Saturday, 12 November 2011

Homily for Remembrance Sunday

I'm getting ahead of myself - and have actually posted my offering for tomorrow before preaching it.

It can be accessed through the Homilies page, and directly via this link.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Commitment and Faith

Giles Fraser, former Chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral, has been much in the news recently. But for a long time he'd been booked to take part in Radio 3's "Free Thinking" Festival of Ideas at The Sage, Gateshead. He honoured the booking last Sunday and delivered an excellent lecture on the nature of commitment, taking as his starting point the differing callings of farmers and gunfighters in the film, "The Magnificent Seven." The Hall in which he spoke was packed - a rare occasion when someone can develop a cogent intellectual argument - and get listened to.

The lecture itself wasn't distracted by the events at St. Paul's, but a time for interview and audience questions gave us the opportunity to see how theory and practice relate - and the centrality of Christian faith.

The lecture was broadcast last night on Radio 3. You can listen to it on I-Player and to a podcast version - just follow this link and either play or download.

I didn't tackle "commitment" explicitly on Sunday morning - but it had its place as I tackled the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids; the homily is on this link.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Caught in a Trap?

That's how it seems for the Bishop of London, and the (former) Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral. What started as a protest against financial structures and the banking system has turned into a huge embarrassment all round. It's not as though it's getting the real aims of the camping protestors heard - the news is simply focussed on the fall-out all around them. What's the message that's going to be heard as we approach Remembrance-tide. That's what I ask in the article below from our new Parish Magazine.

You can read the whole magazine here. And there are also new links to what's been preached during the last couple of weeks on Bible Sunday by Rosie Junemann, our Reader, and for All Saints by our Vicar, Martin Jackson.

Here's this month's View from the Vicarage, as it appears in the new Magazine:


November is the month of remembering. Acts of Remembrance will take place nationwide as well as in our own church and village on Remembrance Sunday, 13th November. Armistice Day is now restored as a national occasional for silent remembering. This year it will be at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of this millennium - but more than an exercise in numbers as we recall the many millions who have died as a result of war.

We can’t avoid the huge losses and wounds of war. When the people of Wootton Bassett turned out in their hundreds to stand silently as the bodies of those killed in Afghanistan were brought home, it wasn’t a repeated empty gesture - it was to say this is about us, here and now, and about what the failure of people to live in peace has brought to us. Silence is perhaps the most appropriate response.

As I write, protestors are camped outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, demonstrating their feelings about the financial institutions and structures of the world we live in. They may have a point - many people say - but what can they hope to achieve? Some of them go off from their tents to work in offices in the very institutions they are protesting about. We are all a part of this mess.

Some have asked if they will clear the camp away before Remembrance Day - a day when we give thanks for those who gave their lives so that people today might be free to demonstrate and protest; but if we fought for that freedom, should we deny it on the steps of that Cathedral?

Freedom and Sacrifice go together, and we do well to remember that. Sacrifices need to be made for the right cause and in the right way; freedoms need to be cherished and used appropriately. And Christians should be able to stand witness to that.

November begins with another remembrance - on All Souls Day as we remember the departed who are dear to us. They are our loved ones. Love is the way we need to do our remembering; it should be the motive for sacrifice; it’s the cause for which our freedom needs to be employed.

And the end of November brings us to Advent - the time to recognise the Coming of Christ, his call to welcome him who is Love himself.