May I speak in the name of God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
There is a painting that hangs on the wall of the north transept of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh; it was painted in the cathedral in 1910.
The painting is of the Cathedral’s interior. The scene depicted is a mass being celebrated. In the image, the congregation have come to the altar rail to receive Holy Communion, but that is not the focus. In the foreground there are two figures; one, a woman shrouded in darkness. She is kneeling at the back of the church behind the pews, not a part of the celebration. She is known as ‘the penitent woman’. Standing next to her with an outstretched arm is the risen Lord bathed in light. A complete contrast to the penitent woman.
Third Sunday Before Lent
First of all, as this is my first sermon, I only hope that it all makes sense – not an easy task when you have an accent like mine. All I can promise is that if you don’t agree with my conclusions, in true American fashion, there will be a biased enquiry whenever I get around to it.
17th Sunday after Trinity
Two days ago, I took a train out of St Pancras’ Station to go and see a former student who is now a priest in the Diocese of Peterborough. It was a short journey but I got into an interesting conversation with a young woman who sat opposite me. She turned out to be a deeply committed Christian, and was very interested to know about my work as a teacher in a theological college in the United States. At one point in our conversation, she suddenly said, ‘Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?’ I replied, ‘I certainly do, but I am not a fundamentalist.’
This morning we have the perfect opportunity to live out St. Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians. Here we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, and afterwards we shall continue our celebrations, and particularly today, as we toast Father Philip with Bucks Fizz on this his birthday. But remember our second reading: ‘do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with spirit.’
A sermon preached by Dr Robert Crouse for the Feast of Dedication at King's College Chapel, Halifax, 1997
"Give thanks for a remembrance of his holiness" (Ps. 97:12)
The Collect for this festival makes reference to the presence of Jesus at the ancient Jewish Feast of Dedication - a festival which was observed each year to mark the anniversary of the cleansing and re-consecration of the Temple in Jerusalem, after Judas Maccabaeus, that great Jewish hero, had recaptured the city from the pagan occupying forces, in the second century before Christ. You can read the story in the First Book of the Maccabees, or listen to a musical celebration of it in Handel's Oratorio about Judas Maccabaeus.