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Source: (consider it) Thread: Christmas Sermons
Bishops Finger
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[Projectile]

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Heard this done a few years ago: preacher agreed with the sentiment, pointing out that in the massacre of the Holy Innocents and the forced exile of the new-born Christ-child, it was indeed all about the children.

Cue complaints all round [Snigger]

Was that on Christmas Day or Holy Innocents'? Appropriate for the second (although I get puzzled why it should come before Epiphany). Not appropriate on the 25th.
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Enoch
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So he assumes his (I assume his) churchgoers are voyeurs!!
I agree with the previous [Projectile]

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Cathscats:
You want to avoid one I heard about last year [deleted the bit I don't want to think about]

I can't see any occasion where that anecdote would be appropriate, least of all a Christmas sermon. The Incarnational theology that is implied is even more heretical than most of the stuff we normally hear at Christmas (including in the lyrics of many of our carols).

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by Cathscats:
You want to avoid one I heard about last year, where the preacher compared the incarnation (God showing us himself) to the preacher himself as a boy wondering what a naked woman looked like and peering through a crack in the bedroom door at his mother... [Frown]

That poor man needs to retire, move, or take a vacation until after Candlemas.

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-Og: King of Bashan

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Enoch
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Permanently rather than just until February.

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Og, King of Bashan

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Well, the question was if anyone remembers Christmas sermons. The answer, in that case, is certainly yes.

My father once visited a church that claimed to poses Jesus' used diaper, which he thought was a spectacular commentary on the incarnation. My temptation, as the father of a two year old, would be to take that a step too far and focus on the gross implications of the incarnation- God coming down and becoming a pooping and puking baby, just like us. Maybe avoid too much of that?

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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RuthW

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I was not present at the service, but the sermon was certain memorable enough for people to be talking about it for quite a while afterwards: one Christmas Eve the previous senior minister at the church where I work discussed the possibility that Mary was pregnant before being married because she had been raped by a Roman soldier.* Opinions about the idea itself were varied, but a lot of people present thought it was highly inappropriate for the occasion, and a few walked out.

*First put forward by Jane Schaberg?

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John Holding

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I was not present at the service, but the sermon was certain memorable enough for people to be talking about it for quite a while afterwards: one Christmas Eve the previous senior minister at the church where I work discussed the possibility that Mary was pregnant before being married because she had been raped by a Roman soldier.* Opinions about the idea itself were varied, but a lot of people present thought it was highly inappropriate for the occasion, and a few walked out.

*First put forward by Jane Schaberg?

It's been floating around for at least 1,500 years if not longer, though I can't remember the reference. Poaaibly in Josephus or one of the earliest commentators.

JOhn

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
Well, the question was if anyone remembers Christmas sermons. The answer, in that case, is certainly yes.

My father once visited a church that claimed to poses Jesus' used diaper,

Cloth or disposable?

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
Well, the question was if anyone remembers Christmas sermons. The answer, in that case, is certainly yes.

My father once visited a church that claimed to poses Jesus' used diaper,

Cloth or disposable?
It miraculously cleansed, sterilised and dried itself.

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mdijon
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Nothing like stigmata then? No mystical shit miraculously appearing after the morning after epiphany?

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Kelly Alves

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Oh, no, no, no, people. The little Lord Jesus shat a mystical substance that evaporated into a sweet incense smoke after ten minutes. His nappies wete left with a gilded emblem resembling the lion of Judah.

God, I love the Ship.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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Kelly Alves

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As for this freak--
quote:
Originally posted by Cathscats:
You want to avoid one I heard about last year, where the preacher compared the incarnation (God showing us himself) to the preacher himself as a boy wondering what a naked woman looked like and peering through a crack in the bedroom door at his mother... [Frown]

Holy shit. [Eek!]

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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Pancho
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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:

My father once visited a church that claimed to poses Jesus' used diaper, which he thought was a spectacular commentary on the incarnation.

I'll just leave this here.

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“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’"

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Kelly Alves

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I knew you'd be along, Pancho. [Big Grin]

One article in The Wittenburg Door announced that fossilized remains of Mary's morning sickness had been found on a road leading to Bethlehem, and that Vatican City was in an uproar with people arguing whether that was a first or second class relic.

Which brings us back to Jesus's diapies...

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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sabine
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I have to hand it to people who must preach every year at Christmas. It can't be easy coming up with a new take on things.

That said, the bits about Jesus' diapers and the preacher peeking through the bathroom door at his mom make me glad I'm a Quaker. Not gloating here; we can have some off-the-wall "vocal ministry" (people speaking from the silence) but it's a little easier to let that go in one ear and out the other.

And my Mennonite Church will probably have its usual tie in with social justice.

sabine

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"Hunger looks like the man that hunger is killing." Eduardo Galeano

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by Pancho:
quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:

My father once visited a church that claimed to poses Jesus' used diaper, which he thought was a spectacular commentary on the incarnation.

I'll just leave this here.
This is exactly why I went from being a 20 something Anglophile to 30 something Castillophile.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Aravis
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Last year I read the passage about Arthur's carol service from "Skallagrig" by William Horwood in place of a sermon the Sunday before Christmas. Probably not suitable for Christmas Day itself but the congregation were spellbound. We had rather a long gap before the Creed because the vicar and servers were all crying and needed time to recover!

It's not well known. Arthur has severe cerebral palsy, is assumed to have profound learning disability as well (which he doesn't) and is in a grim institution. This service is a blaze of light and hope in the middle of it all and has a profound effect on his life.

Does anyone else know it? I can tell a bit more of the story but don't think I can post a link.

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Rosa Gallica officinalis
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quote:
Originally posted by Aravis:
Last year I read the passage about Arthur's carol service from "Skallagrig" by William Horwood in place of a sermon the Sunday before Christmas.

Thanks for the heads up I love that book, but read it so long ago that I'd forgotten that passage.
I try to read a poem or short passage from a non-scripture source rather than preach at carol services. Malcolm Guite's Refugee (scroll down) has featured heavily in the last couple of years.

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Come for tea, come for tea, my people.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Oh, no, no, no, people. The little Lord Jesus shat a mystical substance that evaporated into a sweet incense smoke after ten minutes. His nappies wete left with a gilded emblem resembling the lion of Judah.

These kids seem to think differently (see around 2:48).

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

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mdijon
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Our Christmas sermon this year was based around the genealogy of Jesus, focusing on the few women mentioned: Tamar, Ruth, Rahab, Uriah and Mary.

The possible choices for a woman were rape victim, cursed Moabite (barely above helpless and rescued by marriage), prostitute, sexual conquest for alpha males and virgin mother.

Then we segued to in Christ there is no male or female and how the world could be a better place without barriers of gender and ethnicity between us, and that Jesus came to break down barriers.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Kelly Alves

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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Oh, no, no, no, people. The little Lord Jesus shat a mystical substance that evaporated into a sweet incense smoke after ten minutes. His nappies wete left with a gilded emblem resembling the lion of Judah.

These kids seem to think differently (see around 2:48).
I like these kids. They made sure Baby Jesus got Jordans!

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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mdijon
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Thus subtly hinting at his coming baptism by John.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Our Christmas sermon this year was based around the genealogy of Jesus, focusing on the few women mentioned: Tamar, Ruth, Rahab, Uriah and Mary.

Uriah? That could lead itself to some interesting interpretation of 2 Kings 11. An Amazon in the army of David.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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David Goode
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Nothing like stigmata then? No mystical shit miraculously appearing after the morning after epiphany?

I can just imagine the office hymn for the Feast of the True Shit, celebrated on 7 Jan:

Ave, verum stercore,
Brunneis, et foetida...

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Our Christmas sermon this year was based around the genealogy of Jesus, focusing on the few women mentioned: Tamar, Ruth, Rahab, Uriah and Mary.

The possible choices for a woman were rape victim, cursed Moabite (barely above helpless and rescued by marriage), prostitute, sexual conquest for alpha males and virgin mother.

Then we segued to in Christ there is no male or female and how the world could be a better place without barriers of gender and ethnicity between us, and that Jesus came to break down barriers.

I can't see whether, in context, this was a good or a bad sermon to have preached. But, at the very least, it sounds a bit more interesting than the somewhat bland fare one associates with Christmas and hopefully got people thinking - unless it was deliberately intended to shock and startle, which would have been going too far.

As I've said upthread, I do feel that Christmas tends to be the best attended but least theologically-explained festival of the Christian year - which isn't to say that I expect preachers to deliver a 45-minute mega-message on the meaning of kenosis on Christmas morning.

[ 26. December 2016, 08:55: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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PS That post was meant to begin "I can't say whether ...".
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Our Christmas sermon this year was based around the genealogy of Jesus, focusing on the few women mentioned: Tamar, Ruth, Rahab, Uriah and Mary.

Uriah? That could lead itself to some interesting interpretation of 2 Kings 11. An Amazon in the army of David.
That gets a [Overused] .

More seriously, did the sermon point out that Bathsheba is not named in the genealogy? The others are, but she is just 'of Uriah', even though the readers knew perfectly well what her name was, i.e. 'that woman'.

Incidentally, I'm not so sure the conventional picture of Bathsheba as a poor exploited woman taken advantage of is the whole picture. Her intervention in 1 Kings 1 when David is dying, to make sure her her son bounces his older half-brothers in the succession do not give the impression of the actions of a cypher, one to whom things are done, rather than one who is herself an active agent.

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Brenda Clough
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I think Bathsheba was clearly exploited in the bathing-on-the-roof part of the story -- passed from one man to the other like a bar of chocolate. However, by the time Solomon is on deck at least twenty years must have passed -- he is old enough to be king. She could not have made a convincing case for a kid, even a youth. So she had twenty years of harem politics and experience behind her. She wasn't 15-20 (no idea how old she was when she was Mrs. Uriah) but at least 35-40.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Incidentally, I'm not so sure the conventional picture of Bathsheba as a poor exploited woman taken advantage of is the whole picture. Her intervention in 1 Kings 1 when David is dying, to make sure her her son bounces his older half-brothers in the succession do not give the impression of the actions of a cypher, one to whom things are done, rather than one who is herself an active agent.

Well, a lot of years had passed. Perhaps she had learned from David and come into her own, as it were.

Our sermon focused on the first words the angel said to Joseph (and the shepherds and just about everyone else in scripture to whom an angel appears): "Do not be afraid." Coupled with the names of Jesus (you shall call his name Jesus/Emmanuel), the gist could be boiled down to "Do not be afraid. The God who saves/delivers is with us."

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I think Bathsheba was clearly exploited in the bathing-on-the-roof part of the story -- passed from one man to the other like a bar of chocolate. However, by the time Solomon is on deck at least twenty years must have passed -- he is old enough to be king. She could not have made a convincing case for a kid, even a youth. So she had twenty years of harem politics and experience behind her. She wasn't 15-20 (no idea how old she was when she was Mrs. Uriah) but at least 35-40.

She was almost certainly 15 to 20 when she was Mrs. Uriah, as the text makes it clear that they were married, but she was not pregnant (therefore the post menstrual bath) and most likely had no children yet (who would have muddied up the story in a pretty major way, being likely to want to avenge themselves on David at some point, and in the meantime being young and yowly and in need of a home).

The statistics people tell us that the average couple has an 85% chance of pregnancy within a year of unprotected sex. The fact that Uriah was gone with the army would impact that some, but probably not as much as you'd think, given that warfare then was seasonal.

So yeah, all in all, I'd say about 16 or so. Certainly not in a position to tell the king to piss off. (and probably not nearly as cynical and suspicious as she would have become later)

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I can't say whether, in context, this was a good or a bad sermon to have preached.

I took it as a good sermon. It was thought provoking and produced some discussion afterwards. I'm also all in favour of gender barriers being challenged.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Baptist Trainfan
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Fair enough!
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keibat
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To bring the discussion back from the happy clappy nappy digressions...

The Adventual pre-Christmas and Christmas itself now being comfortably behind us, I note that at most of the services of the season that I was at, a clear majority of the congregation were folk I don't remember seeing in church before, tho' probably a fair proportion of them were there last year, when I evidently wasn't paying so much attention.

That shifts the context for Christmas sermons so very drastically. You can't take for granted even the shaky knowledge of Scripture, Christian theology, or liturgical practice that you can at least nod to with regular(ish) churchfolk. To my mind that rules out Archbishop Thomas' sermon from Murder in the Cathedral that Georgiaboy recalled just as much as my own suggestion of St John Chrysostom's golden oratory – tho' the latter didn't seem to be a total failure; however, that was with a relatively churched churchful, definitely more so than at our Midnight Mass or Christmas Day Eucharist.

The sermon I liked best this year was probably the five-minuter with the theme of 'Heaven touching earth' repeated like a refrain and finally morphing into 'Earth reaching up to heaven.'

Preaching to the unchurched is so much bigger a challenge than to the churched.

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keibat from the finnish north and the lincs east rim

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Beeswax Altar
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On Christmas Day, I read the sermon from Murder in the Cathedral. People who like that sort of thing liked it and people who don't like that sort of thing did not. On Christmas Eve, I told a story about a priest in England who as a child wanted to see a naked woman... [Biased]

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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Mudfrog
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For what it's worth, my two Christmas (very short) sermons - one at the carol service and the other on Christmas Day - were about peace and the Incarnation.

The peace one reflected on there being no peace in the world, quoting Chesterton's reply to the Times' 'what's wrong with the world?' by letter: Dear Sir, I am, Yours GK Chesterton and saying that let there be peace in earth begins with us.

The CD one said that the Incarnation was good news not just because He is Immanuel: 'God with us' but because in him a Saviour has been born; and that's the good news - we can be forgiven.

[ 29. December 2016, 00:31: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Baptist Trainfan
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For the record, the short message I preached at our Carol Service was about the sheer "earthiness" and reality (as opposed to romanticised sentimentality) of the nativity scene. The slightly longer one I preached on Christmas Day was about the words and greetings we commonly use at Christmas, leading to thoughts about Jesus as God's perfect Word to humanity.
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Bishops Finger
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At last year's Midnight Mass, Mother Vicar shared a few thoughts about the role in the story of the rather understated St. Joseph. This year, she focussed on the strength and toughness, despite her tender years, of Our Lady.

Both sermons were short and to the point - 5 minutes at the most - and look, I've remembered them!

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Zappa
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Kuruman (to whom I am married, to those who don't recall) went back to our old pad St Triangles' on the Sides of the North. (I have a policy of not going back until a decade has passed). The young Turks there are doing a great job under stringent circumstances. She reckons the one on deck on Christmas Eve preached a good sermon.

Then another.

Then another.

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and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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Bishops Finger
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Ah - tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you've told them!

[Big Grin]

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Gramps49
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This year's Christmas sermon is memorable for me because my son was the preacher. He is a third-year seminarian completing his studies. He has preached before at other places. It is the first time he preached at our home congregation. His main point was that we should not celebrate something in the past but be Christ incarnate today.

The darn thing of it all was he refused to let me record it. He has a deal about taken sermons out of context of the liturgy.

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Brenda Clough
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And was the prophet honored in his own country?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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