Sermons 2017

  • I’ve recently been reading a book called Creative Mischief.  The book came to my attention because a small extract from it has been doing the rounds on the internet and it was enough to make me want to read more from the book it came from.  The story that grabbed my attention goes like this:When I worked for BMP (an advertising agency),There was a head of department who commuted in fromBrighton every day.He started reading “The Exorcist” on the train.He said he more»
  • I have spoken before of a book I enjoy dipping into every once in a while called The Wisdom of Psychopaths.  Kevin Dutton, the author of the book, is a psychologist who suggests that while people have a certain perception that all psychopaths are serial killers, the truth is that many highly successful people can rightly be described as psychopaths.Before I go to much further it would be good to give a broad definition of what a psychopath is.  The word psychopath is the word more»
  • Two weeks ago I spoke a little about parables and how Jesus used this particular method of storytelling because parables are often surprising if not shocking.  Parables also raise questions and invite us to begin thinking for ourselves.  These two characteristics of surprise and invitation make parables highly memorable.  This is also true for other methods of storytelling.  Just take a moment to think of a favourite novel or movie.  Why do you consider it to be a more»
  • We have been hosting members of the youth group at the vicarage this weekend as an end of term camp.  Always a pleasure having our young people around, even when it is detrimental to a good night’s sleep.There is a funny thing that has happened to me many times in the different youth groups I have run over the last 15 years.  It typically occurs when a member of the youth group has brought someone along for the first time.  Normally the new person has been given a change to more»
  • I can remember being a seminar at university several years ago when we were having to discuss a particularly turgid set of readings that our professor had assigned us.  As we picked our way through this very dense material someone made the comment of, “I wish this writer of this article could have just said what they meant.”  Our professor responded to this by saying, “I know what you are getting at, but these are very difficult things and sometimes difficult things more»
  • Mark Twain once said, “If you are feeling angry, count to 4.  If you are very angry, swear.”  Twain was well ahead of his time.  There are many scientific studies that demonstrate the positive effects of swearing.  It has been shown that people who swear are typically calmer and more intelligent, than those who don’t.  Swearing reduces stress and tends to be used by those with a more creative bent to their personality.  I’m sure I’m more»
  • This particular Sunday is one of those weeks that clergy love to tie themselves up in knots about.  As I was hunting around for resources on line, I saw many clergy friends posting all sorts of passionate arguments regarding which readings, collects and theme to be used.  Lots of strong opinions about which choices were the right ones.  This is one of those discussions that comes up every year.The issue is that for those like myself, who come from a particular tradition within more»
  • This last week I cast my eye over the sermons on our parish website and discovered that out of the eight Trinity Sundays that have passed in my time as Vicar, I have preached seven times.  I missed last year because I was on leave.  I'll be honest with you, at this point is very tempting to go back to one from 8 years ago and just give again. Maybe next year.Trinity Sunday is the one Sunday a year when I intentionally include the Nicene Creed as part of the liturgy.  more»
  • One of the things we often take for granted about church communities is the intergenerational aspect of a healthy church.  Having been a lifelong church attendee I have always known and interacted with people whose age is at times very different to my own. For most of my friends, particularly my non-church friends this is not the case. Most people only connect deeply with those of their peer group, or maybe those a year or two either side.  For me church has given me connections with more»
  • Today we acknowledge the feast of the ascension, which happened last Thursday.  Ascension always falls on a Thursday because that is the 40th day of the season of Easter.  The number 40 comes to us from the book of acts which tells us that Jesus appeared to the disciples over that length of time before disappearing altogether.  The number 40 may well be a poetic creation, a mirroring of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, which itself was a reflection of the 40 years the more»
  • When Charles Darwin began his research that led to his famous publication, On the Origin of Species, he did so from the assumption that all livings things were unchanging.  His initial assumption was that all living things had existed in their present form from the beginning of time.  This may surprise you.  Yet, as we know, through the course of his study he came to realise that nothing is unchanging, rather that all things change over time.  It was this radical shift in more»
  • We went to "As You Like It" earlier in the week. It contains that melancholic soliloquy, "All the world's a stage" about the seven ages of man: the infant puking in his mother's arms, the whining schoolboy creeping like snail unwillingly to school, the lover, the scholar, the judge. I've been through those stages, which puts me in either stage six or seven, which rates me pretty useless now, but hopefully not quite at 'the last stage of all that ends this more»
  • One of my earliest memories of attending church was being at a good Friday service in the early 1980’s.  This service stands out in my memory because it was the first time I had ever walked the stations of the cross, a service we recreated here only 48 hours ago.  I think the reason I remember this service so clearly is because at each station we were asked to imagine being in the story as it unfolded.  There are many parts of the story, from being in the crowd that turned more»
  • Good morning everyone. Today is the day of our Annual General Meeting which means I will not be giving a sermon but rather will be presenting my report. 2016 began with a hiss and roar. The weeks leading up to Easter are always the busiest of the year and last year was no exception. Last year was particularly challenging as I found myself also fulfilling the duties of the Parish Administrator as well as my own job for much of the time. This was because there ended up being a gap of a few more»
  • Alexandre Dumas is arguably the most widely read French author of all time.  Some of his most popular titles include The Count of Monte Cristo and the Three Musketeers.  Some of the source material for these adventurous stories is likely to have been drawn from Dumas’ military service during the French revolutionary wars.  It so happened that in early 1825, Dumas had a verbal exchange with another solider during which he felt that the other soldier cost him his more»
  • I’m sorry everyone, but before I begin can I ask you all to stand up again?  Could you find one of the blue hymn books?  And finally, can you balance the hymn book on your head?  A step too far?  OK grab a seat everyone. It’s alright I’m not losing the plot, just making a simple point.  There are several findings in the field of psychology regarding the manipulation of others.  My small demonstration this morning was to show you that we can more»
  • “In the beginning we were all immigrants to these islands, our ancestors boat people who arrived by waka, ship or aeroplane.  The ingredients of our indigenous cultures too were imported: the east Polynesian language that became Maori, English; Papatuanuku and the Bible; Maui and Tane Mahuta, Robin Hood and Horatio Nelson; the kumara and the kiwifruit. All these things and many more had their origins elsewhere…”[1] One of our great New Zealand historians was a more»
  • In today’s Gospel Jesus saw the crowds, he went up to the mountain, and after he sat down his disciples came to him and he began speaking and he taught them, saying… Now what follows is a part of Christian History. The beatitudes often called the Sermon on the Mount, is a part of our biblical history and in some way or another we have all explored these verses during our lives.  However, too often people tell me that in their experience, these beatitudes were explored more»
  • One of the great joys of the post-Christmas season is finding a new calendar!  We have new calendar hanging in our home which includes a wide range of interesting facts.  For example, earlier this week the fact for the day was that on that day in 1351 and English cook was sentenced to one day in the stocks for cooking a chicken pastry described by the magistrate as, “foul and stinking and an abomination to all mankind.”  This is not the entry on this calendar that I more»
  • If we consider today’s Gospel, in two places, John the Baptist testifies, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him" (on Jesus)  John is talking about the Holy Spirit coming into Jesus, and staying in him, and enlivening his ministry, and illuminating God in Jesus, God’s presence symbolized by the dove descending into Jesus.  Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that the same Spirit will abide in them; if they more»