Sermons 2020

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple – Candlemas

Feb 2nd 2020  Readings Malachi 3:1-5, Hebrews 2:14-end Luke 2:22-40

May I speak in the name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Simeon’s words must be one of my favourite passages in the Bible;

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word,

For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all peoples

A light to lighten the Gentiles

And for glory to your people Israel.

Simeon had, it seems, been waiting in the temple too for some time. A very patient man and also Anna, who stayed in the temple all the time. And I wanted to concentrate on place in all the Bible passages, Jerusalem. Jerusalem the city of David and we come back to, time and time again.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Psalm 122

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

Revelation 21:10-11

Jerusalem… Geographically it is interesting in that Israel sits sandwiched between the continents of Europe and Asia, continents that both physically and in human terms have rubbed against each other and there are many conflicts.

Jerusalem is the centre for the 3 Abrahamic faiths, Jews, Christians and Muslims, Is that just a coincidence?

In Jerusalem the place of the crucifixion, Golgotha, goes down to the oldest and deepest rocks in the world.

We often look upwards to the stars to think about and place heaven, but here is a place where we look down to the centre of the earth.

In 3 weeks time, I am going back to Jerusalem and the Holy Land on pilgrimage with the diocese. A wonderful chance to revisit all the places which are immensely special and sacred. Now they are part of many people’s every day lives, as in Jesus time also.

For me this will be a chance to take some time, a time to ponder, like Mary, to stand back and look. To be a pilgrim. And to set out, to set out on a journey.

Getting back to reality for a while, we first of all have to start at Luton airport, nothing ponderous that I can say about that!!

Jerusalem for me last time was a real challenge, the Israeli army, the bustle of the place, the Via Dolorosa, and walking along the same streets that Jesus walked, and now as then with shops selling souvenirs and other stuff! But still remarkable and being at the foot of the cross was life changing.

Time to stand back, to let go, let’s think of just 1 thing that we could let go of, that would mean that we can journey with Christ. What is holding us back?

We can only do that with time to think, time to stand back time to pray. Just one thing that we can let go of?

Jesus had visited the temple in Jerusalem at an early age, and yet he knew that one day he would return there.
Mary knew that one day he would start his ministry.

They both and I’m sure Joseph too took time to ponder, to continue with life, to raise the rest of their family also, but to know that God was with them.

And God is with us on all our journeys, whether to Jerusalem or wherever we are going.

All we need do do is to follow him, and if that means giving up just one thing today, just do it!

Amen

Epiphany The Baptism of Jesus

Jan 19th 2020

Readings Isaiah 49:1-7 John 1:29-42

May I speak in the name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Thank goodness for the sunshine! Is there sunshine in your life?

The last few weeks have been more than a little depressing? Rain, rain and more rain. Apart from the effect on the land, our fields and garden it really does knock our spirit.

Epiphany is about a new dawning, a new light into the world and we certainly need it at the moment.

Epiphany comes straight after Christmas, of course, so where do we leave the stable? Where do we leave the shepherds, where do we leave the three kings and where are Jesus, Mary and Joseph?

Well the stable, goes straight back to being just that.

The shepherds go back to the fields.

The three kings go back to their home lands

And Mary and Joseph take Jesus to live in Nazareth in Galilee.

In the short term Herod has done his worst and killed baby boys.

But the shepherds have seen the most amazing sight and although they may have gone back to the fields, I think they also will have spread the word.

The kings have come to see te sight of the new Saviour by following the star, I wonder how they got on trying to tell everyone about that?

And Joseph takes Mary and Jesus from Egypt to Nazareth, same donkey do you think? And ther Jesus grows up as a child in this loving family,Joseph his earthly father a carpenter and Mary who knows that eventually Jesus will be going away.

So, the point of all this is that that al of those people wre waiting, waiting for the light to really shine in the world.

We wait in January, after Christmas is over. This year it has been very dark and dismal. Finally the sunshine will arrive and finally Jesus did start his work.

The time scales in the Bible are confusing.

One week we are with the kings travelling to greet Jesus in the stable and then soon after we are straight on to Jesus and into his ministry.

The heading in my Good News Bible is Israel, A light to the Nations.

God is talking to his chosen servant and showing how his work can be done. Jesus comes down to earth, the light of the world to show us the way.

Verse 6 says, but I will also make you a light to the nations.

So this is the time when Jesus starts his ministry in Galilee, he is seen by the disciples as the Messiah.

Galilee is where he was planned to start his ministry as a Galilean. Next month I am fortunate to bei going back to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage. We start in Galilee and I so look forward to that peace on the Lake and if lucky some warm sunshine.

Epiphany is the feast day and time when God become incarnate as Jesus Christ. It is the dawning of the new age.

Brightest and Best of the sons of the morning, is one of my favourite hymns, actually I have quite a lot of favourite hymns. But to me this is about the ending of the darkness, the days getting longer, slowly and slowly.

Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid – hasn’t it been dark and dreary this year since Christmas, well and before that too. Darkness, rain, cold… and as someone said to me the other day, well it is January! And that’s true but we could do with a bit of help couldn’t we. A holiday in the sun? Well we would still come back after a week and it will still be cold!

Thank goodness for the sunshine! Is there sunshine in your life?

Knowing that Jesus is there. Knowing that he hears our prayers and knows where we are at.

Even in the darkest days, we know that Jesus is with us

Amen