2013

Christmas: "Spectacles Not Spectacle"

The Revd Brutus Green

When I was about 8 I decided I didn’t believe in God. I know what you’re thinking - how childish, how silly; but it was just a phase I was going through and all children like their little rebellions. On the particular day, I remember going to my middle brother with a number of questions. Probably in the background were certain matters following Santa-gate; perhaps some disappointment concerning doubts cast over the gods of Roman, Greek and Norse mythology.

Christmas: "The Gospel According to Peter O'Toole"

The Revd Brutus Green

There was a time in my misspent youth when I would go to the pub before midnight mass. It was an annual mini-school reunion each year as people returned, like Joseph and Mary, to the town of their birth. We’d have a bunch of beers, then I’d nip home, collect Dad, who’d glower disapprovingly at me for being a little merry and usually late, before stumbling down the hill to belt out the carols, legs crossed and teeth gritted through the too-long sermon, finally losing my voice somewhere in ‘Hark the Herald’, which I still believe is the express reason Mendelssohn wrote that uncomfortably-high tune.

Advent: "Which Dress To Buy?"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Should I treat myself to a new dress for Christmas? (About time too I hear my family mutter).

Walking down Porchester Place – Atelier Mayer windows: a stunning little number gold, sparkly, even nicer than the LBLD (little black lace dress) in that morning’s paper and maybe I wear too much black....! Reflecting on this morning’s readings and pretty clear message that what counts is not appearance, the outer image, but about what sort of people we are becoming.

Advent: "Seeing Visions"

The Revd Brutus Green

In times past there have been visions of how society should be and what the ideal life of men and women would be. Medieval times saw society as a scala naturae, a great chain of being, stretching from God through the divisions of the angels and humans, then through the animal kingdom finally down to rock, at the bottom of the chain with no greater claim than bare existence.

Christ the King: "Carrying a Passport"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

It feels like there is a never ending cycle of finger pointing sometimes. This week the media and politicians have been very keen to point fingers at The Rev Paul Flowers and the Cooperative bank. Paul Flowers, a Methodist minister, has been caught buying hard drugs and his credentials as chairman of a financial institute have been brought into question. It seems the last few years have been a roundabout of finger-pointing, targeting politicians expenses, media hacking, energy company profits, etc. etc.

Christ the King: "Being Grateful for Creation"

The Revd Brutus Green

There are two facts, two doctrines if you like, on which Christianity, as a philosophy, a religion, a world-view, depends and takes all its meaning. The second isthe birth of Christ, the Incarnation, but despite all the blue lights on Connaught Street we’ll leave that one to next month. The first and most definitive fact is the Creation, or more precisely, creatio ex nihilo, creation from nothing.

Remembrance Sunday: "Remembering Well"

The Revd Brutus Green

As the world never ceases to spin on its axis, and technology continually transforms all aspects of human life, there will always be those who cling to the past and those who wish to forever leave it behind. If you’ve seen the vicar’s phone you will know what I mean. Wars, traditionally, have been times of great innovation, necessity being mother to invention. And the First World War which we particularly remember today takes the credit for such innovations as tanks, flamethrowers, poison gas, aircraft carriers, and also more generally helpful things like air traffic control and mobile X-ray machines.

All Souls: "Confidence"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Confidence is one of the three components of the Diocese of London’s vision for 2020. In that context ‘Confidence’ is about leadership and communicating with the world at large. Confidence can be good, but it can also be unhelpful. It’s the word journalists use when they want to really make a politician squirm, make them avoid giving assurance that the outcome of a new initiative is known. For those of no faith, or little faith there can be some misconception that a Christian’s confidence in eternal life means there is no need to mourn, that death is nothing to fear.

Trinity: "Stereotypes"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Laura Knight is not a name with which I was familiar. Rather reluctantly I agreed to accompany a friend to the National Portrait Gallery to see an exhibition of her work. In her day (late 19 and most of 20th century) she was the best known and most honoured woman artist in Britain, only the second woman to be a full member of the Royal Academy and the first female Dame of the British Empire.

All Saints: "Your Own Personal Jesus"

The Revd Brutus Green

In 1989 Depeche Mode released a song which made it into the top thirty in the UK and US, two months and two weeks before the Berlin Wall politically ceased to exist. The record was the best selling twelve inch single in Warner Bros. history, and each format, seven and twelve inch vinyl, tape, and later CD featured a naked woman with a different band member. The song was called “Personal Jesus”. Its inspiration was Priscilla Presley’s book Elvis and Me, about how another person can become like a god to you, and how you can be a Jesus to someone, someone who’s there; someone to care.

Trinity: "The Word of God is not Chained"

The Revd Brutus Green

‘The Word of God is not chained’. That, if you like, is Scripture’s warning against taking itself too literally, taking it at its word. At the end of the lesson, our reader dutiful said ‘This is the Word of the Lord’ to which we all smartly replied ‘thanks be to God’; trapping it if you like with our little collaboration of affirmation. This is the Word of the Lord, but…  ‘the Word of God is not chained’.

Trinity: "What's in a Name?"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

What is in a name? My name is the diminutive of Robert, it means fame, glory. Stephen means garland or literally, that which surrounds.Brutus tells me his name means awkward or clumsy. According to tradition the Rich man in today’s parable is called Dives, which is the latin for ‘Rich’. And when Jesus says he’s a rich man, it’s an understatement.

Trinity: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

The Revd Brutus Green

Some time ago some friends and I decided to do the three peaks challenge - where you climb the tallest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours. It sounds quite impressive, but it’s probably worth remembering that Ben Nevis pretty much has a road leading up to the summit and Snowdon does in fact have a railway line going up one side.

Trinity: "Hope in the Present Tense"

The Revd Brutus Green

When I was in my final year of study I lived with three other students - Luke who studied English, and two physicists. For scientists, doctorates are like jobs but badly paid - they work long working days in labs with other people. Arts PhDs, however, are usually unstructured. I often worked by night and napped in the afternoon, while Luke rarely emerged until midday when he smelled my spicy pasta ready to be served with increasingly strong coffee.

Trinity: "Stuck on a Bad Idea"

The Revd Brutus Green

My parents had an old record player from which I first heard such fine recordings as Queen’s Greatest Hits for the first time and Benny Hill’s moving rendition of ‘Ernie the Milkman’, who ‘drove the fastest milk cart in the West’. The thing I always remember about records is the way they stick producing the most obnoxious sound. I’m reminded of it at the moment because my DVD player is caput and frequently freezes movies three quarters of the way in, refusing to continue.

Trinity: "Come On God, Light My Fire"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Does anyone know what a Deacon is?  Listen carefully choir!! At school assembly tomorrow I’ll be asking that question. When this was asked at a school assembly once, after a long silence, a child finally raised their hand to reply. ‘I’m not sure,’ she said, ‘but is it something on the top of a hill that you set fire to?’ While I hope you will be set on fire in your ministry here as a Deacon, Robin, but that is not the right answer! A Deacon is a Servant!