Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings

This morning’s gospel reading is a fascinating drama with many entry points for our imaginations, beginning with the first line. I wonder what it would have been like for the disciples to get back into the boat and cross over the sea again with Jesus, after their experience of the overwhelming storm and astonishing actions of Jesus on the previous journey, which Br Aelred reflected on with us last week? Interestingly, this time Mark does not even mention the disciples. It is almost as if Jesus is alone in the boat.

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Sermon for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings

In the section of Luke’s Gospel leading up to our reading this morning, Jesus has been asked by some Pharisees when the kingdom of God would be coming. Somewhat startlingly, Jesus responds by saying, in effect, that the kingdom of God has come, and that it is among them already, though not necessarily easy to discern and certainly not welcomed by everyone.

Jesus then goes on to speak with his disciples about another event, the revealing of an intriguing character he refers to as the Son of Man. This revealing seems to refer to the conclusion of the present age, an age which has continued since Jesus’ time on earth, and which is characterised by the suffering and rejection of the Son of Man and of those who would follow him into the kingdom he has come to establish. The Son of Man is thus to be identified with Jesus himself, who is warning his disciples that there will be difficulties associated with following him under the prevailing conditions.

These difficulties will require perseverance in prayer and steadfastness of heart, and are such as to leave Jesus seemingly uncertain as to whether faith will endure until the end of the age. Jesus chooses to illustrate his point by telling a story about a widow and an unjust judge, a judge for whom the gospel of the kingdom would be anything but good news. There is humour in the story, which Jesus’ original audience might have appreciated more readily than we are able to.

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Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings

In the first part of our first reading this morning, the prophet Habakkuk describes his experience in terms that we might use in our own time, and raises questions that we might be asking. He sees wrong-doing and trouble, destruction and violence, strife and contention. The law is too often slack, with justice not prevailing and judgement coming forth perverted. It all sounds quite familiar. Why are we made to see these things? How long do we need to cry for help before we are saved?

The prophet’s response is to stand and watch and wait. His observation is that the spirit of the proud is not right in them. There is something wrong inside all of us that needs to be put right, but the righteous live by their faith.

As if in continuation of Habakkuk’s writing, the first words out of the mouths of the apostles in our Gospel reading are: “Increase our faith!” This seems a reasonable request: if the righteous live by their faith and the world is in a mess, presumably what we need is more faith so that there can be more righteousness. The only problem is that Jesus doesn’t seem to agree, and provides a metaphorical response followed by an analogy that don’t seem immediately helpful.

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Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter – Thomas the Realist, by Br Daniel

Readings for Today

Brother Daniel
Br Daniel

So, Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen, indeed, and the Easter cry isn’t only for Easter, of course. For while each and every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection, we have 49 days between Easter and Pentecost in which to focus our attention on the resurrection and all that God accomplishes through it.

At the same time, I am also mindful, on this day and with this text, of what God does not accomplish and, I suspect, so are all of us. We are in the midst of a seemingly endless pandemic, our economy is dismal, we are swamped by crime and corruption, infrastructure is collapsing around us, thank goodness not so much in our part of the world, and each one of us has personal difficulties or tragedies to contend with.

And so, sometimes we come to church on Easter or in the weeks after, and our alleluias ring hollow and Easter acclamations wear a bit thin. If this is you, or if you think it might characterize some of your friends and family, then the story of Thomas is right on the money!

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