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Sermons

Doubting Thomas

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John 20:19-31
2nd Sunday of Easter 2013
(7-4-13)

The Bible never tells us that Thomas doubted, but that he did not believe. Earlier translations use the word ‘faithless’. Yet doubting is normally attributed to this apostle. If ever there was a man who has been misunderstood it is the apostle Thomas.

Story about a misunderstanding:

A dustman was on his rounds and he was outside a house and just couldn’t find the bin. So he stood at the door and rang the bell. ‘Where’s yer bin, mate?’ he said. ‘Oh, I bin to Hong Kong,’ came the reply. ‘No, where’s yer bin?’ said the dustman. ‘I bin to Hong Kong.’ ‘Where’s yer wheely bin, mate?’said the dustman. ‘I weely, weely bin to Hong Kong!’

Poor old Thomas - always known as 'Doubting Thomas' and yet the last words we hear him say to Jesus are ‘My Lord and my God.’ Words of faith! We don’t refer to the apostle Paul as ‘Persecuting Paul’, despite the fact that he did persecute the first Christians. We don’t call the apostle Matthew ‘Thieving Matthew’, who, before he was a believer was a crooked tax collector.

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Mary anoints Jesus’ feet

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John 12:1-8
5th Sunday in Lent 10.30am Service
(17-3-13)

I don’t know whether you have ever been to one of these super-high energy churches where everyone is waving their arms in the air enthusiastically, dancing around in the aisles, and generally getting rather carried away.

I have been to some churches which have been a bit like this and, nowadays, I am OK with it: I like a lot of the modern worship songs and, occasionally, I sometimes enjoy expressing my feelings with the occasional hand in the air.

But it was not always like this. In fact, a few years ago, I would have felt very uncomfortable in this kind of situation. The waving of hands in the air would have seemed to me a bit unnecessary and, being terribly self-conscious, any kind of moving of the body in front of other people was just going to be embarrassing.

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Bearing each other’s burdens

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1 Kings 17:8-16 & Mark 1:29-34
9am Service 4th Sunday in Lent
(10-3-13)

I’m not a fan of Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day for that matter. My thinking is that when we love someone we let them know spontaneously, we shouldn’t need reminding and most certainly we don’t need to line the pockets of the card and gift industry. Some of you might be thinking that actually what the church is meant to be celebrating today is Mothering Sunday and I don’t see how any of us here today can be celebrating that . None of being a young lady ‘in service’ going home to her ‘mother’ church.

On top of this there’s the difficulties that some of us have with Mother’s Day on a personal or emotional level. But I can’t really ignore it all because firstly many, and in particular the world outside of the church, wouldn’t understand my views which would probably only confirm their suspicions of Christians being miserable kill-joys. Secondly, it does at least provide us with the opportunity to welcome people from outside the church, to share time with them and tell them of God’s love which, ultimately, is even more amazing than that of any earthly Mother’s.

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Another Chance

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Isaiah 55:1-9 & Luke 13:1-9
3rd Sunday in Lent
(3-3-13)

Both our passages speak of being given another chance. It’s important to know that it doesn’t matter how bad we’ve been or what we’ve done God is always prepared to give us another chance.

I went to a clergy meeting in the week where we were reminded of the promises we made at our ordination and we were asked to reflect on how we’ve done. I remembered the morning in the retreat house as I prepared to be ordained in St Paul’s later that day. I promised God that I would do my best to serve Him and the parishes I would be given care of. It is easy to look back and see those areas where I’ve failed and where I’m painfully aware of needing that second chance He offers.

In Isaiah God addresses His people in personal, caring and relevant terms. Not speaking over their heads – but about the necessities of life: bread, water, milk, wine.

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Commitment and Compassion

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Luke 13:31-35
2nd Sunday in Lent
(24-2-13)

It’s important to see today’s Gospel passage as part of the bigger picture in God’s plan of saving us. In it we see two strong characterisitics of Jesus. The first is His commitment and the second is His compassion.

His commitment is to follow the mission entrusted to him by God. Jesus’ destiny lies in the city of Jerusalem and his entire ministry is directed towards this: of ministering to people, going to the cross, rising from the dead. As he nears the city His mission becomes ever more dangerous. There’s always opposition to God’s plans.

We can’t assume the Pharisees were motivated by concern for Jesus. They may have wished to divert him from his goal by moving him, perhaps to an area where they had more influence. But, rather than waste time in identifying their motives, He decided that He had a task to complete and nothing was going to stop Him.

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