A sermon written for the Fifth Sunday of Lent
John 12.20-33 & Jeremiah 31.31-34
Today is the fifth Sunday of Lent, and we are only two weeks away from Easter Day, although it may not feel like it with more snow having arrived over night!
In contrast to Advent, it seems to me, where every Sunday we light one more candle until it is Christmas, in Lent, the mood gets darker and darker as we approach the end of the season. Indeed, Good Friday still stands between us and Easter at this point. Personally, I find myself often conflicted in these last weeks before Easter: part of me is eagerly anticipating the joy of the Easter celebration, whilst another part of me knows there is still more work to be done before I am ready to appreciate the fullness of Jesus’ Resurrection. I almost feel like I’m watching a solar eclipse on the horizon: the shadow of Good Friday slowly moving to cover the glory of Easter, only to be seen again in all its fullness when the shadow has passed.
Continue reading “Transformation through Service”
A reflection on Charlotte Mew’s Poem ‘The Call’
From our low seat beside the fire
Where we have dozed and dreamed and watched the glow
Or raked the ashes, stopping so
We scarcely saw the sun or rain
Above, or looked much higher
Than this same quiet red or burned-out fire.
Tonight we heard a call,
A rattle on the window pane,
A voice on the sharp air,
And felt a breath stirring our hair,
A flame within us: Something swift and tall
Swept in and out and that was all.
Was it a bright or a dark angel? Who can know?
It left no mark upon the snow,
But suddenly it snapped the chain
Unbarred, flung wide the door
Which will not shut again;
And so we cannot sit here any more.
We must arise and go:
The world is cold without
And dark and hedged about
With mystery and enmity and doubt,
But we must go
Though yet we do not know
Who called, or what marks we shall leave upon the snow.
Charlotte Mew (1869-1928)
Continue reading “What marks we shall leave upon the snow”
Sermon preached at St George’s Preshute on 25th February 2018
Second Sunday of Lent: Genesis 1.1-7,15,16 & Mark 8.31-38
Jesus said: if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
It seems a very straightforward message in today’s Gospel reading. What we need to do to follow Jesus is to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him.
However, what does it actually mean to deny ourselves and what does it mean to take up our cross? And even if we have worked out what it meant for Jesus’ first disciples, what does it mean for us, today? Continue reading “Take up your cross”
A further reflection on words, based on a sermon preached at St George’s Preshute on the Second Sunday before Lent.
Those 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”
How do we re-orient ourselves to God?
A sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 61.1-4,8-11; 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24 and John 1.6-8,19-28
On the third Sunday of Advent, John the Baptist is our central figure. During the four Sundays in Advent, we start with the patriarchs, followed by the prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary, the Mother of God on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Together with these figures, we journey towards Christmas; towards the celebration of God coming to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Advent is a time of preparing ourselves once more for Christmas, but also reflecting on how ready we are to receive God in our lives, and indeed, how ready the world is to bring in the Kingdom of God.
Continue reading “Follow the Star to Bethlehem”
Some thoughts on Risk-taking
Last Wednesday I went to a Youth Mental Health First Aid training day. I was very pleased that the focus of the day was not discussing how can we keep young people ‘safe’, but thinking how can we teach them to take risks, to make mistakes, and to bounce back. Yes, providing a ‘safety net’, but not trying to avoid any risks, trying to stop them from doing something stupid at all times.
Of course, enabling anyone, and especially young people, to make mistakes is much harder than stopping them. It is harder, because it requires patience and trust, and it will cause more pain and troubles than simply keeping them safe. Continue reading “The Parable of the Talents”
A reflection for Remembrance Day
Watching Journey’s End this week, brilliantly performed by a cast of Marlborough College pupils, I was once more struck by the ‘matter-of-factness’ with which so many gave and risked their lives. No great sense of heroism or vocation to fight for justice, peace and freedom, but much more a sense that this is just what needs to be done. Continue reading “Remembering and Responding”