A new creation- sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, Sunday 6 March 2016

Scripture Readings (from the New Revised Standard Version)
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

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

One of the mysteries of church life, which after all these years I’ve still not solved, is the fact that so many church people seem to regard their role as preventing and hindering change. If you asked people beyond the church what they regarded as typical attitudes of religious people, they would probably say something like ‘conservative’ or ‘traditionalist’ or even ‘old-fashioned’. Religious people seem to find change difficult- it’s always been done that way is a familiar cry. Even change for the better is too often a subject of suspicion.

It may well be that in many religions, that is the correct attitude to take. And, no doubt, there are many things in our fast-changing world which Christians ought to be suspicious about. But the idea that Christianity is fundamentally not in favour of change is not, in my view, supported by the Bible. In fact, the opposite is the case. Continue reading

The Word became a Refugee- sermon for Christmas Eve Watchnight 2015

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star.

They have haunted our Christmas imagination for centuries. They still haunt our Christmas cards, our carols (of course), our crib scenes. Continue reading

Justice or charity?- a sermon for the Kirking of the Council, 13 September 2015

Scripture Readings: Amos 7.7-17
Luke 10.25-37
Sermon

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

In 2012, there was massive media coverage when the Costa Concordia, a luxury cruise ship, ran aground off Italy, leading to the tragic deaths of 32 passengers and crew. But almost unnoticed, the Italian coastguard were also busy elsewhere:

That same day, the first of three boats carrying African refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya towards Malta and Italy was rescued by coastguards, in an incident which attracted no news coverage whatsoever. 72 were saved, including a pregnant woman and 29 children. The second boat was rescued two days later by a Maltese armed patrol vessel, assisted by the US Navy. The 68 who were saved included a mother who had just given birth… The third boat didn’t make it. A distress call warning of engine failure was intercepted by the Maltese maritime authorities the morning after the Concordia disaster. Then no more was heard….until the last week of January, when the first 15 bodies were washed up on Libyan beaches –at least 55 were lost.

I’m quoting there from a leaflet produced by the Church of Scotland Guild on the situation in Malta. Continue reading

Sermon for 6 September 2015 Companions- or enemies? How we spoil Eden

Scripture Readings: Genesis 2:4b-25 (Narrative Lectionary reading for Pentecost 16)
Mark 10.13-16

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

The Book of Genesis offers two stories about the creation of the world. This morning we have hear the start of the second one, the version which is about man and woman being created in the Garden of Eden. The trick with reading these stories is not to see them as accounts from ancient history, but stories about today. Adam- Adam is everyman, Eve is everywoman. Adam and Eve are me and you. This is a story about all of us. Continue reading

Christian Aid Week 2014

J2450-CAW-120x90-banner-gifThis week members of our congregation are collecting round the streets of our parish for Christian Aid.

On Saturday, they already raised lots of money at a coffee morning for Christian Aid.

To find out more about Christian Aid week, visit the Christian Aid Week website. You can also make a donation to Christian Aid there.

Here’s the film about Colombia which we watched at St Stephen’s today.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbmjL1iWjxA]

Here’s a film about work with refugees in South Sudan, mentioned in the sermon on Christian Aid Sunday.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivJqmdeu9ZQ]

Here the text of the leaflet our collectors are taking with them.

For a growing number of people across the world, the horror of war is a part of daily life.
Right now, fuelled by the devastating violence in both Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the numbers of people driven from their homes by war is on the rise. It stands at 42 million people- an appalling statistic and a stain on the conscience of humanity. We can’t turn our backs. We must act now.
Could you provide the gift of hope?
£15 could provide blankets for refugee children to protect them from bitter night-time temperatures.
£40 could provide enough good quality and nutritious food for two refugee children for a month.
£150 could help provide specialist emotional support for a child deeply traumatised by the horror of war that they’ve witnessed or experienced.
The money we raise during Christian Aid week goes to partners helping those displaced by war. They help people regardless of their religion.
Last year, 20,000 churches across the country helped raise £12m for Christian Aid Week.
This week, hundreds of people from Inverness churches are once more collecting for Christian Aid because we know their partners do so much to help those in need.
Thank you for supporting Christian Aid, and helping the victims of war.
Rev Peter W Nimmo, Minister of Old High St Stephen’s Parish Church
www.oldhighststephens.com www.christianaid.org.uk

Hope in disastrous times- sermon for 6 October 2013: Year C, Proper 22

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 6 October 2013: Year C, Proper 22

SERMON
Texts: Lamentations 1:1-6 and 3:19-26
Luke 17:5-10

Hope in disastrous times

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

I have a wonderful memory of the first time I saw the Mediterranean Sea. I opened the blind on a sleeper train window in the south of France, and saw a sea which was a blue colour I thought you could only get in paintings. For most of us, ‘the Med’ is a place of beauty, relaxation, fun. But, like any sea, it is also dangerous. Continue reading