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Showing posts from 2022

Hope in complicated times. Christmas midnight communion 2022

We live in complicated times There is much darkness. Evil is done There are many alternative truths slopping around “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalms 11:3 An audio of the talk can be found here People are lost, confused, fearful; there is great suffering, pain and despair As we celebrate a new roof, others have no roofs. As we sit in warmth, others have no heating. We face forces that threaten to overwhelm and extinguish us - and we have become acutely aware of our human foolishness, weakness and deep vulnerability But this night is a night of good news It is the news that God has not abandoned us, not given up on us, but come among us ‘The Word became flesh’ The One who was with God in the beginning, through whom all things are created, becomes one of us, and is - of all things - placed in a cattle feeding trough When the angels speak to the shepherds, they tell them that there will be a sign that the child they see really is the Son of God. The sig

Finding God in a cowshed. Carol service 2022

Someone was telling me the other day that she had written to her friend and told her that she had found ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ in Moscow! Listen to the audio of the talk here The Leaky Cauldron, for those who are not aware, is a pub in London in one of the Harry Potter novels. It looks very unimpressive; it is a bit of a dive. Few people go in. In fact to the non-wizarding community it looks like a disused shop front. But if you do choose to go in, you discover that it is in fact the doorway to another world, the world of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter saga. Well, she said to her friend that she had discovered the Leaky Cauldron in Moscow. But it wasn’t a pub. It was a church. And you are sitting in it! St Andrew’s is a doorway to a different, and maybe for some, a strange world. It is a world where they do things in a different – rather odd way. Where they speak a different language and remember a different history. They do not play quidditch, but they do play cricket. They don’t have

St Andrew's Day 2022

Matthew 4.18-20 As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen.    And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’    Immediately they left their nets and followed him. We thank God for St Andrew He heard the call of Jesus He was fishing with his brother Simon, and Jesus calls from the shore and says ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people’ It was a call to live a new life, to live in and for the Kingdom of God He was an ordinary man, a fisherman, living for his business, his family himself, catching fish. And he was called to begin a new life, to become a fisher of people, living for the Kingdom of God, for Jesus Christ and for other people. He caught fish – and that was death for them But now he is called to catch people – not to death, but to life. Life for people who are lost, with little dignity, little purpose and little hope. He respo

Wake up! Jesus is returning. Matthew 24.36-44

Matthew 24.36–44 Romans 13.11–14 The illustration for today is this! If you forget everything that I say, remember this. Listen here to the audio of this sermon Morning is coming. The alarm clock is ringing! This is not the time to be pulling the duvet over our head. It is the time to wake up. “Now is the moment for you to wake from sleep” (Romans 13.11) 1. Wake up! Hold on to the truth that he will come again. “Therefore you must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming …” (Matthew 24.44) The crucified and risen and ascended Jesus will return again to this creation as King, and he will bring in God’s kingdom in all its fullness. We say in our creed: "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end" I used to struggle with the idea of the return of the Lord Jesus. How could it be possible? If he returns to Jerusalem, how would we know here in Moscow? And how will it work if I’ve already died? Will people float up into the air

The King who chooses to not save himself. Luke 23.33-43

Luke 23.33-43 This is the season from All Saints to Advent, and this final Sunday before Advent is when we are reminded of 'Christ the King' Listen to audio of the talk here And the first reading that we had today (from Colossians 1.11-20 ) speaks of Christ as the ruler of all: This Christ is the King of all creation: he is the image (eikon) of the invisible God, in whom all the fullness of God dwells All things were created through him and for him He is the one who holds all things together He is the one who is the head of creation (that is what it means when it says that he is ‘the first born of creation’) and he is the head of the new creation (the church, the community of those who are born from the dead) He is the one who can reconcile all things. It is in our individual relationship with him, as we become part of him and he becomes part of us, that we each discover our unity, that we are part of each other, and that every other is part of us. And so we have the image of C

Remembrance Sunday. Moscow. 2022

Military conflict, whatever it is called, is awful This year is the 40th anniversary of the Falkland’s conflict. I was in touch recently with the person who served as the chaplain on board HMS Conqueror, the submarine that sunk the Belgrano. He spoke of how that still today weighs very heavily on his soul. Later in this service we will hear the poem Annabelle . It was written by Tony McNally, who suffered from PTSD. He served in the Falklands and after his Rapier Missile unit jammed as a result of a minor electrical fault, watched helplessly the destruction of the British ship Sir Galahad, ‘as if at the cinema’. The images of the dead and badly burned bodies of the Guardsmen on the shore and in the water kept coming back to haunt him. War is awful. Jesus, in our second reading today, foresees the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, an event that took place in AD70. He foresees the devastation, the hell that lies ahead: ‘They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you’.

What is a saint? Luke 6.20-31

Luke 6.20-31 Fred and his brother Jimmy were thugs. They ran the local crime syndicate. They dealt in drugs and prostitutes. They intimidated residents, threatened businesses, trafficked, blackmailed and bribed, and they ran protection rackets. They were responsible for several murders, but nobody had ever been able or courageous enough to pin it on them. Fred died and Jimmy went to the vicar. I want you to say that my brother was a saint. No way, said the vicar. Jimmy said, 'If you say my brother was a saint, I'll give £1m to the church". No way, said the vicar. "Well then", said Jimmy, "Let me put it another way. If you don't say that my brother was a saint, we'll return and burn your church down". The day of the funeral arrived. The vicar stood up: "Fred was an evil crook. He was a thug and a wife beater. He dealt in drugs and prostitutes. He was known as a murderer. He blackmailed, trafficked and bribed and he ran protection rackets. Bu

Giving in a difficult time. 2 Corinthians 9.6-15

2 Corinthians 9.6-15 Earlier this year we began a series of three talks on giving. We had had two, and it was in fact Glen who was going to give this third talk. Sadly that was interrupted by a certain event. Well, I planned to give the third talk today. And then further events happened a couple of weeks ago, and I wondered if I should change the readings and theme. Afterall, how can we talk about generosity at a time like this? Some people have very little We need to focus on ourselves We need to survive We need to make sure that we have enough for ourselves and our immediate family But you know that it does not work like that, and often it is when things are most difficult that people can become most generous. Paul writing to the early followers of Jesus in the ancient city of Corinth, tells them of the giving of the Macedonians: “for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” (2 Corinth

Giving thanks in a difficult time. Luke 17.11-19

Luke 17.11-19 I am aware that different cultures have different values, but I suspect that for most people from most cultures, ‘Sorry, Please, Thank you’ are among the first words that we were taught Listen to the audio of this sermon They are some of the most important words: I remember one man in my first parish, and in the four years I was there, I don’t think I ever heard him say thank you to anybody. It wound me up! They are important words, but they are also difficult words to say. I’m not talking about saying thank you just from habit (although it is a good habit to get into) but really saying thank you can be one of the most difficult things we do. Because when we say thank you, we are acknowledging our debt to the other person. We are recognising that we did not deserve to receive whatever we received, and that they gave it to us as an act of kindness or mercy. In our reading from Luke 17 we have a story where Jesus does an amazing thing. He heals 10 people of leprosy And yet

How can wealthy people escape hell? Luke 16.17-31

Luke 16.17-31 Last week we looked at the very difficult passage from the beginning of Luke 16. It was difficult because it is hard to understand   This week it is also a difficult passage from Luke 16 – not because it is difficult to understand, but because it is extremely challenging. And it is a bit scary.   It is a story about wealth, about hell and heaven and it is a story about how we can begin to change.   It is a story about wealth. Jesus has been speaking in the previous verses about how you cannot serve two masters. You will be split in two. Story of the Admiral getting into a launch. He had one foot on the launch, one foot on the jetty, when a sudden wave pushed the boat away from the jetty. Something had to give, and he ended up in the water. Jesus says 'You cannot serve two masters, you cannot serve both God and wealth'. And then we are told, ‘The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him’.   And so Jesus tells