Sermons & Blog

School for Love

When my son was just a little guy, I used to coach Initiation hockey. Initiation was for 4 to 6 year olds, most of whom were learning to skate for the first time. I remember the first session we had. The parents were all in the dressing room, bundling their little darlings into bulky hockey equipment and tying up their skates. The kids were excited. And when the ice was ready, and they were ready, I told them to get out there onto the ice and skate. With entirely predictable results. Most of them had their feet go right out from underneath them as soon as they hit the ice. There were kids falling everywhere, sprawled on the ice in a shotgun pattern that extended out from the door. S

Whose Image?

Today is an all-ages Sunday at St. Albans, so our reflection on the gospel is a bit different - part-drama with the children, part sermon. Here's the 'script': Gather children at front. Divide into Jesus plus three groups: Jesus: Sitting in the Temple, teaching. Pharisees: Religious authorities. Plotting to trap Jesus. Hated Jesus. Also hated Rome. Disliked the Herodians Herodians: Supporters of Herod, the puppet king appointed by Rome. Collaborators, complicit with Rome. They collected the tax. They didn’t like the Pharisees. They don’t like people like it when people like Jesus cause a disturbance and gather crowds together. Crowd (Ordinary folk): They like Jesus, think he’s a pro

The Risk of Grace

You don’t look like a very angry bunch this morning. That’s good! – but it also makes it harder for us to understand parables like this one we just heard in the Gospel of Matthew, parables of anger and judgement. To start to make sense of this wedding banquet parable, we need to find a way into the mindspace of Matthew’s community: a beleaguered, persecuted group which understood at a gut level the risk and the scandal of grace. In the world of Matthew’s community, the ones for whom Matthew is writing this gospel in the latter years of the first century AD, things have gone terribly wrong. This is a Jewish community living in the aftermath of the first Jewish-Roman War during which the Rom

Change Your Mind

What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go sir” but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? The first! God wants us to change our minds. And that’s a problem. Because changing our minds can be really hard. God wants us to change our minds. God knows that changing our mind can be really hard. And so God creates space for us to change our minds. The Father in Jesus’ parable says to the first son “go and work in the vineyard”. “I will not”. You can imagine the gas

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