Monthly Archives: December 2021

All People are our People

Sunday 12 December 2021 Rev Hugh Perry

The theme for the third Sunday in Advent is joy but we may well ask if there can be any joy under the threat of Covid.

But even in such times our Zephaniah reading is a call for God’s people to rejoice because they have been restored and forgiven, and God now lives among them, bringing them restoration, joy and healing, and including all the marginalised and oppressed ones.

Furthermore, Maurice Andrew says that dealing with oppressors means saving the lame and gathering the outcasts which fits our covid context.

Zephaniah is about the liberation of Jerusalem, and he is concerned that the Israelites are held in esteem by the neighbouring people.  It is a feeling we can identify with after the T20 world cup and the All Blacks and the Black Ferns suffered significant loses in the Northern Hemisphere. Continue reading All People are our People

The Little Apocalypse

Sermon 14 November 2021

1 Samuel 1: 4-20

We read the beginning of the book of Samuel which describes the significant details of Samuel’s birth. Hannah is the favourite wife of her husband but expresses inadequacy, and indeed is tormented by Elkanah’s other wife because she has not had any children.  Her husband suggests that he loves her more than ten sons.  That is an echo from the book of Ruth where the women of Bethlehem assure Naomi that Ruth is more than seven sons.  It is worth remembering from the book of Ruth that without sons Ruth and Naomi were destitute and that would be Hanna’s fate if her husband died, especially as there seems to be rivalry with the other wife in the household.

In praying for a son Hanna promises that he will be a Nazirite, leading a life set apart and apprenticed to the priest Eli.

Mark 13: 1-8

Today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel begins as they leave the Temple and one of Jesus’ disciples comments on the large stones and the large buildings.  Jesus then predicts the destruction of the buildings which could have been the whole city or, as other gospel writers have interpreted, the Temple.  Morna Hooker suggests that, as this event is referenced in other context then, it is likely to be an authentic saying of Jesus.[1]  Some of the Jesus seminar scholars agree with her although not enough to give it a most likely, or definitely the words of Jesus, rating.

In their Five Gospels translation the Jesus Seminar tell us ‘the temple was the centre, not only of the sacrificial cult, but also of the banking system, the meat industry, and the seat of political power in Jesus’ time.’ Therefore, it is likely to have been commented on by Jesus because of his concern for the poor.[2] Continue reading The Little Apocalypse

The Paradox of Power

21 November 2021

Rev 1: 4b-8 and John 18: 33-37 YearB 2021

This is the last Sunday of the Church’s year – the day when we celebrate Christ the King, or, as the Lectionary puts it, the Reign of Christ. The whole concept of the festival of Christ the King is paradoxical. It’s not the end of the calendar year – the church calendar is out of step with the secular calendar. That, in itself, makes a statement about the nature of our faith. We like to use the word ‘countercultural’. We don’t always stop and think what we mean by it, but it’s about moving to a different drumbeat; taking to heart a set of different values. It’s about having a different agenda – that word so much overused these days, but a word that simply means our goal as followers of Christ doesn’t often (or ever) match the goal of the secular world, and the way we go about achieving that goal needs to be very different. Continue reading The Paradox of Power