Cherish the light! Sermon for The Kirking of the Council, 10 September 2017

Order of service

Scripture Readings: Philippians 4.4-9

Matthew 5.1-16

Cherish the light

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

Buzz Aldrin on the moon, photographed by Neil Armstrong. Photo credit: NASA, via Wikpedia

Buzz Aldrin on the moon, photographed by Neil Armstrong. Photo credit: NASA, via Wikipedia

On the 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin approached the surface of the moon in their fragile Lunar Module, the Eagle. It was a fraught descent. Aldrin was calling out computer data to Armstrong as they approached, but the computer played up- and only cool heads meant that the landing was not abandoned. And as he approached the surface, Armstrong spotted that their landing site was strewn with boulders the size of small cars. In his attempt to find a clear site to land, Armstrong almost used up all his fuel reserves, which would have meant that they could not return home, or crashed among the boulders.

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

Don’t just do something- stand there! A sermon for Transfiguration Sunday 7 February 2015

Scripture Readings: Exodus 34:29-35

Luke 9:28-36

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

The Labour politician Tony Benn, who died in 2014, was, like many of those who get to the top in politics, a very driven person. He was a Cabinet minister in the 1970s, and almost became Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in the 1980s. More recently, after retiring from the House of Commons at the last election (after 50 years as an MP), he travelled around the country with a sort of one-man show, which played to packed houses in theatres all over the country. For Tony Benn came from a political family, one with a stern sense of Christian duty. His diaries make it clear that he felt accountable for his use of time- it was a gift of God, which he had to make the most of. Continue reading

Choose life!- Sermon for the Kirking of the Council 2014

The Kirking of the Council is an annual community event when members of the Inverness City Committee of Highland Council, and other community representatives, process to the Old High Church to take part in our Sunday worship.

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 14 September 2014: Year A, The Kirking of the Council
SERMON

Texts: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 5:1-11,33-37

Choose life!

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

There’s an story about an English vicar who always seemed to give away his politics by his choices of hymns. If the Tories won an election, the first hymn the following Sunday was something like ‘Now thank we all our God’. If Labour won, it would be ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways’. On one exceptional occasion, the Liberals won the local council election. So it was with great anticipation that his congregation came to church the following Sunday. The first hymn given out was, ‘The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform’. Continue reading

Kirking of the Council 2014

The historic Kirking of the Council service took place at the Old High Church on Sunday 14 September.

Inverness members of the Highland Council were joined by civic leaders for an ecumenical service celebrating public service.

The service this year happened to take place the Sunday before the Scottish independence referendum, and so there was a them of reconciliation in the service.

‘Choose life!’ was the title of the sermon which the Minister, the Rev Peter W Nimmo, preached at the service.

Here’s the Order of Service for the Kirking of the Council.

Here’s a sermon looking forward to the Kirking, from the previous Sunday.

Kirking graphic 2014

 

 

 

A politician’s dilemma: sermon for the Kirking of the Council 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 8 September 2013: The Kirking of the Council

SERMON

Texts: John 18.28-19.16a (NRSV)

A politician’s dilemma

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

You might think that today’s readings are more appropriate for Good Friday than for the Kirking of the Council. But whenever I read or hear the sequence of stories in the Gospels about the last days of Christ’s life, I’m always struck by how public the events are. Today we’ve read of the encounter of Jesus with the most powerful government on earth at the time. Continue reading

Cracked cisterns: sermon for 1 September 2013 (Proper 17)

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday Sunday 1 September 2013: Year C, Proper 17

SERMON
Texts: Jeremiah 2:4-13
Luke 14:1-14

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

Next Sunday we’ll once again hold the Kirking of the Council service at the Old High Church. In some ways it’s a different kind of service than most Sundays, because it involves the local community in a way that most of our worship does not. Continue reading

Kirking of the Council 8 September 2013

Read the sermon for the Kirking of the Council here.

Photographs now online here .

Kirking jpeg

Many representatives of the life of the city joined us on Sunday 8 September for the Kirking of the Council .

The Kirking is the annual service at which members of the Inverness City Committee of the Highland Council attend the Old High Church. The event is open to all, with a special invitation to those who work in public service.

Antonio Ciseri (1871) Ecce homo! (Behold the man!). (Depicting Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people) Wikipedia Commons: public domain

The preacher was the minister of Old High St Stephen’s, the Rev Peter W Nimmo. He preached on the trail of Christ before Pontius Pilate, with the sermon title ‘A Politician’s Dilemma‘, which is now available online.

Prayers were led by the Rev Colin Macleod of the Free North Church, and the Rev Alastair Murray, Moderator of Inverness Church of Scotland Presbytery. We also heard from Lorna Dempster, Co-ordinator of Highland Foodbank (Blythswood Care).

A special offering was taken for Christian Aid’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

A parade, including local schools, members of uniformed youth organisations, the University of the Highlands and Islands, and soldiers of 3 Scots from Fort George, left and returned from the Town House.

Read the Highland Council news release before the Kirking here.

If you’re wondering why we host the Kirking, read a sermon about the Kirking here.

For more information, contact the Peter W Nimmo (01463 250 802).

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

Sermon for the Kirking of the Council: 9 September 2012

Click here for photos of the 2012 Kirking of the Council

Call to scrap the Kirking:

click here to read report in the Inverness Courier, 18 September 2012

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 9 September 2012: Year B, The Kirking of the Council

SERMON
Texts: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Mark 7.24-37
The God of the outsiders
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

This week I read an article by Ben Withnall, Head of Media at the Bible Society in England. Responding to press coverage of a legal case in the news, he reminded his readers that there is nothing at all in the Bible about whether or not Christians ought to wear a cross. He comments, ‘That’s not because the Bible has nothing to say in the debate, it’s just that it doesn’t ask the questions in the same way’. Continue reading