More than words

More than words

Mark 1:21-28 A new preacher walked into town. Perhaps some people knew him from his childhood days in Nazareth, a little hamlet in the nearby mountains, but he’d been a wanderer of late, spending time further out in the wilderness.

Beginnings

Beginnings

Matthew 2:1-12 So – Happy New Year. I’ve got to say, so far 2021 isn’t living up to the unreasonably high expectations that have been placed upon it. Indeed, for us in Sydney, the start of 2021 has been quite a bit worse that the end of 2020. Even a month ago we were congratulating […]

Travelling to Bethlehem

Travelling to Bethlehem

Micah 5:2-5a | Luke 2:1-15 We have another of those readings today that seem hard to say a lot about. We know this bit of the story, it’s just a bit of narrative to set the scene, and to link Jesus back to the words of the prophets, and especially to those we heard from […]

Prepare the Way

Prepare the Way

Isaiah 40:1-11 | Mark 1:1-8 In the second week of advent we come to the story of John the Baptist, and those words from the prophet Isaiah – Prepare the way of the Lord. Now John the Baptist plays a critical role in the introduction of Jesus, especially in Mark’s gospel. Mark doesn’t have any […]

Walking in the Light

Walking in the Light

Isaiah 2:1-5 There’s a saying, attributed to the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. But in truth, many journeys begin long before your feet touch the road. You know this from planning for a trip, or a holiday – the journey begins not with your […]

I will seek out my sheep

I will seek out my sheep

Ezekiel 34:11-16 Over the past few weeks, the words we’ve heard from the prophets have been challenging. They’ve been words which don’t sit comfortably with the status quo, words that call us to a justice which asks much of us, which invite us into a struggle which often sets us against the powerful in the […]

Under the Palm Tree

Under the Palm Tree

Judges 4:1-7 So I have to admit, when I came to reread this passage as I started to think about preparing for today, I did for a moment wonder what on earth I was thinking, choosing this bit of Judges as part of our Old Testament series. Now normally when I have that experience it’s […]

Let Justice Roll

Let Justice Roll

Amos 5:18-24 Amos is really not impressed with the people. Which might have been a bit of a surprise to those who first heard him. Because, as we can see from his words today, they are a deeply religious people. They hold both festivals and solemn assemblies – as the law of Moses commanded that […]

Vindicate me, O God!

Vindicate me, O God!

Psalm 43 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause. Psalm 43, whatever else might be true of it, is not a happy Psalm. Or rather, is not the Psalm of a man feeling that all is right and well with the world.

Love Your Neighbour

Love Your Neighbour

Leviticus 19:15-18 So, you don’t hear many sermons about the book of Leviticus. Although Rob Bell famously spent every week of the first year of his time at Mars Hill Church speaking on the book, it’s got to be one of the least frequent subjects for the preacher. I’m fairly sure that in the ten […]

I am the Lord

I am the Lord

Isaiah 45:1-7 Thus says the Lord. That you may know that it is I, the Lord I am the Lord, there is no other I am the Lord I the Lord do all these things It would be hard to read or hear this passage from Isaiah without spotting the central theme. That the author […]

The Wedding Banquet

The Wedding Banquet

Matthew 22:1-14 Last week the lectionary gospel reading gave us the difficult parable of the dishonest tenant, with its edge of violence and of judgement on those who have misused their positions of power and privilege to look after themselves at the expense of others, at the expense of justice and the good of all. […]

The Two Sons

The Two Sons

Matthew 21:23-32 Some of Jesus’ parables are hard to get our heads around. Some of his parables challenge our image of God, or people, or justice. Some of Jesus’ parables call on us to struggle to understand them, to make them makes any sort of sense. This is not one of those parables.

Workers in the Vineyard

Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16 This is, without doubt, one of my favourite parables. It’s just so brilliantly unfair, so provocatively counter-cultural, so deeply offensive. I’ve had more people say to me that they don’t get or don’t like this parable than, I think, anything else in the gospels. Which is, I’m fairly sure, exactly what Jesus intended […]

Seventy Times Seven

Seventy Times Seven

Matthew 18:21-35 It’s almost as if Jesus thought that forgiveness was important.