Friday, August 08, 2014

A change

I have not deserted you!
But as I have now moved from Coromandel Valley I am now blogging from "A little bit Moore" the address being   
Am enjoying the beginning of this engaging  ministry at St Mary Magdalene's, Adelaide...why not come and visit us on Sunday at 9 a.m....contemporary Anglo Catholic    or 10.30....Traditional yet modern bells and smells!
I also still maintain my personal blog   but have not been too regular of late. Will try to do better
New parish is good, worship is good.
And I get tired!

Monday, June 30, 2014

The third part Will you let me answer prayer in you?

there was a certain irony that my last service at Coromandel Valley was evensong
but, whilst admitting  that the third part of the story was that I was going to have to trust God...and I was a bit frightened about the challenges ahead...
I preached about two songs Lord your love our life is forming....( by a significant SA song writer viz. me!!!) and TheSummons.  in particular ...the line that I have been finding increasingly significant of late
Will you let me answer prayer in you, and you in me?
it is  a mystery I hope I am growing into. discovering more and more how   God is forming me through love, and prayer...both small and big is being answered.
I will post the full text tomorrow

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Three last things-Part the 2nd -The politcal sermon

Readings are Genesis 21:8-21, Psalm 86, Romans 6:1-11. Matthew 10:24-39
The story of Hagar’s mal-treatment at the hands of Sarah should serve to remind us of how easily we victimise the weak and the frail.
It would be remiss of me to leave this parish
and not to remind us
of the cruelty that we so readily accept 
as being acceptable in our society.
Sarah is deeply jealous of Hagar (her servant/slave) so she tells Abraham to get rid of her.
To send her out into the desert.....
it is a death sentence.
Are we do anything better in the way we allow our political leaders to treat those who seek asylum.
This week the High Court struck down our government’s pretence to be just. The so-called limitation of permanent protection visas
It said, in effect that we cannot just say we will limit our obligation to care.
In a family, for example, 
we would say under this sort of decision 
I will look after 4 of my 6 children.
Well the High Court said...this is not on...and I think we would probably agree. I know I do.

So now, we go back to the even more unjust system.
We will only give “temporary protection”. This means 
We will never guarantee permanent resettlement
We will never allow families to be reunited.
And in fact we may decide that the rules are different in August
than they are today.
One of the things we do know is that this so-called “temporary protection visa”
is regarded by highly regraded psychiatrists and psychologists, and other health professionals
involved in traumatic stress counselling
 and  psychological illness amongst refugees
 as the most serious source of 
in the hearts of the already stressed broken

We are saying to Hagar
Go over there and sit by the well
and hope that something turns up!

The psychiatrists tells us that this is recipe for madness!

WE have solved the Boat Problem
The cost has been the lives
stability, and mental health 
of those we have chosen to torture 
by our inhumanity.

If we go away from this place today feeling everything is OK
Then I hope we might also remember 
that Hagar  or Achmal is sitting over there
and for them
it is not OK.

What looks like  permanent or even a temporary solution is often 
ease for us

Out of sight out of mind.   
It may mean ease for us.....but death and suffering for others.

Is this the sort of world community that we believe God calls us to live in

I don’t want to pretend that any of this is easy.
But I also don’t think that we should pretend
that the political jiggery pokery
is satisfactory
there is a real sense in which 
we are being told 
Should we adopt the worst solution
or the next worst solution.

I hope that we, as Christians 
might rather be able to say.
“Well actually...let’s not do the worst but the BEST
and if not that then the next BEST.
Treat people with dignity, respect and unto others...etc.etc.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bigger and better sin

Proper 7 (12) June 22, 2008 Genesis 21:8-21;(Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17) Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39 -These are some of the readings that can be considered for today

The epistle to the Romans is a cracker!
It is worth sitting down and reading it all in one sitting

I did this once and suddenly I got it!
God is not out to get us!
God actually wants the best for us!

This gives you a better sense of the masterly nature of Paul's discussion.

One of the curious literary devices we come across is his use of "By no means!"
I always chuckle at this
because it seems he lets us see his inner struggle some what.
When he has argued himself into a corner,
and we might be compelled to get the wrong idea
he has to turn us round and steer us back in the right direction.

So then...he says am I saying that everything is so hopeless that there is no point in even trying...this is exactly what he has argued
And he asserts 

So we read today:

6:1b Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?
6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?

Paul has been arguing that one of the greatnesses of God's love to us
is that we are not left to cope with sin by ourselves

In fact he says it is when things are really tough 

that God really cuts in
in fact :

where sin increases, grace abounds all the more,
God's response to us is not to reject us when we sin
but to equip us all the more.
So that we can fight back.
Paul, is no doubt relying on his own experience,
he understands that when he is weakest,
when failure is all too evident
then, he finds that, the grace of God is even stronger.

This is a key insight.
Not that God is trying to catch us out.
But that God is trying to encourage us..

When we allow ourselves 

to embrace this spirit
then that is our experience too.
You see, God is not trying 

to beat us over the head with a stick,
we are not being smacked 

because we are naughty.

We begin from the starting point 

that God loves us
and wants the best for us.
The love of God understands
that sin diminishes us
it actually makes our life worse.
And so, Paul is telling us:
God pours all the resources he can
into enabling us to struggle with this sin.
He has given us the life of his Son
and we are talking here 

about the constant giving of the Holy Spirit
to enable us to progress in the war with sin.

So we might joke (as Paul does)
this fantastic inpouring of the Holy Spirit
is so good for us
that maybe we should sin all the more!
so that God might give us this Spirit.

But to view it like that is a joke.
The serious point is
that God wants to deal with sin
for our good
because God loves us

Dealing with sinSo might we get the point
that if God takes our sin seriously
then so should we.
We often deal with sin
by ignoring it
and yet Paul is telling us here
that it is so important
that God throws everything He has got at it.
We need to see 

that there is a serious invitation here
if God thinks sin is worth this effort
then perhaps we need to see that too.

It is where we sin, 

that the potential for God's grace abounds!

Where I lie, where I hurt others, where I betray, where I steal....
it is exactly at this bad points
that God abounds!

This seems a contradiction to us,
but it is going to be at the points
where we lie, cheat, steal and do not love.

That we encounter God.

Should we then lie more, hate even harder.

By no means!
God is active.
At His most active.
Can we cooperate with this Spirit?
And throw our energies into it?

This week:
Where is God inviting you to act decisively with sin in your life?
Pick one thing  where you are going to cooperate with God and seek to let God deal with it.
This will not be easy,but God will equip you all the more.
Pray for that equipping

Are we serious about our discipleship? 

Then let us be serious where God is most active.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

New title for this blog

I guess most readers will know that I am about to move but I will continue to use my personal blog ( even though I have been a bit remiss of late. It is however my intention to blog there in the last couple of weeks about two things:
  1. The glory of moving !
  2. The 18 years I have spent in this parish
 THIS BLOG has been amore systematic blog on which I put my weekly musings in homiletic form This is called Coromandel Preachings...(here  ) obviously this isn't going to be an appropriate title when I leave this parish. And there are only three Sunday morning sermons left to go, and one Evensong .
I am calling these the three last one! Anyway  I am looking for suggestions for a new title as I move to St Mary Magdalenes.
I will migrate the content to a  new blog. A new priest might like to take over coromandel preachings...or not.  Either is fine
Any suggestions for a title for my new homiletic blog? (email me

BYE the BYE 
This latter blog has been  available from time to time in hard copy.
In a moment of naughtiness this hard copy was titled tongue in cheek The Strumpet....I did this mainly to see if anyone even read it and would comment.
It took 6 weeks before someone asked me if I knew what "strumpet" meant!
One of my churchwardens jumped to my defence and said she thought it was short for Stephen's Trumpet!
So it became the 'sTrumpet.
I will still continue to produce it in that format, if you want hard copy of it in these last weeks also email me (
 Indeed if you want to continue receiving after I leave the parish then that's fine too

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Three last things....part the 1st. On Being One

Trinity Sunday June 15 2014 Genesis 1:1-2:4a Psalm 8 II Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20 in the APBA lectionary Exodus 34:1-8 can also be used

We are fortunate in our parish to lead a relatively harmonious and trouble free life.
This is part of the privilege and the luxury of living with religious freedom
in Western democracy
Not everyone in the world does.
We do not live without ridicule,
nor should we;
most of the ridicule heaped on us
is because we are ridiculous.
And behave in foolish and petty ways.
Sometimes our behaviour has been shameful
unloving, unkind
and certainly unChristlike

Sometimes people have said to me: "It must be difficult having two churches."
I have not found it to be so.
I usually quickly say: We are one parish with two buildings
This is a wise decision this parish made many years ago
when Diocesan rules and regulations were changed.

This decision to be ONE is very Trinitarian.
Though made up of a number of different entities, people, parts
even buildings
There is at our heart a UNITY.
The UNITY does not destroy the individuality.

We are about to enter a time of change.
For a while this will probably seem imperceptible.
But it would be good if on this Trinity Sunday
we are very clear that the UNITY that we are blessed with
is something that is Jesus's own prayer for us.
May they be One Father even as you and I are One.

When we are tempted to say "I am an All Hallows person"
or "I am a St John's person".....that may be true at a shallow level

But it is very secondary to what we need to also remember...
...I am actually called to be a Godly person, a Jesus person, a Spirit-filled person.

Do not allow the temptations: to impose our own will, to manipulate,
to become wishy washy, to play games.
Sometimes just imperceptible. Sometimes unknowing.
This (what we call interregnum)
is actually not a time to slacken off
or lessen support for the UNITY of the parish.
But rather to pray earnestly:
For the parish
For each other
and for a new priest

That we may all be ONE
Children of the same Father, a Jesus person, open to the new and gracious leading of the Spirit

This is always a prayer for every day of the life of a Christian community
 ...but particularly at this slightly trickier part of the journey.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What is this Trinity stuff about?

Trinity Sunday June 15 2014 Genesis 1:1-2:4a Psalm 8 II Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20 in the APBA lectionary Exodus 34:1-8 can also be used

In the embarrassment of riches that this season affords
we move from the great story of Easter, Ascension
and then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
to today being invited to put all this into context
with a focus on the community of God
The community that we call the Trinity.

In an idea that I quite like, 

Archbishop William Temple
says that we need the doctrine of the Holy Trinity
it helps us not fall into the trap of having an idea of God
that is too small.

Temple also says, reminding us that The Trinity is about the worship of God,

Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God.
It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, nourishment of mind by His truth, purifying of imagination by His beauty, opening of the heart to His love, and submission of will to His purpose.
And all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of human expressions of which we are capable.
from his Readings in St John's Gospel

While we often think that this doctrine is hard to understand
At the heart of it is the idea that God is love
that love is about community
and that God is constantly seeking to embrace us
and bring us into this community of love
Temple, a most striking figure of the 20th Century search,
reminds us that love in this community will be about justice
for all humanity
and of creating a society which cares for the most vulnerable

So the language that is used to talk about God
is relational
We talk (after St Augustine) of a Father, a Son
and of a Spirit which flows out from them
their relationship being so profound
that the Spirit effectively issues as a different persona
empowering us 

and always seeking to draw us into the circle of life
(the circle, or three interlocking circles is often used to symbolise the Trinity)
This idea is not without difficulty
but it does serve to give us the sense
that God is relational
that God is communitythat God is love.

It is the same God who is the Father of Jesus
who is declared himself to be our Father

(We would also want to invite discussion today
about God our Mother)
It is the same God who is the Son of the Father/Mother
who says to us you too are the sons and daughters of my Father
you are my sisters and brothers
It is the same God who is the Holy Spirit
who says my love for you is so real
that I am always drawing you into community with me.

God is calling us to be part of the same community
That Father-Son-and Spirit share
It is not a closed shop
Our fulness of life
comes from being in communion with God.
God is sharing  life with us
God is sharinglove with us.

Does this make a difference?
The Trinity initiates us into the idea
that God is actually in relationship with us
that God loves us
and that we are invited into community with God.

When Jesus speaks to his disciples (as we read today)
and suggests that they should spread the Good News
he is saying that all people can be drawn into the life of God
and this will liberate and enliven them

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

invitation is to be drawn into the life of God
 responsibility is to live in the Spirit of God's life
and the 
promise is that God will be with us for ever

We might go on to say that the expectation is 

that this will change our life
We are after all being drawn into the circle of God's life
So transforming is this experience
that we will want to share it with others.

This is NOT some difficult doctrine
this is the centre of our faith experience

If you want your life changed, enriched, transformed
then it is done by allowing yourself to become a daughter, a son
a sister and a brother
In relationship with God.
Our Christian understanding is that the Trinity is always
seeking to draw us into closer and more personal relationship.
This is perhaps rather different from Judaism and Islam.

This week
  1. Pray each day to be aware that God wants me to be drawn into the community of love and service which is the Holy Trinity
  2. Dedicate yourself each day to seek  fervently to be more & to be closer to God
  3. Is there one person who you can tell this week that God desires them to be close to their life also? Why not tell them or discuss this with them?
O Holy Trinity
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Your love for me overflows
and draws me in
I seek to be in the circle of love
may I share this love with others too.
O Gracious Holy Trinity

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The falling of the Spirit

Readings for Whitsunday or Pentecost, June 8 2014; Numbers 11:24-30; *Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:24-34,I Corinthians 12:3b-13; John 20:19-23
Anglicans like candles! In fact people like candles
they are such a warm symbol
and so multi-layered in imaginal links

At Easter a principal symbol in many Churches
is the Paschal or Easter candle
which is marked in various ways at the Great Vigil.
With Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet) , the number of the year, the sign of the cross,
and often including five nails.
It burns for the great 50 days which conclude today 
with the feast of Pentecost 
when we remember the outpouring of the Holy Spirit 
on the first disciples
What to do with with this very rich symbolic candle 
at the end of this season?
Well of course the logical thing to do is 
extinguish it!
though we do not want to give the impression 
that everything is now over and done with,
because of course it isn't!
In a way it has only just begun.
So in our churches today 
as the large candle is extinguished
individual worshipers are invited to light a personal candle of their own.
The simple idea is that the Easter Commission
is deliberately transmitted
to each individual 
as part of their baptismal responsibility.
This is, indeed, 
the movement that we trace 
in the readings today.
God pours out the Holy Spirit 
to renew the world
and to encourage 
and bless the community of faith
in order that they may bring 
the hope of Christ to the world.
The way this Spirit works 
is that it is given to individuals
whether it be (as in Numbers) the elders of the Church
or as in Acts and I Corinthians on the individual baptised;
we are invited to appreciate 
that the gift of the Spirit
apart from being a numinous spiritual blessing
to the world or community of faith in general
is also, in practice, worked out 
in the individual giftedness of each of the baptised.
So, St Paul's idea is that
the Holy Spirit gives to each of the baptised 
an outpouring of the Spirit
which manifests itself in particular gifts
He cites a number of gifts..teaching, hospitality, prophecy, prayer, deep faith
and so on (some number these as many as 75 specific gifts)
His implication is 
that every baptised Christianis gifted in some way
and that we are to use those gifts
for the furtherance of the kingdom of God.
That is, the presence of the risen Christ
is committed to you and me
and we are gifted by the Holy Spirit
to carry on Christ's work.
We are not expected 
to pass an exam
or do a whole pile of learning
in order to do this work
we are rather required 
to use the gift that has been given.
We each need to think about
how the Spirit has lit our personal candle.
Far from the work being over 
when Easter is finished
and we extinguish the candle
it is not so much over as transferredto each of us individually.

So we can ask,
what is my particular gift?
and how am I to use it 
to further the kingdom of God?
We are given gifts, our candle is lit,
not to hide (Jesus uses this sort of image)
but for a purpose.
We do not have to get a qualification ourselves
it is more that we need to take the gift out of the box and use it.

So there are two questions for each of us
the second more important than the first,
First, what is my gift
and the second important question 
how might I use it?
The kingdom is weakened in so far
as we hide our light
or ignore it.
Our gift, be it prayer, teaching, 
almsgiving, hospitality
prophecy or what ever is to be used.
Paul is clear that not everyone has the same gift
we are not all teachers or prophets,
but we are all gifted 
as individuals and as community
with all the gifts necessary to do what God wants us to do
and to be what God wants us to be.

This week
  • Give thanks to God for the Easter mystery, and the promise that Christ has given to be with us always
  • Ask the Spirit to show you how you ahve been gifted by God, and what you are to do with that gift?
  • Pray for imagination, opportunity and courage to use the giftedness that God has given me.
We pray, this today and every day:

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me
Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

This can be hard or easy

Readings for the Sunday after the Ascension (Seventh Sunday of Easter) June 1st 2014  Acts 1:6-14 Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 I Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 John 17:1-11

Now this can either be hard or easy!
Because, either the point of the physical removal of Jesus
is an insurmountable obstacle to 21st century rational-scientific minds
or it is as easy as recognising
that in order to mature
we cannot go on having others
doing for us what we need to do for ourselves!
I opt to think, today, about the Ascension
in this latter way!

In the most obvious sense
if God wants mature men and women.

People who will have depth and understanding

then that is not achieved
by always stepping in making up for our inadequacies.

Any parent knows the truth of this.
Indeed anyone in any relationship whatsoever
needs to understand this,
we are not called to step in and make up
for the inadequacies, mistakes and failures
of others.
However well-intentioned,
this breeds immaturity and over-dependence,
rather than freedom, initiative
and sophisticated maturity.

There is a difference between supporting people in difficulty
and in not allowing people the opportunity to make their own mistakes!

The withdrawal of the physical presence of Jesus
rather than being an expression
of God's disappointment and heartbreak with the world
can and should actually be seen
as a statement of faith by God in you and me.
God believes that we have within us
the means to be effective people
God believes that we have within us
the means to be effective church
God believes that we have within us
the capacity to fail and to know that failure is not the end

This is what is going on

Two encouragements
We may feel as though this is too hard sometimes
Can we hear two things today:

That Jesus prays to the Father for our protection.

He is not assuming that it is going to be easy,
indeed the reverse would seem to be the case.
So he prays for our protection.
In the midst of difficulty
our faith requires that we bring that 'big gun' into play.
Let us not forget that God is on our side,
this is not some sort of crude lining up allies
during war
but rather seeking to draw out of you and me
Faith in God.
Perhaps we need to pray 
that prayer that one of the rulers prays
Lord I DO believe
but also help my unbelief.
feeling undersiege
is not necessarily a sign of spiritual weakness
but rather an invitation
to strengthen our faith
As we rely on faith
we learn to be faithful.

Jesus's key promise
in this time
is that he will not leave us friendless.
He promises the Holy Spirit.
We are not called to do this alone,
but rather to realise that we act out of God's power.
there is something important
about being able to ask for help.
As we seek to move and grow
we pray that God's Holy Spirit,
the Holy Spirit of Jesus himself
will cause us to move as God wants us to
and to understand as God wants us to.

And we discover what the first Christians dicovered
that in acting out of faith
our faith is increased.
In that exercising our God-given independence
we find a new sense of freedom
which opens them up 
to the gracious life of  the Spirit of Jesus.

More mysteriously, then, though Jesus is no longer
physically with us
May we have a deeper, 
profounder sense of God's abiding love.

May this be ours too

This week
  • Remember to commit yourself deliberately to God's care and protection as you seek to be more faithful
  • Pray deliberately for the Holy Spirit to guide, encourage and lead you