Tagged: nativity

Christmas Day – the sermon from Midnight Mass


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We had a really full church for Midnight Mass this year. As always, the gospel reading was the wonderful prologue of Saint John’s gospel.

John 1.1-14

On Christmas Day in 1977 over half the population of the United Kingdom did exactly the same thing at the same time. 28 million 835 thousand of us in this country sat down to watch the same television programme at the same time on Christmas Day. And it wasn’t the Queen’s speech! It was …….any guesses I wonder? It was the Continue reading

4th Sunday of Advent – and what I said about the Blessed Virgin Mary


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The gospel reading for the 4th Sunday of Advent this year was Luke’s account of the Annunciation, the visit of the archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce the forthcoming arrival of a special child. Here’s what I said.

Luke 1.26-38

History is full of ‘What ifs’. What would have happened if particular events had turned out differently. What would have happened if people – world leaders, influential office holders – had made different decisions? What would the world look like today?

In a week that has seen the announcement of the first woman bishop in the Church of England it is interesting to reflect that if a particular person had, at some point in the past, said ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’ the announcement would not have been made. And if you’re wondering who I mean then let me explain. Continue reading

4th Sunday of Advent – What I said


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Yesterday was the 4th Sunday of Advent, and we are nearly at Christmas. The gospel reading is Matthew’s account of how Joseph found out that, despite his reservations, he was going to be a foster-father to a baby boy.

Matthew 1.18-25

Christmas will soon be over. And we’ll be counting the cost of all those unwanted Christmas gifts.

Recent surveys from the online classified advert website Gumtree showed that when the cost of all those unwanted gifts is added up it is estimated that they are worth over £2.4 billion (2011 survey). On average each of us will receive two presents we don’t want worth around £45. And the top givers of unwanted presents (also from the 2011 survey) are  mothers, aunts, and mothers-in-law. Continue reading

What I said on Sunday – The Blessed Virgin Mary


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Last Thursday was the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary – also known as the Assumption in the Roman Catholic Church and The Dormition in the Orthodox Church. We transferred the feast to the following Sunday. Here’s what I said.

Revelation 11.19-12.6, 10; Luke 1.46-55

It’s not easy knowing whether someone is called to be a priest in the Church. For the Church is not like other careers. It doesn’t matter how highly qualified you are or how able you might be – the Church has to decide whether God actually wants you to be a priest regardless of what your other qualifications might be. Important, of course, for the church to be able to discern the kind of people that God is calling. So the Church provides a very helpful 24-page document entitled Criteria for Selection for the Ordained Ministry in the Church of England. And the introduction to the guide covers such aspects of the selection procedures as:

  • The vocation criterion
  • Gathering evidence
  • Assessing potential and risk
  • Developmental and non-developmental issues

and the guide goes on to cover various aspects of a person’s makeup: spirituality, relationships, personality and character, leadership and collaboration, faith and so on – and I particularly like this one – quality of mind. All important stuff, of course. I wonder whether God’s ever read it? Continue reading

What I said on Sunday – Transfiguration Sunday


Last Sunday was the Sunday Next before Lent, also known as Transfiguration Sunday as the gospel reading is the transfiguration of Jesus. Here’s what I said – apologies for it being a little late this week!

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Luke 9.28-36

You know what it’s like! Some friends invite you round for a meal. And what do they do? They get out the photo album. Or if they’re technologically savvy they show you the photos on the TV screen. First it’s the holiday photos. And then it’s the photos of the children. And you struggle to pretend that you’re really interested – your eyes start to glaze over and you keep saying, “Yes, that’s really nice …” without meaning it. Well – this morning we’re going to have a look at a photo album. Continue reading

Digital nativity


I posted this last year and as it is so good I’m repeating it. I’m always interested when people come up with new ways of presenting the gospel story. I was particularly intrigued, therefore, when I came across this ‘Digital Nativity’, which someone has put together for an age when so many people rely upon the internet for their communication. I thought it was rather good, though it might not be to everyone’s taste. I’d be interested to know what people think. It’s best watched full screen.