Morning Service for the Second Sunday of Easter 2024

We are soon to celebrate the gift of the Spirit.  The birthday of the church.  The church  follows the order of things as given by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles and places the coming of the Holy Spirit 49 days after the Resurrection. 

Morning Service for Easter Day 2024

Easter is about conversion – one thing becoming another – or if you prefer, transformation.  A tomb with a body becomes empty; women coming in sadness leave in awe and wonder, the language is just that of the transfiguration, when the true nature of Jesus was revealed; women not allowed to speak in public become the vital messengers of new life; a frightened, defeated community of disciples become the body of Christ sharing their resurrection faith with the while world; and, of course, the most central of all transformations, Jesus dead now Jesus risen.  

Morning Service for Palm Sunday 2024

We heard this morning Mark’s account of what has become known as the Ttriumphal Entry into Jerusalem. In it we hear that Jesus rode into Jerusalem after giving his disciples detailed instructions on where to find a colt for him to use. This arrival into Jerusalem is to be no casual affair, Jesus has been walking to Jerusalem ever since his transfiguration on the mountain to the north of Israel.

Morning Service for Lent 5 2023 

It is General Election time!! Exaggerations and half truths abound. Political parties promise a better world, as well as criticising their opponents.

MORNING Service for Mothering Sunday 2024

Today is Mothering Sunday, please note, it is not Mother’s Day, that is a day for people to celebrate their mother, it began in America after a one woman campaign by a lady called Anna Jarvis. It was declared a holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, it is always the 2nd Sunday of May. Anna Wilson was so disgusted at the commercialisation of her idea that she regretted starting the whole thing.

Morning Service for Lent 3 2024

The Ten Commandments are a sobering read – they become the terms of God’s third covenant with Israel. The first to Noah, the second to Abraham and now this third to the freed Hebrew slaves in the wilderness. According to the writer of the book of Exodus these Ten Commandments were given by the voice of God himself from the holy mountain of Sinai, in fear and trembling the people heard them. 

Morning Service for Lent 2 2024

Today’s first two readings are about having faith and, indeed, justification by faith – being put right with God by faith– is a key Protestant belief and was crucial for Martin Luther. This was contrasted with doing good as a sort of scoring system; I will be put right with God by doing more and more good deeds or in Luther’s time giving more and more money to the Roman Church for the re-building of St Peter’s, Rome. 

Morning Service for the first Sunday in Lent 2024

The name Satan comes from the Greek, Satanas, which is in turn a transliteration of the Aramaic, satana. The character first appears in Jewish literature in the book of Job, where he is simply hassatan, the accuser, one of the servants of God.  In later literature he developed into an evil power, the opponent of God, seeking to destroy the relationship between God and man.  It is difficult not to ascribe this development to the influence of the dualistic religions of Israel’s near neighbours, such as the Zoroastrians in Persia.

A Morning Service for the Sunday next before Lent 2024

Today as we draw close to the season of Lent and our journey in imagination to Jesus’ cross and resurrection, so the lectionary bids us to remember the moment when Jesus’ actual journey to the cross begins in earnest, that moment when at the northern borders of ancient Israel he turns to begin his return south to Jerusalem in time for Passover and the celebration of the liberation of his people from slavery.

Morning Service for Epiphany 3 2024

We use symbols to show things that we may not say; do the Christmas presents we have received and given recently say something – as a child I used to receive knitted woollen light grey socks each Christmas from my aunt who was well off – but did the socks say I like you, my only nephew, so much that I will spend hours knitting for you? For some people, who could not see beyond the physical, they would only be socks.

Morning Service for Epiphany 2 2024

Today is about introductions, it’s also about change and revolution. Samuel is introduced to God, or I suppose I should use the name that is written in the Hebrew, YHWH (generally given as Yahweh), because that was what the writer used – not some generic term ‘god’, but Yahweh, the sacred, special, and very personal name given to Moses when he asked the voice at the burning bush who he should say had spoken to him. In fact the incidents aren’t all that different so far as Samuel didn’t recognise the voice that called him any more than Moses did.

Morning Service for Epiphany 2024

That remarkable piece from Isaiah is worth pausing to notice. It is easily overlooked on a day so full of obvious sermons about Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, Wise Men, Stars and the like. They are stirring words of hope to a people reluctant to hope – a people whose hope has been squeezed from them by poverty, by homelessness – by being strangers on a foreign land.

Morning Service for Christmas 1 2023

There will be some men and women here who like me are labelled colour blind. (It really is a misnomer -more like atypical colour vision) Many, many years ago, I said to a colleague, who asked where someone was, he is over there by the green curtains which covered the whole length and height of the large hall – only they were not green but red – making for some confusion.

Morning Service for Christmas 2023

Religion is the communication of an experience; call it a feeling, call it an expression of something that can’t be defined or explained. Because we are human beings we try hard to shape the experience, the feeling, with our minds. We can say what it isn’t, we can guess at what it might be, but like many really important things, in the end, you just have to stay with the feeling. Today is about that feeling.

Morning Service for Trinity 11 2023

The story of Joseph and his technicolour dream coat is one that still told and still known, largely thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Its a story which has everything, avarice, greed, jealousy, sibling rivalry, sex, politics, and power – no wonder it’s so popular – but in the end it’s a story of just what the presence of faith can do in a human life – to transform a curse into a blessing, tragedy into victory, despair into hope , and, finally , death into salvation. 

Morning Service for Trinity 10 2023

You all know the story of Joseph so I won’t go into it now – I’ll save that for a later date – suffice it to say that what got Joseph into trouble was as much as anything his dreams – specifically dreams of pre-eminence over his brothers, you remember how he dreamed of the sun and the moon and 11 stars all bowing down to him.  Of course, it didn’t help that he was his father’s favourite – but they could cope with that, they proved that by their later tolerance of Benjamin, it was Joseph’s dreams of lordship over them that was just too much.  They even say ‘here comes the dreamer.”  It was the dreams that caused the problem.

Morning Service for Trinity 9 2023

There is a story of a boy who, hearing of Albert Schweitzer and his work in Lambaréné hospital in Gabon used his pocket money to buy a bottle of aspirin and asked the US Airforce to drop it over his hospital. The story got out and four and half tons of medical supplies were eventually airlifted to Schweitzer’s hospital. He said, “I never thought that one child could do so much.”  At the heart of the feeding of the 5,000 is one boy offering to share his lunch. A fact omitted by St Matthew – there’s no boy in his account.

Morning Service for Trinity 8 2023

More parables for us to ponder, parables we have known from our childhood, and heard countless sermons on, I am sure. Most of you will know my thoughts regarding the interpretation of the parables – how I believe their re-telling by the gospel and pseudo-gospel writers to have have been much influenced by the writers’ own situations and the audiences they were writing for. This is not revolutionary stuff – all academic biblical scholars would hold this position. 

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