Leftover people: Sermon for the Kirking of the Council, 11 September 2016

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 1.15-18 (not Lectionary)

Luke 15:1-10

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

At the beginning of today’s Bible reading, Jesus of Nazareth is in trouble. This happened to Jesus a lot. Again and again, he went against people’s expectations, and this upset some of them.

Luke tells us that, ‘all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him’. Tax collectors were not popular in a country under Roman occupation. Sinners were those who were thought to have broken moral and religious rules.

This causes ‘the Pharisees and the scribes’ to grumble. These are the respectable, those who think of themselves as very religious and moral. Nowadays they might be called ‘role-models’, to show the rest of us how to live. Admired by most people, they have a high opinion of themselves, for they are the kind of people who usually think they are right. And they believe that they have God on their side.

So they grumble: ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them’. They think that Jesus is attracting the wrong crowd. How can Jesus be a respected religious teacher, if his audience attracts people who are pretty irreligious? As the Pharisees and the scribes see it, there must be something wrong with a religious teacher who attracts the outcasts, the scum, the dregs of society, the irreligious, the immoral.

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Gods at war! Sermon for Sunday 14 August 2016 (Proper 15 Year C, RCL)

Scripture Readings: Psalm 82

            Luke 12:49-56

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

‘God presides in the heavenly council; in the assembly of the gods he gives his decision’ (Psalm 82.1).

Today’s Psalm asks us to picture a strange scene. The scene is a ‘heavenly court’, or an assembly of gods. The Lord God of Israel presides- but he’s not the only god there- he’s speaking to other gods. This is odd. Surely there is only one God? Continue reading

Faith for the future: Sermon for 7 August 2016 Proper 14

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

Luke 12:32-40

Faith for the future

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

I was once Associate Minister in Currie, which is nowadays is a suburb of Edinburgh, but it was always interesting to talk to the oldest people who remembered when it had been a little country village. One very old lady told me once she had been worshipping in the same Church- Currie Kirk- all her life. And she told me how it had been when she was a girl. She explained that her family had to go to church each Sunday. Her father was a gamekeeper, and if he wasn’t there the laird would have noticed and he’d have lost not just his job, but his tied house as well. Homeless and jobless if they didn’t go to church. Continue reading

Sunday Bulletin 24 July 2016

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 31 July 2016: Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15 am Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN please send items to invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline: Wednesday at noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and give a contact phone number and email.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
Further details and contact information : invernesschurch<at>gmail.com (replace @ with <at>)
Prior to Peter going on holiday on 6 July, the Bulletins for the 3, 10, 17 and 24 July will be printed on 1 July. Any notices received after that date will be announced from the pulpit.
PASTORAL COVER The minister will be on holiday from 6 to 26 July inclusive. For any pastoral issues, please contact your elder or the following: 6 to 16 July Rev Alastair Younger ; 17 to 26 July Rev Arthur Sinclair.
OLD HIGH AUGUST LUNCHTIME RECITAL The recital planned for Saturday 13th August has unfortunately had to be cancelled, but will be re-scheduled in 2017. The next event will therefore be on Saturday 10th September when Musick Fyne will be returning to give a choral recital including some fascinating Early Music. More details of their programme will be circulated nearer the time. For more information about the autumn recitals please visit ohssmusic<at>gmail.com
OLD HIGH CHURCH OPENING The Church will be open on weekdays from now until September on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10am to 12 noon and 2-4pm. We can always use more volunteers, especially to cover times when the regulars can’t make it- please contact Christine Mackenzie if you can help christinemac73<at>hotmail.com. And please let your friends know that they can visit the church at these times.
SUMMER SONGS OF PRAISE a joyful evening worship service at the Old High on Sunday 21 August at 7pm. A chance to sing favourite hymns, and to meet our new Old High organist, Robin Versteeg, who will also treat us to some organ fireworks! Do you have an old (or new) favourite hymn you’d like us to sing on the evening? Contact our Church Administrator, Pat Macleod: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com.
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP will continue to meet at 7pm in St Stephen’s throughout the summer on 3, 17, 31 July & 14 August. At a time when other Church activities may be on holiday, do think about coming along. Details from Andrew Stevenson.
FREEWILL OFFERING ENVELOPES for the year beginning July 2016 are now available. Contact Christine Mackenzie for Old High envelopes and Sandy Cumming for St Stephen’s envelopes.

Life with Christ: sermon for 31 July 2016

Scripture Readings:

Colossians 3: 1-11

Luke 12: 13-21

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

Since I have been on holiday, the news seems to be dominated with stories of sudden, unexpected deaths. Shootings, stabbings, an attempted in kidnaping in England, even driving a truck into a crowd- terrorism has been seen in many forms in Europe in recent weeks, and it is unsettling for us. Continue reading

Lambs among wolves- sermon for 3 July 2016

Scripture Readings: Galatians 6.1-5

Luke 10.1-11

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

In the 1950s, a British Prime Minister told his people that ‘You’ve never had it so good’. There have been ups and downs for Britain since, but for a long time it has seemed that way to many people. We certainly have it better than many, if not most, people in the world. Most of us have enough to eat. Even in times of political crisis, society does not break down. The administration of government carries on. Pensions and benefits are still paid, there are neither terrorist nor soldiers on the streets, there is food in the shops and the lights haven’t gone off.

Perhaps, therefore, some of us on these islands have become a bit complacent. We have not worried overmuch about the rise of extreme nationalism and xenophobia, which has affected even relatively liberal European nations like Denmark and Holland. We were able to imagine that we Scots, tucked away in the far north west of Europe, would be immune to the pressures of the refugee crisis afflicting Europe’s Mediterranean borders. We have imagined that shopping and entertainment could create a new economy to replace jobs being swept away by automation and globalisation. Are we, perhaps, now waking up to face that fact that we are not immune to these, and other, shocks? Continue reading

Waiting… and thanking! Sermon at St Stephen’s on 25 June 2016

Scripture Readings: Psalm 40.1-10

Luke 17:11–19

Waiting… and thanking!

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

In 1990, while I was still a student, I attended- as a visitor- the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. I was curious to visit because the Moderator that year was one of my teachers, the late Robert Davidson, Professor of Old Testament at Glasgow University. The day I visited, the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom was there as a guest. After we had sung a metrical Psalm- unaccompanied, in the old Scottish style- Bob Davidson invited the Chief Rabbi to address the Assembly, greeting in him as he did so Hebrew. It was a powerful reminder of the Jewish origins of our faith, and how our Christian, Presbyterian worship continues to be suffused with those old Hebrew prayers and hymns, the Psalms. Continue reading

The scandal of grace: a sermon for 12 June 2016, Proper 6 (Year C, RCL)

Scripture Readings: Galatians 2:15-21

Luke 7:36-50

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

My name is Simon, and I’m a Pharisee.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You think you know what a Pharisee is. One of strongly religious types. Someone who lives by rules and regulations, who enjoys pernickitiness, who claims that ancient rituals are everything. Someone all-too-happy to avoid people I’d call a sinner. Someone proud to say he’s never broken the rules. Continue reading

God’s mission, and ours: Sermon for Trinity Sunday 2016

Scripture Readings: Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

God’s mission, and ours

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

When I was at school, I quite liked science- though I would never pursue it very far, because to do so you need to be good at maths, which I never mastered. But I did like the experiments. Earlier we were talking with the children about the different states of water- that ice and steam are, in fact, water in different states. At school, we once took a balloon full of hydrogen to the bottom of a playing field, put a naked flame to it, and it filled an empty cup with water- almost a magic trick. But the hydrogen had reacted with the oxygen in the atmosphere to make H2O- water. Liquid water, ice and steam are all made of hydrogen and water- different aspects of the same stuff. Light that you can see, infrared light that makes automatic doors work, X-rays, radar, electricity and magnetism, TV and radio waves are also different aspects of the same thing- different wavebands of electromagnetic radiation.

Nowadays, the scientists are trying to bring together all the different strands of knowledge about the universe, searching for the maths that will explain the forces which hold atoms together through to the gravitational forces which hold galaxies together. They all it ‘the theory of everything’- and they are tantalising close to working it all out. Continue reading