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True God from True God.

1 John 5.18-21 A couple of weeks ago I was helping with some interviews for a Christian chaplain at a hospital. One of the questions that I asked was, ‘What is at the heart of your spirituality and your faith?’ An audio of the talk can be found here It was the way that I asked that question, but 5 of the 6 candidates spoke about something that they did: they said that it was prayer.   Only one of the applicants said, without any pause, ‘Jesus Christ, my Lord’. It is not about me or my praying – because sadly that is pathetic. It really is all about Jesus. The clue is in the name: Christianity And the Creed is nearly all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God: About who he was – who he is – and about his death, resurrection, ascension and second coming. This morning we focus on a few of the words in the Creed about who he is: God from God Light from Light True God from True God The creed, as I’m sure you will have heard, was shaped at a time when there was a dispute about wh
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Four reasons not to lose heart.

2 Corinthians 4.13-5.1 In 2 Corinthians 4:1, the beginning of this section, Paul writes, “We do not lose heart” And here (4.16), “We do not lose heart” The audio of this talk can be found here It is understandable why he might have lost heart. For the sake of Jesus Christ, of the good news, Paul suffered terrible affliction. He has already written in this chapter of how he has been afflicted, driven to despair, persecuted, beaten down. So why continue? Why speak? And for us? I suspect that many of you here have been followers of the Lord Jesus for many years Why bother? Why do you continue to come to church? There are so many other things you could be doing on a Sunday morning.  Why do you continue to try to say your prayers?  Why do you try to continue to live a life ‘worthy of the calling that you have been called to?’  Why do you – if you do – speak of Jesus Christ to others, even though it means that they think you a bit of a fanatic or funny in the head? I notice from our gospel

A prayer based on the Magnificat

O Mighty and Holy God, my Saviour, Look with favour on me, Your servant. Keep me in the fear of You, so that I may receive all things as a gift of Your mercy. Humble me, so that you can lift me up. Empty me, so that You can fill me with good things. Bind me to all those who through the ages have put their trust in Your promises, so that together with Mary and Your faithful people, my spirit will rejoice in You and my soul delight to declare Your Glory. Amen Magnificat (The Song of Mary) 1    My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,     my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;   ♦ he has looked with favour on his lowly servant. 2    From this day all generations will call me blessed;   ♦ the Almighty has done great things for me     and holy is his name. 3    He has mercy on those who fear him,   ♦ from generation to generation. 4    He has shown strength with his arm   ♦ and has scattered the proud in their conceit, 5    Casting down the mighty from their thrones   ♦ and lifting up th

The vision of God. Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah 6:1-8 Trinity 2024 The Trinity is not a problem to be solved, but a relationship to be encountered. A link to the audio of this talk can be found here There is a great clip from the film, Nuns on the Run where the two characters Brian and Charlie are hiding from gangsters dressed as nuns. Brian has to teach a class about the Trinity Brian: Explain the Trinity. Charlie: Hmm, well it’s a bit of a mystery. You’ve got the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. But the three are one---like a shamrock, my old priest used to say. Three leaves but one leaf. Now the Father sent down the Son, who was love, and then when he went away he sent down the Holy Spirit, who came down in the form of a…. Brian: You already told me—a ghost. Charlie: No, a dove. Brian: The dove was a ghost? Charlie: No, the ghost was a dove. Brian: Let me try and summarise this. God is his son. And his son is God. But his son moonlights as a holy ghost, a holy spirit and a dove. And they all send each other, even though

John 15:26-16:15 What does the Holy Spirit do? Pentecost 2024

John 15:26-16:15 It is a very special few days: we have Ascension, Pentecost and, next Sunday, Trinity At Pentecost we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit The Spirit can come dramatically – like in our first reading (Acts 2:1-4): the sound of a wind, tongues of fire and the disciples speaking in tongues. I have had experience of that. I had been asked to speak about being filled with the Spirit to our college Christian Union. It was the first time I had spoken. I spent hours preparing the talk. I was so nervous that I knocked over a bottle of milk as I came forward to speak. I read from my notes. And amazingly, God turned up. It was like Pentecost. At the end two people made the decision to follow Jesus, and to the best of my knowledge they are still going strong; and we had to have a chill out room because people were just, like drunk, with the overwhelming presence of God. But the Spirit also comes very gently. In John, we are given another description of the coming of the Spirit

On dragons.

The dedication of the coronation gate.  St Margaret's Church, Burnham Norton. I’d like to speak for a few moments about the dragon on our new coronation gate. St Margaret's coronation gate DRAGONS ARE SCARY For the ancients, dragons represented the unknown, the monstrous, the terrifying. They were fire-breathing serpents, with an obsession for treasure and a sweet tooth for princesses. I think of Smaug in the Hobbit, your archetypal dragon: living deep in his mountain, in caves scattered with the bones of cattle and humans, never fully asleep, guarding his treasure, virtually indestructible, cunning and deceptive, and when stirred or hungry or simply in a lousy mood, rousing himself to raid the haunts of men for food or treasure, and bringing devastation with his fire. Dragons have come to represent in the ancient imagination, all that is scary, all that is beyond our control, all that is fearful, all that brings death and destruction. They are, in the ancient world’s imaginati

A call to persevere. Mark 13.5-13. St Mark's day 2024

Mark 13:5-13 ‘When you hear of wars and rumours of wars’ It is rather an appropriate passage. Jesus is being asked when the temple will be destroyed. He does sort of answer their question, ‘within this generation’, but he expands the destruction of the temple so that it becomes a picture of what the end will be like. And rather than talk about time, Jesus instead turns the conversation around and challenges them. It is not a matter so much of when the end is coming, but of how we should live before the en And Mark 13 is a call to us to be aware, to be alert, to keep awake (it is repeated at least 6 times in this chapter). It is a call to not be afraid, to be courageous, to endure to the end. We are called to beware of false ‘Messiahs’. We are called not to give in to the fear caused by wars, and rumours of wars, and earthquakes and famines – the fear which leads us to misplace our hope in the real Jesus, the Son of God, who lived 2000 years ago in Palestine, who was crucified, rose fro