Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The dignity of the body


My sermon for last Sunday, 5th Sunday in Lent, Year A:

A common pagan religious belief in Old Testament times and in Jesus' time was that human beings are made up of a body and a soul, and that when we die our soul separates from our body and carries on existing in some kind of eternal, purely spiritual realm.

"Consider that you might be mistaken"

My sermon for the fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A:

The lines from the First Book of Samuel in the first reading today make up one of many Scripture passages that highlight the difference between God's way of thinking and ours, and, maybe more precisely, the difference between the qualities of character that God seeks out in a person when he wants him or her to carry out some aspect of his work, and the qualities that we tend to find admirable or striking.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Living Water


My sermon for last Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, Year A:


One of the commonest metaphors in the Bible is the metaphor of hunger and thirst. Spiritually we have a need for God parallel to our physical need for food and water.

Jesus employed that metaphor when he said that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God, and he uses the same kind of image here when he says that whoever drinks ordinary water will get thirsty again, whereas the water that he gives will turn into a spring, welling up to eternal life.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Our spiritual journey


My sermon for last Sunday, 2nd Sunday in Lent, Year A:

You could say that the readings today are about three journeys: Abraham's, Christ's, and ours.

The first reading describes an ancient and mysterious event: God's call to Abraham to uproot himself, to leave his old country and his old way of life behind and to set off for a new country and a new life under God's direction.

Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church



Yesterday at the 4.30pm Mass Alex Rae was received into the Church and confirmed. After Mass we had a party in the house to celebrate. We managed to get a lot of photographs of the occasion and even some videos of parts of the Mass. Here are some of them.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The World, the Flesh and the Devil

The Devil presenting St Augustine with the Book of Vices


My sermon for the First Sunday of Lent, Year A:

The readings today, appropriately enough for the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, revolve around the weakness of our human nature, our inclination towards sin and self-seeking, and our susceptibility to temptation. They invite us to reflect on the wisdom, the realism and the compassion of Christian spirituality on these subjects, especially on what we might call the psychology of temptation.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Lent: our annual spiritual refresher course

My sermon for Ash Wednesday:

Every celebration of Mass begins with the Penitential Rite, as we call it. We prepare to meet Christ and receive Christ in the Eucharist by pausing for a moment, right at the start of Mass, and turning our attention to our faults, our weaknesses, the areas of our life where we fall short of the standard of Christian holiness. We apologise to God and we ask him to give us strength in our future struggles.

Lent is a whole season of the Church Year dedicated to this aspect of Christian spiritual life.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

"De-chavving" the car park

The bushes around the car park had gradually grown very tall and, following a suggestion at the last parish council meeting, I arranged to have them cut down a bit, making the car park and the church entrance far more visible from the street.

"Worldly prudence"

Mr Worldly Wiseman from Bunyan's  
The Pilgrim's Progress

An addendum to Sunday's sermon, courtesy of F.P. Harton in his book The Elements of the Spiritual Life. The book was first published in 1932 and Harton, an Anglican clergyman and sometime Dean of Wells Cathedral, obviously belonged to the High Church party of the Church of England. My second-hand copy is a 1957 reprint, but the book is apparently available in a modern edition.