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Sermons

Adversity builds Community

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Acts 16:16-34 & John 17:20-26
Sunday after Ascension
(12-5-13)

One of those ‘busy’ weeks for news: the three women found imprisoned in Cleveland, Syria with Israel’s increasing involvement, Church of England statement re numbers, the opening of parliament, Queen not going to the Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka, Alex Ferguson retiring, the woman found alive in the ruins of the Bangladeshi earthquake 17 days later, the Bevin boys memorial. The latter was of great significance to me because most of the hundreds of funerals I’ve conducted have been for Bevin boys.

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Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

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John 14:23-29
6th Sunday of Easter (10.30am service)
(5-5-13)

How would people describe us? What one word would people use to characterise Christians? These are the two questions that Janette started her talk with last week. I don't know what came to your mind, but the answers that I came up with were not very complementary: weird, judgemental, outdated, irrelevant, boring, arrogant, hypocritical.

If my answers to these questions are an accurate reflection of people's view of Christians, then this begs the question: why on earth did God choose to do it this way? Why did he leave the treasure of the Gospel in the hands of a rather ragged bunch of disciples who clearly didn't understand half of what Jesus had been teaching them? Would it not be far easier if God simply revealed himself directly to the world?

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Love Each Other

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John 13:31-35 & Acts 11:1-18
5th Sunday of Easter (10.30am service)
(28-4-13)

How would people describe us? What one word would people use to characterise Christians?

I don't know the answer to these questions but I do know what Jesus would say it should be - and that is loving. In today's reading he says, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." So we could say that loving should be the distinguishing mark of the Christian. By this our neighbours will know that we follow Christ, by this our non-Christian family will know we follow Christ, by this our work colleagues will know we follow Christ, by this Willingham will know we follow Christ - if we love one another.

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Love one another

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John 13:31-35 & Acts 11:1-18
5th Sunday of Easter (9am service)
(28-4-13)

Jesus commands His disciples to love one another. This is all the more pertinent when we realise this reading is set at the last supper just after Judas has left to betray Him. It kind of takes away all of our excuses we might make about finding people difficult doesn’t it?

Judas goes off to set Jesus’ crucifixion in motion and there Jesus is, fully aware of what is happening explaining how we must love one another. Just as he would have been aware when he had knelt down to wash Judas’ feet.

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My sheep hear My voice

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John 10:22-30 & Acts 9:36-43
4th Sunday in Easter
(21-4-13)

Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice’. Not CAN hear my voice. Not SHOULD hear my voice. Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice’.

You may well be thinking: sometimes I do, I never do, sometimes I THINK I do but not sure it is His voice. Some of you might think this is a nice idea, but really Linda, get real it just doesn’t happen nowadays.

But, for a moment forget about hearing the Shepherd’s voice, are you a sheep in the first place? Jesus didn’t say intelligent, articulate, good, kind people hear my voice. He said ‘My sheep hear My voice’. Perhaps we need to get back to the basics of asking if we are a sheep?

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