Including the excluded – Take Two
Here is the second of this week’s sermons on the gospel reading for last Sunday from Matthew – the somewhat problematic story of Jesus rejecting a plea for healing from a Canaanite woman because she is not one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In the end, though, she persuades him to change his mind. This sermon is from Father Jerry who was preaching at St John’s.
If you were unfamiliar with the name before this week then – unless you’ve managed to avoid the news – you’ll now know all about Charlottesville, in the State of Virginia. White nationalists, heavily armed, marched to protest over the removal of the statue of General Robert E Lee, the Civil War general who had led the Confederate forces during the US Civil War. His statue was being removed because some saw it as wrong to continue to honour someone who had supported slavery. A major reason for the US Civil War was the desire of the North to abolish slavery against the wishes of the South, and slavery was abolished at the end of the war in 1865.
Others, civil rights protestors, turned up to oppose the march by the white nationalists, and violence ensued. The politics of the Civil War still live on in the United States. And at the heart of it all issues of inclusion and equality.
Britain had abolished slavery almost 60 years earlier than the US. And here the name of William Wilberforce and his work in abolishing slavery are forever linked. Continue reading
Including the excluded – Take One
Not an easy gospel reading this week. It’s the story from Matthew’s Gospel of a Canaanite woman who wants healing for her daughter from Jesus. Jesus, though, doesn’t want to give her what she wants because she is not one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He rejects her – but in the end, she persuades him. Two sermons this week as Father Jerry was preaching at our own church while Mother Anne-Marie was preaching at our neighbouring church. And those who manage to read both sermons will see that when we are both preaching we discuss the message beforehand! This one is from Mother Anne-Marie.
Last weekend a quiet university town in the United States, Charlottesville, Virginia, was engulfed in terrible violence and the outpouring of disgusting racial hatred. Emboldened white supremacists took to the streets, carrying offensive banners and uttering vile slogans. The counter demonstrators gathered in a Baptist church for a dawn prayer meeting before taking to the streets to counter the racial hatred. Many ministers and priests of the Christian church were amongst those opposing this outpouring of racial abuse. Continue reading
Put down the bagpipes!
One of the best known commands of Jesus is the command to love your neighbour. Even people who aren’t Christians or have never opened a Bible know it. And yet, as we all know, neighbours are not always easy to get along with!
There is a story of a young man who leaves his home in Aberdeen and goes to live in London. After he has been there a while he phones his mother to let her know how things are going.
“How’s the flat you’re living in,” she asks him, “what are the neighbours like?”
“Well,” he replies, “the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night long, and the guy on the other side is constantly banging on the wall!”
“Never mind,” says his mother, “don’t let them worry you – just ignore them.” Continue reading
The Feast of Saint Matthew
Last Sunday was the feast of Saint Matthew. At St John’s we had a presentation on the state of our finances, so I preached a very short sermon. However, the priest I live with was taking the service at one of the other churches in our team. so here is what Mother Anne-Marie said.
Which do you think are the least trusted professions in the United Kingdom? (And personally it is a bit of relief to me that that still includes Scotland?) The least trusted professions? Well a recent survey in the Daily Telegraph put politicians and journalists at the bottom – no doubt based on recent experiences. Third from bottom was bankers, sixth from bottom civil servants and seventh from bottom accountants. It will be no surprise that estate agents and builders were also amongst the top ten least trusted. Apologies to you if one of these is or was your profession! It’s a survey, not me saying this. Continue reading
What I said last Sunday – Saint Matthew
Last Sunday we kept the feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle, which was actually the day before on 21st September.
“For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)
The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition in 1851. After the Exhibition was over it was dismantled and rebuilt in an enlarged form on what was then known as Penge Common in Sydenham Hill – now known, of course, as Crystal Palace Park. Sydenham Hill was at that time an affluent London suburb full of large houses. And the rebuilding of the Crystal Palace presented the residents with something of a problem.
What on earth were they going to do with all the workers who would be coming to live locally to do the rebuilding. For one thing was quite clear. They couldn’t possibly attend the same church as the local residents, Saint Bartholomew’s in Sydenham. Continue reading
What I said this Sunday – Trinity 11
Here’s my sermon for this week.
It was so much easier in the old days, when I was a child, when the bread man still came to the back door with his basket. The bread came straight from his bakery, freshly baked, and he delivered it door to door in his van. Because, like milk, it was delivered so nobody bothered buying it at the shop. Deciding what kind of bread to buy was easy. He sold white steamed or Hovis brown. That was it. Not even a choice between sliced or unsliced. If you wanted a sliced loaf you used a bread knife!
Some time ago – as some of you know because you have bought my bread Church sales – we got a bread maker. It can make 105 different loaves of bread. Continue reading