“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
The truth at the heart of Christianity is that God loves every one of us – every human being alive. And that how we judge our differences – of age or gender or race or sexuality or social status do not matter at all to God.
There is an old saying from the Baptist Church I attended at my youth – the pastor used to say “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Meaning that we all stand on the same level – in our encounter with God the poor have the same status as the rich, the uneducated with the educated, the outcast and the respectable…
To me the amazing thing about this story is not Elijah, who is a bit too scary and fanatical (in his later showdown with the prophets of Baal he takes the idea of “fire and brimstone” preaching a bit too literally) but the woman – who in her poverty is generous, who in her religion is open-minded, and who in her sinfulness is found worthy to play a part in God’s plan, and finds a place in Scripture…
A large chunk of the New Testament is made up of someone else’s letters.
Most of the letters (or “Epistles”) of the New Testament were written to deal with an immediate situation – they were a response to a particular crisis or question. I’m sure they were written prayerfully and thoughtfully, but they were definitely not written to become timeless Scripture that would be read by many generations in many different circumstances.
St. Paul (and the other writers of the Epistles) were not thinking about us as they wrote, they were thinking about the Church in Corinth or Galatia, or Thessalonica or Phillipi or Rome.
That doesn’t decrease the value of the Epistles – it just gives them a context, and helps us understand the spirit in which we must read them. All the great love songs of the world were written for just one person, but they live on and touch the hearts of millions of people. James Taylor didn’t write “Fire and Rain” for Juliet and I, but yet for us it is “our song.”
The Church’s year approaches its climax as we remember Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. He rides a donkey and palm branches are waved and strewn at his feet.
Our liturgy says:
“Behold your King comes to you,
meek and lowly,
sitting on a donkey!”
Why Jesus should ride in on a donkey is a subject for debate…
One Sunday a Vicar told his congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate.
He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.
After the offering plates were passed, the vicar glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a cheque for £1,000 in offering.
He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he’d like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate.
A very quiet, elderly, saintly lady all the way in the back shyly raised her hand.
The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor.
He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns.
Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three particularly dishy young men in the building and said,
“I’ll take him and him and him.”
There are two words that strike terror into the hearts of congregations throughout the developed world. Usually they only occur in the summer months, but you, poor unfortunates are going to hear them this morning. You must brace yourselves, for this is a HOLIDAY SERMON! Holiday sermons are usually written on the beach, often onContinue reading “Holiday Sermon – New Year in New York”
Just War and the bombing of Syria First Reading: Malachi 3.1-4 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who canContinue reading “Just War”
It’s getting better all the time Or the Lord will fulfil his promise to Israel a sermon for Advent I Jeremiah 33:14-16 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that timeContinue reading “It’s getting better all the time”
Gospel Reading: Mark 10.2-16 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” ButJesus said to them, “Because of yourContinue reading “Love is the Answer – but not an easy answer”