Monthly Archives: July 2022

Maintaining the Chain of Religious Memory

Sunday 24th July 2022

St Ninian

Text: Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, Luke 5: 17-24

In 3 weeks’ time I am preaching at St Cuthbert’s, the mother church of Edinburgh. It is part of a trip as Moderator to connect with the Church of Scotland as Moderator of the PCANZ. It is also a personal pilgrimage, linking with my own family roots in the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. The day after I preach at St Cuthbert’s, I make my way up to Iona, homage to St Columba and his impact on Celtic Christianity. I hear that some of you did a similar pilgrimage to Scotland in 2016. That on that trip the author of a book on St Ninian told you: “Forget Columba – Ninian was the spring from which the river of Celtic Christianity flowed”

That is, indeed, a claim to fame that you can be a part of. From those beginnings of Celtic Christianity with St Ninian in the 4th and 5th centuries, here we are in 2022 reopening a church that bears his name! Continue reading Maintaining the Chain of Religious Memory

Learning from Mary and Martha

“Learning from Mary and Martha”
July is Bible Month. A time when the Bible Society encourages a focus on the Word of God. As ‘people of the book’, as Presbyterians claim to be, it seemed to me to a chance to share a ‘proper’ sermon, unlike the reflections and such that I have done with you previously.
The readings today have been read and preached on for centuries, especially the story about Mary and Martha. In fact I am tempted to declare that this is one of the few stories where a tale about women has influenced men as well. The contrast between the service of Martha and the contemplation of Mary became the foundation of difference between the secular life and the ordained. Continue reading Learning from Mary and Martha

Plumb Line

The Plumb Line: Praying Effectively – THE 918

Amos 7:7-17
Maurice Andrew suggests the idea of Yahweh holding a plumb-line against the people could be referring to dilapidated city walls. However the plumb line might also be a metaphor of assessing the people’s trueness. Are they true, straight and upright in their loyalty to the divine laws and just living?
Amos’ words are not well received and Amaziah tells the king that Amos’ words are too harsh for people to bear and he instructs Amos to desist.
Amos notes that he is not a prophet or a prophet’s son which Andrew says probably means that he is not one of the band of professional prophets that can be ordered around by the priest. He was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees. The sycamore was a type of fig tree which was inferior to the figs we know but was very popular with the poor because it had three crops a year. A dresser made an incision in the fruit before they were ripe so that the juice ran out and the rest fermented, giving the fruit a sweet taste Continue reading Plumb Line