Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Sermon: How can we rejoice in a broken world?

The Third Sunday of Advent, 16th of December 2012

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Isaiah 12:2-6

Philippians 4:4-7

I had another sermon for today. Today, the third Sunday of Advent, is “Gaudete” Sunday – Joy Sunday, the only Sunday in the entire liturgical year whose colour is pink or, more accurately, rose. The name comes from part of today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians; in Latin, “rejoice in the Lord always” is Gaudete in Domino semper. In the midst of Advent, which can be rather a sombre time as we prepare for the Second Coming and are reminded to be ready for the return of the Son of Man, this third Sunday is a time of joy.

But my alarm is a radio set to Radio National, so the very first thing I heard when I woke up yesterday morning, before I was even fully awake, was news of the deaths in Newtown, Connecticut. My heart sank and I felt sick. Continue reading


December 20, 2012 Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sermon: People of Yesterday and Tomorrow

John, the Anglican priest at Charlton, invited me to preach at St Martin’s afternoon eucharist. I met John when I visited Charlton after the 2011 floods with the Victorian Council of Churches’ Emergency Chaplaincy team, when both his house and the church had been flooded. We bonded over Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was lovely to go back up and see the refurbished church. Plus, John bought me pizza and gave me a copy of What would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide!

Sermon for Charlton – 14th of October 2012

Mark 10:17-31

When I asked John what he wanted me to preach on this afternoon, whether on a theme or on any particular one of today’s lectionary readings, he suggested that I preach on the passage from the gospel which he described as: ‘always a tough one to preach on’. And it is! I looked back to see what I’d said on this passage three years ago, the last time the lectionary gave it to us, and discovered that I hadn’t said anything about it – I’d preached on the reading from Job. But, since John asked me, let’s spend some time pondering today’s gospel passage. Continue reading

October 16, 2012 Posted by | Ministry | , , , | Leave a comment

Sermon: The Question of Divorce

Sermon for Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

7th of October 2012

Mark 10:2-16

One of the criticisms frequently made of Christianity is that it’s patriarchal, that it perceives women as second-class human beings. I believe that some parts of the Church are guilty of this;[1] but looking at the way Jesus is portrayed in the gospels we can see that that’s not how Christianity started. One of the things that we can be certain we know about Jesus is that he radically challenged the patriarchy of his times. Today’s reading is just one example of that. Continue reading

October 10, 2012 Posted by | Ministry | , , | Leave a comment

The Biblical Bathsheba and Her Afterlives

Sermon for Romsey Uniting Church, 29 July 2012

2 Samuel 11:1-15


Today, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on my historian’s hat. Today our reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, from the second book of Samuel, tells the story of David’s seduction of Bathsheba and his decision to murder her husband, and it does not contain a single mention of God. It’s next week, in the second part of the story, that the Prophet Nathan will tell David how YHWH feels about his actions. Today we just have the tale of those actions, and what I want to do is take us on a quick tour of how this story have been told and retold over the centuries, asking whether there is in that history any lessons for us today. Continue reading

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Ministry, Slightly Higher Culture | , , , , | Leave a comment