No need to be imprisoned

From a sermon delivered 12th May. Read Acts 16:16-40

Paul and Silas are going to a place of prayer and meet a woman. This woman is a no-name slave girl, no power, no status, no freedom: doubly enslaved: to her human master and to a spirit that bound her in fear.

At first reading I am confused by Paul’s reaction – this woman is after all speaking the truth, at least close to it; she provides free advertising for Paul. Continue reading

Remember Me

from a sermon delivered Sunday 26th April at St John's, Arrowtown. Read 1 Corinthians 11:1, 17-34

If you have been part of this church, or for that matter, almost any church, for more than a month or two you will be familiar with the words, “Do this in remembrance of me.” In virtually all congregations these words are said each time communion is shared. Continue reading

What do you make of Easter?

What do you make of Easter?

A much needed long weekend in which you can relax, catch up with friends, gather with family. An excuse to indulge: chocoholics delight!

These are not bad things – enjoy and be thankful.

easter-lily-Christ-risen

But please reserve your greatest thanks for God. Remember again the promise of an empty tomb. Hear the words again: ‘He is not here, he has been raised.’ Why are we surprised by such words? This is what Jesus always said would happen? And now that it has we’re invited to live in his resurrection.

And here’s the tragedy – too many of us fail to live as Easter people; resurrection people. We shuffle around – timid, barely raising a smile at the greatest news ever heard. Christ is Alive!!! Death is defeated!!! Our sin forgiven!!! We live again!!!

Let us celebrate with thanksgiving: as the hymn ‘We are an Easter People’ by Bill Wallace puts it “… our fears have died, we rise to dream, to love, to dance, to live”.

 

to the Cross

A sermon for Palm/Passion Sunday 24th March. Luke 19:28-41, 22:39-48

Entry to JerusalemThis Sunday we enter what the church calls Holy Week, a week that traces the final days of Jesus’ earthly life and invites us to enter the journey for ourselves: some of us will attend to prayer and bible reading, and if that’s for you there are suggested readings that I sent out by email this week and on our web page and Facebook there’s a link to a book you can download there.

Sometimes this time in the church year can seem a little ho hum, been there done that. We know the details of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter. We are going through this again? Why? Continue reading

Prodigals

a sermon from Erin Pendreigh as preached at St John's and St Andrew's 10 March 2013. Scripture Luke 15:11-32

Who do we identify with this morning?

Illusion (Young woman Old lady)

Have a look at it this image for a moment – who do you see?

Do you see the young lady – or the old woman?

Try as I might I can only see the young lady.

I have tried turning my head this way and that – but the old woman just won’t appear for me.  I have a memory of seeing this picture a while ago and I am sure that I could see both – I thought I must have been really clever —- but I wonder if it was that I was just open to the possibilities.

So who do you see? Continue reading

The Naked Truth

A sermon for Sunday 3rd March 2013. Read Isaiah 55:1-9, Luke 13:1-9

In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the emperor wanted everyone to tell him how good he looked in his new clothes. He’d employed the best tailors, spent a load of money and he was convinced he was the envy of the world – a man to be admired.

By THÓRARINN LEIFSSON. www.totil.com

Yet we all know he was naked! No one would tell him the uncomfortable truth, that he’d been tricked, that he was as naked as the day he was born, except for one little child, who naively called out: “Look, he’s not wearing any clothes!”

Most of us shy away from speaking the bad news, the uncomfortable news so bluntly – and when someone else does it we don’t know where to look.

Continue reading

Temptation

a sermon for Sunday 17th February 2013. Read Genesis 2:15-17, 3:11-8, Luke 4:1-13.

To be human is to experience temptation, and in Luke’s narrative – as the final event before his public ministry begins – Jesus is put to the test.

If you need further proof that Jesus is fully human here it is – like you and me – Jesus was tempted, he could not escape that side of life. And don’t think for a moment this was his only experience of temptation. I am sure like you and I temptation was before him at all times. Hebrews 2:18 tells us he was tempted in every way. Continue reading

An offensive gospel

Sermon for Sunday 3rd February, reading from Luke 4:14-30

Today as we consider this passage from Luke I invite you to enter the story – allow yourself to be one of those hearing Jesus.

What are you thinking?

How do your thoughts change as he goes on?

What do you notice about those around you?

Are they responding in similar ways to you?

Where do you find yourself at the end of the story?

How do you feel about yourself?


Jesus grew up just down the road, in a small house beside the carpenters shop on the edge of town.

Everyone knew him, he knew everyone.

Palestinian Children play in Beach refugee camp Western Gaza CityAs a boy he’d played with the other children, skipping along the dusty road, hide and seek, friendly wrestling with his mates, throwing stones at that old stump across the stream. He’d grazed donkeys, got water from the well, ran errands, stubbed his toes, scraped his elbows, and bruised his knees. He was just a kid, like all the other brown faced and slightly dusty kids in town. Continue reading

The Wise seek Him

a sermon for January 6th 2013. Readings Matthew 2:1-12

The Journey of the Magi, by James Tissot (1894)

Matthew the gospel writer tells a story we know automatically as the Three Wise Men – mind you nowhere does Matthew actually tell us how many there were, we are simply told that Magi or Wise Men came from the east.

They came following a light to find the light.

And that’s what this story is about: it is the story of the light shining in the darkness.

As Matthew tells the story there is a foreboding in the air – the Magi sense it and don’t trust Herod, and as events would soon show they were right in their caution because it was not long before a furious Herod attempted to destroy Jesus, and he left little to chance – his orders were explicit and brutal, as he demanded the death of all little boys in and near Bethlehem two years old and younger. Continue reading

Advent 2: Preparing

Sermon preached for Advent 2, Sunday 9th December. Scripture readings: Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 3:1-6

The calendar tells me today is Sunday 9th Dec in the year of our Lord 2012. This particular year is almost done – 23 more sleeps and we will be in a new year.

This is a special season, anticipation, mounting excitement, to-do lists that get longer by the day, end-of-year office parties, club parties, street parties, families gathering.

The season of rising temperatures, roses blooming and cherries ripening.

The season of crowded shops, crying children, stressed mothers, oblivious fathers. Continue reading