Sermon preached at Keble College Oxford, 21st October 2018
Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity: Isaiah 53:4-end, Hebrews 5.1-10, Mark 10.35-45
First of all, thank you to the Chaplain for inviting me to preach here at Keble College tonight. Writing a sermon is in many ways not unlike writing an essay. You read, you think, you read again, and despite your intention to be well-prepared and organised, eventually you realise that still, you haven’t started writing yet the day before.
I myself come from a physics background, so for a long time I was blessedly unaware of the process of writing essays – although working to the deadline wasn’t that uncommon for myself and most others! What struck me when writing essays was that some of them, in which I had invested a lot of time and effort, were subsequently marked disappointingly low. Others, which I thought were far less well-researched, would sometimes get marks much higher than expected. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had this experience.
Continue reading “Be Real!”
Ringers as a reminder of God
AGM of the Marlborough Branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers
It was lovely to be able to lead a short service preceding the AGM of the Marlborough Branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in October. Some of the ringers had come from a wedding earlier in the afternoon, whereas others had travelled from Dorset to Marlborough to join the local ringers.
Thinking about a Bible reading appropriate for the afternoon, obviously there are no direct references to bell ringing in Scripture, as there were no bell towers in early Christianity. Moreover, change ringing – the art of ringing a set of tuned bells – is typical English, starting after the invention of full-circle ringing in seventeenth century England. There is only one such bell tower on the Continent, which is situated in ‘t Klockhuys in Dordrecht.
Continue reading “The sound of an invisible God”
A Reflection for the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary
15th August 2018
When I was teaching a physics course a few weeks ago, one of the questions asked was how I reconcile science and religion. In answering that question this time around, I realise that the answer has changed over the years, and I would not be surprised if it will continue to change. So to start with a disclaimer: don’t hold me to this answer forever.
My first response to the question how I can be a physicist and a priest is that both enable me to have an inquisitive attitude to the world around me. Signs of a healthy approach to science and faith are that we feel encourage to seek a deeper understanding; to ask questions that probe deeper instead of signing up to a set of doctrine or dogmas. Continue reading “Why I go to Church: today’s answer”
A Sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity
1 Kings 19.4-8, Ephesians 4.25 – 5.2 & John 6.35,41-51
When I was working as a physicist, part of my job consisted of facilitating experiments for visiting scientists. Individuals or small groups of researchers would come to our lab for a week, or sometimes two, to use our facilities for particular experiments they would not be able to do at home. Generally, it was a very exciting time, meeting people from all over the world, usually experts in their fields, and I would be infected by their enthusiasm for their research and experiments.
Continue reading “Food for the Journey”
A sermon for the First Sunday after Trinity
Preached at St John the Baptist, Mildenhall on Sunday 3rd June 2018
Deuteronomy 5.12–15 & Mark 2.23–3.6
It it a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon in June. I wonder what the first thing is that comes to mind you will be doing? I suspect some may immediately think of gardening – weeds always seem to grow faster than anything else. Others will have in mind a nice roast lunch with family or friends. Or maybe sit in the garden and read a good novel, or go on a walk. The first thing that comes to my mind are cycling and BBQ-ing! Continue reading “Freedom, Prayer and Love”
The Wedding at Cana: God’s glory revealed
Sermon preached at St Mary’s Calstone 21 January 2018: Epiphany 2 John 2:1-11
This morning we hear about Jesus’ first miracle: turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. It is the first of seven miraculous signs told by John, and the only one unique to his Gospel account. That fact made can make us wonder: why would one have changing water into wine as a first miracle? Why use this specific story to start the revelation God’s glory made known in the person of Jesus?
One reason may be that it was historically the first miracle Jesus did. But why is it then not recorded in the other Gospels? I think more important than the historical question if it really was the first miracle Jesus performed, are the many theological undertones of the story. And maybe the first thing we need to do is to see where it fits in to John’s Gospel.
Continue reading “God’s glory revealed”