We reach the second Sunday of Advent and so the gospel is about John the Baptist. Here’s what I said.
I’ve often thought that our elder daughter, when she was a teenager, would have got on with John the Baptist like a house on fire. The thing is, as an early teenager, she went through a grunge phase. Now, for those of you who have no idea what grunge is let me explain. Grunge was a combination of music and lifestyle that became popular in the early 80s. And the first thing you noticed about teenagers who were into grunge was how they dressed. Mainly black and dark coloured clothes, often second-hand and generally tatty, to go with the deliberately unkempt appearance of those who wore them. Along with that went the lifestyle. Those who followed grunge tended to opt out of a conventional lifestyle. They rejected normal social conventions, career choices, ways of living, and opted for alternative lifestyles. Continue reading
Here’s my sermon for this week. I used the gospel reading, the story of the sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Essentially the story of two people who for their own very different reasons sought out Jesus.
In some churches it is the custom for the preacher to give their sermon a title. It’s not something that’s every really taken on in the Church of England, but it’s actually not a bad habit for the preacher to get into. It helps to focus the mind on the what message from the Scripture reading is about. So today, I’m giving my sermon a title: The Importance of Being Earnest. Most of you will, of course, recognise immediately the reference to Oscar Wilde and his most famous play. As I read this gospel reading a number of famous Oscar Wilde quotes came to mind, so as we think about the woman who was a sinner and who washed the feet of Jesus, Oscar Wilde will today help us reflect on what we are being taught by sharing with us some of his most famous quotations. I’m tempted to say, as Oscar himself once said, “I wish I had said that,” but he often puts things so well – and so much better than I can. Continue reading
John the Baptist again this week! Here’s what I said.
Getting to heaven is as easy as one, two, three. Well – at least that’s what most devout Jews thought at the time of Jesus who were under the impression that simply being a Jew more or less guaranteed you your place unless you were particularly evil. At least, most thought that. The Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death – for them there was no heaven – that’s why they were sad you see. (Groans from congregation!) But for most, it seemed fairly straight forward – as easy as one, two, three. And today’s message from John the Baptist is – don’t kid yourself. Don’t think that just because Abraham is your ancestor your place in heaven is guaranteed.
Now, I don’t know what’s come over me this Advent but I keep thinking of old songs – last week as we thought about repentance it was Brenda Lee and “I’m sorry” from 1960. Today it’s Eddie Cochran. You may remember his famous song, also from 1960, Three steps to heaven: Continue reading
Here’s what I said this week.
“I’m sorry, so sorry” sang Brenda Lee back in 1960, making it to no 1 in the charts in the US. Well, sorry she might have been, but saying sorry is never easy. Elton John was clear about that when he sang “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”, as were Chicago with their song “Hard for me to say I’m sorry.” Connie Francis, though, put the blame on someone else when she sand ‘Who’s sorry now.” There are so many songs that are about people saying sorry. Continue reading