Jesus – the Angry Religious Man

Here’s what I said in the pulpit yesterday for Lent 3

Sermon preached by Kelvin Holdsworth on 8 March 2015 from St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow on Vimeo.

The door opened. That door at the back, with its annoying squeak. And I looked up and immediately I was afraid.

I saw someone come in and knew that I needed to do something and do it quickly.

I checked the clock and took off my headphones.

Either I needed to shout at everyone to evacuate the building or I had to try to do something myself.

I looked around and decided to walk forward and try to distract him and see what happened.

We were about to do a Radio Broadcast. A live radio broadcast and the clock was, well, not ticking because things like that need to be silent when we are recording, but the clock was moving inexorably towards 8.10 and the moment when the red light would go on and I would say, “Good morning and welcome to St Mary’s Cathedral in the City of Glasgow, a city that is still in shock.”

It was the day after the terrorist attack at Glasgow airport. Transport systems were in a mess. The airport was completely locked down and roads were closed all over the place. People couldn’t fly into Scotland. There was transport chaos and the police still didn’t know how many other people were at large who intended harm.

And that door right there opened right before an advertised liver broadcast and someone unexpected came in. Someone whom I didn’t know.

And in that instant I saw a stereotype walk into the cathedral. He was young and rather swarthy looking. I later discovered that he was indeed just back from Libya and he looked like it.

A thin white scarf around him. Khaki camouflage clothes. And a backpack.

It was the backpack that worried me most as I walked towards him.

Hello I said, welcome to St Mary’s.

These are the words that I use when I think someone is about to blow me and the cathedral up.

Hello, welcome to St Mary’s.

Hello, he said.

There was a pause as I looked him up and down and he did the same to me.

Do you mind telling me, I asked – do you mind telling me what’s in the backpack. [Read more…]

Book Review – Lectionary Reflections Year B

Lectionary Reflections: Year BLike a number of improving books (Bridget Jones and Tales of the City come to mind), this book began as a newspaper column. Jane Williams’ thoughtful reflections on the lectionary readings first appeared in the Church Times in the ‘Sunday Readings’ slot which is surely designed to prompt desperate preachers who have not made their minds up by Friday as to what they are going to say on Sunday morning.

The pieces here are intelligently written and useful for any preacher. One of the truly great achievements of the ecumenical movement in recent years is the number of churches which have moved to a common lectionary so that on most Sundays people from different traditions will be hearing the same scripture readings. For this reason, books like this have an appeal across the denominations. For those who need to know, the readings studied here are those of the thematic strand in the lectionary.

Books of this kind are also useful for anyone who regularly attends a church in which they fear that they might not appreciate the preacher of the day. Simply buy this book, sneak it in under your hat and slip it out during the gradual hymn ready for a good read during the sermon slot.

It is clear that Jane Williams is an engaging theologian and these pieces make me want to hear her preach herself. Until recently, she was a lecturer and doctrine tutor at Trinity College, Bristol. Now, living on the south bank of the River Thames, she is Visiting Lecturer in Theology at King’s College, London. As the introduction to the book rather coyly states, she is married, and has two school-aged children.

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Published in inspires, the magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church