Sermons 2019 Jan-Mar Print E-mail

Our Priest in Charge, the Rev'd Alister Hendery, is making available his sermons via this website.  Here is your opportunity to download a sermon as a Pdf file and read it at your leisure. Below are sermons from 6 January to 24 March 2019.

See other sermons here:

Sermons Latest

Sermons 2019 Jan - March

Sermons 2018 44 - 47 (Dec)

Sermons 2018 34 - 43 (Oct - Nov)

Sermons 2018 26 - 33 (Aug - Sept)

Sermons 2018 18 - 25 (May - July)

Sermons 2018 8-17 (Mar - May)

Sermons 2018 1-7 (Feb - Mar)

 

24 March 2019

In the face of suffering… Why?
Lent 3 (C)
Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9

When tragedy strikes, when we’re faced with suffering, we ask some big questions: Why – why did this happen? Why me? What’s the point of it all? Where do we go from here? How do I make sense of what’s happened? Where is God in this? Why do bad things happen to good people? And it’s tempting to give neat, tidy answers. Over these past days, in the wake of the horrific events in Christchurch, I’ve read and heard some responses that try to make it all sound very simple. Some of those responses, like that of a certain Australian politician are downright offensive. In effect they place the blame on the victims themselves. It’s an old and very tempting argument. Bad things happen to bad people. And when it’s applied theologically, it gives us a God who obeys the laws of physics. For every action there’s an opposite reaction. But in today’s Gospel passage we hear Jesus refusing to buy into that argument...

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17 March 2019

The fox and the hen
Lent 2 (C)
Luke 13:31-35

‘There was once a little red hen that lived in a house by herself in the wood. And over the hill, in a hole in the rocks, lived a sly, crafty old fox…’ It’s a classic image, and it’s one that Jesus uses in today’s Gospel reading: the sly, predatory fox and the comforting, protective hen...

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10 March 2019

The temptation to forget
Lent 1 (C)
Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13

It’s reasonable to expect the preacher on the first Sunday of Lent to talk about temptation, after all we’ve just heard about Jesus’ temptations. And, yes, I want to talk about temptation, but not about Jesus’ temptations, nor those pet temptations that we might strive to overcome this Lent. Rather, let’s think about a temptation that besets all of us. It’s the temptation to forget – to forget who we are, to forget what God has done for us, to forget where we came from and who gave us life, to forget who created us, who sustains us and makes it possible for us to be who we are and to do all that we can...

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6 March 2019 - Ash Wednesday

The gift of the heart
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

‘Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’
These words, spoken to Adam, are spoken to us today. They are uttered as ashes are placed on our foreheads in the sign of a cross.

‘Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’
They take us back to basics – back to the fact that one day we shall die – that one day our bodies shall be but dust. It’s a tough message, though we aren’t told it to make us feel awful, but to remind us of what of really matters in life – to remind us that we are God’s creatures. The way Genesis describes it – God took a handful of dust, breathed into it, and then there was life: humankindcreated by the hand of God...

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24 February 2019

A way of life that may cause some consternation
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 6:27-38

It is natural to reciprocate – to give back what you’re given. You help those who help you. You hurt those who hurt you. In other words, ‘Do unto others as they do unto you.’  It’s simple justice, and it’s been enshrined in law at least since 18th Century B.C., which is where you get the statement: ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ It’s a common-sense way to deal with life. It’s certainly more enlightened than the approach that many take today: ‘Do unto others before they do it to you.’ In other words, get in with the first strike; take it before anyone else can get it, which is how many of the powerful and wealthy get to where they are. And we see politicians operating on that premise. In such a dog-eat-dog world, the reciprocal approach is positively enlightened. It doesn’t seek to inflict injury except in cases where injury is deserved. It’s based on fairness. The bad person suffers; the good person prospers. It’s common-sense.

Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you see it), such common- sense doesn’t win the day with Jesus...

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17 February 2019 - 8am service

Challenged by an upside-down world
OS 6 (C)
Luke 6:17-26

Matthew has the Sermon on the Mount and Luke the Sermon on the Plain – for as Luke says, Jesus ‘came down with them and stood on a level place.’ As part of that there are what we call the Beatitudes – ‘Blessed are you….’ The version you’re probably most familiar with is Matthew’s, which has got eight blessings, while Luke has only four:
Blessed are you who are poor...
Blessed are you who are hungry...
Blessed are you who weep...
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you...

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10 February 2019

Calling fishy people
OS 5 (C)
Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11

It all takes place on the lake of Gennesaret, which is another name for the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is building a reputation and people want to hear what he’s got to say. On this occasion the crowd is big enough for him to have to commandeer a moored boat, and get its owner, a fisherman by the name of Simon, to put out a little from shore and use it as a floating pulpit. The shoreline at points has a series on steep inlets, with each inlet forming a natural amphitheatre. So by going just a little off shore you can talk in a natural voice, and anyone on the land can easily hear you...

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3 February 2019

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
Luke 2:22-40

Liturgically, we seem to be in a time machine. We had Jesus as a baby, then his baptism when he was about thirty – and now we go backwards to when he was forty days old as his parents perform two customary rites.

Every religion has its rituals surrounding birth. What Luke describes here are two customary Jewish rites. A month after his birth, Jesus is presented in the temple. Being the firstborn male, Mary and Joseph consecrate him to God in thanksgiving for God’s protection of Israel’s firstborn in Egypt. But Mary also needed to undergo purification, as a woman who had given birth was considered ritually unclean, which meant she couldn’t participate in the full life of the worshipping community. Luke tells us all this in a very matter of fact way. He’s showing us a family that’s devout and faithful to their God. But then the tenor of the story changes...

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20 January 2019

Abundance and extravagance
2nd Sunday of the Epiphany
Isaiah 62:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11

It all began as an ordinary small town wedding – that is, as far as a wedding can ever be ordinary. Weddings are always special occasions, and this was no exception. It probably involved the whole town and also people from neighbouring towns, which is why Mary, her son, and his friends were there. As part of the celebration there was, of course, much food, dancing, storytelling – and wine. But then the wine ran out. This wasn’t just an inconvenience – it was a social disaster. The family would have to live with the shame of it for a long time to come. But then, at his mother’s request, Jesus comes to the rescue, and after a few quiet words turns water into wine – and not just a bit, but a lot. The story suggests that Jesus turned 450 to 680 litres of water into fine wine, the equivalent of about 600 to 700 bottles – no small amount – and this wasn’t chateau cardboard, but vintage wine...

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13 January 2019

You are God’s beloved child
The Baptism of the Lord – 1st Sunday of the Epiphany
Isaiah 43:1-7 & Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

What does the future hold? What will become of us? Does God really care about us? They are big questions, ones that you may well have asked. The people of Israel certainly asked them. They had been uprooted from their homeland and carted off into exile in Babylon, and there they remained for 70 years. They had lost everything: their hopes and dreams, their identity and sense of purpose. Their future was bleak. But now the prophet Isaiah brings a message of hope. All is not lost. It’s a word of assurance, a promise that there is a future beyond their shame and suffering...

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6 January 2019

The Gift of the Magi
The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ
Matthew 2:1-12

We’ve reached Epiphany. The shepherds have gone and the wise men or magi have appeared. Three of them; well actually, we don't know how many there were; but three will do. Anyhow, ‘on entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.’

Gifts are a big part of this story. The wise men offer their gifts, but they also open up the gift that God has given, and see what’s inside. It’s about the lights coming on – the mystery being revealed – the world seeing what the gift is that God has for all people...

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