Lent: "Anything but Lasagna"

The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams

This sermon is part of our Lenten series on how we serve one another. Last week the vicar talked about the importance of the servers ministering around the altar. The week before Margaret spoke about how we all must look to welcome each other and especially new comers into our community. This week I am talking about those who volunteer to offer hospitality after the service over coffee or tea.

Lent: "There's a Knack to it (but no k's)"

The Reverend Margaret Legg

A familiar reading from Matthew’s Gospel – or is it? St John’s is a familiar church – or is it?Our Lent sermon series on worship at St John’s begins with ‘welcome’ because each Sunday there are worshippers for whom this is a new experience. How we relate to them while they are here, how welcome they feel could well determine whether or not they ever repeat their visit to a church.

Lent: "I Lost My Life"

The Revd Margaret Legg

I thought I was going to die. The little Volkswagon in which I was a passenger careered off the road and rolled over and over, finally coming to a stop upside down. Shaken, but unscathed, the driver (a nun) and I managed to get out, roll the car back on to its wheels and continue our journey. An elephant, I remember, was standing in the distance, watching. We had been driving down to Rwanda and had been blown off course in the back draft of a large lorry speeding along in the opposite direction. I was spending a year as a VSO in Uganda.

Lent: "Shame About the Friendship"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

In the first year after beginning working, living on a Graduates starting salary on placement in North Wales. Coming home from work one Friday, I get a call from a friend in London, asking me why I wasn’t coming to her birthday, that evening. We’ve probably all been there at some point, end of a busy week, and knowing that while it might be fun, there would be people there I didn’t want to see, the whole endeavour just wasn’t what I wanted. Then it came, that ultimate line to tug those strings and make me feel shame - ‘Come on Robin, we’re your friends - don’t you want to see us.’

Before Lent: "Going Up a Hill and Down a Mountain"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Reading today’s Gospel I was reminded of the film, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, which tells the story of two English surveyors who turn up in a fictional Welsh town to measure the mountain, which their initial measurements indicate, to the anger of the inhabitants of the village, that the mountain is in fact just short of the 1000 ft requirement for a mountain. They are held at bay until the locals can transport enough earth to the top of the hill, to ensure it remains a mountain and the pride of their village. As you might expect it’s not just the hill that’s transformed, the young englishman, played by Hugh Grant, becomes a bit less strict about the rules (and falls in love withone of the locals) and the pastor (Rev Jones) becomes a bit more pastoral.

Lent: "Les Miserables"

The Revd Margaret Legg

I was chatting to a friend the other night who’d just been to see the film Les Miserables. She was gobsmacked, never having come across the story before. One of the aspects that had particularly struck her was the encounter Jean Valjean, the hero, had with Monseigneur Bienvenue, Bishop Welcome.
Valjean has just  been released after 19 years in prison and the Bishop gives him shelter for the night. Valjean succumbs to temptation and steals the Bishop’s solid silver cutlery.

Lent: "Sin and Love"

A 20th Century conductor, not our Robert, once said, “Try everything once except incest and folk dancing” - which rather makes you think he had tried everything. It’s a popular sentiment these days for our rather permissive society. Not so common a philosophy in the Bible, though. Our Old Testament reading and epistle reminded us of God flooding the world because of its great sinfulness. The lament of the psalm was for God to ‘remember not the sins of my youth’, the Gospel gives Jesus’ first words as ‘the Kingdom of God has come near, repent’.