The early chapters of Genesis are some of the most controversial in the whole of Scripture. It’s not just the strange anti-science of creationists that bring this text into disrepute. Although it is worth pausing briefly to point out that a Creationist reading of the early chapters of Genesis is not just unscientific – it is barely literate. The story of creation is told twice in Genesis first from Genesis 1.1-2.3 and then again 2.4-3.24. You will recognise both stories, but you may not have recognised that they are different. In the first are the six days each ending with “and it was good.” the second has Adam and Eve.
In the first story God created humans (male and female together) after all the other animals; in the second, God made one man (“Adam”) and then created all of the animals in order to find a companion for Adam. God brought all of the animals to Adam, but none were good enough, so God made a woman from one of Adam’s ribs to serve his companion.
Any serious reading of the early chapters of Genesis show that the ancient people who created the text did not take the stories literally – they saw these two contradictory stories, and decided that both were worth preserving. They saw that these were parables of deep and profound and life-changing wisdom, not science or history.
I have had a complicated relationship with the Ascension. I am talking about Ascension Day rather than the Church of the Ascension – perhaps that’s another sermon there… As our regulars will have heard before, I was brought up a Northern Irish Baptist. Northern Irish Baptists make the sandal-wearing guitar-strumming Baptists of England look veryContinue reading “The ‘Truth’ of the Ascension”
A sermon for Trinity Sunday The Trinity were planning a holiday. The Spirit, manifesting the creative part of the divine nature, was coming up with the ideas. “Let’s go to Los Angeles,” the Spirit suggested.“No, no, no,” said the Father, “They’re all so liberated, they’ll spend the whole time calling me ‘Mother’ and theyContinue reading “The Mystery of the Holy Trinity fully explained”
Acts 2.14-21 The Vicar was saying goodbye to folks at the door after the service. A woman said, “Vicar, that was a marvellous sermon.” The Vicar said, “Oh, I have to give the credit to the Holy Spirit.” “It wasn’t THAT good!” she replied. Today we are thinking about the Holy Spirit, and as weContinue reading “Pentecost – a sermon not THAT good”
Acts 2:42-47They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceedsContinue reading “We are the Resurrection”
The Law of Moses, the Jewish Law is contained in the first 5 books of the Hebrew bible and it’s both detailed and comprehensive. Some of the detail is quite extraordinary and suggests that the Israelites saw their God as above all a God of control. This is Leviticus chapter 11 verse 20: You mayContinue reading “Fulfilling the Law – a sermon by Margaret Offerman”
Readings: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40; John 1:29-42 Today I want to ask question “What is the Church?” Please close your eyes for a moment, and with your eyes closed I want you to visualise the Church of the Ascension. Take a few moments to form a mental image… How many of youContinue reading “What is the Church?”
Advent is here again, the season of chocolate filled calendars and trying to work out when is the best time to go shopping and the best time to put up our Christmas trees. According to the tradition of the Church, it’s also a time to take stock of our lives, a time of self-examination. It’sContinue reading “Advent I (Why Advent is more grown-up than Lent)”
The Tax Collector and the Pharisee Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that IContinue reading ““One Size Fits All” Spirituality”