Sermon St Mary’s Marlborough, 14th April 2019 8am
Palm Sunday: Luke 19.28-40 & Philippians 2.5-11
It’s Palm Sunday today, the beginning of Holy Week when we remember Jesus’ last week of earthly ministry and prepare to celebrate the Easter mysteries. And so it is the most important week in the Christian year. I’m wondering what this week will hold for you? Is it a week in which life almost seems to come to a stand-still, where the day-to-day routine fades to the background and in which all becomes focussed on your spiritual life? Or is it a week more or less like any other, possibly punctuated by one or more services before next Sunday, and hot-cross buns on Friday?
In any case, if we really reflect on the things we are about to commemorate, we cannot be but changed. And not only as individuals, as through prayer and worship we strengthen our own relationship with God, but also as a community, as a Church.
Continue reading “Holy Week: Let us pray”
I will never leave you
The third and last of three reflections for Passiontide, based around the stories of Peter, Judas and Jesus, based on reflections for Good Friday, delivered at St George’s Preshute in 2017.
Hearing the Passion Gospel read this morning, it is hard to deny here that Jesus is aware of his own future, his death, whether it is imminent or not. Is that then the way to look at the Passion story: God’s plan unfolding, as a script being performed, whilst people like Mary, Peter and Judas play the part they have been allocated? Are they, and we, merely doing what has to be done for God’s plan to be fulfilled? In a way one could say that both Mary and Judas prepared Jesus for his burial: Mary by anointing him, and Judas by handing him over to those who would crucify him.
Continue reading “I will never leave you”
Friend, do what you are here to do
The tragedy of Judas
The second of three reflections for Passiontide, based around the stories of Peter, Judas and Jesus. They are based on reflections for Good Friday, delivered at St George’s Preshute in 2017.
Jesus said to Judas: Friend, do what you are here to do. There has been a lot of controversy over the role of Judas in Jesus’ passion. The fact that Jesus addresses Judas here as friend has either been understood to be ironic or as a sign that Jesus still cares about him. Maybe even more so, it has been debated if it was Judas’ God-given destiny to betray Jesus, or an act of free will? And in either case, was there still the possibility for redemption, either before or after Judas’ death? Or is he the prototype of evil, someone for whom there is no hope?
Continue reading “Friend, do what you are here to do”
What makes us carry on?
The story of Peter
This is the first of three reflections for Passiontide, based around the stories of Peter, Judas and Jesus. They are based on reflections for Good Friday, delivered at St George’s Preshute in 2017.
Peter’s story is one of falling and standing up, falling again and standing up again. It was Peter who was one of the first to recognise who Jesus was when he said to Him: ‘You are the Messiah’. But it is only moments later that Jesus rebukes him for not understanding his teaching, and says: Get behind me Satan!
‘Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you’ (Matthew 26.33). I imagine that Peter genuinely believed those words when he spoke them. Not so much because he felt superior to his fellow-disciples and others, but because at the moment he spoke them, Peter was convinced that nothing could separate him from God; nothing could make him desert or deny that what was most important in his life: his friendship with God through Jesus. Continue reading “What makes us carry on?”