Sermon for Michaelmas

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, there was a seminary where lucky young men and lucky young women came to train for the priesthood and open their lives to all that God was hoping for them.

It was a place that I knew but did not study in myself but a place that some of you may well have known and visited in its day.

Now this seminary was, like St Mary’s a bit of an international place. It was somewhere that people from all over the world would drop into for a couple of months of Sunday. It was like a liturgical finishing school for the world. It was good in those days (and still is a good thing I fear) for you to have had a bit of time in a British seminary if you were studying for the Anglican priesthood from furth of these shores and wanted to climb the slippery slope of clerical advancement.

And thus the seminary in question used to admit external students from time to time.

And one of these students arrived in this place. He came from a part of Anglicanism where Portuguese was the dominant language and though he had studied English, it was a hard work at first for him to communicate.

Well, he arrived and was shown to his room and the first time he met the student body was the next morning for breakfast.

As he stirred his porridge and gave thanks for his good fortune, he looked up at the other students and said, “Last night. Last night the Virgin Mary came to me [Read more…]

A sermon for Y’All

Here is a sermon that I preached on Sunday. You can find the audio here. (This one is more fun to listen to than to read, I think).

I have learned in the course of my travels that it sometimes takes people a few minutes to atune to the way I speak. I’ve learned that people sometimes need a few sentences before they get used to my accent – the way that I speak.

And of course, it works the other way around too.

I am getting used to listening to the sounds of voices that I am not used to hearing. And of course, coming to here, the first time I’ve been in the South has meant me having to listen extra carefully.

Before I came on this here I decided to lose weight and get fit. Over the course of a year I managed to lose 30 pounds. What I hadn’t realised was that when I came to the South, the hospitality would be such that I would put those 30 pounds back on. During breakfast.

Whilst I was eating that first breakfast, I had something to ponder. For the very first night that I was here I had the strangest of dreams. I’ve been up at Sewanee, the University of the South. It is a beautiful university and an excellent seminary and I was their guest. That first night, I dreamed that I had encountered angels. It is a strange dream to have these days though it would not have been particularly unusual in Biblical times. [Indeed, one might think that a very great deal of John’s Revelation, part of which we heard this morning, was just such a dream].

Anyway, I woke up on my first full day in the South absolutely sure that I’d encountered angels in my dreams. And as I came to, I desperately tried to remember what they had been saying. I knew that something was important. I tried and tried.
However, to this day, I can’t remember anything of the conversation.

I do remember one thing though. [Read more…]