Setting High Standards

Luke 6:27-38 There’s a prayer by Walter Brueggemann (that I used as part of morning worship last Sunday) that begins like this:

First Followers

Luke 5:1-11 I don’t know if you are fans of the TED talks – as a preacher I have to admit that I find them a bit daunting (at least the good ones) – the amount that people can say, and the engaging way they can say it, in a talk roughly the same length […]

Welcomed and Rejected

Luke 4:21-30 So we continue our short series, Jesus Introduced, with this story about his reception in his home town of Nazareth, when he was invited to speak at the synagogue. This wasn’t, as recorded in Luke’s gospel, actually the start of Jesus’ preaching ministry. He had speaking in the synagogues in the towns around […]

Presented as a baby

Luke 2:22-40 So today we begin a short series entitled “Jesus Introduced”. Over the coming weeks we’ll be looking at the way Jesus re-introduced himself to the people of his hometown (something we explored last week), how he connected with his first disciples, how he introduced some of the central themes of his teaching, and […]

Complicated

Luke 4:14-21 We in the Church have, I think it’s fair to say, a complicated, ambiguous, relationship with the scriptures. We know them as the story that shapes our worldview, our perspective on life, but find much in them that jars with our experience: a creation story that bears little relationship to the evidence of […]

Magnificat

Luke 1:39-55 Mary’s was not the only miraculous pregnancy in the Christmas story. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah were much older than Mary – old enough that Elizabeth’s pregnancy was itself considered a miracle. It was to this older couple that Mary ‘went with haste’ soon after she received the visit of the […]

Christmas is for adults

They say that Christmas is for the children. And true – the Christmas story is a great story for telling with kids. It’s got all the elements – a baby, animals, mysterious visitors from afar, long journeys, signs in the sky, supernatural beings – the lot. And of course, it’s all tied in with all […]

Zechariah

Luke 1:68-79 Zechariah’s story is one that we tend to skip over most years in advent. There’s so much happening, and only a few Sundays to fit it into – and with carol services and advent pageants and all, the story gets squeezed down. We’ll hear Mary’s incredible Magnificat, and the stories of the visits […]

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 […]