Preaching the Resurrection of the Dead on Remembrance Sunday

Resurrection of the Soldiers - Stanley Spencer

I always find Remembrance Sunday a difficult one to preach. It often gets passed around clergy teams like a hot potato. We find it difficult to honour individual bravery and sacrifice, whilst also trying to serve current servicemen and women who have lost colleagues and friends, all while maintaining a message which is distinctively Christian. How do you preach the Gospel in the shadow of the Empire? How do you hold the collective grief and trauma of the nation and world caused by war, all whilst acknowledging that I am not one of the ones called to defend the weak when things get tough?

Many preachers are faced with this challenge, staring them in the face… and blink.

But the readings this year don’t leave you much choice. PREACH THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, they cry. So that I will. One day, when Christ comes, the graves of Flanders will open just as my own, and we will all rise to meet our Lord together.

Do you claim his promise for yourself, and life in confidence and hope?

You can read the sermon here: 11th November 2018 Remembrance Sunday Newcastle Cathedral Sermon (and for interest last year’s Remembrance Sunday sermon is here: 12th November 2017 Remembrance Sunday).

(The image is Stanley Spencer’s Resurrection of the Soldiers)

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Ginsberg does the Beatitudes

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A brilliant and talented friend of mine writes fairy-tales on the beatitudes. I am not so brilliant. But fortunately, I can crib from other people’s genius when it comes to preaching.

The Gospel this Sunday evening is the beatitudes from Matthew 5. Blessed be the poor in spirit… etc. I was tempted to riff on Simon and Garfunkel’s Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on. But Allen Ginsberg just goes so much deeper in his poem Kaddish, written over a long period after the early death of his mother after long mental illness:

In the madhouse Blessed is he! In the house of Death Blessed is he!

As a Franciscan I seek to live a blessing of St Francis: Let us bless the Lord God, living and true. Let us always give Him praise, glory, honour, blessing and every good. Blessing God and knowing all things blessed is bloody hard. Only by God’s grace do we have any chance of living it out.

Download the sermon here: 02-09-18 Evensong Beatitudes

Will I break the lectern?

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Tomorrow is my last Sunday at Holy Nativity, and I have had a wonderful time. But I have been wrestling all month with how to pitch my last sermon. In the end, I’ve gone for a lectern-thumping confession of faith. The Gospel tomorrow is from John 6, and I couldn’t stop myself:

Many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Lord, give all your people Peter’s faith. Strengthen us for your service, and throw us into your field.

Download the text here: Sermon 26th August 2018 Last Sunday at HN

Exciting News!

Exciting news! 26th August will be my last Sunday as curate at Holy Nativity Church, Chapel House. From September I will be moving to Newcastle Cathedral to be the curate there!

Much is exciting. Much is scary (especially the prospect of preaching from John Knox’s pulpit!). But in all of it God is good.

Please pray for me and Evan as we prepare for the new job, and please pray also for Canon Clare who will be my boss and the whole cathedral community as they prepare to receive me.

All peace and good,
Fr Thomas

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For the conversion of the nations: A sermon for Epiphany

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This Christmas at Holy Nativity, I have preached several sermons on the truth of the wonderful revelation in Jesus Christ that God who is Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of His people is offered to us in the form of the tiny child of Bethlehem.

At Epiphany, this truth begins to bite. Little Jesus, meek and mild, who became a tiny child… is none other than the Lord and God of all… and He calls all people to worship Him.

“God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bring in that day when all people will worship you, when your kingdom comes and your will is done.”

Download the pdf of the sermon here:

Sunday 7th January 2018 Epiphany

Crown him and Crown him Lord of All!: Sermon for the Feast of the Blessed Virgin

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This Sunday we are celebrating the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary (usually the 15th August). Anglicans often find it hard to articulate why Mary is so important, but I say there are three good reasons.

  1. Mary’s faith
  2. Mary was an awesome prophet
  3. If Mary is Queen of anything at all… that is only because we believe that Jesus is King and Lord of everything in heaven and earth.

Sunday 13th August – Feast of the BVM

And a little musical something from the end of mass here in Newcastle (perhaps sung slightly less elegantly).

All peace and good,
Fr Thomas

 

Sermon: Leather squeaking in the rain at Newcastle Cathedral Pride Eucharist

It was a great pleasure and privilege to preach at the Eucharist for Northern (Newcastle) Pride this Sunday evening. A great crowd turned up and we prayerfully lifted up to the Lord a remarkable weekend of events.

My sermon encouraged queer Christians, allies and friends, to share the Gospel with those whom the Church often forgets. And I believe I mentioned leather squeaking in the rain from the lectern of an Anglican Cathedral. Life goal achieved.

PDF available here: Pride Service Sunday 23rd July 2017

With grateful thanks to Canon Clare and the Dean and Chapter of St Nicholas’ Cathedral.

All peace and good,
Fr Thomas

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