Summaries of Weekly Sermons
See below for a selection of weekly sermons delivered by Anne, Nathan and by our guest clergy.
Please feel free to download the full sermon by using the links after each summary.
11th March 2018 (Fourth Sunday of Lent)
Exod. 6. 2-13; Ps. 13,14; Rom. 5. 1-11 Michael Pitts
“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access to this grace in which
we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.”
Paul’s letter to the Romans is unlike any of his other letters, which were addressed
mostly to the congregations that he, Paul, had previously set up, in order to deal
with issues that had arisen, otherwise to particular individuals. Rome was a city
that Paul had not yet had the opportunity to visit, although he longed to do so. His
letter, addressed to “all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints”, is
in effect an explanation of the gospel for which Paul claimed he had been set apart
through his calling to be an apostle directly by Jesus Christ Himself. He does not
deal with the life story of Jesus on earth; rather he sets out the impact that the life,
death and resurrection of Jesus have had on the relationship between God and
humankind. He starts by recalling the ungodliness and wickedness of the human
race from the time of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden until
the call of Abraham, when God reckoned that Abraham’s belief in God was
righteousness. Paul explains that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, nor the
Jewish law, are of avail, but it is the heart that matters, for that is spiritual. Paul
goes on to cite from the psalm, 14, that we have just sung:”There is no one who
is righteous, not even one” for all are under the power of sin. Therefore there is
no distinction between Jew and Gentile, since all have sinned and fallen short of
the glory of God. But now each member of the human race is justified by God’s
grace as a gift, effective through faith.
To read the full sermon please download Sermon for 11 March 2018 (evening)
Understanding, Awareness, and Courage: Our Lenten Pilgrimage – Sermon – 2nd Sunday of Lent
Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38 Revd Nathan Thorpe
“The people he met, the places he passed, were all steps in his journey, and he kept a place inside his heart for each of them.”
“They had offered him comfort and shelter, even when he was afraid of taking them, and in accepting he had learned something new. It was as much of a gift to receive as it was to give, requiring as it did both courage and humility.”
“He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simply because the persons living it had been doing so for a long time”
But my opening quotes are not from the Bible – though they have wisdom. They are taken from a book I read a few months ago, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
It is the story of Harold Fry, an uninspiring man that responds in an extraordinary way to a letter from a dying acquaintance who he has not seen for 20 years. In response, he walks 627 miles from Kingsbridge, Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland.
On the way he meets a man called Matt, who offers to help him on his pilgrimage (as a travel companion). Matt is working undercover for a newspaper, and as Harold’s pilgrimage gathers attention, Harold’s primary motivation for his walk become subsumed within the competing conceptions of the people who have joined him on his journey.
This led me straight into the heart of this morning’s gospel – and an important consideration for our observance of Lent. Because this morning’s gospel revolves around an interaction as Jesus starts his way towards Jerusalem and his death.
To read the full sermon please download 2nd Sunday of Lent Sermon
THE DEVIL Lent 1 2018
Revd Canon Anne Taylor
I was at a meeting the other day – they were all clergy and apart from the usual chat about who’s moving where and when, and the latest gossip – sorry, news! – from around the diocese, one topic, surprisingly, did raise its head and that was – The Devil! And before you begin to wonder what strange practices were being proposed by people in black shirts, how it came up was the result of a Bible Study on a chapter of the Book of Revelation!
And at the beginning of Lent, as we hear about and reflect on the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness we read, as in today’s Gospel, that Jesus “was in the wilderness for 40 days and was tempted by the devil.”
What are we to make of this statement? Is evil a person or a power?
It’s a relevant question because, as one writer has pointed out, “whether we believe in the devil or not, every human being is confronted by the problem of evil and searches for an explanation.”
Only in this last week news has to come to us of suicide bombers killing 18 people in Nigeria and a teenager in Florida killing 17 in his school. Or maybe we have been confronted by evil closer to home.
To read the full sermon please download THE DEVIL Lent 1 2018
Of Prophets, Chariot Wheels, and our Discipleship 11th Feb
2 Kings 2: 1-12, Mark .9:2-13
Revd Nathan Thorpe
What do you think of when you consider a prophet?
In 1667, Samuel Pepys recorded a man called Solomon Eccles, who seemed to fit the description. He writes, ‘A man, trembling, came naked through Westminster Hall, only very civilly tied about the privates to avoid scandal, and with a chafing-dish of fire and brimstone burning upon his head… crying, “Repent! Repent!”
The Old Testament world, like the world of Samuel Pepys, like today, was awash with people who claimed to foretell the future, yet from these Israelite prophets are sharply differentiated.
The prophets did not believe that the future was determined in an unchanging way. They did not believe that the future would be changed by following a detailed set of obscure instructions. They were not those who lick their lips at the prospect of the world ending – for the prophetic mindset has traditionally focused on how the present affected the eventual.
So, for an Israelite prophet, their purpose was not to predict the future, but to shape it, by eliciting a favourable response to their message – usually powerfully and vividly inspired by God.
To read the full sermon please download Prophets – Solitude – Contemplation – Sermon 11th February
CHRISTIAN UNITY WEEK 2018
Revd Canon Anne Taylor
On our deanery trip to Germany last September we were each given the photograph which is on today’s bulletin – two sculpted hands entwined over a wall.
The wall is actually a cemetery wall near Lake Constance where we stayed. It’s not the boundary wall of the cemetery but a dividing wall in the middle of the graveyard. On one side of the wall Protestants are buried. On the other side Roman Catholics. We weren’t told how deep the foundations go to keep the dead apart both above and below ground!
The two graves on either side of the wall are of a husband and wife who married in 1842. He was Protestant and she was Catholic. He died first, and knowing that she would not be given permission to buried with him when her turn came, she had chosen the plot closest to her husband’s on the other side of the wall and left instructions that for the two clasped hands to be sculpted to show, that in spite of religious differences, they would be as united in death as they had been in life.
What a symbolic picture as we come to the end of yet another Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
To read the full sermon please download WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2018
Revd Canon Anne Taylor
During January I am attempting to do a bit of a clean out – two rooms done though the easiest I admit!
I was sorting through an old pile of coins – you know they can accumulate in jars and in drawers – when I came across 3 old pound coins that hadn’t been exchanged for the new pound coin by the deadline last October. I could just put them in a yellow envelope but I am not sure I would be popular!
They are just 3 of the estimated 500 million, yes million, that are still lying around in drawers and jars in people’s houses.
Anyway, around the time that the new pound coin came out there was an article in one of the Sunday papers about the origin of the pound.
Seemingly the first pound coin was minted in 1489. Up to that time it was only a notional amount used in book-keeping. Nobody in those days would ever dream of having a pound in their pocket – after all it was the price of 15 head of cattle – over £20,000 today. That’s inflation for you!
To read the full sermon please download NATHANIEL