We Do What We Are (Ephesians 5:8-19)

Sermon preached at St Barnabas Church, December 16th 2018

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead
,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

Upon the death of his father King George V, Edward VIII gave an interview in which he reminisced about his time as a boy. “Whenever any one of us children had done something wrong”, Edward recalled, “the King would take us aside and tell us—‘my child, you must remember who you are’”. The point being that if Edward only remembered his identity as a child of the King, and an heir to the throne, he would live a good life that brought honour to the king. 

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Patristics and Early Christianity

Two of my favourite early Christian authors: Origen and Tertullian (image from the Window of the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge)

In this page, I hope to post some thoughts and reflections on the work of early Christians.

You can read more about my work in patristics, the study of the work and thought of early Christians (“the church fathers, or patres) at my academia page here.

I have written about contemporary interpretations of the command to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” here.

And here, you can read my brief piece on the dating of the Gospel of Thomas.

Jesus, The Hope of the Disciple-Maker (Matthew 28.16-20)

Nalini Jayasuriya (Sri Lankan, ?–2014), “The Great Commission,” 2002. Mixed media on canvas, 28 × 53 in. http://blog.spu.edu/lectio/missiology-in-the-new-creation/; http://omsc.org/art-at-omsc/nalini/greatcommission-slide.htm

Sermon preached at St Barnabas Church, Cambridge on September 1st 2019

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Introduction

These are uncertain times in our household. I am about to finish my job and am currently not sure what or where my next job will be. Olga is on the hunt for a curacy which could be anywhere in the country. And on top of that, we are set to move house and so are dealing with all of the upheaval that comes with packing boxes and making our home somewhere else. 

It is with excitement, then, that I heard we were looking at stories of hope—stories both about hope and stories that give us hope—in our summer series here at St Barnabas. To state the obvious, hope is tested in uncertain, seemingly hopeless times. In this last in our series, we come to the end of Matthew’s Gospel, to a passage commonly known as the Great Commission. This is a passage about mission, about disciple-making and discipling with those meaty commands to “move out, make disciples of all nations, baptising and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you”. 

So what has the Great Commission to do with hope?

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