boat on the Sea of Galilee, so the clergy of the parish could preach from a boat. And week by week, the people of the parish would be reminded of this incident in Luke’s Gospel, when Jesus taught from the boat and called Simon Peter to fish for people.Continue reading
Jesus calls his first disciples. But what about their families? This week’s gospel reading invites us to reflect on the reality of being called by Jesus to follow him.
Do you remember the good old days? When instead of everyone doing their own thing in an evening families used to gather together and either watch TV or play games? And simple games. Nothing like the complexity of today’s video games. And one of the games that used to be popular, and that we played when I was little, was the card game Happy Families.
A Happy Families pack of cards consisted of a number of sets of four. And in each set there would be a father, identified by his occupation and a surname that fitted. Names like – and these are all genuine names from Happy Family sets according to the article on Wikipedia.
- Mr Pipe the Plumber
- Mr Flatfoot the Policeman
- Mr Bacon the Butcher
- Mr Ashes the Undertaker
- Mr Fisher the Fisherman
Then, in each set, there was a wife. She never had a job – she was always, for example, Mrs Fisher the Fisherman’s wife. Then there would be two children – Master Fisher the Fisherman’s son and Miss Fisher the Fisherman’s daughter. In those days a happy family apparently consisted of a man who worked, a wife who didn’t, and two children, one of each gender. Continue reading
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.
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
Here’s my sermon for last Sunday. The gospel reading is the feeding of the five thousand followed by Jesus walking to the disciples across the Sea of Galilee in the storm.
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” (John 6:9)
It’s been said that you should always expect the unexpected.
On the website Yahoo! Answers, a site where you can ask questions on any subject in the hope that someone else has the answer, someone posed the question “Do you always expect the unexpected?” To which someone else has replied: Continue reading