Tagged: love

You need hands …


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The readings for this Sunday are all on the theme of forgiveness, and of not judging. Here’s what I said.

Genesis 50.15-21; Romans 14.1-12; Matthew 18.21-35

If you are of a certain age you will remember Max Bygraves singing about hands. I don’t – I’m far too young – though I do know the more recent version sung, bizarrely, by The Sex Pistols. Max Bygraves sang in his 1958 song You need hands:
You need hands to hold someone you care for
You need hands to show that you’re sincere.
You need hands to show the world you’re happy
and you need hands when you have to stop the bus.

So awful was the song that the following year Bernard Bresslaw released a parody of the song called You need feet:
You need feet to stand up straight with
You need feet to kick your friends
You need feet to keep your socks up
and stop your legs from fraying at the ends.

Well – Max Bygrave’s song You need hands was so fascinatingly awful that it deserved the treatment it got in You need feet. And yet it said something quite profound:
You need hands to hold someone you care for
You need hands to show that you’re sincere.

Our hands are so demonstrative – we use them so much to reach out in love. And yet how quickly we can misuse them.

There is a Peanuts cartoon where Linus is watching television. His sister Lucy demands that he change channels. So he says to her, “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” Continue reading

Where would we be without rules?


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This week’s gospel reading was about Jesus healing on the sabbath. The leader of the synagogue got a bit upset!

Luke 13.10-17

Where would we be without rules? Rules are important aren’t they? Without rules we’d all descend into chaos. It was the rules that caused such a problem for Jason Kenny as he rode to his sixth gold medal in the men’s keirin cycle final in the Olympics this week. For those of you who weren’t watching let me explain. The keirin is a race where the riders all do several laps of the track behind a kind of electric moped that gets faster and faster. Then, when the moped leaves the track the riders all race for the finish.

The problem was that in the first run of the race a judge decided that at the last moment one of the riders had overtaken the moped by a matter of a couple of centimetres before it left the track – against the rules. So the race was stopped, and judges poured over a replay of the race to decide who had broken the rules – possibly Jason Kenny. The commentators couldn’t tell whether he or anyone else had. While we waited the commentators repeated several times in different ways: this has never happened before, this is without precedent, the problem is the rules are not entirely clear, they’re subject to interpretation. Continue reading

Getting what they deserve?


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Luke 13.1-9

We all have tragic events that stick in our minds. We may not have been personally involved, but something about them, or what you were doing at the time, holds them in the memory. For me, one of these was the Lockerbie air disaster in 1988 – too long ago for some of you to remember. I was nowhere near Lockerbie at the time and knew no one on the flight, but it sticks in my mind because of what I was doing at the time. I had decided to stay up late to wrap Christmas presents – everyone else had gone to bed – and I switched on the TV for company. The screen was full of pictures of the devastation of a blown up plane and a small Scottish town, and I just continued to watch and take in this tragedy which had killed so many just four days before Christmas. Continue reading

If only you had listened …


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This Sunday’s gospel reading told us of the sadness of Jesus as he contemplated God’s city, Jerusalem.

Genesis 15.1-12; 17-18; Luke 13.31-end

When you’re a teenager, it’s as clear as clear can be that the only role parents have is to annoy you. I remember my teenage years well and it was obvious to me that parents (well, one parent especially) just went out of their way to cause quite unnecessary conflict.

Later on in life I came to see things in a different light. Because when I became a parent myself I came to understand that parents, of course, are always – and I mean absolutely always – right. I should know, having seen three children through their teenage years. Funny how the reality of a situation changes depending on where you stand, what your viewpoint is. Of course when our children were teenagers they didn’t think we, as parents, were ever right about anything. Now our daughters have their own teenage children, though, their viewpoint has also changed as well. Continue reading

Sermon for Midnight Mass


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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

The Feast of Christ the King


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Last Sunday was the feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church Year. I would have posted my sermon sooner were it not for my telephone company. They have just introduced fibre-optic broadband and I had decided to upgrade. The problem was that instead of giving me much higher speeds they managed to give me no speed at all as well as no phone line either. However, everything is now fixed and I am able to post last Sunday’s sermon at last.

Ezekiel 34.11-16, 20-24; Matthew 25.31-36

Last week I began by talking about food. So, this week, just to keep the theme going, I’m going to begin by talking about drink. And I want to ask you, “What is the oldest thing you have ever drunk?”

Well, whatever answer you come up with, I am fairly certain that I can beat it. The oldest thing I have ever drunk was put into a bottle in 1845. I’m talking about a bottle of Continue reading

What are you wearing? A sermon for Bible Sunday


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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.

Colossians 3.12-17

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