Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

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Month: September 2014

Paradoxical freedom: sermon for 29 September 2014 (St Stephen's communion)

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 28 September 2014

SERMON
Texts:  Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

Paradoxical freedom

A few years ago, former Pope Benedict XIV, pondering why is Christianity is so unpopular in Europe today, said that he thought many people were put off Christianity because they think that, he said, that ‘Christianity is composed of laws and bans which one has to keep’ which is ‘something toilsome and cumbersome’ I didn’t often agree with Benedict, but I think he was right that time. Many people do think that Christianity- in its Catholic or Protestant forms- is cumbersome. I happen to believe that believing in Christ sets us free. But that is not always how it is seen.

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OHSS Blue Cross jpeg

Month of Sundays: worship services in October

A month of Sundays is our monthly summary of our worship services.
The Month of Sundays for October is now online here.

Church magazine for September 2014

Our church magazine for September is now online.
Click here to read (PDF document).

A strange generosity: sermon for Sunday 21 September 2014

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 21 September 2014: Year A, Proper 20

SERMON

A strange generosity
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Old Testament reading: Exodus 16:1-15

The people of Israel are now in the wilderness. Finding the water undrinkable, they have complained to Moses, and God has made it potable. He has tested their faith: will they accept him by trusting that he will feed and rule them? Now the Israelites grumble once again.

1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim, and on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, they came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai. 2 There in the desert they all complained to Moses and Aaron 3 and said to them, “We wish that the Lord had killed us in Egypt. There we could at least sit down and eat meat and as much other food as we wanted. But you have brought us out into this desert to starve us all to death.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day. In this way I can test them to find out if they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to bring in twice as much as usual and prepare it.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. 7 In the morning you will see the dazzling light of the Lord’s presence. He has heard your complaints against him—yes, against him, because we are only carrying out his instructions.” 8 Then Moses said, “It is the Lord who will give you meat to eat in the evening and as much bread as you want in the morning, because he has heard how much you have complained against him. When you complain against us, you are really complaining against the Lord.”
9 Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole community to come and stand before the Lord, because he has heard their complaints.” 10 As Aaron spoke to the whole community, they turned toward the desert, and suddenly the dazzling light of the Lord appeared in a cloud. 11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them that at twilight they will have meat to eat, and in the morning they will have all the bread they want. Then they will know that I, the Lord, am their God.”
13 In the evening a large flock of quails flew in, enough to cover the camp, and in the morning there was dew all around the camp. 14 When the dew evaporated, there was something thin and flaky on the surface of the desert. It was as delicate as frost. When the Israelites saw it, they didn’t know what it was and asked each other, “What is it?”
Moses said to them, “This is the food that the Lord has given you to eat.

It has been quite a week. A week of conversations- not all about the same subject, but many of them were. A week when we suddenly realised that history was in the making.
When I went into the polling booth and looked at the form, I surprised myself by suddenly being overcome by the immensity of the question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’

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A national day of prayer on eve of the referendum

The Church of Scotland is supporting an ecumenical initiative to encourage prayer the day before the referendum.
Old High St Stephen’s is making our buildings available to those who want to pray or reflect.
OH smallThis Wednesday the Old High Church will be open for reflection from 10am-4pm
There will be a short prayer service at 12noon.
The Old High will also be open as usual from 10-12 noon and from 2-4pm on Thursday- Referendum Day- and the following day (Friday). 
St Stephen's cropped (2)There will also be prayers at 7.30pm on Wednesday at St Stephen’s, Southside Road.
All are welcome to these events.
Here are details of the ecumenical prayer initiative, which has been commended by the Moderator of the General Assembly.

Choose life!- Sermon for the Kirking of the Council 2014

The Kirking of the Council is an annual community event when members of the Inverness City Committee of Highland Council, and other community representatives, process to the Old High Church to take part in our Sunday worship.

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 14 September 2014: Year A, The Kirking of the Council
SERMON

Texts: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 5:1-11,33-37

Choose life!

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

There’s an story about an English vicar who always seemed to give away his politics by his choices of hymns. If the Tories won an election, the first hymn the following Sunday was something like ‘Now thank we all our God’. If Labour won, it would be ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways’. On one exceptional occasion, the Liberals won the local council election. So it was with great anticipation that his congregation came to church the following Sunday. The first hymn given out was, ‘The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform’.

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Who needs reconciliation anyhow?: Sermon for Sunday 7 September 2014

A note from the Minister: after completing this sermon I fell ill and was unable to deliver it on Sunday morning. I’m grateful to the Rev Morven Archer who took our services in my place, and who used much of the material below. This is the sermon I would have preached had I been able to. I’m glad to say I’m on the mend, since you ask!

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 7 September 2014: Year A, Proper 18

SERMON
Texts: Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

Who needs reconciliation anyhow?
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

This week the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev John Chalmers, chaired a ‘respectful dialogue’ on the independence referendum. It was held in a Glasgow church, but the rest of us could participate because if was put out live on the Internet. At the Crown Church, we watched the speakers live on a big screen, had own audience comments section, and emailed our thoughts back to Glasgow. It was a fascinating experience, being linked up in that way to others around the country. As I was checking that I could communicate with the person receiving the emails in Glasgow, I suddenly thought of the Eurovision Song Contest- ‘Hello, this is Helsinki, here are the votes of the Finnish jury’. Maybe one day the General Assembly will be replaced by this kind of technology- although perhaps the Assembly will be unlikely to turn into a version of Eurovision.

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Kirking of the Council 2014

The historic Kirking of the Council service took place at the Old High Church on Sunday 14 September.
Inverness members of the Highland Council were joined by civic leaders for an ecumenical service celebrating public service.
The service this year happened to take place the Sunday before the Scottish independence referendum, and so there was a them of reconciliation in the service.
‘Choose life!’ was the title of the sermon which the Minister, the Rev Peter W Nimmo, preached at the service.
Here’s the Order of Service for the Kirking of the Council.
Here’s a sermon looking forward to the Kirking, from the previous Sunday.
Kirking graphic 2014
 
 
 

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