Showing posts from October, 2014

This week

No theme and sermon notes this week. I am away at a TSSF chapter meeting in Auckland. Have a grand All Saints/All Souls

How to prevent the extinction of the Church of England - Archbishop Cranmer

A few weeks ago I went to a clergy training day, a gathering of the clergy in the Bay of Plenty, stipendiary, non- stipendiary, and retired. We talked about the statistics presented at our Diocesan Synod a couple of weeks before that by the vicar general, statistics that make grim reading. Numbers of stipendiary priests a fraction of what they were 40 years ago, numbers attending church falling dramatically, age structure aging by the second, finances looking very wobbly. The ensuing conversation seemed to be all about how to get people to come to church. I find this so frustrating. The point of church is not to get people to join us. The point of church is to be a people who engage with God in mission. Others felt this was irresponsible and that as clergy our role is to ensure that the church carries on. Why would we want that I wonder? One idea was to close a pretty significant 8am service because they will eventually die (true they mostly are older, but so what) and use th

Loving God

This sermon can be heard here Gate Pa (Pentecost 20, 30 th Sunday in Ordinary time) Readings: Psalm: :                       Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17                                                                First Reading :                           Deuteronomy 34:1-12                    Second Reading :        1 Thess 2:1-8                                                                  Gospe l:                        Matthew 22: 34-46                                                                             What I want to say: The yoke of Jesus changes how we understand the Torah – from rules to obey to earn God’s love and forgiveness, to the way we respond to God and love God with all our heart and mind and soul. What we also often miss is that these two commandments work together. We love God by loving our neighbour. Love is not emotion; it is not "liking," "getting along with," "desiring," or "feeling warm about.&

Reformed Love

Our gospel today, Matthew 22:34-46, is another one of these really familiar readings, so familiar we often miss the point. Here we see Jesus at work offering his new yoke, his “new way” of understanding the Torah. Jesus, the master interpreter of Scripture brings together two texts: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, and not only makes them equally important, but the basis and grounding for the whole of Torah (Law). What he does is really interesting. Priests and Pharisees would have understood that loving the Lord their God was done through obedience to the Law and through performance of the temple rites. Loving our neighbour was then a second requirement – with the added questions around who my neighbour might be. But by pulling together these two passages from the Torah, Jesus not only makes them equally important, but makes loving our neighbour the means by which God is loved. The requirements of the law are then understood as the way people become people of compassion a

Seeing the back of God

Gate Pa – October 19 th , 2014 (Pentecost 19, 29 th Sunday of Ordinary Time) Readings: Psalm                                    99                                                                                  First Reading:                    Exodus 33:12-23                                   Second Reading:              1 Thess 1:1-10                                      Gospel:                                Matthew 22: 15-22                                What I want to say: I want to use the Exodus reading to ask, what does the back of God look like? Moses was most concerned about how to be a distinctive people. How does our seeing the back of God help us be distinctive? And using the gospel reading, how to we as people who are shaped by the back of God live in such a way that all creation and all that is in it is honoured and treated as God’s? What I want to happen: People to reflect on how our seeing the back of God helps us be distinctive? And h