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Showing posts from November, 2018

A sermon for St Andrew's day

Thank you for joining us as we celebrate St Andrew’s day It is not just our patronal festival, but also the anniversary of the first service on this site. In 1829 on 1 December, the first Anglican worship was celebrated here in what was then Большой Чернышевский переулок. That, however, was not in this building. This building, St Andrew’s, saw its first service in 1885. It was named after St Andrew because many of those who paid for the work were Scottish merchants and business men who lived in Moscow, and St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland It seems a highly providential patronage St Andrew is someone who can unite us. He points us to the very beginning of the undivided church. He is honoured in both East and West. And of course, St Andrew is not only the patron saint of Scotland but also of Russia. St Andrew is reported in the gospels as being the first of the disciples called by Jesus. That was not a calling not just to honour, but to responsibility and ultimately to great p

Meeting with God

Hebrews 10.19-25 I would like to speak today about meeting with God. 'Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus .. let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith’ (v19,22) We come to church, we pray, we have chill moments, but few of us really know God. The amazing thing is that we are invited to come into the presence of God. That is what prayer really is. In the Old Testament, people realised something that we have forgotten, particularly in our Western traditions: you cannot simply rock up into the presence of God. They understood with a clarity that we have lost, that God is utterly holy and totally other. He is awesome On one occasion Moses dares to ask God for a vision. He says to God, ‘would you show yourself to me’. And God replies and says, ‘Moses, I am so holy, so other, so utterly beyond anything that you can conceive or imagine, that if you saw me, it would blow your mind. Nobody can

Remembrance Sunday in Moscow 2018

James 3.13-18 On this day, 100 years ago, at 5 o’clock in the morning, the armistice was signed. It stated that at 11am all hostilities would cease. But fighting continued to the bitter end. On the last day there were 10944 casualties and 2738 deaths, before what we know as the first world war came to an end. On the front, news of the Armistice was met with disbelief that the end really had come, with simple relief, grief for those who had not made it, and with utter weariness. One British colonel reported that at exactly 11am, as the guns fell silent, German soldiers climbed out of their trenches, bowed and walked away. And whilst, certainly among the Allied powers, there was jubilation back at home, Robert Graves, the war poet who had served at the front, writes, ‘the news sent me out walking alone above the marshes of Rhuddlen cursing and sobbing and thinking of the dead’. And when Sassoon wrote his poem, ‘ Everyone sang ’, which we will hear in a few minutes, Graves ret

A sermon for All Saints day

John 11.32-44 It is lovely to be back here in St Petersburg In our reading, Mary – and those with her – look at the grave of Lazarus and they see and they smell death. Jesus looks at the grave of Lazarus, and he sees the glory of God. This is not just about being an optimist or pessimist, whether you see a glass half full and half empty. It is about seeing the world in two completely different ways: it is about seeing the world through human eyes or seeing the world through Holy Spirit eyes. I don’t know whether you noticed how often the verb ‘see’ appears in our passage. When Mary saw Jesus v32 When Jesus saw her v33 They say to Jesus, ‘Come and see’ v34 And when Jesus weeps, they say, ‘see how he loved him’ v36 And the great statement of Jesus in v40: ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ And there are other references to seeing and not seeing. When the people ask each other why Jesus had not healed Lazarus, they remember how