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Showing posts from September, 2020

You can change your mind. Matthew 21.23-32

Matthew 21.23-32 This reading is a challenge to us to change our mind To change our mind about Jesus. Jesus tells a story about a person who changed his mind, to people who refused to change their mind. The priests and the elders of Jesus’ time were convinced that Jesus was a spiritual fraud. He claimed to speak as if he came from God, from above, but he was in fact very human and from below. His authority, they were convinced, came from a marriage of arrogance and ignorance, backed up by some sort of charismatic ‘magical power’ which, they argued, was probably demonic. If Jesus was from anywhere, he was not from up there, but from down there. And they were not going to change their mind about him. So when they ask Jesus, where does your authority come from?, he does not say, ‘from God’. He knows that will change nothing. Instead he asks them what they thought of John the Baptist John was a sort of cross between Sergius of Radonezh and Billy Graham. St Sergius lived in the C14th. He we

Grace. Matthew 20.1-16

Matthew 20.1-16 Last week we looked at forgiveness. This week we look at grace. Forgiveness is about mercy. It is about me not receiving what I do deserve. I do wrong. I deserve punishment. But I am forgiven.  And last week we thought a little about how much we have been forgiven and how much it cost God to forgive us  But grace is more than mercy.  Grace is not simply about me not receiving the bad that I deserve but receiving far far more good that I don't deserve   Mercy is when I break the windscreen of your car and you forgive me Grace is when I break the windscreen of your car and you freely go out and buy me a car Let’s look at the story Jesus tells: At the beginning of the day the landowner goes at about 6am to the market place and hires people to go and work in the field. He promises to give them a denarius, which was a pretty generous daily wage. He then goes back at 9am, at 12 noon, at 3pm and again at 5pm, just one hour before the market closes and work finishes. He do

Forgiveness. Matthew 18.21-35

Matthew 18: 21-35 What do Christians have in common? It is certainly not language (although obviously at St Andrew’s that is quite important!), or culture or education  It is not politics. Christians can seriously disagree about politics. One person was telling me that their Christian organisation now struggles to hold joint Ukrainian – Russian conferences. There is too much tension and conflict. Both sides see the world in completely different ways. It is not our views on sexuality and gender, on political activism, on climate change, on multi faith worship – if anything those are the sort of things which tear us apart. It is not whether we like ‘religion’. There are Christians who do cherish the ritual and rites of the Church, and there are Christians who would do away with everything and focus exclusively on the word.  And it is certainly not that we are a gathering of good people. If we are, then I should not be here. The thing that we have in common can be summed up in one word

Living as day people and not as night people - Romans 13.8-14

  Romans 13.8-14   Love for neighbour. Detail from choir screen. National Museum of Scotland.  Wake up! That is what we are told in Romans 13. When I am on holiday I sometimes go sailing. We have a small yacht. The best time to sail is when there is an early morning high tide. So, my alarm clock goes off at 5.30am. The sun is shining, it is a beautiful morning, the only sound is the singing of the birds, the wind is just right – not too weak, not too strong (that is important because I am a fair weather sailor). And everything is new and fresh and filled with promise. And I know that if I get up, I will have a very precious time. But then I look at the alarm clock, turn over for 10 more minutes, and wake an hour or two later. And I have missed it. Paul urges us not to stay lying in bed, to wake up and not to miss it. “ Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; t