Sermon preached on Pentecost 2 by Revd Canon Brian Hardy

  Sermon for Pentecost 2    Rev Canon Brian Hardy       St Mary`s Cathedral        29 May 2016 Readings (Proper 9C):        Galatians 1.1-12;  Luke 7.1-10 Some years ago, when I was still distance cycling, I visited friends whose six-year-old son went enthusiastically to the local infant school, and had been carefully taught by his father how to get there safely on his little two wheeler bike.  On my first morning there, after breakfast, the little boy said: “I’m going to school on my bike. You come with me. I’ll show you the way.”  We duly set off, and, just to make sure that I made no stupid mistakes, I was given a non-stop running commentary on the route, being shown exactly where and how we had to cross each road.  At every traffic light we had to wait until we could see the little green man, even though sometimes it took a … Continue reading

Kenneth Fleming - compressed

Sermon by the Chaplain on All Saints, 1 November 2015

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.   Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. In this poem by WH Auden we can feel the grief of loss. A loved one has died and with it love itself. And the world must know, He is Dead. Auden goes on: He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. It is such a scene of grief that confronts Jesus in our gospel reading. The … Continue reading


Sermon preached by the Revd Prof Paul Foster on 18th October

Mark 10.35-45; Hebrews 5.1-10 If you stroll into nearly any bookshop you will find a section entitled something like self-help, or personal success. A recent scan of such a section in an Edinburgh bookshop presented me with titles such as ‘Find Your Strongest Life’, ‘How to Get Everything You Want Out of Life’, or ‘8 Steps to Create the Life You Want’. It pains me to tell you that that last title is a so-called Christian self-fulfilment book, written by a person with the wonderful name of Dr Dollar. Flicking through various of these books, I have to admit that much of the advice is sensible, many have a realization that treating others well will yield positive benefits, and most encourage reflective thinking. My problem is not so much with the individual pieces of advice, rather my issue is the entire underlying philosophy. Books such as ‘The Slight Edge: The … Continue reading


Sermon preached by the Vice-Provost on 16th July 2017

If you’ve ever had the experience of having your exact spoken words written down by someone else, you will know that we rarely speak in perfectly honed sentences and you will see, in black and white, the redundant little words and verbal tics that pepper our everyday speech. All those ‘ kind ofs’ and ‘you knows’ and ‘ums’ that give us a little time to find the right word look strange when we see them reflected back to us on a page, though if we get too  self-conscious about them, our speech will turn into something unnatural. Indeed, all sorts of things get problematic when we are too self-conscious, but I’m jumping the gun – more of that later. There’s one little word that appears to be redundant and, therefore, often gets left out of modern biblical translations but which appears many hundreds of times throughout the pages of scripture. … Continue reading

Sermon preached by Bishop Richard Holloway on 8th February 2015

Good morning! In recent years most of my incursions into this pulpit have been at funerals to speak about the dead; so it’s  a relief to be able to talk about the living this morning; and specifically about children, poor children, in our increasingly unequal society. I want to begin with an excerpt from the diaries of Chris Mullin, the former Labour MP for Sunderland in England, not that far from Durham.  I read his three volumes with pleasure as they came out; but one entry stabbed me with sadness and recognition.  The film Billy Elliott is showing in one of the schools in his constituency, and as he waits to go in he muses on the plight of the hundreds of children standing beside him in the queue.  He concludes the entry with these words: “I look at all the shiny, optimistic little faces waiting with their parents in … Continue reading