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Showing posts from January, 2017

On the work of reconciliation

A sermon preached at Bury St Edmunds' Churches Together Service to mark the beginning of the week of prayer for Christian Unity, January 2017 2 Corinthians 5.14-20 There is something very special about services like this. Opportunity to gather together as Christians from different churches in this town. Although it does remind me of the committee set up to decide what denomination God would be when he returned. The Catholic said he would definitely be Catholic because they were the true church. The Methodist spoke of how he would be Methodist because of the singing. The Baptist said that clearly he would be Baptist because they were so right on believers baptism. And the Anglican after a long silence said, ‘But I don’t really understand why he needs to change?’ Many different things we disagree on: styles of worship, attitude to tradition, liturgy, how long sermons should be! Different attitudes to our sources of authority – Bible, Church, experience and reas

Why the Bible is so important.

2 Timothy 3.10-4.5 The second declaration on our vision statement is that we seek to teach the Bible in a way that is relevant to everyday life. I would like to look at the passage that we have had read from 2 Timothy. It is a letter written by Paul, an experienced minister of the gospel, to Timothy, a younger man who is pastor of a church in Ephesus. And our verses today tell us why the Bible, why Scripture, is so important. Of course, we must remember that when Paul speaks to Timothy about ‘Holy Scripture’, he is primarily speaking of what we know as the Old Testament, the first two thirds of our Bible. However, some of the earliest writings of the first apostles had also come to be recognised as ‘Scripture’. So, for instance, Peter writes to a congregation about Paul’s writings. He says, ‘His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures ’ (1 Peter 3.16).  And very quickly the Chur

The visit of the Magi: On Worship

Matthew 2.1-12  At the beginning of this new year, we’re beginning a series of 5 sermons looking at the 5 declarations of our vision statement. You can find those declarations every week on the top of the notice sheet.  And the first is about worship:  ‘We seek to worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit’. And our passage today is appropriate. It is the set passage for the Epiphany. Epiphany means the making known, the revealing, of the truth about Jesus and about God. It tells us of the wise men. They are not kings. They are probably not called Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar. Sorry! We are not even told that there were three of them, although there were three gifts. But this is a passage that teaches us about worship Worship in Matthew is significant. It is what the third, final and climactic temptation is about in Matthew. Jesus is invited to worship the devil, and he replies that we are to worship God alone. Later,