Sermon preached by John Conway, the Provost, on Sunday May 13th

Jesus said: All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.’ Today we celebrate the last Sunday of the Easter season, the Sunday after Ascension, when our celebration of the presence of the Risen Christ begins to look toward the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; when the new community formed by the Risen Christ, takes responsibility, in the power of the Spirit, to live out that forgiving, loving community they have encountered in the power of the resurrection. A forgiving, loving community in the world, but not of the world. That sense that the Risen Christ always points the disciples beyond themselves has been there from the beginning: “Do not cling to me,” says the Risen Jesus to Mary in the garden, … Continue reading

Sermon preached by Marion Chatterley on Easter 6, 6 May 2018

While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.  That rag tag of a crowd, made up both of people who believed and those who were on a journey, a mix of Jews and Gentiles, all of them heard the word, had an encounter with the Divine and they were changed.  The evidence of that change was seen and heard – they spoke in tongues; they extolled God.  And Peter responded to them by offering baptism.   Those few words are a good reminder to us that hearing about the life and witness of Jesus, learning about the nature of our God, can be transformational.  Now I think it’s unlikely that we’re all going to find ourselves speaking in tongues as a response to the Word, so what might be the impact on us of an encounter with the God who is in our midst … Continue reading

Sermon preached by Paul Foster on Easter 5, 29th April

Acts 8.26-40, Jn 15.1-8  I wonder if any of you saw Paddington 2 recently? It was my favourite film of the last year – yes, I know, I do not get out enough! This ursine feel-good film casts Hugh Grant as the arch villain, it has poor Paddington sent to jail, and, without ruining the film for you – as this genre requires, all ends well. It is an action-packed movie, that makes the audience laugh and cry at various points throughout the film. It also does something else – it is one of those rare film sequels that is a success. The box office takings of Paddington 2, were nearly identical with those of the initial film. Sequels do not always disappoint! However, for sequels to work they cannot simply replay the same plot formula as the original. Instead, they must tell the audience something new, they must provide … Continue reading

Sermon preached by John Conway, The Provost, on Easter 3

In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles this morning, we heard an account of the first miracle after Pentecost. A beggar, who asks for money from the disciples, is given something much more unexpected – relationship and healing. A crowd develops, recognising this man but not what has happened to him – they are witnesses of something that they do not yet comprehend. And Peter says to that crowd that has gathered around the healed man: ‘You killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong.’ To this, God raising from the dead, we are witnesses. And in our Gospel, the Risen Jesus says to the disciples: ‘Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in the Messiah’s name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You … Continue reading

Sermon preached by the Provost, John Conway, on Good Friday

In the name of God, Giver of all life, Bearer of all pain, Maker of all love. Amen.   We thinke that Paradise and Calvary, Christ’s Crosse, and Adam’s Tree, stood in one place; Looke, Lord, and find both Adams met in me; As the first Adam’s sweat surrounds my face, May the Last Adam’s blood my soule embrace. John Donne (1572-1631)   Those words by the 17th century poet and priest, John Donne, take us to the heart of the paradox of this day, the day of Christ’s agony and suffering, of his God-forsakenness, and yet a day which is named Good. For it is a day that holds together our experience of being like the first Adam, sweat surrounding our face: we know the experience of being in exile from the garden, the place of contentment and ease; we experience our relationships with neighbours, with wider society, with … Continue reading

Sermon preached by the Provost, John Conway, on Maundy Thursday

The actions we remember, we inhabit tonight, are not in themselves particularly remarkable – the washing of someone’s feet is the kind of menial task that goes on, unremarked and unnoticed, day after day in the world around us. You may do much of this kind of thing yourself, and not attach any great importance to it. Certainly, the work of caring, where it is paid, is not financially rewarding or recognised. And the vast majority of caring, by loved ones or by volunteers, doesn’t appear in our country’s GDP figures, as a contributor to our health and wellbeing – it is taken for granted, and goes unnoticed. Except by those doing it and receiving it. And in a moment, we will gather around a table to share food and drink. Again, that’s a custom familiar to all of us, a ritual of life together. Sometimes the table is laid … Continue reading

Sermon preached by Paul Foster on Lent 3, Sunday 4 March

1 Corinthians 1.18-25 – The Foolishness of being a Christian If you visit Rome, even if you cannot see the famed seven hills you will certainly feel the gradients as you traverse the inclines. The central hill, the Palatine Hill, was in many ways the most exclusive address in Rome – a bit like the Moray Place of Edinburgh. Augustus was the first emperor to build his palace on the eponymous Palatine Hill, and a succession of other emperors, including Tiberias and Domitian, followed suit. Archaeology on the site has been particularly rich. During the excavations of 1857 a graffito was discovered on the wall of a room (it has now been moved to the Palatine Hill museum). Today, if as you leave this cathedral you are tempted to use your spray-cans to leave any graffiti you will be given a £200 on-the-spot fine. If, however, your scrawling is found … Continue reading

Sermon Preached by John McLuckie on 25 February, Lent 2

In 1923, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest and palaeontologist, found himself in China on a scientific expedition. He had none of the usual vessels and materials necessary for the celebration of mass, so he wrote a reflection on the possibility of offering a mass that was beyond symbol and focussed instead on what he called the ‘pure majesty of the real itself’. He saw the whole earth as the altar and labours and sufferings of the world as his offering. On this reality, he would call down the Holy Spirit, as in every mass, and this Spirit was fiery and powerful. Here are some of his words: ‘It is done. Once again, the fire has penetrated the earth. Not with sudden crash of thunderbolt, riving the mountain-tops: does the Master break down doors to enter his own home? Without earthquake, or thunderclap: the flame has lit up … Continue reading

Sermon preached by the Chaplain on Lent 1, 18th February 2018

When I was small, my grandfather would take me on Sunday walks and reminisce about his childhood. Once, he took me to outside a local shop. “It used to be the dentist,” he said, and with a chuckle in his voice, he told how he and his pals would gather outside to peek over the half-frosted window at some unfortunate person writhing in agony on the dentist’s chair. It was the Netflix of their day. I also recall a long walk in the countryside where he pointed to the old droving roads where cattle were once driven down to market. The roads were long overgrown, but it was possible still to trace their faint outline. It was difficult to appreciate his world. And it is a bit similar with Mark’s gospel; where we are only given traces of the life of Christ to reflect on… The world of my children … Continue reading

Sermon preached by Marion Chatterley on Epiphany 4, 28th January 2018

Mark 1:21-28 He taught them as one having authority He taught them.   We can all remember teachers who brought a subject alive, the people who imparted both knowledge and an appetite for learning to their students.  The people whose teaching was inspiring and who people wanted to listen to.  And that kind of teaching happens at every level and stage in our lives.  From our earliest years we learn from our parents and other members of our family.  As we grow a little, we might learn from pre-school teachers or from our friends or their parents.  And that pattern continues.  Lifelong learning may be a bit of a buzzword around educational circles, but within spiritual environments it’s always been important.  Jesus was in the synagogue at Capernaum, in an environment where people expect to hear teaching – and that is just what he did.  He taught in a different way … Continue reading