What am I for?

Sermon preached at St Mary Magdalene Hucknall on 18th February
First Sunday of Lent: Genesis 9.8-17 & Mark 1.9-15

Today is the first Sunday of Lent, the season in which Christians, as individuals and as a Church prepare to celebrate the Easter feast. Through fasting and self-denial; prayer and the study of Scripture; through worship and our daily acts, we try to align ourselves once more with God’s purpose for us.

This morning, we hear two readings that both explain to us what that purpose, God’s purpose for us, may be, so it is worth having a closer look at both of them, and to see how this may apply to us in our daily lives. And so, as we go through these texts, I’d like you to keep the question in mind: What am I for? What is my purpose? Or, most accurately, what is God’s purpose for me?

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Unlikely Contrasts

A reflection at the beginning of Lent

These last few days have been a time of unlikely contrasts. Personally, as the start of the season of Lent was not only marked by a celebration of the Eucharist, but also by a iPGCE residential organised by Buckingham University, filled with lectures about marking, lesson planning and essay writing.

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I have been surprised by the lack of acknowledgement and conversations about the horrid shootings in Florida earlier this week, despite being together with over 300 teachers and educational specialists. Does it show that this kind of news tragically has become too ‘normal’, or does it show that we are so focused on our own targets, that we lose interest in what is happening around us? And if the latter, does it imply we are losing compassion for those who are further away than the immediate?

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Transformative Faithfulness

Sermon preached at St James’s Cherhill 11 February 2018
Sunday next before Lent: Mark 9.2-9 & 2 Kings 1.2-12

On the last Sunday before Lent, traditionally we hear the story of the Transfiguration, this year in the version from Mark’s Gospel. The Transfiguration is recorded by Luke, Mark and Matthew as well as alluded to in the Second Letter of Peter. Some even argue that the famous words in John’s Gospel The Word became flesh and dwelt among us refer to this very event.

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When we look a little bit closer at the story, we see that it is building up to a climax. First of all, there are only three disciples – Peter, James and John – who go up to the mountain with Jesus. This select company already points to the fact that something special is about to happen, and so does their journey up the mountain.

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Taking Stock

A reflection just before the half-term holiday and the start of Lent

It is the week before the spring half-term, which this year is also the week before the start of Lent. Two good reasons to take stock and see how far we got. Especially for those of us who have started something new at the beginning of the academic year, a lot will have happened since September, and it is good to take some time to see where we are.

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When time and eternity meet

A further reflection on words, based on a sermon preached at St George’s Preshute on the Second Sunday before Lent.

pexels-photo-278887Those of us who follow the Church of England lectionary, hear once more the famous words of the beginning of John’s Gospel: The Word was made flesh and lived among us.  It was not that long ago that we heard the same reading read on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, and many of us will associate these famous words about the Word becoming flesh indeed with Christmas celebrations. Continue reading “When time and eternity meet”

Wait, trust and see

A sermon preached at Marlborough College on 28th January 2018
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple: Luke 2.22-40

simeon and annaFriday evening has always been my favourite evening of the week. Before I was a vicar, it meant it was the beginning of the weekend. When I became a vicar, it meant the only evening without meetings or sermons to write. And when I joint the College, it became my duty evening in New Court, on of the girls’ boarding houses. Certainly aided by the Housemistress’s hospitality and a glass of wine, I really enjoy the range of conversations you girls have in your houses, and the way in which you let tutors share in them. Continue reading “Wait, trust and see”