Waiting

Jeremiah 33:14-16 | Luke 1:26-38 Today we mark the start of advent, a traditional time of waiting; waiting for Christmas, waiting for the first great celebration of the Christian year, waiting for Christmas, and all that that means to us. And on this Sunday we remember those who patiently – or impatiently – have waited, […]

Reign of Christ

John 18:33-37 The last Sunday in the Church year is traditionally known as the festival of Christ the King. And it’s a celebration that I think many of us in the modern world find slightly awkward, a little anachronistic. After all, we don’t really care much for kings nowadays – even most royalists in Australia […]

Hebrews 9 continued

Hebrews 9:24-28 Last week our readings in the letter to the Hebrews moved from a focus on Jesus as high priest to the image of Jesus as sacrifice, and this week, as we read on in Hebrews 9, the author continues on this theme. One aspect of this transition that I didn’t talk about, but […]

Hebrews 9

Hebrews 7:11-14 We come today to one of the more difficult bits in the book of Hebrews; difficult both because it is more alien to us, and because of the traditions of the Jewish faith that it alludes to. I love the book of Hebrews for the way that it takes a deep and complex […]

Hebrews 5

Hebrews 5:1-10 So let me just start with the elephant in the reading: “a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek”. If you’re hoping to find out what that means, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong sermon. What we know about Melchizedek is pretty minimal. In Genesis 14, Abraham – actually, still Abram […]

Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1:1-4 So this week we start a new series, which is going to take us through October and November, basically up until advent, looking into some parts of the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is, in many ways, one of the more mysterious books of the New Testament. In common with the majority of books, […]

Rethinking… Greatness

Mark 9:30-37 So as we spoke about last week, Mark chapter 8 is the turning point of the gospel. For the first seven or so chapters, Jesus has been teaching, preaching, healing, casting out demons. He’s gathered a following, he’s challenged those in power, he’s reached out to those outside the Jewish faith (or perhaps […]

Rethinking… Messiah

Mark 8:27-38 So we come today to a turning point in Mark’s gospel. It’s very common amongst those who study this gospel, to divide Mark into two parts. That’s everything that leads up to Mark 8:29, and Peter’s proclamation of Jesus as Christ. And then there’s everything that comes after it, everything that flows from […]

Rethinking… outsiders

Mark 7:24-37 I guess if you were to make a list of adjectives that you would apply to Jesus, “racist” probably wouldn’t be amongst them. And yet here he is, in Mark’s gospel, meeting with a gentile, a Syrophoenician woman, in desperate need of help for her afflicted daughter, and basically calling her a dog […]

Think Different

Mark 7:1-23 Back around the turn of the century, Apple computers ran an advertising campaign with the slogan “Think Different”. This was back when buying your computer from Apple was very much the exception – it was a bit of a statement, a bit idiosyncratic. So Apple took what, from a business perspective, was a […]

Bread of Heaven

John 6:24-35 Last Sunday the lectionary gospel reading gave us the famous story of Jesus feeding the 5000. I mention that because it’s obviously an important piece of context for the conversation that we have in our reading today, the backdrop against which Jesus’ words about the bread of heaven have to be understood.

Good News?

Mark 6:14-29 So here’s a challenge – take the story of the execution of John the Baptist, and put it into a series of sermons on the subject of “Good News worth sharing”. I mean, what could possibly be good news in a story of a prophet imprisoned for challenging the local king, and being […]

Two Healings

Mark 5:21-42 Today Mark’s gospel brings us two stories interwoven with one another. This is way of writing, a stylistic device that the author uses quite often, which seems to deliberately invite us to read the two each in the light of the other. So what is it that we learn from the combination of […]

In the Weeds

Mark 4:26-34 Right back at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel the author gives us a one sentence summary of Jesus’ preaching: “Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’”. When you read […]

God puts the lonely in family

Mark 3:20-35 This week we’re starting a new series, following the lectionary readings through some of the early stories in the Gospel of Mark. In case you don’t know, the lectionary that we, and other Churches of many, many denominations across the world, follow, does a three year cycle, each year focussing on one of […]