Lent 1B – Mark 1: 9-15

trans1You may recall that, in last week’s service, I spent some time with the children explaining the Transfiguration. You might also recall that, in order to do so, I made reference to two images: one an ikon of the Transfiguration, the other an ikon of the Resurrection. I used the trans5common elements in these images to explain that the Transfiguration was a kind of foreshadowing of the Resurrection; that in the Transfiguration we have a foretaste, or promise, of the restoration that was to be achieved in the Resurrection. As such, the event of the Transfiguration signals the beginning of the journey toward Resurrection that is the season of Lent: on Easter Sunday we will celebrate in full the gift which God allows us to glimpse through the Transfiguration. Continue reading “Lent 1B – Mark 1: 9-15”

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Isaiah 58: 1-12 – An Ash Wednesday Sermon

Those of you who were present at last Sunday’s service will recall that, in my sermon on that day’s reading from the Gospel According to Mark, I made mention of two things: firstly, my admiration for Pope Francis and his compassion for those whose afflictions cast them to the edges of society; and, secondly, the fact that love is never blasé, that it is always emotional and engaged – and that, indeed, one of the characteristics of love is a certain violence of emotion. Continue reading “Isaiah 58: 1-12 – An Ash Wednesday Sermon”

Mark 1: 40-45

I think you’ll agree that it’s a statement of the bleeding obvious to say that, in the relatively brief time that he has been head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has captured the world’s imagination. From denouncing the dehumanizing aspects of global capitalism, through demanding action on climate change, to publicly criticizing the Vatican bureaucracy for its abuses, Pope Francis has continued to surprise even the most cynical Vatican observers[1].   Likewise, many admire his deep personal humility: his refusal to live in the Papal Apartments, preferring instead a modest guesthouse; his eschewing the Vatican’s fleet of expensive official cars in favour of a more modest vehicle; and his many acts of grace, from visiting refugees on the Italian island of Lampedusa to installing showers for the homeless in St Peter’s Square[2]. Continue reading “Mark 1: 40-45”