SERMON FOR ADVENT 4
18 December 2022
ARE YOU THE ONE?
11 December 2022
I was struck this week by John Campbell’s powerful reporting on TV One News interviewing some young people in detention as teenagers. You may have seen the interview when he asks a young woman who has been in detention for 3 years how often her family have visited – once she says. Heartbreaking. A crushing sense of being alone.
PREPARE THE WAY
4 December 2022
For the first time in three years the Franklin Road lights, in Ponsonby, have been turned on again. In the midst of the old favourites, new displays have been added as new people have joined the Franklin Road community. Sacred and secular the lights are enjoyed by many during the month of December.
27 November 2022
Wake up deeper. We all know about sleeping deeply, how good it feels to have slept deeply - but what about waking up deeply.
Waking up deeper. I heard the phrase “waking up deeper” in a podcast I listened to once and it has stayed with me as an Advent theme.
STIR US UP
20 November 2022
Sunday before Advent
We are at the end of the year – the church year that is. Next Sunday, being Advent Sunday is the beginning of the new church year. Advent is a time of preparation before the coming of Emmanuel – God with us. As the end of the year it is often a time to take stock of things.
13 November 2022
Goodness we have been hearing some shocking things lately. Things about the state of our nation, about the horror -war in the Ukraine, about food insecurity - read famine - in Somalia. This morning I am thinking in particular about information coming from COP 27...
SUN IN OT
6 November 2022
Yesterday amidst the bangs and the flashes of fireworks our nation should have been remembering the events of that day at Parihaka, rather than a treason plot on the British parliament. On 5 November 1881 amalgamated troops came into the peaceful resistance at Parihaka, in the shadows of Mt Taranaki.
EYES OF YOUR HEART
30 October 2022
All Saints' Day
“I do not cease to give thanks” – what a wonderful way to be; what a great attitude to have in life. Paul is writing to the church at Ephesus and there was plenty to bring Paul down, plenty for the church community to complain about. Paul says I do not cease to give thanks for you and I pray that you may know hope with “the eyes of your heart enlightened.” What a great phrase – “with the eyes of your heart enlightened” – a sense of our hearts being awake and alive, and able to see as well as feel.
23 October 2022
Ordinary Sunday 30
Its Labour weekend always a joy as we have survived Winter and Summer is on its way. I knew Labour Day was to celebrate the 8 hour working day however I didn’t realise until I checked Google that it was first celebrated in 1890 and the Labour Day Act was passed in 1899 making it a statutory holiday. In fact, in the 1890s they had Labour Day parades. We just have a parade on SH 1 exiting Auckland these days.
16 October 2022
Ordinary Sunday 29
“Jesus told the disciples a parable about the need to pray always and not to lose heart.” We have plenty to lose heart over at the moment: Russia and Ukraine; the climate crisis; the low turnout in our city elections last week; rising prices; personal things about jobs or families or health. Losing heart is something we know about.
9 October 2022
Ordinary Sunday 28
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
Today is the third and last of this year’s Season of Creation Sundays. As I’ve said each week I invited us on a journey, bringing simply ourselves. Along the way I invited us to take time to reflect more deeply about our relationship with creation given the crisis creation and we find ourselves in.
2 October 2022
Ordinary Sunday 27
Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4
Season of Creation, I began this season inviting you to join with me on a journey, to bring yourself. I shared with you the insight of unexamined grief I gained from Adrian te Patu and its relevance for the climate crisis we’re in. That we find ourselves where we’d rather not be, we participate in the way things are and want to make amends.
LET YOUR HEART KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS
25 September 2022
St Matthew's Day
A phrase from the inspirational Old Testament reading for today which has been living with me as I have thought about what to say today. – ‘Let your heart keep my commandments’ (Proverbs 3:1). I am so pleased to be with you today. Thank you Helen for the invitation. The last time I preached here was I think at the 25th anniversary of the Community Church.
18 September 2022
Ordinary Sunday 25
I saw in What’s Happening that I’m preaching on Creation, interesting – which version of Creation do you think I should go with? Made in seven days, Darwinian, Big Bang, ahhh, choices, choices. Actually I’m guessing the reason for the word Creation is to mark the Season of Creation.
LOST SHEEP / LOST COIN
11 September 2022
Ordinary Sunday 24
When I was learning Latin at school, we had a book called Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer. It was full of hundreds of tables of verbs and nouns and adjectives - all the grind of learning a language. For us trying to discern the Gospel message, these stories are a bit like Kennedy’s Primer for Latin but - without the grind.
28 August 2022
Ordinary Sunday 22
Proverbs 25:6-7 Hebrews 13:1-3, 6
Luke 14:1, 7-14
One of the things I love about travel or being part of another culture is learning the food and table etiquette – in Singapore recently we were hosted to a formal business lunch in a Chinese restaurant and I found myself watching our host closely to make sure I ate things in the right order and matched the right sauces and spices.
IT'S A MATTER OF FAITH
7 August 2022
Ordinary Sunday 19
Hebrews 11:1-3, 1-16
It’s all about faith, according to Hebrews and it’s faith that undergirds the gospel promises. Faith will provide and restore the fullness of life, secure us now and into the future. Faith will enable us to imagine as yet unknown possibilities and walk into them. How do we know we have faith? Is it even something to be had?
BIGGER BARNS, HIGHER WALLS
31 July 2022
Ordinary Sunday 18
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-25
“We will not quickly be forgiven if this is another gathering that focuses on ourselves.” Wise words from the Archbishop of Canterbury in his first keynote address to the Lambeth Conference on Friday evening. The Lambeth Conference is a gathering of all the bishops of the Anglican Communion which happens every 10 years. 14 years in this case because of the pandemic. There are close to 900 bishops in our Communion from 165 countries. 600 or so are currently in Canterbury at the Conference, including our own bishops from Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia.
17 July 2022
Ordinary Sunday 16
Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom. For thus says the Lord: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm and dangled on her knees.
WRESTLING WITH OBEDIENCE
3 July 2022
Ordinary Sunday 14
2 Kings 5:1-14
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
There is much in today’s readings, especially from Kings and the gospel that we could play with. Some years ago I attended a Ministry Conference that explored how to be and remain resourced to preach. It was led by Bp. Jim, which gives you an idea it was a wee while ago. One of the main pieces of advice was that each week one should choose only one of each thing.
26 June 2022
On Friday 24th June there was a new legal public holiday for the peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand: Matariki. Legal public holidays are a mixed bag. Few people have any idea why the provincial district of Auckland, comprising about half of the North Island north of Mokau in the west and Wairoa in the east, needs to be celebrated in the last weekend of January.
12 June 2022
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
On the front cover of our order of service today is the icon of the Trinity by Rublev from the 15th century; copied ever since by icon writers. It depicts the story from Genesis where Abraham offers hospitality to three mysterious visitors – the three angels are interpreted to mean God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
5 June 2022
Pentecost is here, 50 days after Easter. Each Sunday since Easter we’ve heard stories of characters in the fledgling community of the Way. We’ve heard of spirit outpouring on Saul, on Gentiles and prison guard families, restoring new life to the faithful and, perhaps less benevolently, Paul in a funk driving out a spirit of divination. But not until today do we hear of the Spirit outpouring upon the disciples gathered together.
NOTICING THE SLAVE GIRL
29 May 2022
Saul (or Paul), Tabitha, Peter, Lydia, Paul and Silas. Today we come to the end of our Easter season series of portraits from the Book of Acts. Stories or snapshots of some of the people who made up the early church. Today’s story is recorded to focus on Paul and Silas and their dramatic exit from prison, earthquakes and all, followed by the baptism of the jailer and his family. In biblical terms this is a long story – 19 verses – full of excitement and drama.
22 May 2022
TVNZ’s Sunday programme last week included the story of Esther Richards who chose to share her decision to leave her earthly life by euthansia. She is one of the 67 New Zealanders who have exercised their right to choose how to die since the law came into effect.
FAITH IN REAL TIME
15 May 2022
John 13: 31-35
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. Today’s short gospel, part of Jesus’ farewell discourse is also read on Maundy Thursday as part of the foot washing service.
THOMAS: DOUBT AND TRUTH
24 April 2022
What’s the point of this story that the writer of Johns gospel has created? It doesn’t appear in any of the other gospels. Thomas may or may not have been a real person but, notwithstanding, Thomas and his doubt have entered the Western lexicon, and we all know what the phrase ‘doubting Thomas’ means when we hear it.
17 April 2022
Christ is risen, he is risen indeed! Great. Yet what we hear today is pretty inconclusive, an idle tale not believed, a witness amazed who head home. These are the highlights of today’s gospel. This is what, with expectant hope, we've been preparing for. Easter morn dawns to absence, no-thing, no-body.
27 March 2022
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Our journey through Lent continues the theme of healing is with us as we go. I’m interested to see how the readings we have each week seem to be unfolding in an organic way. Seeing things as they are, lamenting, repenting and this week we might hear it as a gospel of returning.
THEOLOGIES OF REPENTANCE
20 March 2022
In this Lenten journey exploring healing we’ve been invited to have courage to see things as they are, to lament and now to repent. The gospel is frank about it - repent or die is pretty much its synopsis. So let’s explore.
13 March 2022
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
In Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives there is a beautiful church called Dominus Flevit – Jesus wept. It is built in the shape of a teardrop.It is a modern church, built in 1955, but on the site of a 5th century church, which in turn was built over tombs dated as far back as 1600BC.
20 February 2022
Ordinary Sunday 7
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” I said last week’s reading should have come with a health warning. Today’s come with a “high level of complexity and difficulty” label.
THE EDGE OF TODAY
30 January 2022
The season of Epiphany is all about ‘seeing’ who Jesus is and what he is all about - anticipating the ‘ah ha’ moment of sudden insight. The stories we have been reading from Luke and John over the past few weeks set out for us the ideas, and theology centered on Jesus, that was developing amongst the early Christian community as they discovered who Jesus had become for them - their 'ah ha'.
16 January 2022
When I first read this reading, I immediately could hear myself saying the same thing in these circumstances. “They have no wine” Our sons certainly couldn’t perform a miracle however in this situation I am sure they would obey my wish that more wine was provided.