Showing posts from May, 2020

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch Newsletter 31 May 2020

I hope that my funeral is many years off yet. It needs to be, because the job of collating a few hundred pieces of music and booking performers will take me up to 2050, when I shall be 103, an age the significance of which I’ll tell you one day. Among my favourite hymns are Spafford’s It is Well with My Soul, JM Neale (tr) Christ is made the Sure Foundation, Winkworth (tr) Wake O Wake for Night is Flying, The Eagles Take it to the Limit – particularly great hymn that last one. If we guess that Eagles band members will predecease me (one has already), I’ll need to find a cover. Our nephew is 24, his band might not make it to 2050. They’re really Heavy Metal, anyway. As for choral music, there’s just too much to whittle down. But a must-have is Stanford Nunc Dimittis in G . Luke 2, the Song of Simeon, when the baby Jesus is presented to him in the Temple. “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation ..." Look up

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch Newsletter May 24 2020

As I type this on Thursday, it is Ascension Day.  It’s a public holiday in many European countries, including Germany where it is called, to the delight of English-speaking schoolboys and girls learning German,  Christi Himmelfahrt, Christ Heaven-going. Here’s what Luke has to say (Acts 1): … he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Some years ago, Leisa and I rented a holiday house on the Manly NSW beachfront for a dear friend’s wedding. Another family of dear friends, Americans, came over for the wedding and shared the house. Their then 3yo (graduated High School last month – aagh, we’re getting old) daughter said to us, as we bad

Midweek Meander for Kirwan Uniting Church, Weds 20 May 2020

Lo, Vimeo now worketh, and you can watch and listen to a video as usual And if that is unintelligible, here's the Thought-for-the-Evening: Twinkle twinkle, little star, I know precisely what you are: An incandescent ball of gas compressed into a solid mass. Pondering meandering, my mind turned to stars, specifically those which God suggested that Abraham should look at when he, Abraham, was doubting God’s promise that he would have a son and heirs.  Genesis 15, our reading: He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars —if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. There you go, I thought, let’s cheer ourselves up in lockdown by considering, along with the Psalmist, that He who made the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. And then I remembered that it’s been raining and overcast fo

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch Newsletter 17 May 2020

O God, the source of all good desires, all right judgements, and all just works: give to your servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments, and that freed from the fear of our enemies, we may pass our time in rest and quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. It’s no secret that I favour liturgical prayer, ie set in a prayer-book or prepared before delivery. A Ramble isn’t the place to defend that view to fans of extemporaneous prayer. Except that the great so-called Common Prayers, from Cranmer closer to our own time, or the early Church Fathers, are rich in scripture and contain mini sermons in their short paragraphs. This prayer, The Collect for Peace from Evening Prayer, is a great example. Cranmer adapted and included it in his 1549 Book of Common Prayer, but it is of such ancient tradition that no-one really knows who first composed and prayed it. It seems that it was being prayed regularly in the early church.

Midweek Meander online for Kirwan Uniting Church

So, to supplement Rambling at the end of the week, I thought that I might Meander in the middle of the week.

Sermon delivered online 10 May 2020.

Sermon preached online Sunday 10 May 2020 . Last Sunday, we found ourselves at a dining table for one. Today, we’re at a dinner party, with the same distinguished guest. Do you ever play a mind game where you imagine which famous person you’d like to have round for a long meal? JK Rowling, for example, and ask her why she didn’t fix Harry up with Hermione, and Ron with Luna Lovegood. Better still, a large party, with a constant crossflow of conversation and discussion. Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, John Donne, Bono, Cate Blanchett. Jane Austen, says Leisa. George Herbert. You’ll have your own list, and questions you want to pose to your guests. Questions are an essential ingredient of everyday conversation. They serve as invitations to dialogue and opportunities for further learning. Little wonder, then, that questions sit at the centre of John's Gospel. At the outset of the story, Andrew asks Jesus where he's staying. Shortly thereafter, Nicodemus inquires how a grown