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

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 only One to trust: a sermon on Psalm 146; 5 July 2015

Sunday 5 July 2015 (Year A, Narrative Lectionary)

Scripture Readings:

Psalm 146 (read responsively: Common Worship version (CH4 102)

Luke 7:18-23

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

So today is the last of our sermons series on the Psalms. And you may have noticed today that I’ve chosen all Psalms as our praise items today. You may remember that last Sunday, I mentioned various hymns which were based on the Psalms. So we’re singing some of those today.

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The Lord is my Light: sermon for 21 June 2015

Scripture Readings: Psalm 27.1-6
Matthew 7.24-27

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

LighthouseWhen we talk of divine things, we almost always use images. For we need pictures to help us imagine realities which go beyond words. Today’s Psalm, for instance, praises God for his protection. The Psalmist says God is light, a shelter, a rock- all great images for how God is the ultimate protector. Continue reading

The Road not Taken: reflecting on Psalm 1 and John 14.1-6 14 June 2015

A short reflection for our all-age service

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 1

Gospel Reading: John 14:1-6

road not taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Our Super-impressive God! A sermon on Psalm 113. Sunday 7 June 2015: The Second after Pentecost

Scripture Readings: Psalm 113
Luke 15:8-10
Sermon
Super-impressive!
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Once I get past check-in, security, passport control and the duty free lounge, I quite like flying. It does not make me scared; rather I get a thrill when we accelerate along the runway, and lift off. Once we’re up, I like to look out of the window. I love maps, so it’s fun to try to work out where we are if there is a break in the cloud. On one trip I was sure we were over Liverpool because I could see the River Mersey and the shape of the Wirral Peninsula where Birkenhead is- and I was right!
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