Today we reach the end of our journey through the stories of Genesis – and here it is good to remind ourselves, that through all these stories, one story has been being told. It is the attempt to tell the people of Israel where they come from, to tell them how they reached where they are, how it is that other peoples exist, where ancient enmities have come from, and where they as a people belong. … More Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.
For all sorts of reasons, the story from Genesis we have for today is a difficult story. We find it hard to get into the culture of the time; we know little or nothing of the marriage customs of the time it portrays; we might even find it hard to work out why the story is there at all. … More What is the kingdom of heaven like?
Near the house where I grew up in Stirling there is a shortcut up to the Old Town, the way to the castle; it saves you walking round the long way by the street. It consists of a long staircase, which is quite steep – and it is known locally as ‘Jacob’s Ladder’. It will not be the only one in Scotland, or indeed in the world, because this story of Jacob is one that has captured the imagination – it gives our mind’s eye something to picture, and artists have tried to offer their own interpretation of the dream Jacob had of a stairway to heaven. … More Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’
I was reminded in preparing this sermon of a book written by Umberto Eco about a tale of plots and threats, a tale invented in the nineteenth century to justify the persecution of the Jews, a tale of their threatened takeover of the world – ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’. … More Thus Esau despised his birthright.
In 1990 we as a family were on holiday in Canada and, on Sunday, we went to church. The bible reading was the same one we heard this morning, about Abraham and Isaac, about sacrifice and the voice of God. The minister said that there was provision in the church hall for children during the sermon – and he encouraged parents to send their children to use that provision because, he said, what he was going to say might not be for young ears. So, of course, our 8 year-old and 6 year-old decided they were going to stay. … More By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac.
So Matthew’s gospel begins with the promise of the Messiah, whose name will be Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’; and it ends with the words of that Messiah: ‘and remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ And the way the church found to talk about this creator who is with us, in the flesh and in the spirit, is the doctrine of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit; creator, redeemer, sustainer. … More 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.
It’s not the first question asked in the story of the Ascension; in some ways it’s the answer to the first question. The first question, you will remember was this: ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ It’s the equivalent of the children in the back of the car who, after a short time on the journey, ask: ‘are we there yet?’ … More Why do you stand looking up towards heaven?
Preached on Sunday, 21.05.2017 By the Reverend Dr. David Sinclair We went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place. We celebrate this year as the 60th year of Christian Aid Week, but Christian Aid (under a couple of other names) goes back to 1945. Christian Aid … More We went through fire and through water
Have you noticed the mismatch between the question and the answer? Of course, it’s not unusual; Jesus often, with his disciples and with others, answers at a tangent, changing the direction, changing the ground of the conversation. Here, Thomas asks a question about a destination; and Jesus answers about a journey. He does talk about a destination, actually, but the destination he refers to is ‘the Father’. And then he says that if you want to know the way to the Father, then it’s the way to Jesus that you’re after. So where are you going, they ask him; and essentially he answers that he is going to himself. It’s all very confusing. … More ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.’
Today, the day that Jesus was raised, the first fruits of God’s promise, the ultimate sign that the temple curtain with all its divisions and barriers had indeed been destroyed, and destroyed forever. Today we gather to celebrate that destruction, to celebrate the end of division, to announce new life, new future, new hope. … More ‘The curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.’