Tagged: Saint Paul

What I said on Sunday – Lent 2


The gospel reading for Sunday in the Church of England was the visit by Nicodemus to Jesus. Here’s what I said.

Genesis 12.1-4; Romans 4.1-5, 13-17; John 3.1-17

People have always asked questions about the difficult things in life – questions for which there simply aren’t easy answers. Questions like:
How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
Or how many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?
Or how many times must the cannon balls fly before they’re forever banned?

What are the answers to those questions? Continue reading

What I said last Sunday – Feast of Saints Peter and Paul


Yesterday we kept the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Here’s what I said in my sermon.

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No matter the question, the answer is always ‘Jesus’. Anyone in the Church who works with children knows that problem. The answer to everything is Jesus!

The story is told of the Sunday School teacher who wanted to teach the children about the importance of being prepared and working hard. So she started her lesson by saying, “I’m going to describe something and when you know what it is put your hand up.” And off she went, “I’m thinking of something that lives in trees…” Nothing. “And it eats nuts…” Nothing. “It has a long bushy tail and can be grey or red…” Still nothing. Then, slowly, one boy put his hand up. The teacher breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Well, Freddie, what do you think it is?” And Freddie replied, “Well, it sounds like a squirrel to me, but I know the answer’s supposed to be ‘Jesus’” Continue reading

What I said this Sunday – Easter 3


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This Sunday I decided to major on the first reading from Acts – the conversion of Saint Paul – rather than the gospel reading. Here’s what I said.

Acts 9.1-6, John 21.1-19

Where would we be if Jesus had decided to do background checks, or even criminal record checks, on those he wanted to be his apostles? Would he have appointed them? Or would he have decided that they weren’t suitable candidates for the job?

After the resurrection the eleven – the original twelve minus Judas Iscariot – had been keeping their heads down because they were fearful of the Jewish authorities. Whether they had actually done anything that the authorities deemed to be criminally wrong we shall never know because Acts doesn’t tell us, but they may well have had their names on an official blacklist. Paul, of course, is a different matter. Paul – or Saul as he was originally known – was, to be blunt, not a particularly nice person when we first come across him. He is a religious zealot, hounding followers of Jesus and putting them to death simply because he didn’t agree with their religious beliefs. He wants every follower of Jesus off the streets. Continue reading