Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

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Category: Kirking of the Council

A healing community: sermon for the Kirking of the Council, Sunday 9 September 2018

Scripture Readings: Psalm 146

Mark 2.1-12

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

There is a bit of a hubbub in the lakeside Galilean town of Capernaum. News has got around about a young rabbi from the nearby town of Nazareth, whose preaching and teaching is sincere and heartfelt, and who has also got a reputation for healing miracles. He’s been in Capernaum already, then went on a preaching tour around the local synagogues; now he is making a return visit. This was an age and a place when people had an entirely different attitude from us to personal space and public space. You left your door open as an invitation to anyone to wander in. In a small, humble house, there would be no entrance hall- from the street, you stepped directly into the family’s living quarters.

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Cherish the light! Sermon for The Kirking of the Council, 10 September 2017

Order of service

Scripture Readings: Philippians 4.4-9
Matthew 5.1-16
Cherish the light
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

On the 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin approached the surface of the moon in their fragile Lunar Module, the Eagle. It was a fraught descent. Aldrin was calling out computer data to Armstrong as they approached, but the computer played up- and only cool heads meant that the landing was not abandoned. And as he approached the surface, Armstrong spotted that their landing site was strewn with boulders the size of small cars. In his attempt to find a clear site to land, Armstrong almost used up all his fuel reserves, which would have meant that they could not return home, or crashed among the boulders.

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Justice or charity?- a sermon for the Kirking of the Council, 13 September 2015

Scripture Readings: Amos 7.7-17
Luke 10.25-37
Sermon

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

In 2012, there was massive media coverage when the Costa Concordia, a luxury cruise ship, ran aground off Italy, leading to the tragic deaths of 32 passengers and crew. But almost unnoticed, the Italian coastguard were also busy elsewhere:

That same day, the first of three boats carrying African refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya towards Malta and Italy was rescued by coastguards, in an incident which attracted no news coverage whatsoever. 72 were saved, including a pregnant woman and 29 children. The second boat was rescued two days later by a Maltese armed patrol vessel, assisted by the US Navy. The 68 who were saved included a mother who had just given birth… The third boat didn’t make it. A distress call warning of engine failure was intercepted by the Maltese maritime authorities the morning after the Concordia disaster. Then no more was heard….until the last week of January, when the first 15 bodies were washed up on Libyan beaches –at least 55 were lost.

I’m quoting there from a leaflet produced by the Church of Scotland Guild on the situation in Malta.

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A politician's dilemma: sermon for the Kirking of the Council 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 8 September 2013: The Kirking of the Council

SERMON

Texts: John 18.28-19.16a (NRSV)

A politician’s dilemma

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

You might think that today’s readings are more appropriate for Good Friday than for the Kirking of the Council. But whenever I read or hear the sequence of stories in the Gospels about the last days of Christ’s life, I’m always struck by how public the events are. Today we’ve read of the encounter of Jesus with the most powerful government on earth at the time.

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Healing for all?: sermon for 27 September 2012

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 7 October 2012
based on 27 September 2009- Proper 21

SERMON
Texts: James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-41

Healing for all?
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

A few weeks ago, when there was some controversy about the Kirking of the Council, many of those who wrote to our local papers about it- and many who spoke to me- said that one of the great things about the Kirking, as it has now developed, was an important event in the life of our community. For we need events which strengthen the ties among us, which foster a sense of community. For human beings are social animals- we need to feel we belong somewhere. We need to belong to groups, communities, tribes, teams.

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Sermon for the Kirking of the Council: 9 September 2012

Click here for photos of the 2012 Kirking of the Council

Call to scrap the Kirking:

click here to read report in the Inverness Courier, 18 September 2012

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 9 September 2012: Year B, The Kirking of the Council

SERMON
Texts: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Mark 7.24-37
The God of the outsiders
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

This week I read an article by Ben Withnall, Head of Media at the Bible Society in England. Responding to press coverage of a legal case in the news, he reminded his readers that there is nothing at all in the Bible about whether or not Christians ought to wear a cross. He comments, ‘That’s not because the Bible has nothing to say in the debate, it’s just that it doesn’t ask the questions in the same way’.

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