With water and the Spirit: Sermon for 11 January 2017

Texts: Genesis 1:1-5
Mark 1:1-11

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


I hope you all left your Christmas decorations up until yesterday! Yesterday was Twelfth Night, the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas. So Christmas is now officially over. And now, having celebrated the birth of our Saviour, the Church moves- very quickly- to think about what this all means for us.

So, on this first Sunday of the New Year, we hear about a new beginning in our Gospel reading. Our Gospel passage takes us back to Advent first- reminding us of the strange figure of John the Baptist, calling on the people to repent. But surprisingly, we find ourselves encountering the adult Jesus today, as he come to experience the baptism which his cousin John offers. But what is this about? Why has Jesus come for baptism? And what does it mean for us? Continue reading

The Baptist’s Cry: Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent, 10 December 2017

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 40.1-11

Mark 1:1-8

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

This is the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1.1)

And so begins the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel with which we will largely be living with in the coming Christian year. Mark is thought by the scholars to be the earliest Gospel written. It is certainly the shortest. And Mark is always direct and to the point. His style is vigorous, almost breathless, as he tells the story of Christ without very much in the way of elaboration. Continue reading

Time for a U-Turn! Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent, 8 December 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 8 December 2013: Year A, The Second Sunday in Advent

Texts: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Matthew 3:1-12

Time for a U-Turn!

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

John the BaptistLet me take you out into the wilderness. Let me take you out of our own small, Palestinian town, along unfamiliar country roads, out beyond the farms and the good grazing. We follow a narrow track downwards- down below sea level into the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. Here few people live- a few soldiers on frontier duty, or strange, otherworldly sects such as Essenes of Qumran. But something is stirring in this wilderness, something strange is blooming in this desert. We are not the only ones who are curious enough to be going to see what’s going on. Continue reading

Sermon for the Baptism of the Lord. January 12 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 13 January 2013: Year C, Baptism of Christ

Texts: Isaiah 43:1-7
Luke 3:15-22

Baptism… of fire?

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

I well remember the day I graduated from Glasgow Uni. For once, I didn’t go the Uni in jeans and a sweatshirt- I had an academic gown to wear. There was lunch in the University dining room with my parents, and a meaningful chapel service, before we went to the Victorian splendour of the Bute Hall for the graduation ceremony itself. Students somehow become just a wee bit more adult on graduation day. 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

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