The Pharisee and the tax collector

Sermon October 27 2019 St Chad’s and Lyttelton.

The parable we have heard about the Pharisee and the tax collector is a well-known one. Even the word Pharisee has come to be part of our language, describing anyone who is a hypocrite, following the tiny details of so-called righteousness and the law, while ignoring the greater truth behind the law, and ignoring God’s injunctions to love one another. This Pharisee is so busy telling God about how wonderful he is, that he fails to notice that he is judgmental and unkind. Continue reading

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Sermon St Annes 13 Oct 2019

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We heard this line in our Psalm today, and it’s so familiar that maybe you heard it and thought, oh, that’s where that line comes from.

Let’s have a look at what it might mean for us, both on its own and when we put it with our readings about healing that we have heard.

The fear of the Lord – does that mean fear like being terrified? Is it like the fear some of us experience when we go into enclosed buildings that hold bad earthquake memories? Or is it like the fear of the unknown – starting a new job, or when you receive a diagnosis of a health journey no one wants to go on? Or is it like the fear that grips you when you are out in the mall, and you do a head count of your kids and realise that you’re one short? No, those are all fear as in being afraid. Continue reading

Life and Dignity

Sermon 22 Sept 19

Today’s Gospel about the dishonest manager is such a puzzle. When I sat down to write this sermon, nothing seemed to jump out of it to preach about today, so I am going to concentrate on the other two readings, which are connected in a way that is helpful to understanding them, and for us today.

First, we hear from the prophet Jeremiah. He is crying for his people, that they are hurt, and abandoned. Where is their king? The prophet asks. Where is their leadership? Who is in charge here?

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.’ Continue reading



Reverend Felicity O’Brien August 11 2019 St Chad’s Linwood

Faith is a strange thing isn’t it? In our times, everything needs to be proved to be believed. That’s the empirical method, which became popular during the Enlightenment. People started to understand more about the natural world, more about science – forces, biology, chemistry, weather, what is natural even though it seems supernatural. People don’t believe something they can’t see in front of their eyes. Continue reading

Who is my neighbour?

Sermon Luke 10:25-37

Who is my neighbour?

The story of the good Samaritan is really well known. It’s probably one of the Bible stories that people who know nothing else about Jesus have heard the gist of. We have a help-line called the Samaritans, where you can ring if you’re really at the end of your tether, and know that there will be someone kind and helpful on the other end of the phone. The phrase ‘a Good Samaritan’ crops up in the local paper regularly – it usually refers to someone who anonymously acted kindly, and often people are trying to find out who they are so they can thank them in person. Continue reading

Where is the kingdom?

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Where is the Kingdom?

Jesus needed help. He could not be everywhere at once, and needed others to go and prepare the ground for him. Just like Moses appointed seventy elders to help him, Jesus appoints seventy to go before him. He paired them up, and sent them out to all the places he intended to visit. He had a list of thirty-five towns therefore that were on his itinerary.

Can you feel the sense of urgency here? Jesus needs to get the word out, fast, that the kingdom of heaven is near, and that it is a kingdom of peace. Continue reading



It sounds so simple, doesn’t it. Love one another, as I have loved you. In the Old Testament believers were taught to love their neighbour as themselves. Unfortunately, over time, that command had become rather limiting and exclusive, and morphed into meaning, love those around you if they belong to your own group, and think and worship like you. Continue reading