Those whom God has joined together

A sermon preached at Marlborough College Chapel
7th October 2018, Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Mark 10.2-16

hands marriage
Photo credit Matthew Brown

Quite a controversial reading this morning, I suspect – I hope! When I looked at the reading suggested by the lectionary, my first thought was to choose another one. Although some of you may agree with my interpretation of this reading, I am almost sure that what I will say this morning may upset and offend some people. Others may think that I am plainly wrong. For someone who doesn’t like an argument, that’s not great.

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We are the Body of Christ

Reflection on the local Church
30th September 2018, Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

James 5.13-20 & Mark 9.38-50

saltAs some of you reading will know, Marlborough is currently without a Rector. It is a strange thought that the local Church is currently without a leader. However, todays readings remind us that being the local Church, being the Body of Christ in a place, is a responsibility in which we all share. We all have a role to play in the local Christian community, each in our own way, as well as together in relationship.

Starting at the end of the Gospel reading, I’d like to work back toward the reading from James’ letter, making some observations on the way. The Gospel reading set for today ends with the phrase ‘Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another’. At the face of it, two competing principles. Having salt in ourselves: standing up for what we believe in; and yet being at peace with one another: making sure that relationships are harmonious.

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A needy bunch and God’s compassionate reply

A sermon for the Eight Sunday after Trinity
Jeremiah 23.1-6 & Mark 6.30-34, 53-56

crowdsThe passages from Mark’s Gospel chosen by the compilers of the Lectionary this Sunday, frame the account of the feeding of the five thousand. Hence, we notice that this section has something to say about our human need, and Jesus’ response. So that is what I would like to explore a little further.

The needs of the people we encounter in this passage are two-fold. On the one hand there is the need of the disciples, who are tired and looking for rest after all that they have been doing and teaching. And then there is the endless need of the people in the crowd. No matter where Jesus and his disciples go, the crowd keeps following them, demanding more healing and more miracles. Continue reading “A needy bunch and God’s compassionate reply”

A mystery to enter into

A sermon for Trinity Sunday
Preached at St Mary’s Potterne, Sunday 27th May 2018

trinityThe first question one might ask today is ‘Why  have a Sunday dedicated to celebrating a doctrine, to celebrating a Church teaching?’ It is much more straightforward to understand why we celebrate Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, commemorating specific events, moments in history, or at least our salvation history. However, why would we celebrate a concept, even a concept that is nowhere to be found in the Bible explicitly, as it was only first mentioned by the Church Fathers in the late 2nd century?

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Discovering who we are

Sermon preached at St Mary’s Marlborough on 4th March 2018
Third Sunday of Lent:Exodus 20.1-17 & John 2.13-22

10 commandmentsThis morning we hear what I assume are two quite familiar passages: The Ten Commandments and the cleansing of the temple. I would like to suggest this morning that both these readings teach us something about who God is, and hence, can give us an insight in who we are, and who we are meant to be.

Last Sunday, our Old Testament reading spoke about the covenant of God with Abraham, and the week before, on the first Sunday of Lent, we heard the end of the story of Noah’s Ark. That makes this the third reading that is about a covenant between God and his people. This gives us an idea how these commandments need to be approached: not as a legal stand-alone document, but a set of guidelines that teach us what this covenant is actually about.

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What do you really want?

A reflection on what truly matters

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

treasure chest

Have you ever really, really wanted something? Not just wishing it, but with your whole being really wanting it? I’m thinking not just of objects, or presents, but more of achievements or particular situations you would like to be different. For example, you may want to do particularly well in a physics test, or be selected for the first team in netball or hockey. Maybe you want a particular relationship to be better, or – thinking big – peace in the world, or at least a bit more of it.

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