Showing posts from 2022

Love one another

John 13.31-35 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [The sermon can be found at 24:40] Love one another It is a very simple command. Only three words. A very young child can learn it And it is said that the Apostle John, at the very end of his life, had only one sermon. He would stand in front of the assembly, of the people of God, and say, Love one another But it is almost impossible to do! It is not a command to serve one another There is that command i

Easter Sunday in Moscow 2022. Luke 24:1-12

My Easter sermon today is very simple Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and he is with us. This has been an awful Lent As far as any Lenten discipline is concerned this year, I have been utterly rubbish. But then I think this year, as I have said before, the wilderness has come to us. We had so much going for us as a church Glen who was settling in and becoming a brilliant colleague, an ordinand in training, we were live streaming Morning Prayer daily, we had a good confirmation group, the youth group, almost 3000 followers on facebook, a new third service, and plans to develop a ministry of reconciliation And overnight it was all gone And at a personal level, for many people, it has been a rubbish Lent: people have lost friends, jobs, livelihoods, homes and dreams. Families have been separated. There is the loss of self integrity as we become like the three monkeys. There has been so much fear. Two different people from different countries have come and asked me the same question,

Palm Sunday. Moscow 2022. Luke 19.28-40

I am sorry that I cannot be with you today. As you will have heard my father died on Tuesday, and I am very grateful that I was able to see him before he went to be with His Lord. Thank you for your prayers and support.  Many of you will also today have just heard the news about the very sudden death of Kolya, our longest serving guard. Kolya has been at St Andrew’s for 19 years. He was one of the constants, and at the heart of the life of this community. He loved this place, and did over and above what his job required him to do. He also loved his guitar and singing - often giving visitors an impromptu concert. He brought so much joy, and I will miss both him and his ‘hallelujias’. We do commend him into God’s hands and pray for his family. I understand the funeral is today.  There does seem to be so much loss and pain at the moment.  We continue to hear of particularly awful things happening in Ukraine And, although it is lovely to hear of one or two people returning, we continue to

Bodies scattered in the wilderness. How to stand in a time of testing. 1 Corinthians 10.1-13

1 Corinthians 10.1-13 Lent is a time when we choose to go into the wilderness – when we strip ourselves of some of the stuff that we rely on – in order to make space to reencounter the one, the only one, who we can truly rely on. Listen to sermon on audio And this year it seems that Lent has come to us. It is not so much that we have gone into the wilderness, but that the wilderness has come to us. Many things have been taken from us: social media, people who we relied on, plans and hopes. Families have been divided. Many have spoken of how they have lost significant sums of money. And we face an uncertain economic future. It is a time of testing, of crisis. Crisis comes from the Greek word meaning judgement And we will either stand or we fall. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul is talking about the time when the people of Israel were led into the wilderness. They had come out of slavery in Egypt, had gone through the red sea – which here is treated as a picture of baptism, of l

On God's power in our powerlessness

St Andrew's Anglican Church in Moscow is situated only 10 minutes walk from the Kremlin, the political and physical centre of power. The Ministries of education, culture and defence are near neighbours. We are in the centre of power and yet we are powerless. Today, as many of our dear friends have left Russia, and as we nervously wonder whether or when we should leave, we are even more conscious of our powerlessness Conflict was predicted and we were helpless, unable to do anything to prevent it. Now that 'special military operations', as they are called here, have begun, there is nothing that we can do to stop them. But it is precisely our powerlessness which means that there are things that we can do. We are gospel people, who serve a crucified but risen Lord. We are the 'nobodies' of 1 Corinthians 1, and it is our very powerlessness and insignificance and foolishness that can also be our strength, if it is handed to God. First of all we are simply here. W

A message to the people of St Andrew's Moscow February 2022. Luke 1.67-79

The last few weeks has been like watching, in slow motion, a horrendous car crash about to happen The audio of this talk can be found here I was aware of the western press and the general pessimism among the embassy staff that war was going to happen, and yet like most of us, we read in the Russian media that war was 'unthinkable', let alone war with Ukraine. And yet four days ago war began It does seem that a deep darkness – politically, economically and spiritually - is descending on Ukraine and Russia Many have spoken of their shock and disbelief at what has happened Many have spoken of a sense of shame that this is being done in their name And there is fear – among those in the foreign community, those who have made this their home, and those for whom this has always been home What will happen? How will we survive sanctions and global exclusion? Will it all go out of control? Will a new impenetrable iron curtain descend? How are those from overseas to travel home? And there

The reason for giving. 2 Corinthians 8.8-15

2 Corinthians 8.8-15 We are thinking over these three weeks before Lent about giving, and we are looking at verses from Paul’s letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth. Today we are looking at the reason for giving. A link to the audio of the sermon And it is very simple. It can be summed up in one word: LOVE We give to what we love, we give because we love. And it works the other way round If you want to know what you love, then look at what you spend your surplus money on – the money that is over and above our essential needs, the essential needs of those for whom we are responsible, and the things that we required to pay, like taxes. (By the way, paying taxes is not only a legal duty, but a spiritual duty. Jesus tells us to pay our taxes). But after that, how do we spend our money? Is it a bigger or more modern flat, clothes, technology, restaurants, gaming, savings, investment, entertainment, travel, holidays? We spend our surplus money on what we love That is what Jesus sa

Giving ourselves first to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 8.1-7

2 Corinthians 8:1-7 Today we start a series of three talks on giving The heart of giving The reason for giving The blessing of giving They are based on 2 chapters in 2 Corinthians, a letter sent by Paul to the Christians in the city of Corinth in which he talks about a collection that the church in Corinth planned to make to support the Christians in Jerusalem and Judaea, because they were facing a famine. And in our reading today, Paul urges the Corinthian Christians to complete what they said they would do. That is important. It is easy to make a promise, especially if it is about money, and then – if not deliberately break our promise – forget our promise. I wonder how many of us have done that! Well, Paul encourages them not forget their promise and to do what they said that they would do. And in these verses, he tells them about the Macedonian Churches (Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea). He says that, although they were extremely poor, and even though they had suffered d

Preaching Good News to the poor. Luke 4.16-21

Luke 4.14-21 The Kingdom of God is good news for the poor, the captive, the blind and the oppressed In Matthew and Mark, when Jesus comes out of the wilderness and begins his ministry, he announces the Kingdom He preaches: The Kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the Good News Luke is slightly different. He is speaking to people who don’t know their Old Testament, who don’t really understand what the Kingdom of God is. And Luke instead tells us what this Kingdom will look like. Instead, when Jesus comes out of the wilderness, and begins his ministry, he declares “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 The Kingdom of God is good news for the poor. “to bring good news to the poor… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” That is a consistent messag