New Year resolutions, anyone?
Last Sunday, the Sunday after Christmas, was also the feast day of Saint John. Saint John is the patron, of course, of our church here in Caterham. However, instead of preaching about Saint John I decided to think about resolutions for the New Year. Here’s what I said.
Well – it’s fast approaching New Year’s Day. I wonder if any of you have thought about what resolutions you might make for the coming year?
Don’t worry – I’ve no intention of keeping you long this morning. I just have a few thoughts, as we look towards the New Year, about resolutions for the coming month.
In a normal year, after the indulgence of Christmas – all that food and wine – among the most popular New Year resolutions are new diets and new exercise regimes as people make the decision to get themselves back into shape.Continue reading
We are a serving community
The third in our series of sermons reflecting on our mission statement – this week from Mother Anne-Marie.
A quick recap. Here at St John’s over the last two Sundays, today and next Sunday, we are exploring in more detail our Mission Statement and particularly the three words which form our action points.
Our mission statement is … I’m not expecting anyone to know it off by heart, but it is: St John’s is called by God to be his people through faith in Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit: Worshipping – Growing – Serving.
We have already explored Worshipping and Growing in the sermon slot on the last two Sundays. If you missed either of those, they are up on our website for you to read. Today we are exploring “Serving” – what it might mean to be a serving community.Continue reading
We are a worshipping community
This week at St John’s we began a series of four sermons thinking about our mission statement. The first sermon has the title: We are a worshipping community. The preacher is allowed to depart from the set readings for the day but as it happens God was able to use this week’s set gospel reading which is the story of Jesus healing ten lepers – but only one returns, praising God, to thank Jesus.
Popular music is full of unanswered questions! And many of them ask somewhat deep and philosophical questions about the meaning of life, the universe and everything. And I know many of you think you already know the answer to the life, universe and everything (Chorus of ‘42’ from the congregation!)
Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? sang the Baha Men. Who indeed? We never find out.
Should I stay or should I go? sang the Clash. A question many of us try to answer – especially when we’re at a party we don’t want to be at!
They get even more esoteric and though-provoking. Take the Smiths who ask: How soon is now?
Or Queen, from the classic song Bohemian Rhapsody: Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? I think it’s definitely real life! But there’s always the possibility some of you may be living in a fantasy world!
My own favourite song with unanswered questions comes from the hand of the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature – Bob Dylan of course – which begins by asking, but not answering, the question: How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? Dylan never tells us, except to say that the answer is blowing in the wind!Continue reading
Get yourself fit in the New Year
The 27th of December is the feast day of Saint John, the patron Saint of our church. Although we have a mass on the day itself everyone is usually recovering from Christmas, so it’s our custom to keep the feast on the first Sunday after Christmas. This year, of course, that meant New Year’s Day. I decided, rather than to talk about Saint John, to touch on the subject of resolutions for the coming year. Here’s what I said in my sermon.
Well, here we are – New Year’s Day and in Church when I’m sure we’d all really like to be in bed recovering from the late night last night. Don’t worry – I’ve no intention of keeping you long this morning. I just have a few thoughts, at the beginning of this New Year, about resolutions for the coming month.
After the indulgence of Christmas – all that food and wine – among the most popular New Year resolutions are new diets and new exercise regimes as people make the decision to get themselves back into shape. So – what diet to adopt? What sort of exercise to do?
Don’t worry – I have some ideas. Friday’s edition of The Times carried a really interesting article about a particular diet and exercise regime which I’ll share with you this morning. It’s not new. In fact, it dates back to before Queen Victoria came to the throne. 1834 to be exact, and it’s found in a book called British Manly Exercises – it’s just been discovered by researchers at Cambridge University. Though I’m sure that, despite its title, it’s equally applicable to women. Continue reading
Get off the mobile and enjoy the view!
There are apparently, and according to the UN, more mobile phones in the world than there are people! If you want a symbol of the modern world and what is at the centre of people’s lives, look no further than the mobile phone! For so many, daily life is ruled by their mobile.
One of the most popular programmes on the TV at the moment is Channel 4’s Gogglebox. Just to explain, for those of you who don’t watch it, the idea behind the programme is that families and friends are filmed watching television, and we see their reactions. Each week a variety of different programmes are watched, and cameras inside people’s houses record their reactions to what they watch.
On Friday, just back from holiday, we sat down and watched the previous week’s episode, and one of the programmes people sat back to enjoy was a programme about railway journeys made by Paul Merton. As we were treated to an aerial view of a train travelling through some of Britain’s wonderful countryside, we then saw the reaction of two of Gogglebox’s regular participants – two sisters from Leeds.
One said: I like train journeys like that where you go on really beautiful, scenic routes.
To which the other replied: Continue reading
What I said on Sunday – Trinity 6 (Proper 9)
Here’s my offering for last Sunday, the gospel reading being Luke’s account of how Jesus sent out the seventy.
Holidays are supposed to be relaxing. So why does getting ready for a holiday seem to be so stressful? Trying to decide what to pack and what to leave behind. Deciding what things might prove to be indispensable. Making sure that you’ve got all the right clothes. Then trying to fit it all into the luggage.
When our children were younger we regularly had holidays in North Wales. The problem with holidays in this country, and particularly in Wales, is that you can never be certain what the weather will be like. So you have to pack clothes for hot weather, cold weather, wet weather – and it all has to go in somewhere. And the children could never quite grasp the concept that the space in a car is limited. A car isn’t like the Tardis, and you can’t pack your entire wardrobe and all your games and your portable TV so you can watch it in your bedroom and your entire family of cuddly toys. Trying to fit everything in was a nightmare. We were even known on occasion – and I’m almost embarrassed to say this – to give in and take two cars because it was easier. We could have done with something like the luggage in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, a chest which had infinite room inside and ran around after you on its own legs. Continue reading
In Christ Alone
Stuart Townend sings the worship hymn In Christ Alone.
The priest I live with, Mother Anne-Marie, used this hymn as the basis of her Good Friday talks. You can read them here:
What I’m reading at the moment
Since I’m not preaching next Sunday I have taken the opportunity to start my Advent book early. I always try to read something special during Advent just as in Lent, and this year I am reading “The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to the History, doctrine and Spiritual Culture” by Father John Anthony McGuckin. Often, of course, as you read there are passages which resonate. I’ve just read in the introduction that the Orthodox Church is:
A full-blooded community of the faithful who have their feet planted firmly in the earth, and their eyes raised joyfully to heaven.
That, surely, should be true of all Christians, and it stuck me that our worship should help us to achieve that – it should help us to raise our eyes joyfully to heaven and then, when we go in peace to love and serve the Lord it should have prepared us to live as a Christian community with our feet planted firmly in the earth.