Easter Day – Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Easter day at St John’s began with our dawn service at 5.45am. We started with the kindling of the Easter fire and the lighting of the Paschal candle we processed in the darkness into the church where everyone lit their Easter candles. After I sang the Exsultet (the ancient hymn praising God for the light of Christ, represented by the Paschal Candle) we listened to the drama of our salvation unfolding through readings from the Old and New Testament before renewing our baptismal promises and celebrating the first mass of Easter.
This year we had the gospel reading from Mark and his account of the women going to the tomb. Unlike the resurrection accounts in the other gospels it ends on a rather odd note. Continue reading
What I said this week – Thomas Sunday
This week, the Sunday following Easter Day, has us thinking about Thomas the doubting disciple. Here’s my sermon.
As a child I was hopeless at sport – sport was simply not my thing. The best I ever managed at secondary school was the report in my first year where the sports master had written for Gym: He has absolutely no aptitude for this subject but he tries his best. I was the one nobody wanted on their team. When I was at primary school we used that iniquitous system of two people being chosen as captains for football, and then they picked their teams. And of course, when it came to choosing who was going to be in your football team it was never going to be me, because I couldn’t play an even half-decent game of football if my life depended on it. I always knew that I wouldn’t get picked but that didn’t make it any easier.
There is nothing worse than being left out. Continue reading
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Here is my sermon for Easter Day.
Perhaps it’s just my imagination. Eastenders (for readers from abroad – Eastenders is a highly popular TV soap from the BBC noted for its miserable storylines and characters) always used to seem to be so miserable and depressing. But recently I’ve noticed that nobody in Eastenders seems to have to face the problems that the rest of us are dealing with. In fact they seem to be rather oblivious to the regular stream of bad news that we normal people have to cope with.
I can’t remember anyone moaning about the cold weather – or the cost of petrol – or rising fuel bills. Continue reading
What I said this Sunday – All Saints Sunday
We kept All Saints Day on the 1st November, but as I know attendance at a weekday feast is always low, we also kept All Saints Sunday as the Church of England allows us to do.
Today is a day for thinking about heaven. This morning we celebrate the great feast of All Saints, as we remember those great heroes of the Christian Faith who have gone before us. And tonight, at our evensong for All Souls – the annual commemoration of the faithful departed – we remember those dear to us who have also gone before us and who join with those great saints we remember this morning in the worship of God in heaven. For all are now equal and worshipping God for eternity. Today we think about heaven.
The Co-operative Funeral service recently undertook a survey of the music that people choose to have played at funeral services. It was widely reported in the news. One thing they discovered is that pop songs now outnumber hymns by two to one. On the whole, while they might not be everyone’s choice, most people pick songs that are favourites of the person who died, or that express some emotion or sentiment on the part of the mourners. Top of the list for the seventh year running is My Way by Frank Sinatra which, apparently, is now played at one in every seven funerals. At number two, from Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli comes Time To Say Goodbye. At least I suppose you can say it’s relevant. However, several of the songs express – even though they may not be hymns – profoundly Christian sentiments. Continue reading
What I said on Sunday – Saint Mary Magdalene
This Sunday was the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. Here is my sermon. During it I refer to an icon I have in my study of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women. I purchased it from the excellent Orthodox Store Skete.com and you can see details of the actual icon here.
Andrew Lloyd Webber wants to find Jesus. Continue reading
What I said this Sunday – Easter 3
A ghost walked into a pub, went up to the bar and said to the landlord, “Can I have a brandy please?” “I’m sorry,” said the landlord, “we don’t serve spirits!”
I wonder if any of you have ever seen a ghost, or had a ghostly experience. Continue reading