Sermon for Christmas Eve Watchnight Service, Old High Church, 2012

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Christmas Eve Watchnight Service, 2012
SERMON
Text: Matthew 2.1-23

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

There are people who think that Christmas is a time for children. After all, they say, there’s a baby at the centre of the story. But tonight, as we heard all of Matthew’s version of the story, did you notice how many grown-ups appear? A child might be at the centre of the story, but it’s a story mostly about the doings of grown-ups.

Our reading begins, ‘Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the time when Herod was king’. And so the first grown-up we meet is Herod Continue reading

Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent 2012: About turn!

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 9 December 2012: Year B, Second Sunday of Advent

SERMON
Texts: Philippians 2.3-11
Luke 3.1-20

(from the New Revised Standard Version)

About turn!
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

In a few words, Luke the Gospel writer sets the scene for the appearance of John the Baptist. A few words which describe a nation in crisis. Continue reading

Hoping with hope: a sermon for Advent Sunday

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 2 December 2012: Year B, First Sunday of Advent
SERMON
Texts: Jeremiah 33:14-18
Luke 21:25-36
Hoping with hope

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Today I’m wearing my purple stole, or preaching scarf. Purple is the colour for penitence, for in Church tradition, the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, is a penitential season. Just like the six weeks of Lent, on the run-up to Easter, Advent is supposed to be a time in which we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas by confessing our sins, by cleaning our souls, by subjecting ourselves to self-examination. This is, of course, just the opposite of what you would expect. For in our culture, the expectation is that the build-up to Christmas will be a busy time of preparation, a mad rush of shopping, preparing food, putting up decorations, getting ready for family visits, enjoying the office party and the works night out. And we clergy are as bad as everyone else, and everyone else knows it, which is why we are so often greeted with ‘This will be your busy time of year’. For most people there is not time to stop, to prepare their souls, to confess their sins. This is a time of mostly enjoyable busyness.

So the Scripture readings on this first Sunday of Advent hit a jarring note. Continue reading

What World AIDS Day Means to me: a personal view by our Minister

For World AIDS Day, 1 December, Waverley Care, the Edinburgh-based AIDS charity, held Community Gatherings around Scotland, to reflect and remember with music, film, speakers and refreshments.

The Inverness gathering was held at St Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral and led by Bishop Mark Strange.

Old High St Stephen’s Minister, the Rev Peter W Nimmo, chairs the Advisory Group for Waverley Care’s Highlands Argyll and Bute project. He gave this very personal talk on ‘What World AIDS Day means to me’. Continue reading