The sound of silence

Sermon May 16

The sound of silence

This week we are preparing for Pentecost, when we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, and everyone else around them. There are many images for the Holy Spirit, and those in today’s readings are all based on natural phenomenon such as wind, fire, storms and earthquakes. First, we heard about Elijah fleeing from King Ahab’s wrath, and hiding in the desert.

A great wind came by, so powerful that it broke rocks. But God was not in that. Then an earthquake, and a fire, but God was not there either. The very fact of their inclusion in this story tells us how God might be expected to show God’s glory – in really dramatic gestures. Continue reading

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Here I am , Lord

Sermon January 14 St Ambrose Aranui

Here I am, Lord

Today’s readings are about the theme of being called. Have you ever been in a busy place, and heard someone call your name? We’re hard-wired to recognise our own name, so we stop, and turn around, trying to see who is calling us, and if it is really us they want. It doesn’t often happen to me because my name is not very common. But when I hear a voice of a certain pitch saying, Mum! I react, along with quite a few other mums in the area. Our ears prick up, to see what is needed. Continue reading

Sermon: Noticing

Sermon. 31 August 2014
Rev Felicity O’Brien
St Mary’s Whitby
Exod 3:1-15, Rom 12:9-21, Matt 16:21-28

Moses was a man who noticed things. Maybe this was to do with his upbringing – at first he was raised by his mother, in the Hebrew culture, and then he was returned to the princess who had adopted him when she took him out of the river. Imagine how different life would be at the court of Pharaoh for the young boy – he would have had to watch carefully to learn what to do, how to behave, even learn a new language. He was educated in all the Egyptian ways, and learnt a great deal. Continue reading

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Water

Felicity O’Brien, Jan 10, 2010. All rights reserved. PDF

Ps 29

Lk 3

Water – it’s weird stuff. Two atoms of Hydrogen, which is a gas, combined with one atom of oxygen, also a gas, and suddenly it’s a liquid! Different combinations of hydrogen and oxygen make entirely different things, like peroxide.

It’s vital to our survival. We are largely composed of it, and can’t survive long without it. Water is mentioned over four hundred times in the Bible. For a people living in the desert, water must have often been on their minds as the first necessity of survival.

Water can also be very powerful and destructive. The Psalm set for today, Psalm 29, reassures us that “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters”. Our reading from Isaiah also offers comfort:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” Continue reading