Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Rachel and I have booked to spend four nights in Rome early next year. We are very excited about this trip and it does not seem so far away. It will be great to visit this city. Hannah went there some years ago and said it was amazing.

I cannot believe it but Simon is 24 on Saturday!!! Help.

He has paid the ransom for his sock (see facebook!) and it is being returned for his birthday.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

All Saints Sunday Sermon

Today we begin the countdown to the New Church Year beginning again on Advent Sunday
The Sundays after Trinity are behind us and for four weeks our attention is focused on “The Kingdom”. These four weeks conclude with the Feast of Christ the King.
Following conversation with a number of you in recent weeks I have decided I would like to think together about our own rolls in the kingdom. To think quite personally about what we mean when we declare ourselves to be Christian and to be part of the Kingdom of God as proclaimed and heralded by Jesus.
It seems to me that there are basically two marks of the kingdom, two identifiers if you like. One of these is Baptism and the other is the Eucharist. Baptism is the starting place liturgically for most Christians even today, that place where we turned away from evil and turned to Christ. The moment we repented and moved to embrace Christ in his death and resurrection.
But this liturgical event took place in the past. However week by week many of us still gather for the Eucharist, the meal of the kingdom so it is to this meal that I would like to return to over these weeks to draw out from its familiar words the inheritance which is our in the Kingdom.
On this All Saints Sunday where better to start than the concluding words which we actually say altogether. The words which affirm the life of the saints, words which individually tie us in with the key players and founding forebears whose fruits we taste today.
“Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body, to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love, until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.”
The Eucharist is the “feast of the kingdom” and yet it is all too easy to approach this meal as if we were eating alone. As if others around the table do not matter to us.
Receiving the bread and wine of the kingdom is however necessarily a private moment. But a private moment need not be a moment of insularity.
We live in a society which is more and more dominated by the individual. “My rights” “I deserve” I want”, I need, etc.
Writing in the Press and Journal recently Ron Ferguson writes about Narcissism. Perhaps a condition sadly contagious. Narcissus in Greek mythology, saw his own reflection and fell in love with it.
It is easy to see how it would be possible to see the world exclusively from our own point of view. As if others past and present hardly mattered or didn’t matter at all.
On Friday night we went to see the new Bond movie at Mareel. As the plot thickened I caught these words spoken by M “Your past will be as non existent as your future”. True enough they were spoken to the vilen of the plot but never the less the thought of this prospect is the driving force of narcissism.  
Our feast is one where not only ourselves but others do matter, both past and present, and our prayer brings this fact out quite strongly indeed.
The Kingdom of which we are apart is all the stronger because it is not just me and God here but the body (us) And conversely we believe  that the “body,” “the kingdom”, is all the stronger because I am here.
Later on in the Bond movie M quotes Tennyson’s “Ulysses” and defiantly says speaking on behalf of the “goodies”
“Moved earth and heaven, …that which we are, we are;
 One equal temper of heroic hearts,
 Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
 To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. “  
This is the foundation of All Saints, the countless nameless individuals who have played and still play their part in the “Kingdom” today.
Each of us individually matter. We each play a vital roll. The food we eat is for our own journey in faith. It is to make us stronger, more committed, wiser, more prayerful and more loving people.
The You and I matter not just to God but to each other. By sharing the cup together and breaking the bread together we are promising to be there for each other even if the journey into the wilderness is long and in unchartered territory.
Narcissism, the curse of modern society, according to Ron Ferguson, is about self promotion. 
We pray, that the Holy Spirit will overshadow us that we may be renewed in the service of the Kingdom. We are not here to promote the self, or to even love the self. We are here because of our part in something beyond the self. God.
We come to the Eucharist  because we see in this meal which we share a feeding on the Body and Blood of Jesus. We pray that this bread and wine will become the body and blood of Christ.
Our hands will soon reach out and take what God offers. Our mouths will taste the wine of the new kingdom and we will individually be refreshed.
What is more however as we are refreshed we ourselves become the body of Christ in the world today.
We become what we eat. Our identity becomes that of God in each of us.
What a powerful and significant moment this eating and drinking should be for us. However we see this happening it cannot take away the significance of the happening.
We are the body of Christ, by one Spirit we are baptised into one body, let us share his peace.
We meet in Christ’s name…….