Category Archives: Sermons and Talks

“I am…”

 

At the 11am services over the past two months, we have had the opportunity to focus on certain of the “I am…” sayings of Jesus.  Malcolm Guite started the series on April 12th when he talked about the theme “I am the vine”

Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me

(John 15:4b)

and reflected our need to be rooted and grounded in Jesus for our faith to be fruitful.

 

Ann Kember developed the theme on April 26th, talking on “I am the Way”

“Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”. Jesus said to him, “I am the way…”

(John 14:5b-6a)

We were reminded that we are not simply aiming at some distant goal, but are travelling a particular road: our faith is not all about the ends, but just as much about the Way. Alice Meynell, in her poem “I am the Way”, writes about this contrast: “Hadst thou been nothing but the goal / I cannot say / If thou hadst ever met my soul”. She concludes in the same vein, “Access, Approach / Art thou, Time, Way, and Wayfarer”.

 

The theme continued on May 3rd, when Malcolm spoke on “I am the… …life”, bringing us his recent sonnet, “God so loved the world”, which ends: “And now he gives himself, as Life and Light / that we might choose in Him to set things right”. On May 17th, Ann picked up the last of the trio, “I am the… …truth”, reflecting on, amongst other things, our need to trust, and our capacity to retain a sense of wonder for those things that we “understand”.

 

We closed the series with Malcolm speaking on just the core words – “I am…”, first found in Exodus 3, and picked up in John 8:57b,

Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.

in which we recognise with great immediacy that that with which we have to deal in our faith is not a “what” but a “who” – an eternal and infinite “I am” of consciousness from which we spring, in whom we “live and move and have our being”, in whose image we are made, and to whom, through and in Jesus, we can relate and come close.

Adrian Stacey

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Jeremy Taylor; the insights of inclusion:

August 13th is the day set aside by the Church of England to remember with gratitude the life and writings of Jeremy Taylor. Taylor, one of the classic Seventeenth Century Anglican Divines, has been called The Shakespeare of the Pulpit for the beautiful poetic prose of his sermons. He was also a great Spiritual Director and advisor, distilling gret wisdom into books like Holy Living and Holy Dying. Yesterday at St. Edward’s I preached a sermon celebrating those particular gifts and insights of his that I believe the church most needs today.

Here is the link to the sermon, which is preceded by a reading from a passage of Taylor’s work:

Jeremy Taylor and the Insights of Inclusion

And here are the two passages to which I refer in the sermon:

Taylor’s image of the upland Valley:

‘It is in some circumstances
and from some persons more secure to conceal visions and those
heavenly gifts, which create estimates among men, than to publish
them, which may possibly minister to vanity; and those exterior
graces may do God’s work, though no observer note them, but the
person for whose sake they are sent: like rain falling in uninhabited
valleys, where no eye observes the showers; yet the valleys laugh
and sing to God in their refreshment without a witness

Taylor compares St. Paul and St. Mary:

And it is not altogether inconsiderable to observe, that the holy

Virgin came to a great perfection and state of piety by a few, and

those modest and even external actions. St Paul travelled over

the world, preached to the Gentiles, disputed against the Jews,

confounded heretics, writ excellently learned letters, suffered

dangers, injuries, affronts and persecutions to the height of

wonder, and by these violences of life, action and patience

obtained the crown of an excellent religion and devotion. But

the holy Virgin, although she engaged sometimes in an active

life, and in the exercises of an ordinary and small economy

and government, or ministries of a family, yet she arrived to

her perfections by the means of a quiet and silent piety, the

internal actions of love, devotion, and contemplation; and

instructs us, that not only those who have opportunity and powers

of a magnificent religion, or a pompous charity, or miraculous

conversion of souls, or assiduous and effectual preachings, or

exterior demonstrations of corporal mercy, shall have the greatest

crown, and the addition of degrees and accidental rewards; but

the silent reflections, the splendours of an internal devotion, the

Unions of love humility and obedience, the daily offices of prayer

and praises sung to God, the acts of faith and fear, of patience and

meekness, of hope and reverence, repentance and charity,

And those graces which walk in a veil and silence, make

great ascents to God, and as sure progress to favours and a

crown, as the more ostentatious and laborious exercises of a

more solemn religion….a devout

woman in her closet, praying with much zeal and affection for

(the conversion of souls, is in the same order to a ‘shining like

stars in glory’ as he who by excellent discourses puts it into a

more forward disposition to be actually performed. And possibly

her prayers obtained energy and force to my sermon, and made

The ground fruitful and the seed spring up to life eternal

Both these passages come from The Great Exemplar, Taylor’s beautiful meditative Life of Christ.

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A double celebration

On Sunday morning we had a double celebration at St. Edwards. It was one of the quarterly Arts sevices in which we celebrate different forms of art, this time it was scupture. but sunday was also the Baptism of Georgia Chesterfield, so what better piece of sculpture to celebrate than the beautiful 15h Century font in which she was to be christened?

Here is a picture of that font:

 

And here is the sermon I preached weaving the two themes together:

Sculpture and the Living Stones

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2 New On the Edge Sermons

Here are the sermons from the last two on the Edge Services; Fraser Watts, bringing his insights as a psychologist as well as his Christian Faith to ber on the nature of Evil and the ways we should confront it, and Malcolm Guite reflecting on the bombing of Hiroshima and the more general nuclear threat, under the title Lamentation and Hope

Fraser Watts on Evil

Malcolm on Lamentation and Hope Post-Hiroshima

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4 new sermon podcasts up and Running!

I’ve been away in america and have missed some cracking sermons from Fraser. But luckily he’s recorded them and I’ve just finished uploading three new sermons from Fraser and also my own sermon yesterday, on the transfiguration. They are all on our new St. Edward’s podcast site, and you can also get them by clicking on the Edwardian Takeaway tab above. But for your convenience here are the direct links:

Fraser on Christ the Unifier (1st of two)

Fraser on overcoming divisions (second of two)

Fraser on Living with God

Malcolm on the Transfiguration.

(if you want the text of the sonnet you can get it here)

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Today’s sermon on St. Mary Magdalene!

Just a note to say that Malcolm’s sermon on Mary Magdalene is up on our podomatic site. you can go to that oage and listen to it here. or press the play button below:

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New sermons up on our podcast site!

Just to say that all three of Malcolm’s mini-series on the creed; God above us, God Beside us, God within us, are up on our new podomatic site, Check it out here!

on the same page wyou wil also see a link to Nick Warberton’s wonderful Odyssey talk on story telling. You should also from that page be able to subscribe to our podcasts on itunes and so have them automatically downloaded to your iplayer if you use one.

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