The fire and the dove- a sermon on the Baptism of Christ

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43.1-7
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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

The gospels tell us almost nothing about the training or education of Jesus. There is a little about his childhood in Luke, but soon we are hearing about the preaching of John the Baptist, in the passage we read today. John was a relative of Jesus, a prophet who preached that the Messiah- the one who would save God’s people- was about to appear. John called people to change their lives, to get ready for God’s saviour to appear among them. Crowds of people went down to the River Jordan to hear John’s preaching. And he would challenge them to respond by being baptised. John would immerse people in the waters of the River Jordan, to symbolise that they had died to their previous life- drowned it, if you like. They rose from the water into a new life, with their sins washed away, as water washes away dirt.

John the BaptistEventually, Jesus himself appeared, and was baptised by John in the river as well- and you can see a picture of it on the front of our order of service. Jesus’ baptism marks the point when Jesus passed from being a purely private figure to becoming a public preacher. This is a day he for which he would have been preparing for years. It is Jesus’ graduation day, his passing out parade. Continue reading

Embraced by love- sermon for 15 November 2015

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
15 November 2015
(The Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost:
Year 2 (Mark), Narrative Lectionary)
SERMON
Scripture Readings: Hosea 11:1-9
Mark 10.13-16
Sermon
Embraced by love
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

We too often think of the books of the Bible as having been written so long ago, they cannot have much to do with us. The prophet Hosea preached almost 2,700 years ago. What can a text that old have to say to us? The introduction in the Good News version of the Bible to Hosea says that he ‘preached in the northern Kingdom of Israel… during the troubled times before the fall of Samaria in 721BC’. He preached in troubled times- times of uncertainty, with wars and rumours of wars abounding. And do we not, also, live in troubled times? Continue reading

At the Table- a sermon on Holy Communion, 20 September 2015

Scripture Readings: John 6.53-59
Mark 14.22-26

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

The BBC recently had a series about Indian railways, featuring the Calcutta station which gets as many passengers in a day as travel on the whole of the British Railway network. India’s railways are busy. So busy, Indians don’t just ride in trains- they ride on top of them, too.

There is a scene in the film Ghandi in which a Christian missionary, a friend of Ghandi’s, is- unusually for a Westerner- riding on top of a train. He finds himself in conversation with a Hindu, who is very suspicious of this Christian. The Hindu can’t understand Christianity, for he’s heard that Christians are the people who eat their God. Continue reading

Getting Wet: a sermon for Sunday 11 January 2015 (The Baptism of the Lord)

SERMON

Text: Matthew 3.1-17

Getting wet

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

Surely one of the worst things that could possibly happen to someone is to be arrested for a crime you haven’t committed. Bad enough that you might spend years in jail. Worse, however, to be branded a criminal, to be told you are guilty when you know you are not guilty. It’d be terrible to be criminalised by mistake. And who would choose to be treated like a criminal?

By NickGibson3900 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By NickGibson3900 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading

God at Work: sermon on Acts 9.1-20 John 21.1-19- 28 April 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 28 April 2013

SERMON
Texts: Acts 9.1-20
John 21.1-19

God at work

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

There’s an American phrase to describe what it’s like when the unexpected happens. They say that something comes at you ‘from left field‘. It’s a baseball term- I think it means that the ball suddenly comes from somewhere you didn’t expect- but if there are any baseball fans who can put me right you can speak to me afterwards. Often we fear the unexpected. We are usually don’t like things come from ‘left field’, because too often the unexpected event is unpleasant- and accident, for example. But the unexpected, even if we are not prepared for it, is not always unpleasant. When the unexpected happens, it can shake us out of our comfort zone and change our life for the better. Continue reading

Faith, renewal and service: a sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 21 April 2013: Year C, The Fourth Sunday of Easter

SERMON
Texts: John 10:22-30
Acts 9:36-43

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

On this joyous Sunday, we’re celebrating eight people who have chosen to associate themselves with the work of the church, and to follow Jesus wherever that might lead them. Ian, Martin, Alana, Alexandra, Ashleigh, Louise, Kirsty and John have been meeting together with a number of other enquirers and members of the congregation in our Christian Basics course over the last few months. This year I tried to freshen up my new member’s course, adding new material and activities to it. But what really made a difference was the participation of existing members of the congregation. Continue reading

Sunday Bulletin for 14 April 2013

Worship Next Week
Wednesday 17 April
12.30pm Midweek Quiet Time at St Stephen’s
Sunday 21 April
11.15am Congregational Service: admission of New Members by Baptism and Confirmation at the Old High Church NB New time for Congregational Service: no service at St Stephen’s. Kirk Session meets 11am Parking available in John Fraser’s yard, just before
7.00pm Worship and discussion at St Stephen’s
SUNDAY BULLETIN ANNOUNCEMENTS should be sent to Joy Cossar The deadline for all items is Wednesday at noon. Continue reading

Sunday Bulletin for 17 March 2013

Worship This Week
Tonight
7pm Short Act of Worship for Lent, St Stephen’s
Wednesday 20 March
12.30pm Midweek Quiet Time at St Stephen’s
Sunday 24 March
10.00am All-Age Congregational Service with the Sacrament of Baptism at St Stephen’s NB New time for Congregational Service: no service at the Old High. Followed by annual meeting
7pm Short Act of Worship for Lent, St Stephen’s Continue reading