Our God, we remember before you the astonishing gifts of creation – this morning we think especially of the variety of sea creatures. There is the bulky and wizened walrus, immediately recognizable with its tusks and whiskers – an ancient creature that looks its age. We think of whales, from the massive, deep-diving Blue Whale, to the starkly white Beluga. We think of schools of sardines, clouds of sardines, morphing and shifting in an amazing dance. We consider the translucent jelly fish, pulsing its way through the deep. For all the gifts of creation, and of the sea, we thank you O God of covenant and creation.
In this season of Autumn, our God, how can we fail to thank you for the beauty of the trees. As the days and nights grow colder, and chlorophyll production slows – yellows and oranges and reds are unmasked. Leaves show forth a new glory as trees respond to their environment, as we make our way from summer warmth to winter cold. For the gifts of creation, and the gift of trees, we thank you O God of covenant and creation.
Well, we come finally to the conclusion of our series on the life of David. Over the past number of weeks we’ve looked at some of the key events in his life and have begun to understand the significance of David in the narrative of the Old Testament. There have been some spectacular failures in his life. Nevertheless, with David we are at a high point in the history of God’s people. Under David there is unprecedented unity for God’s people – there is unprecedented security and prosperity. Even more, as someone after God’s own heart, David embodies the genuine faith of God’s.
So David’s story has prominence in the Old Testament because he represents a golden age in the history of God’s people. But there is another reason that David’s story is told – David also represents the hope of God’s people for the future. The story of David is told time and again, repeated from generation to generation, because God’s people are waiting for a new David, a Son of David in whom a new and decisive high point will arrive for God’s people. Continue reading
In the town of Capernaum lives a man who suffers from what we would call paraplegia.
He is paralyzed from the waste down – unable to use his legs.
He is utterly dependent on those who live around him – dependent on them to provide food and drink, to put a roof over his head and clothes on his back.
As is often the case with individuals who make appearances I n the gospel narratives, we know little about this man. We don’t know the cause of his paralysis and we don’t know for how long he has suffered.
On the other hand, we know something not insignificant about this man – we know that he has friends. We know this not only because he is alive – which itself requires the presence of friends in that context. We also know he has friends because they actually appear right alongside him in the gospel narrative. This man does not appear alone in the pages of Mark’s gospel – but with his friends. Continue reading
My sermon from yesterday, inspirted in part by the book Following Jesus in a culture of Fear, by Scott Bader-Saye.
At beginning of every New Year we usually take a moment to look back, don’t’ we. Over the past few days you may have thought about what the year 2009 meant for you as an individually. More publicly, various newspapers and magazines and television stations have also recalled the events and personalities that shaped our collective existence in 2009. Of course much of what the media chooses to focus on has an air of unreality to it – many of the events and personalities they highlight have nothing really to do with our lives – but we remember nonetheless.
A sermon preached today in a continuing series on the Apostles’ Creed.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of the virgin Mary, and who suffered under Pontius Pilate.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate.
The narrative of Mark’s gospel recounts how Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowds, set Barrabas free, but had Jesus flogged – after which he handed Jesus over to be crucified.
He was flogged – whips dug into the flesh on his back.
He was shamed – hung on a cross, the ultimate symbol of dishonour in the Roman Empire.
He was abandoned by his followers – in his last days he was in many ways alone.
He was violently abused – nails pierced his hands and feet, a spear his side.
He thirsted – he was dehydrated as he hung there, before the eyes of the crowd.
Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate.