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

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

Ordinary people, fantastic events: sermon for 8 February 2013

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (Narrative Lectionary)

SERMON
Text: Matthew 14.13-33

Discipleship in the fast lane
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

What I like about the Gospels is that they are very realistic. That might seem a strange thing to say, when we have just heard stories of miraculous feeding and walking on water. The miraculous and unlikely is certainly part of the Gospels. But there are also realistic- the things people do, even in extraordinary situation, the way they react, is often very true to life. People appear in the Gospels warts and all. That’s especially true of Jesus’ disciples, who come across, not as plaster saints, but as very fallible human beings, who often make mistakes and constantly misunderstand their master. Continue reading