Month: October 2020

Sermon for Thursday at Volmoed

Readings for All Saints’ Day

Much of the Church celebrates All Saints’ Day on 1 November, which this year falls on this coming Sunday. We are having a foretaste this morning.

Such a celebration has been part of the life of the Church for a very long time. The idea is to remember and to honour those Christians who have lived the life of faith with particular distinction and to rejoice with them that they now have passed beyond the struggles of this life, gathered into the presence of God. The reading from the Revelation to John indicated by the Revised Common Lectionary provides a compelling image of such a gathering, sheltered and guided, with all tears finally wiped away. We should note that the multitude consists of those from all peoples and languages.

Sermon for the 25 Sunday after Pentecost – in which Jesus has another fight

Readings for the day

Today’s reading finds us at the end of the twenty-second chapter of Matthew. This is a chapter in which it seems anyone and everyone has a go at Jesus. Sadducees, Herodians, Scribes… This morning Pharisees… One after the other, they have all picked fights with Jesus. And one after the other, they have all failed. 

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees are, more or less, taking a second shot. They’ve already lost round one… This time they want Jesus to tell them what the greatest commandment is. Mind you, there are 613 commands in the tradition… So, which of these is number one?  

Sermon for Thursday at Volmoed – Preached by Br Daniel

Readings for this sermon (Proper 24A)

Br Daniel preparing food

Many years ago, in another life, I had an older colleague who had an interesting way of interpreting Scripture. Even though he was a devout Christian, he had very clear ideas about paying taxes, but not tithing to the church. He paid taxes with lots of grumbling simply because he was legally required. Not because he didn’t believe in giving to Caesar what is his, but because of what Caesar is doing with the taxes. As far as tithing was concerned, he did contribute to the collection plate, but he emphatically did not give his tenth as required, because he said that much of what the church historically did, was now supposed to be done by the government. And he said that giving to God what is owed to God shouldn’t cost money, anyway. As such he was unstinting in his charity work.

Sermon for Sunday – the trouble with wedding guests…

Scripture readings for the day (Proper 23A)

Today’s Gospel tells us a wonderful parable – though with a fair amount of violence and other disturbing details. Like all parables, it is a bit murky in its meaning. Let’s review…

The King – from different story…

The King, standing in for God, throws a party – a wedding party to be specific. A wedding party puts us in mind of Jesus – the bridegroom.

And God invites the “A” list of guests. This will be a great party and all the right people will be there. Except there is a problem… The “A” list people decide God’s little party is not quite the social event of the season. In fact, they decide it’s completely miss-able.

Happy Arch Birthday

Today is the celebration of the 89th birthday of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. St Benedict’s Priory joins with folks across the globe in wishing him great blessings on this day. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Stilted Anglican terminology applies the preface “The Most Reverend” to Archbishops. It’s hard to imagine someone who more embodies this description. The importance of Desmond Tutu to the Anglican Church of South Africa, the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and indeed the wider world cannot be overstated. God speaks to mortals through prophets. Anyone who thinks God is silent these days has simply not heard Desmond Tutu.  

Sermon for Sunday – October 4

How do we move in faith and let go of fear?

Scripture readings for the sermon

Part of the genius of the Gospel is that it teaches in parables – so the teachings are as relevant now as two thousand years ago. But the price of that relevance is that the meaning is not necessarily plain or obvious… Take for example the parable in this morning’s Gospel. It is a familiar story but what it might mean…

We have a vineyard with its winepress and watch tower, an absentee landowner, a group of difficult tenants, a set of abused servants, and some obligatory priests and Pharisees. It’s not a big leap to see the vineyard as a symbol of our world. The absentee landowner seems pretty clearly to symbolize God. The priests and Pharisees are the religious leaders of the time. And then we have difficult tenants and the abused servants – two groups in which I think I might locate myself. But which one?