Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

Welcome to Old High St Stephen's Church, Inverness

Category: Baptism

Belonging and believing: sermon for Sunday 22 October 2017: Proper 24 (Year A, RCL)

Scripture Readings: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Matthew 22:15-22

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

Joseph Andrew Crisci, whom we baptised today, has a Scottish mother, and an Italian father, but he was born and will grow up in Spain. He is also, as his mother reminded me the other day, a citizen of Europe. And today we baptised him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Scottish, Italian, Spanish, European, Christian- Joseph is a young man who already has many different identities.
We all of us have different, overlapping, identities. But some people feel threatened by the notion of different identities. They say that you cannot have one identity, but also claim to have another. When that happens, the results can be horrific.
Last week, I visited two small rooms in a house in Amsterdam. An hour’s flying time from Inverness Airport, and during the lifetime of my parents, eight people, including two children, hid in those two rooms in order to save their lives. They had to go into hiding simply because they were Jewish. For in a speech at the Concertgebouw concert hall in 1941, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the Nazi ruler of the German occupied Netherlands, had stated ‘We do not consider the Jews to be members of the Dutch nation. The Jews for us are not Dutch’. That Jews had been part of Dutch society for centuries made no difference whatsoever. Having a Jewish identity was, the Nazis said, incompatible with being Dutch- or, for that matter, Belgian, French, Danish, or German.
Anne frank

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The fire and the dove- a sermon on the Baptism of Christ

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43.1-7
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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

The gospels tell us almost nothing about the training or education of Jesus. There is a little about his childhood in Luke, but soon we are hearing about the preaching of John the Baptist, in the passage we read today. John was a relative of Jesus, a prophet who preached that the Messiah- the one who would save God’s people- was about to appear. John called people to change their lives, to get ready for God’s saviour to appear among them. Crowds of people went down to the River Jordan to hear John’s preaching. And he would challenge them to respond by being baptised. John would immerse people in the waters of the River Jordan, to symbolise that they had died to their previous life- drowned it, if you like. They rose from the water into a new life, with their sins washed away, as water washes away dirt.
John the BaptistEventually, Jesus himself appeared, and was baptised by John in the river as well- and you can see a picture of it on the front of our order of service. Jesus’ baptism marks the point when Jesus passed from being a purely private figure to becoming a public preacher. This is a day he for which he would have been preparing for years. It is Jesus’ graduation day, his passing out parade.

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Embraced by love- sermon for 15 November 2015

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
15 November 2015
(The Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost:
Year 2 (Mark), Narrative Lectionary)
SERMON
Scripture Readings: Hosea 11:1-9
Mark 10.13-16
Sermon
Embraced by love
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

We too often think of the books of the Bible as having been written so long ago, they cannot have much to do with us. The prophet Hosea preached almost 2,700 years ago. What can a text that old have to say to us? The introduction in the Good News version of the Bible to Hosea says that he ‘preached in the northern Kingdom of Israel… during the troubled times before the fall of Samaria in 721BC’. He preached in troubled times- times of uncertainty, with wars and rumours of wars abounding. And do we not, also, live in troubled times?

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At the Table- a sermon on Holy Communion, 20 September 2015

Scripture Readings: John 6.53-59
Mark 14.22-26

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

The BBC recently had a series about Indian railways, featuring the Calcutta station which gets as many passengers in a day as travel on the whole of the British Railway network. India’s railways are busy. So busy, Indians don’t just ride in trains- they ride on top of them, too.
There is a scene in the film Ghandi in which a Christian missionary, a friend of Ghandi’s, is- unusually for a Westerner- riding on top of a train. He finds himself in conversation with a Hindu, who is very suspicious of this Christian. The Hindu can’t understand Christianity, for he’s heard that Christians are the people who eat their God.

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God at Work: sermon on Acts 9.1-20 John 21.1-19- 28 April 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 28 April 2013

SERMON
Texts: Acts 9.1-20
John 21.1-19

God at work

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

There’s an American phrase to describe what it’s like when the unexpected happens. They say that something comes at you ‘from left field‘. It’s a baseball term- I think it means that the ball suddenly comes from somewhere you didn’t expect- but if there are any baseball fans who can put me right you can speak to me afterwards. Often we fear the unexpected. We are usually don’t like things come from ‘left field’, because too often the unexpected event is unpleasant- and accident, for example. But the unexpected, even if we are not prepared for it, is not always unpleasant. When the unexpected happens, it can shake us out of our comfort zone and change our life for the better.

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Faith, renewal and service: a sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 21 April 2013: Year C, The Fourth Sunday of Easter

SERMON
Texts: John 10:22-30
Acts 9:36-43

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

On this joyous Sunday, we’re celebrating eight people who have chosen to associate themselves with the work of the church, and to follow Jesus wherever that might lead them. Ian, Martin, Alana, Alexandra, Ashleigh, Louise, Kirsty and John have been meeting together with a number of other enquirers and members of the congregation in our Christian Basics course over the last few months. This year I tried to freshen up my new member’s course, adding new material and activities to it. But what really made a difference was the participation of existing members of the congregation.

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Services this Sunday

We will have a Congregational Service this Sunday at the Old High Church at 11.15am to baptize and admit new members.
Kirk Session will meet at 11am.
There’s no Sunday morning service at St Stephen’s.
In the evening there will be brief prayers and discussion, 7pm at St Stephen’s.

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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