Apologies for this being a little late! My only excuse is it’s a busy time of year in the Church! But it’s here now – my sermon for the 3rd Sunday of Advent.
It was John Lennon, the anniversary of who’s death was just eight days ago, who famously sang Imagine there’s no heaven – it’s easy if you try. Well – it’s a great song – but actually it isn’t easy at all to imagine there’s no heaven if you’re a Christian. Certainly not easy for me! And it certainly wasn’t easy for Jews at the time of Jesus to imagine there was no heaven. Heaven is where they were all expecting to go. And in the world of popular music Lennon seems to be unusual in imagining there’s no heaven. From Stairway to heaven by Led Zeppelin, to Knocking on heaven’s door by Bob Dylan and Will you meet me in heaven by Johnny Cash, heaven is a favourite destination in popular music. Except for Belinda Carlisle who sang Heaven is a place on earth! No, it isn’t Belinda. And getting to heaven is apparently very simple because there are just three steps to follow to get to heaven according to Eddie Cochran.Continue reading
If you’ve had anything to do with children you’ve heard them say it. Whether as a parent or as a teacher, you know that one of their most frequently uttered phrases is, ‘It’s not fair!’
The issue may be the amount of food on plates, or turns with the ball, or bedtime, or possession of the best crayons, or any number of things, but the cry is still the same: ‘It’s not fair!’
And you find yourself dealing with it by either giving in, or by gritting your teeth and saying such ridiculous things like: Life’s not fair – get used to it!
Parents will be aware that the incidence of the phrase “It’s not fair” increases proportionally to the number of children in the family. At least, with three children, we seemed to get a lot of it. Let me give you an example. Continue reading
We always have, as the gospel for Midnight Mass, the wonderful prologue to the gospel of Saint John in John 1.1-14. Here’s what I said to those gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus at our Midnight Mass.
Will it be the warmest Christmas on record?
That was actually a headline from the Daily Mail in 2011.
And similar headlines have been repeated on a yearly basis with one exception – 2013 – ever since. And this year again similar questions are being asked as we come towards the end of the warmest December on record.
The daffodils outside the church are blooming. They think it’s spring! We’ve had to switch off the heating in the vicarage, and yesterday I had the window open as I was preparing my sermon for tonight, because it was just too hot. Children are growing up with no idea of the joys of making snowmen, or having snowball fights, or tobogganing.
And – I have to say – it’s making it very difficult when it comes to choosing which carols to sing. Singing, “See amid the winter’s snow, born for us on earth below” doesn’t seem quite appropriate. And as for “In the bleak midwinter” with its lines, “snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow”! No chance of that. And as for Bing Crosby dreaming of a white Christmas – well, he can dream on, because we know that yet again we’re not going to see one! Continue reading
Here’s my sermon for Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday we have two gospel readings. We begin with what is called the Palm Gospel, the account of Jesus entering Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. The second gospel is called the Passion Gospel, the long account of Jesus arrest, trial and crucifixion. I preached on the first, and picked up on the idea of the two processions entering Jerusalem that day which is discussed in detail in the excellent book ‘The Last Week’ by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.
What to do on a bank holiday Monday? What will the weather be like? Will it be sunny? Or will it be traditional British bank holiday weather? Will we be able to go out and have a really enjoyable day, or be consigned to staying in and watching TV? Continue reading
Here’s what I said this Sunday past.
Relationships between couples can be problematic. However hard we try sometimes things don’t always work out. Every couple wants happiness, but sometimes it’s rather evasive. So it was with, I’m sure, the best will in the world that around a hundred years ago Woman’s Weekly gave regular advice to wives on how to keep their husbands happy. In those days, of course, it was rather one way! And so Woman’s Weekly gave lots of tips to housewives that would enable them to make sure they had a happy husband and therefore a happy marriage.
Advice such as:
- Make your own clothes
- How to use up leftovers – including a recipe for rhubarb dumplings
- How to pack a holiday trunk
- Talk less
Big service as always – well over three hundred in church. And here’s what I said.
This year saw an important seventieth anniversary. Yes – seventy years ago, this year, the BBC broadcast the very first episode of Desert Island Discs. It’s possible that some of you remember it, though most of us don’t. The guest, on that very first edition, introduced by Roy Plomley, was none other than Vic Oliver.
I can see a lot of blank faces. No, I have no idea who Vic Oliver was either, though I’m sure some of you will remember him. In fact it’s not until the tenth episode of Desert Island Discs that there’s a guest I’ve actually heard of – Arthur Askey. For those of you who don’t know, Vic Oliver was an actor, radio comedian and conductor and – given his popularity and the fact he was Jewish – was listed on a Nazi blacklist of people to be arrested and killed immediately upon a successful invasion of Britain. Continue reading