Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

Welcome to Old High St Stephen's Church, Inverness

Category: Lent

‘Remember me, Jesus’- a sermon for Palm and Passion Sunday 2016

Scripture Readings: Luke 19:28-40

Luke 23.1-5,13-25-48

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

At the heart of the Christian faith is a great story. For the content of our faith is not a list of abstract doctrines, or list of do’s and don’ts. It’s a story- the story Bible tells of God’s dealings with human beings. It is a story on an epic scale, which jumps around different locations- mostly what we call ‘the Holy Land’, but beginning somewhere in modern Iraq, and taking us to Egypt, Sinai, Arabia, Cyprus, modern Turkey, Greece and Rome. There is war, famine, disaster, as well as joy. All human life is here- friendship, betrayal, love and adultery, politics, deaths and births. All kinds of people are in it- there are acts of barbarity, cunning and evil, as well as acts of kindness and of love. There is faith, and there is faithlessness.

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The second meeting to discuss material from “We make the road by walking” by Brian McLaren will be on Sunday 21st February from 7.30 till 8.30pm in the choir area of St Stephen’s Church. We had a relaxed but thought-provoking first gathering last week, however there is a fresh chapter on each occasion and no requirement to sign up for the whole course. Do just come along to any when you’re free to.
More details from Andrew Stevenson on 01463 242767 or at stevenson.ata@btinternet.com

Faith and Current Issues: Discussions in Lent

How should Christian faith affect our attitudes to controversial issues?
A chance for conversations about the big questions facing the world today.
Come to one or come to all!
Each Sunday night in Lent, 7-8pm, beginning 22 February, at St Stephen’s Church, Southside Road, Inverness IV2 4XA
The topics for each week are as follows:
22 February: Economics Inequality, poverty, tax- how do we make our country fairer for all?
1 March: Education Should the church be in our schools? Religious education and religious observance
8 March: International issues War and peace, asylum seekers, refugees- What is the church is doing?
15 March: Caring for the earth Climate change, fracking, sustainable energy. How Green is our Christianity?
22 March The ethics of science Embryo research, Frankenstein foods- should we play God with nature?
Contact us for more information.

Bread, miracles and empire: a sermon for the First Sunday of Lent 2014

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 9 March 2014: Year A, First Sunday in Lent

Texts: Genesis 2:15-17 and 2.25-3.15
Matthew 4:1-11

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

Today is the first Sunday in Lent, a time when it is traditional for the Church to encourage Christians to look inward, to think about how we might live more faithfully as Christians. It is a time which makes us face up to our imperfections, our failings. The theological word we use for this is ‘sin’- a word much misused and misunderstood. We often think about ‘sins’- plural- the things you do that you shouldn’t. We could all of us make a list- if we were being really honest- of those actions we have done which we realise were wrong. In the past the Church spoke of ‘deadly sins’ and the Bible itself suggests sins, for example, in the Ten Commandments- all those ‘shalt nots’. But I want to suggest today that the Bible not so interested in those individual wrong actions- your sins (plural), but, instead, is more interested in sin (singular). Today, at the beginning of Lent, I want to think, not about sins (plural). Instead, I want us to think about sin (singular). It is sin (singular) that today’s readings are about. In Genesis chapter 2 and in Matthew chapter 4, we are not given a list of wrong actions. These are stories not about what we do, but who were are.

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Lent Study 2014: Parables and Possessions

Lent courseOur minister will lead a Lent Bible Study this year on the vexed issue of money.
We will be meeting on Wednesdays during Lent, at 7.30pm at St Stephen’s, on the following dates: 12 March, 19 March, 26 March, 2 April, 9 April.
These studies are open to anyone from any church or none.
The Bible says a lot about money. We will be looking at some of the parables of Jesus to consider how we can be in a right relationship to money, and how that can help us be in a right relationship to God.
We will be following the ecumenical Lent Course of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, entitled Parables and Possessions: on economics and a right relationship with money.
The course is inspired by the Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity which reported to the Church of Scotland General Assembly in 2012. There is a link to the full report, and other information, on the Poverty and Economics page of the Church of Scotland website.

Topics include:

  • Temptation (wealth, possessions, consumerism)
  • Betrayal (where do our true values lie?)
  • Forgiveness (Church of Scotland version of the Lord’s Prayer talks about forgiving debts, not sins or trespasses)
  • Ridicule (trauma, prophetic voice, being disregarded)
  • Sacrifice (what do others give up for us, what do we give up for others?)
  • Transformation (Christ’s love active in the world, not only for ourselves but for all humankind).

Here’s an extract from the introduction to the course materials:

The Bible says more about money, economics and making a living than any other subject. It is clear, therefore, that God wants us to be in a right relationship with money and this will aid us in our quest to be in a right relationship with God.
In our daily lives we have to make lots of decisions. Many if not most of these have some dimension of money attached to them, whether the decisions we have to make are to do with our family, our community or our nation. It is vital that we make decisions which will impact for the best on those around us (including ourselves). Experience tells us that we have not always been very good at this.
In recent years, we seem to have turned our backs on some traditional ways of managing our finances in favour of others that are not always in the best interests of ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, and even our planet. Many of us have not hesitated to get into serious debt in order to satisfy our desire for a ‘better’ life. Questions have also been asked about government expenditure decisions.
Living under the kind of financial pressures to which we have subjected ourselves can have very serious effects on our mental health as well as our economic health. A right relationship with money is necessary for healthy personal relationships to prosper.
The season of Lent has sometimes been associated with sacrifice, of giving up a luxury or taking up a new responsibility for a period. In this course you are invited to lay aside any indolence (by which we mean apathy and world-weariness) around the subject of personal economics which is sometimes the result of a sense of helplessness. You are encouraged to be more discerning about those in whom you place your trust.
You are challenged to identify the best interests of your neighbours, especially the weak and marginalised.
The course focuses on a different parable in each session. Each parable is preceded by a Lent reflection.
Each week includes a mixture of materials for reflection, commentary on one of Jesus’ parables, the occasional quote to spark a reaction, some questions and a prayer. There is also a suggestion of something to do as follow-up, a practical action expressing Christian discipleship in the world.

More information from the Minister (01463 250 802; peternimmo[a]minister.com).
The Rev Peter W Nimmo is a member of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, and is currently involved with writing a report on wealth and taxation which will come to the 2015 General Assembly.

OHSS Blue Cross jpeg

The fragrance of love: a sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 17 March 2013: Year C, Fifth Sunday of Lent

Texts: Isaiah 43:16-21
John 12:1-8

The fragrance of love

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

Of all the senses, perhaps the sense of smell is the most mysterious. You can walk into a house full of old-fashioned furniture and the smell of polish takes you back to your granny’s. And we’ve spoken to the children about the smell of romance- smelly stuff is big business. In the Eastgate Centre, Boot’s and Debenham’s have what seems like acres of floor space devoted to perfume and deodorant. Smells affect us in strange ways.

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Doubts and Temptations: a sermon for the First Sunday in Lent

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 17 December 2013: Year C, The First Sunday in Lent

Texts: Romans 10:9-13
Luke 4:1-13

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

There’s horse meat in our food where there’s meant to be beef. A very traditionalist Pope defies tradition and resigns. And a meteor falls from the sky and injures hundreds of people. The news recently has been a bit unbelievable. And they say the Bible is full of strange stories?
Last Sunday, the last before Lent begins, we heard the strange story about Jesus turning shiny and meeting long-dead prophets. Today we are faced with the equally strange story of his temptation by the devil

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What is Christianity really about?

From our Minister, Peter:
Christian Basics is the course the Minister runs about the basics of the Christian faith. I’m rejigging it this year, and to help me I’ve been asking on social media, ‘What is Christianity really about?’
Some of the answers so far include:
‘Love God, love others. No limits, no exceptions’.
‘ I think Christianity is about the Love of God for his church and creation and our ability to return that love and share it with others’.
‘Some tweets make me ask the same question ;-)’
What do you think Christianity is really about? Put your answers in the comments box below, or reply via our Facebook page or Twitter!
Looking forward to hearing from you!- Peter
(Christian Basics will run on Sunday nights at 7pm at St Stephen’s, beginning on 17 February: starts with a brief service of Evening Prayers for Lent).
Please email peternimmo (at) minister.com for more information.

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