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.
Passion Sunday – 29th March
The set reading for this morning is one of the longest in the church’s year – 45 verses!
I have shortened it for this bulletin but in this time of enforced leisure you may want to read the full passage to verse 45. It certainly rewards a full reading because, apart from the resurrection stories of the first Easter, it is a passage full of hope, giving us the assurance that this life is not the only life but is, rather, a prelude to the life of the world to come. In verse 25 Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.”
But for today I want to reflect on two themes from the earlier verses.
Firstly, we read in Luke 9:58 Jesus says, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Jesus was an itinerant preacher, constantly on the move. He hadn’t a house of his own to which he could retreat and lock the door for a break or a rest. But there was one place where he could lay down his head and feel relaxed – and that was in the home of Martha and Mary and their brother Lazarus in Bethany, a few miles from Jerusalem. There Jesus could be himself as he stayed among friends whom he loved and who loved him.
Mothering Sunday – Posies & Pandemics 22nd March
Unfortunately, despite not being able to meet in person, we’ve decided to take to the air-waves and social media! So, there really is no getting away from us!
I jest, but that is actually the main point of my sermon this Sunday.
The phrase that has been rattling around my head since Monday – which feels like last year – is ‘For a time such as this’.
It is challenging to do a new thing. It is hard to be separated from the things that mean so much to lift our spirits this week. For St Peter’s, it might be the camaraderie and cadences of the choir. For Anne & I, it is sharing the Eucharist with all of you. It has been a challenge this week to adapt to so much and keep things as normal as possible amidst a confusing time.
In the midst of this, it is Mothering Sunday. Love it or loath it, our mothers – or those who have nurtured us – have made an impact on our lives. In our gospel reading, the man who was blind was not fortunate – he was rejected by his parents in when they should have been celebrating his new-found sight rather than being scared of the social and religious disapproval of the pharisees.
8th March 2020
Revd Canon Anne Taylor
The sabbatical I’ve just had is the first in over 25 years of ministry. Sabbaticals weren’t part of church life in Ireland; they were very much the exception rather then the rule. And I have to say it was both restful and a breath of fresh air to step back a bit, to reflect and do a kind of mental and spiritual spring-clean, without the pressure of constant demands so to think about what’s really important.
I have resisted spending the morning showing you photos though maybe that would have been your choice! While we were away we went to church! Ted sweet talked his way into a closed cathedral in Auckland. It was a Monday. It turned out the gentleman who let us in was the organist, he had trained in Liverpool cathedral and knew David Holroyd!
The sermon was telling us that we – not the 2 of us personally! – that we all were so bad that God needs to discipline us. The picture of God that we were presented with was of the parent disciplining a child saying, ‘This hurts me more than it hurts you!’ The preacher was none other than the Dean. It was also the first time I have had a major urge to stop a preacher and ask for clarification about their view of God.
9th February 2020 Evening
“In a word, as God’s dear children, you must be like him.” I have taken as my text the first verse of Chapter 5, as it neatly sums up all that Paul has written throughout chapter 4. As background, this “letter to the Ephesians” was probably written by Paul when he was in prison in Rome about AD61 and is thought to have been intended as a circular to all the churches and congregations that Paul had set up during his third missionary journey when he spent about three years in and around Ephesus. It helps to remember that the time was within about thirty years of the first Pentecost and there was still tension between Jewish and Gentile Christians. However, as far as Paul was concerned, there was no difference to be made between people – the Christian Church was open to absolutely everyone of whatever race, colour or gender; as is said at the administration of Communion here at St Peter’s, this is the Lord’s table and the invitation comes from him alone. This letter of Paul’s was therefore intended to be read to all who attended the church gatherings in and around Ephesus where it was circulated. The first three chapters set out Paul’s theological thoughts about God’s purpose in sending his Son Jesus into the world to draw all people into one great family of mutual love. Faith in the good news of Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension delivers his followers from all that kept us apart from God and allows us to enter into this new relationship. This is true whether we are Jew or non-Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised. Now we know what it means to pass from the living dead of self-centredness to the new life which is centred with Christ in God.
ADVENT 4 2019 – MARY
Revd Canon Anne Taylor
Christmas is a time when there are extra communion services – for the sick and housebound and in Nursing Homes and so on. At times like this I sometimes think of the many different places and situations where I have celebrated the sacrament.
I remember having to clear a kitchen table of stale food and a dog’s bone to try and find a place for the chalice and paten in the home of an old lady who was a recluse. Or the informal celebration in the open air with a group of young people at a diocesan summer camp. In a hospice there was a special sense of quiet and suppressed sorrow at the bed side with a family as their loved received for the last time.
Or I remember the old navy captain who with failing eye sight never needed a service sheet because he knew all the words.
I remember bringing communion to an old lady with a Jack Russel who rather liked visitors. But when the service started the dog would lie down quietly in the corner, until the last Amen when he would be up again and share the peace with me in his own special way!
To me those celebrations were as important and as meaningful as the Eucharist that, say, marked the consecration of a new bishop when I was the Archbishop of Dublin’s chaplain. For those services the cathedral sanctuary would be stuffed with bishops in their full regalia, and every move and gesture had been carefully choreographed and rehearsed. All accompanied by beautiful music.