Category Archives: Sermons

Talks and sermons from a variety of venues.

Lighting the World

There is an image used by James May (one of the Top Gear lads) that has stuck in my mind – I may have mentioned it to some of you. He was presenting a series, “The 20th Century”, which explored the changes that made the last century so distinctive. One of these revolutionary changes was the coming of electricity. The Earth, viewed from space, is no longer dark – it is a glowing globe. Our habits, our interests, our occupations, our very world have all been transformed. Continue reading

Light in the Darkness

26th January, 3rd Sunday of Epiphany

As a child I always encountered Christmas in three phases. First came Anticipation and Expectation; then Christmas itself; and finally, The New Year with its resolutions and new beginnings.

As a child, anticipation ran high. Approaching Christmas the atmosphere was fragrant with baking and sweetmaking… the promise of good times. Continue reading

The Cost of Following Jesus

30th June

We all know the pitfall of extravagant promises. There is a story I think of when I read about the three men who wanted to follow Christ: A young man very much in love emailed his girlfriend a card that said “I would cross the hottest desert, swim the deepest sea, and climb the highest mountain to be with you.” At the bottom of the message was a PS: “It is raining heavily here, so I can’t make it tonight”. Continue reading

We want a King

12th May, Sunday after Ascension

Monarchs are a strange mixture. Nations inherit them, there isn’t much choice, and nobody quite knows how they will turn out. Some are benevolent and conscientious like the present Queen. But then there was King Henry the VIII, defender of the faith, disposer of wives. And King John who lost the crown jewels in the Wash. Sri Lanka had a particularly unsavoury story of an ambitious Prince who plastered his father, the King, into a wall. Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts and Blackadder’s Queenie both enjoyed a good beheading.

Monarchs have fascinated people throughout history. The Israelites, too, were intrigued by the idea of a King. In 1 Samuel 12, we discover that they had a brand new King, not by royal lineage, but by choice. Continue reading

Love one another as I have loved you

28 April 2013, 5th Sunday of Easter

Many years ago, as a student in Nottingham, I experienced something that continues to remind me of Jesus’ words that we read this evening. “Love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another.”

A vicar and his wife offered me accommodation in the rectory flat. I accepted the offer, because I took an instant liking to David, the vicar, and Pixie, his wife and their four children. I discovered that the flat was rent free but it was also semi-derelict, and completely bare. Its walls needed stripping, and it had no kitchen and no furniture. I returned to Sri Lanka for three months due to family illness and began to worry about how I would sort the flat. Then Pixie emailed me: the church would take care of it. Continue reading

Love your Neighbour

28 April 2013, 5th Sunday of Easter

The news this week was dominated by the tragic collapse of a clothing factory in the Savar district of Bangladesh. Three hundred and fifty people have died– so far. Six months ago, a fire gutted another factory, killing hundred workers. In the past decade seven hundred have died in forty similar disasters in the clothing factories of Savar. The sad truth is that thousands of workers return, day after day, to dangerous factories, to produce clothes for high street brands – for us!

All these things happen in faraway countries, to people of whom we know little. Apart from compassion and pity, how should we respond?
Continue reading

Prodigal Son, Again

10 March 2013, Lent

If you watched the recent TV series “Wonders of Life” by Brian Cox you would have seen the close ups of the moment when the water-bound larva turns into a dragonfly. It is similar to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. The transformation is quite incredible.  It is hard to believe that the crawling larval form of the dragonfly or butterfly metamorphoses into the beautiful adult airborne creatures with bright wings. Continue reading

The Prodigal Son

10 March 2013, Lent

The concept of “Sin” seems to be past its sell by date. I think many people would be uncomfortable or offended if someone were to suggest that they are sinners. Sin, most people feel, belongs with Medieval or Victorian Christianity; or perhaps with certain enthusiastic preaching about sin and being washed in the blood. Continue reading

Temptation

17 February 2013, Lent

I have recently been thinking about how things are reused – hyped up or dumbed down – especially on TV and in the advertising world. For example if Sir Winston Churchill had been told that someday a generation of kids would believe he was the bulldog on TV saying “ohhh yes” as he promotes insurance, he would never have believed it! Dvorak’s New World Symphony with sweeping panoramic views of the countryside concludes with a loaf of Hovis bread. And then there is the Go Compare man singing opera. In the same way, the meaning of the word temptation has been hijacked. It is now generally associated with a box of chocolates – “dark temptations” they might call it, an expensive perfume, ice cream or a pudding. Temptations today are more a nod and wink towards indulgence and the slightly naughty. We in turn relish the thought of succumbing to it. As Oscar Wilde put it “I can resist everything except temptation”. Continue reading

Metamorphosis

17 February 2013, Lent

I have recently discovered that acquiring a driving licence requires something of a metamorphosis! I now have a new identity – I’ve turned from a pedestrian into a driver. I no longer see myself as a pedestrian – even when I am a pedestrian! I no longer nip across roads in suicidal leaps through slow moving traffic, because I have a new perspective. Instead of seeing myself as outsmarting traffic, I see myself as a hazard to an approaching driver! I am no longer a passenger peering at cute dogs we pass – I now scour the road for hazards. I have a clear purpose in sight – getting my driving licence. Continue reading