Faith for the future: Sermon for 7 August 2016 Proper 14

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

Luke 12:32-40

Faith for the future

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

I was once Associate Minister in Currie, which is nowadays is a suburb of Edinburgh, but it was always interesting to talk to the oldest people who remembered when it had been a little country village. One very old lady told me once she had been worshipping in the same Church- Currie Kirk- all her life. And she told me how it had been when she was a girl. She explained that her family had to go to church each Sunday. Her father was a gamekeeper, and if he wasn’t there the laird would have noticed and he’d have lost not just his job, but his tied house as well. Homeless and jobless if they didn’t go to church. Continue reading

The scandal of grace: a sermon for 12 June 2016, Proper 6 (Year C, RCL)

Scripture Readings: Galatians 2:15-21

Luke 7:36-50

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

My name is Simon, and I’m a Pharisee.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You think you know what a Pharisee is. One of strongly religious types. Someone who lives by rules and regulations, who enjoys pernickitiness, who claims that ancient rituals are everything. Someone all-too-happy to avoid people I’d call a sinner. Someone proud to say he’s never broken the rules. 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

SERMON
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

Patience and welcome: a sermon for 3 March 2013 (Lent 3)

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 3 March 2013: Year C, The Third Sunday in Lent

SERMON
Texts: Isaiah 55:1-9
Luke 13.1-9

Patience and welcome

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

‘What have I done to deserve this?’- words I’m sure we have all cried at some point in our lives. Yet most people when they say that today don’t really mean it. Most people don’t believe that there is a God who will punish us for doing wrong. But as people are more aware today of other religions, the idea is creeping back. You hear people say, ‘Don’t do that, that’s bad karma’, which is a word folks have picked up from Buddhism and which they probably don’t really understand. It’s a kind of half belief in a malevolent fate which brings bad things in it’s wake for those who do wrong. But few are really quaking in terror at the thought that there might be divine punishment for being bad.

But alongside ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ there is another question which we like to ask, one which perhaps we’ve been asking a lot recently. Not, What have I done to deserve this?’ but ‘What has he done to deserve this?’. We all seem to find the news more entertaining when we people are caught out, when people apparently get what we think they deserve. Whether it’s a Catholic Cardinal or an hitherto obscure Liberal Democrat politician, or an Olympic athlete who’d previously been a national hero- whoever it is, when we hear about someone in public life getting their comeuppance, many of us are hooked. Continue reading