Dreaming and Killing. A sermon on Acts 11:1-18.
My Mareep (or Sheep) Hear My Voice!
The Road to Damascus (A sermon on Acts 9:1-20).
Sermon by Margaret Wesley. First preached on April 7, 2012, at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.
Eater Sermon 2013. A sermon on Luke 24: 1-12. First preached at Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill on Easter Sunday, 2013.
To watch or share the video version click here.
To read or comment on the written version click here.
Partying with Jesus (A sermon on John 12:1-11)
Love is Senseless (A sermon on Luke 15:1-32).First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on March 10, 2013.
The Unsinkable Ship. A sermon on Luke 13. First preached by Rob Smith (that's right, Father Dave Smith's brother) at Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill on March 3rd, 2013.
What is this thing called love? A sermon on 1 Cor 13.
Good News for the Poor. A sermon on Luke 4:14-21.
The Wedding at Cana. A sermon by Davd Baldwin.
The Baptism of Jesus (A sermon on Luke 3: 15-22). First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on January 13, 2013.
For the written version click here.
To watch or share the video version click here.
"Teacher, What should I do?" A sermon on Luke 3:7-18.First preached by Margaret Wesley at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill December 16, 2012.
To see the video versio click here.
To read the written version click here.
Water is thicker than Blood (A sermon on Luke 2:41-49).
Mary 2012 (A sermon on Luke 1:39-55). First preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill, December 23, 2012.
Christmas 2012 (a sermon on John 1: 1-5, 14).First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on December 25, 2012.
Epiphany 2013. A sermon on Matthew 2:1-12, first preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill, on Sunday January 6, 2013.
Tidings of Comfort and Joy … NOT! (A sermon on Luke 3:1-9)
Homosexuality, the Old Testament and Today (Part 2
Rev. Keith Mascord talk on Homosexuality, the Old Testament and Today. First Preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill, on December 2, 2012.
Ruth – A Prostitute for God? (A sermon on Ruth 1:16-18). First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on November 4, 2012.To read the written version of the sermon click here.
The Healing of Bartimaeus (A sermon on Mark 10:46-52).
Whoever divorces and marries another commits adultery! (A sermon on Mark 10:2-16). A sermon by Father Dave Smith, first preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill, October 7, 2012.
Sermon by Margaret Wesley. First preached on September 23, 2012, at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.
Song of Song (M) A sermon on Song of Songs, first preached by Father Dave Smith at Holy Trinity Duliwich Hill, on August 2, 2012.
This is an excellent sermon, delivered by well-known Australian actor and one of Holy Trinity's greatest preachers - Dave Baldwin.
The Armour of God (A Sermon on Ephesians 6:10-17). First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on August 19, 2012. To read the written version of this sermon click here.
Unity with Diversity (A sermon on Ephesians 4:1-6). First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on August 5, 2012. To read the written version of this sermon click here.
Uncovering the Secret! (A sermon on Ephesians 2:11-22). First preached by Father Dave Smith on July 22, 2012 at Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill. To read the written version click here.
The Death of John the Baptist (A sermon on Mark 6:14-29). First preached by Father Dave at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on July 15, 2012. To read the written version of this sermon click here.
Called to Fight, not to Win. (A sermon on Mark 6:1-6).
Now is the time! (A sermon on 2 Corinthians 6:1-13)
The Love of Christ Controls us! (A sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
This is Pentecost. A sermon on Acts 2:1-21. First preached by Father Dave Smith at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill, May 27, 2012.
3am. A sermon on the Epistles by David Baldwin. First preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich HIll, May 20, 2012.
"God has no favorites!" (A sermon on Acts 10:44-48). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on May 13, 2012.
Whinging Thomas (A sermon on John 20:24-29). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on April 15, 2012.
Finding the Infinite in the Everyday (A sermon on John 20:1-18). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on Easter Sunday; April 8th, 2012.
A Plam Sunday sermon on Mark 11:1-11. A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on April 1st, 2012.
For God so loved the World (A sermon on John 3:14-21). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on March 18, 2012.
"There are not not a lot of good reasons not to not following Jesus … NOT!" (A sermon on 1 Cor). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on March 11, 2012.
Transfiguration – for a 21st Century faith. (A Sermon on Mark 9). First preached by Keith Macrod on February 19, 2012, at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. To read the written version of this sermon click here.
"Before I was a Muslim I was a Christian". (A sermon on Genesis 9:8-17). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on February 26, 2012.
A sermon on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, first preached by Father Dave on February 13, 2012 at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.
Another Miracle (A sermon on Mark 1:29-39). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on February 5, 2012.
There’s something fishy about Jonah! (A Sermon on Jonah 3:1-10). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on January 22nd, 2012.
A sermon on 1 Samuel 3:1-10, first preached by Father Dave on November 15, 2012 at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.
John the Baptist meets Eminem Mark 1:1-8
A sermon on Matthew 25, first preached by Father Dave on November 20, 2011 at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.
A sermon on Matthew 25, first preached by Father Dave on November 13, 2011 at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.
Charism & Power (Matthew 23:8-12). A sermon by Father Dave Smith of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill. First preached on Oct 30, 2011.
A sermon on Matthew 22, first preached by Father Dave on October 16, 2011 at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.
A sermon by Father Dave. First preeched on October 23rd, 2011 at Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill.
I remember David Sheppard, the once Bishop of Liverpool, pointing out that our traditional Western image of justice is of a woman holding a set of scales in her hands, and she is blindfolded, so that she can show no partiality. Sheppard pointed out that the God of the Bible is never depicted that way – with his eyes blindfolded or closed. On the contrary, His eyes are always open! He sees our need. And He acts, not according to some abstract concept of what is fair, but with a very real sense of the needs of each of those He loves.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells us about a farmer who sows his seeds in apparently every direction - mostly not where we would expect a farmer to focus his best efforts. But perhaps we can see in this a reflection of our own efforts (and their outcomes) in following Jesus...
When the Spirit came to the disciples in a dramatic scene, they began to speak in the languages of many different cultures and nationalities, who were all gathered together in Jerusalem. What can this tell us about the founding of the Church?
'Famous last words' often stand out in our memory, and this is true for the disciples' at 'the last discourse' of Jesus - which accounts for almost a quarter of the Book of John. Perhaps most unique about the words Christ chose to leave his discples with during the last supper was His focus on us rather than Himself.
As Jesus' followers had spent much of his ministry trying to understand and keep up with him, they may have been forgiven for thinking that they would at least reach some form of closure after his death. Instead they find that more surprises and unpredictability lie ahead.
As those around him search for a religious explanation for the man who was born blind - something to justify or make sense of the man's condition in keeping with their understanding of God - Jesus simply (and without a lot of flourish) sets about the work of healing the blind man.
Recent events help to illustrate how the issues we encounter in St Paul's Letter to the Romans are as relevant to us today as they were 2,000 years ago.
When Jesus tells us that, "No one can serve two masters", this is all too often taken as a recommendation or an ideal, rather than a simple statement of fact. So why is it not possible for us to serve both God and mammon?
Jesus' Sermon on the Mount contains some of the most inspirational words ever spoken, yet it also contains exhortations to self-mutilation and an unforgiving attitude to those struggling experiencing marital breakdown. Was there a darker side to Jesus, or do we need to take a deeper look at what this sermon is really saying?
As Father Dave looks back on the last 20 years of what has been a unique ministry at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill, Sydney, he draws parallels between his experience and the message given to Nicodemus in John3:7-16. The Spirit continues to move with us, often when and where we least expect, calling us to re-evaluate the limits of our understanding of God and His love.
Jesus' Beatitudes are often cited as some of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, but does anybody really know what it means to be poor in spirit?
To this day, there is much debate as to why Jesus chose fishermen amongst his first disciples, including Peter. In this passage we see Jesus recruit some fishermen to become his followers, telling them he will make them "Fishers of men".
While it might seem crazy to have the remembrance of the stoning of Stephen at this time of year, so close to Christmas, we can find in this text a related theme of the birth of Christianity when we look at the values, faith and hope that Stephen lived and died for.
On Christmas Day, as we reflect upon the birth of Jesus, John's narrative reminds us of the extraordinary presence of God in what might otherwise be seen as ordinary everyday events.
As today's passage tells us about the origins of Jesus, it is worthwhile to focus on how the nature of Christ, being both God and man, is central to our Christian beliefs and the key to understanding our relationship not only with God, but with each other in the Holy Spirit.For it is through the earthly life, suffering, and even death of Jesus, that all of our own human experiences are closely connected with God Himself.
As Father Dave looks back on the last 20 years of what has been a unique ministry at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill, Sydney, he draws parallels between his experience and the message given to Nicodemus in John3:7-16. The Spirit continues to move with us, often when and where we least expect, calling us to re-evaluate the limits of our understanding of God and His love.
A departure from the regular format! We established a live video link over the internet (via Skype) with Father Elias in Holland, so that he could be our guest preacher.
In volatile times, when it is easy for us to become overwhelmed, today's passage reminds us that we can focus our faith and our hope upon the eternal kingship of Christ - through whom "all things hold together".
This parable from Luke seems to have all the classic conventions of a joke being told - two natural antagonists find themselves in uncomfortably close proximity and in the exchange that follows, one of them comes off second best. Might the real punchline be that at times, this joke is on us?
Though the ritual of prayer may at times seem repetitious and even appear to go unanswered, in this parable Jesus illustrates the importance of persistence in prayer.
In this reading, Jesus calls his followers to action for the sake of duty, rather than to wait for signs or rewards to be bestowed upon us for doing the work that God has called us to do.
"Even if someone should rise from the dead they will not believe" (Luke 16:31).
The events of September 11, 2001, took place on the other side of the world nine years ago now, yet the aftermath and reaction continue to affect us here in Australia to this day. As Christians, how should we deal with the suspicions and divisions still being evoked by the memory of 9/11?
“Now large crowds were travelling with Jesus. He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as his own life, he can't be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
One Sabbath, when [Jesus] went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?" But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, "Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?" And they could not reply to these things." (Luke 14:1-6)
On the face of this account of Jesus' healing of a crippled woman on the Sabbath, some may be tempted to see a simple (if even formulaic) story emerging - but what can we see in Christ's actions here that goes beyond a mere reinterpretation of the Law, to the very heart of the New Testament?
A sermon on Colossians 2:16-19, in which we find Paul casually telling us not to get too worked up about one of the "Big 10" - and if you're not supposed to get worked up about the 10 Commandments, what are you supposed to get worked up about?
A sermon on Galatians 5:1-12, in which Paul argues the distinction between a religious/ethnic custom and Faith working through Love.
"Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you" (Isaiah 43:4)
Dr Keith Mascord looks at the prayer and the promise of Jesus in John 16 & 17. The prayer is for unity. The promise is that the disciples will be led into all truth.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." (Revelations 21:1)
“For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1)
It's a story fo sex, lies and murder - of the absue of power and corruption in high places.
"Then they dragged [Stephen] out of the city and began to stone him... While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.
For Australian and New Zealanders, ANZAC Day is chief day of rememberance of those who have fallen in wars fought for their country. The original ANZACs fought at Gallipoli in 1915, but ANZAC Day has subsequently become a day of rememberance for those who have fallen in all wars.
"Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side. Stop doubting, but believe." Thomas answered him, saying "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Is it because you have seen me that you have believed? How blessed are those who have never seen me and yet have believed!"
My Easter Day sermon 2010
"The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" (John 8)
We can’t avoid our share of crap in life.
The problem with Jesus was that He didn’t just welcome social outcasts. He ate with them and drank with them! And He didn’t just eat and drink with these prodigals when they returned home. He ate and drank with them when they were still very much sinners!
“Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.” (Luke 9: 28)
The wilderness temptations of Jesus - the story is recorded in three of the four Gospels, and every year at the beginning of Lent we remember this story.
"If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." (1 Corinthians 15:19)
"But Jesus never said, 'Blessed are the poor'. He said, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit!'"
When Jesus launches his earthly ministry in the synagogue at Nazareth he does so, according to the Gospel of Luke, by proclaiming "Good News to the Poor".
It never ceases to amaze me that so many of Christ's followers are against alcohol consumption when Jesus Himself clearly drank a lot, and even gained a reputation as a drunkard!
‘Christian Family Values’ tend to be advocated strongly by those who are most voacl about sticking to what the Bible says. The irony though is that the Bible actually has very little to say about the significance of the nuclear family, and in terms of the childhood family of Jesus, one snippet from Luke chapter 2 is all that we get. Further, this passage hardly gives us a model we would want our families to emulate!
It's a well-known story, and maybe our familiarity with the nativity scene blinds us to its scandalous nature.
Visiting preacher, Hannie Hoffman, gives our Advent Sunday sermon for 2009, entitled, "Unexpectd Journeys"
A sermon for the last Sunday of the Christian year - the feast of Christ the King.
He emerges from the background shadows of the nativity scene each year at the beginning of the Christmas season - that most unlikely Yuletide messenger, John the Baptist!
"Jesus said 'Do you see these great buildings?' Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.'" (Mark 13:2)
Pastor Rob Buckingham and his wife Christie have been Senior Ministers of Bayside Church in Melbourne since its inception in 1992.
Bayside isa high-profile Pentecostal church, and pastor Rob's exhortation to show love and acceptance to members of the gay and lesbian communities has been hailed as 'ground-breaking'.
Rev. David Watlkins offers a rather radical interpretation of the story of the widdow who donated 'all that she had' to the temple treasurey - a story recorded in Mark 12:41-44
My sermon on the story of Ruth (as given in the book of Ruth). This sermon was given on 'All Saints Day', and Ruth seemed like an odd saint to speak on. She's not the most spectacular of Biblical heroes, especially when compared to some of her contemporaries in those ancient days of the 'Judges'. Yet the story fo Ruth presents us with something that transends the ages. It's a timeless story of love and devotion. And maybe that's what 'saintliness' is all about.
Rev. Peter Archer from World Vision Australia speaks about the ongoing reality of the human slave trade, using Jesus' declaration of the Jubilee in Luke 4 as his Biblical starting point.
A wise man once taught me that every complex problem always has a simple answer, and it's always the wrong answer.
Suffering is hard enough to come to terms with at an existential level, but it presents us with a complex theological problem too. Why does God allow so much suffering to take place?
Job is a large book (even by Biblical standards) and it focuses entirely on this question and yet the answer Job comes up with seems so unsatisfactory, unless we have misunderstood it?
When many of his disciples heard this, they said, "This is a difficult statement. Who can accept it?" But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you saw the Son of Man going up to the place where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life... That's why I told you that no one can come to me unless it be granted him by the Father." (John 6:60-63,65)
Jesus' offensive dialogue concludes with him losing disciples like an autumn tree shedding leaves. "This is a difficult statement" His followers say, and indeed it is! And Jesus, instead of responding by trying to simplify his teachings, tells them that they will never comprehend Him anyway unless God allows them to.
It all sounds rather unfair - incomprehensible even? And while I can't promise to make sense of it all, you can hear my thoughts by clicking on the play button.
Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness and died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. And the bread I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." (John 6:48-51)
Thus begins one of the most distasteful dialogues that we ever hear from Jesus, where he exhorts the crowd to eat his flesh and drink his blood!. "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" the crowd ask, and it's a good question. You can hear my thoughts by clicking the play button below.
"How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" .. and how hard it is for us to accept this teaching at face value. How hard it is for us to accept that we can't serve two maters but that love of Jesus excludes love of worldly wealth.
Jesus said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Why is it that the most judgemental, self-righteous, intolerant and unsympathetic people always seem to be church members?
Well, perhaps it all starts here, in this passage in Mark 10, in the apparently inflexible, intolerant and judgemental statements of Jesus Himself - that marriage is forever and that ‘whoever divorces his or her partner and marries another commits adultery against them‘!, or perhaps Jesus has been completely misunderstood.
"My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away." (Song of Solomon 2:10-13)
When it comes to the church's attitude towards sex words such as 'uncomforrtable', 'disapproving' and 'conservative' come to mind. And yet there is an entire book in the Bible devoted to celebrating the joys of sexual love, where the tone is anything but disapproving and uncomfortable!
Not surprisingly, many in the church have wondered what to do with the 'Song of Songs'. Click the play button and form your own conclusion.
"And he took a little child, and set him in the midst of them: and taking him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such little children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. " (Mark 9:36-37)
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Jesus and His relationship with children is simply the fact that He always seemed to have them around about Him!
Ironicaly, in this story we find Jesus trying to have some quiet time with His disciples, and yet there always seems to be a child within reach! And not only does Jesus here welcome the child. He identifies Himself with children in their vulnerability!
"Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, Jesus rebuked Peter, saying, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not thinking God's thoughts but human thoughts!" " (Mark 8:32-33)
How did the Apostle Peter manage to go from being 'the rock' upon which Jesus was going to build his church, to being 'Satan' all in the same breath!
Clearly, following Jesus can be a difficult and confusing path to choose. Perhaps that's why Jesus was so keen that His disciples count the cost before getting involved.
(first preached at Holy Trinity in September 2009)
"Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison. And Rebekah loved Jacob." (Genesis 25:28)
The story is of the two brothers - Jacob and Esau - that we read of in Genesis, beginning at chaper 25. Clearly part of the problem for the two brothers was that one was dad's favourite child whereas the other was mum's!
As parents we generaly try hard not to play favourites, yet it seems that in this story not only is Jacob mum's favourite, but he is God's favourite as well!
First preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill in September 2009, this is Keith Mascord's sensitive attempt to handle this difficult question.
When they had found [Jesus] on the other side of the sea, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus replied to them, "Truly, truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate the loaves and were completely satisfied. (John 6:25-26)
A wise person once told me:
* What we see depends on what we are looking at.
* What we hear depends on who we are listening to
* And the answers we receive in life depend largely on the questions we ask
Perhaps that's the key to understanding why Jesus is so rough with these guys who ask him a very simple question - When did you get here?' It appears that they were asking the wrong question.
Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was plenty of grass in that place. So the men sat down, numbering about 5,000. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were seated. He also distributed the fish, as much as they wanted. (John 6:10-11)
It had to be one of Jesus' most spectacular miracles, and is probably the best remembered. Even so, it has to be one of the most pointless uses Jesus ever made of his miraculous powers! No one is saved from death through this miracle. No souls are saved and no one is healed. So why does Jesus bother? You'll get my answer by clicking the play button.
"Jesus left that place and went back to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were utterly amazed. They said, "Where did this man get all these things? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What great miracles are being done by his hands! This is the builder, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon, isn't it? His sisters are here with us, aren't they?" And they were offended by him." (Mark 6:1-4)
The relationship between Jesus and his earthly family was always a tricky one. At times it seemed that both were an embarrassment to the other!
Why is it that familiarity always seems to breed contempt? How would we have felt about Jesus had we known HIm all His earthly life? And is the modern quest for the 'historical Jesus' a genuine attempt to know HIm better, or rather an attempt to de-mystify the impenetrable aspects of His character?
"A violent windstorm came up, and the waves began breaking into the boat, so that the boat was rapidly becoming swamped. But Jesus was in the back of the boat, asleep on a cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care that we're going to die?" (Mark 4:37-38)
The story is recorded in Mark 4, and of course it has a rather spectacular ending, and yet it's always befuddled me somewhat how Jesus managed to remain asleep in a boat that was filling with water, though in the end, this is only one of a number of confusing questions raised by this passage
In truth, I wasn't particularly happy with this sermon, but I've included it this week because so many others seemed to really enjoy it. I suspect that's because so many of us are traversing life's storms
‘We believe in God’. That’s how our creed began today. That’s why we meet here today isn’t it, because we all believe in God?
Some people still consider it quite an admirable thing to believe in God. Others still see it as a sign of weakness. Certainly ‘believing in God’ is not as outdated as it used to be.
Nowadays people are much more spiritual than they used to be, say, a generation ago. Whereas a generation or so ago it was popular to believe that science had finally pushed back the frontiers of mystical belief to the point where belief in God was no longer necessary, nowadays God is back in fashion, and not only God but also angels and all sorts of spiritual beings and cosmic forces and truths which are out there.
Spiritual is ‘in’, but church is still ‘out’. Gods and angels and mystical realities are popular topics of conversation nowadays, but the traditional Christian concepts associated with these things – repentance, grace, and self-sacrifice are not quite so popular. Even words such as ‘holy’ and ‘trinity’ may well be welcomed into conversation at the average dinner party, but a debate over the traditional doctrine of the Trinity will probably not be quite so welcome.
What is so unpleasant about the doctrine of the Trinity that we avoid discussing it?
Father Dave's sermon on Revelation 21 - the promise of a new Heaven and a new Earth (part 2).
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.
Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
Now after [the wise men] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt,
and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night,
and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I
have called my son.”
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two
years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.
"Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to
be with child from the Holy Spirit. (19) Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her
quietly. (20) But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to
take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. (21) She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his
people from their sins.”
"Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep.
But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew
up and choked the plants. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty." And Jesus concluded, "Listen, then, if you have ears!"
This parable is probably an old friend to many of us, but it is rather unique amongst the parables of Jesus, in part because it is one of the few that Jesus takes the time to explain to His disciples.
This might suggest that there is little need or room for interpretation, yet it is my opinion that most people get this parable back to front.
Somehow Father Elias manages to pull something prrofound out of this ancient story of cheating and greed.
My most popular sermon of all time. For the last 10 years, at least one person every day has been reading this sermon on my website :-)
A sermon on Matthew 16: 13-25 - the passage where Peter identifies Jesus as the Christ. In the first part of the passage, Peter identifies Jesus as 'the Christ' and Jesus not only commends Peter but states that "upon this rock I will build my church". In the second part of the passage, Peter gets into a disagreement with Jesus, and Jesus ends up calling him Satan! Here is Father Dave's perspective
From Matthew Chapter 15: A Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But Jesus did not answer her a word... But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." This isn't the end of the story of course. Even so, it's one of the most disturbing passages in the Bible, as Jesus seems to rubbish this poor woman who comes to Him for help. The story is sensitively unravelled by Dr Keith Mascord for us. Indeed, his is the best treatment of this text I have yet heard.
A sermon on Matthew 16: 13-25 - the passage where Peter identifies Jesus as the Christ. In the first part of the passage, Peter identifies Jesus as 'the Christ' and Jesus not only commends Peter but states that "upon this rock I will build my church". In the second part of the passage, Peter gets into a disagreement with Jesus, and Jesus ends up calling him Satan! Here is Father Elias' perspective
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his
servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited,
See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.'
But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed
them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast
as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with
"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without
a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place
there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:1-14)
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:15-21)
"Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:10)
The verse seems innocuous enough, but I do believe that in these words is demarcated a vast divide between religion that is based on love and a faith that
focuses on obedience to a set of rules.
After giving this sermon, I asked one of my learned mentors, "Have I now abandoned my Evangelical heritage?" to which he replied, "You've still got a few
steps to go, but you'll get there!"
I'll be keen to hear what others think of this one. Let me know if you think I've finally lost the plot!
Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not
say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Forgiveness isn't something that comes natural to us. If in doubt, spend some time in the boxing ring and you'll find very quickly that the natural reaction
to a good punch in the nose is not to compliment your sparring partner for his accuracy. It's to punch the bastard back! Yet forgiving people seemed to be at
the very heart of Jesus' teaching and life, and he told us a rather crazy story about forgiveness. Find out more about it by hitting the play button.
""Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased
it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took
his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them.
Finally he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let
us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes,
what will he do to those tenants?" (Matthew 21:33-40)
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers
for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said,
'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the
same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They said to him,
'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.'
And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.'
And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more,
but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you
have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did
you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I
choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So the last will be first, and the first last." (Matthew 20:1-16)
And Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" (John 2:13-25)
This depiction of Jesus is a long way from the 'gentle Jesus, meek and mild' that we are probably more familiar with. We see Him here, both sleeves rolled up, brandishing his whip and creating complete chaos in the temple! Is this really Jesus, the Prince of Peace? How do we reconcile these conflicting images? Are we really comfortable following a saviour who is capable of this sort of violence?
"The crowd rushed together and was startled because each one heard the disciples speaking in his own language.
Stunned and amazed, they asked, "All of these people who are speaking are Galileans, aren't they? So how is it that each one of us hears them speaking in his own native language? We are Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the district of Libya near Cyrene, and visitors from Rome. We are Jews, proselytes, Cretans, and Arabs. Yet we hear them telling in our own tongues the great deeds of God!" (Acts 2:5-11)
This is the story of how the church began, with the author of the story giving us this almost tedious list of the different countries of origin represented in the crowd. A point is being made - that everybody was there and that everyone is invited to join the community.
Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it.Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
The passage above is the 'action section' of the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem - an event we celebrate each year on the Sunday before Easter.
I refer to it as the 'action section' because most of the verses in the larger passage (Mark 11:1-11) revolve around the preparations that were made by Jesus and His disciples to allow this 'triumphal entry' to take place - all of which point to the fact that the event was very deliberately staged.
This got me thinking about why Jesus would bother to stage such an event when he knew it would get Him into trouble with the authorities?
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Ciaron O'Reilly not only spoke to the week's Gospel reading. He embodied it. If you've not familiar with Ciaron and his history of radical anti-war activism, I'd encourage you to watch the video interview later in the ezine first. In this 20-minute homily, Ciaron gives some of the details of his famous actions and arrests, and shares his perspective on the relationship between war, terrorism, and social oppression.
"And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone ..." But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news..." (Mark 1:40-45)
I wasn't happy with last Sunday's sermon so I've included an old favourite today instead that has never been published online before.
It's the story recorded in Mark chapter 1, where Jesus shows that He has the power to heal a person with leprosy yet, at the same time, seems to be completely incapable of keeping the healed man quiet!
"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:14-15)
I think I got a bit lost with this sermon, dare I say like a stray sheep that strayed from the plot. Even so, as in the Psalm, I eventually found my way back home.
Thomas, one of the twelve, who was called the Twin, wasn't with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he told them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger into them, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe!"
Thus begins the well-known story of 'doubting Thomas' - a story about a man who seemed to be obsessed with the idea of touching the injured parts of Jesus' body!
What was behind Thomas' seemingly macabre obsession? Why did he so want to touch Jesus' injuries, and did he do it when he got the chance?
Father Dave's sermon on Revelation 21 - the promise of a new Heaven and a new Earth (part 1). http://www.fatherdave.org
A sermon on Matthew 25:1-13 by Father Elias
A sermon on Matthew 23:8-12 by Father Dave.
A sermon on Matthew 22:34-40 by Father Dave.
on:Jesus said "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?"
A sermon on the role of women in the church, with particular reference to 1 Timothy 2:11-15 by Dr Keith Mascord.
A sermon on Mark 1:29-31 by Father Dave.
A sermon on Mark 1:14-20 by Father Dave.
A sermon on Matthew 2:1-12 by Father Dave.
Arguably Father Dave's most controversial sermon of all time!
According to Romans 13:8, "the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." If we take this literally though, what happens to all the other rules and regulations in Scripture?
"Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have always taken real comfort and strength from these healing words of Jesus. And yet there is a deep irony in Jesus' invitation to the weary. As Martin Luther said, "Only Jesus would invite the heavy-laden to take on another yoke".
Is it really Jesus' role to relieve us of all our cares, as so many modern-day preachers suggest, or could it be that He rather exchanges our useless burdens for ones that are worth bearing?
Here's my take on one of the most disturbing stories that ever turns up in the Bible - when Abraham hears God telling him to go and make a human sacrifice of his son, Isaac (Genesis 22).
This story raises one of the fundamental religious questions - some would say THE fundamental religious question - namely, how can you know when it is God that is talking to you and not another voice?
I remember this story (from Luke 19) from my youth, and remember Zacchaeus as a small man with a big heart and a penchant for climbing trees. My goal here will be to call ALL these assumptions of my childhood into question.
* Was Zacchaeus really big-hearted?
* Did he really like climbing trees?
* Was he even really short?
To have these and other cherished assumptions called into question (and perhaps learn something new) have a listen.
Elias does his best here to preach on all three lectionary texts for the day, but my favourite insights in this sermon are in Elias' discussion on the temptation of 'perfectionism' - a favourite topic of his. Elias is of the opinion that the real division in the church is not between Protestant and Catholic or Liberal and Conservative, etc., but between those who aim at perfection and those who aim at love. See if you agree!
Jesus was often depicted by his peers as a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of society's low-life. Indeed, it seems that Jesus just didn't fit the traditional model of a 'holy man' at all. Beyond that, there were some things He said that just seem entirely irreligious!
This is a sermon on Matthew chapter 9, where we see Jesus speaking, partying and healing in ways that defied all the traditional religious categories. Is it right to even think of Jesus as 'religious'?
Many of us were brought up on the story of Noah's ark - a ripping yarn about a boat and a flood and lots of animals. But does this story have anything to say to us as adults? And it is actually a historical narrative? And does that matter? Fighting Father Keith has something to say on these issues. You might not agree with everything he says, but you're bound to find his take on this ancient story both provocative and challenging! And make sure you give Keith some feedback. His username is 'KMascord', and you'll find him in the main group members' listing.