Sermons - Most Recent Print E-mail

Our Priest in Charge, the Rev'd Alister Hendery, is making available his sermons via this website.  Here is your opportunity to download a sermon as a Pdf file and read it at your leisure.  Below are the most recent. 

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Sermons 2018 8-17
Sermons 2018 1-7


Sunday 14 October

A presence in absence
OS 28 (B)
Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Where is God? Apparently absent. “If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.”  Job longs to find God, to appear before God, to present his case, and to hear God’s answers. But finding God is the problem. God is nowhere to be seen – nowhere to be found...

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Sunday 7 October

The Blessing of the Animals – Lessons from ‘Ewok’

His name is Pericles (because Persian cats fit classical names), though he’s known in the family as Ewok (because that’s what he looks like). He’s turns seven this month, and he and I have a rather special bond. In fact, from time to time, my wife has to remind me that I’m the human and he’s the animal. Well, the other night, as he often does, Ewok jumped up onto the bed, climbed onto my chest and waited for me to give him a cuddle. As he lay there, I wondered: why is Ewok, or for that matter any pet, so very special? As I thought about it, I realised that this bundle of fur reminds me of how it can be with God...

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Sunday 7 October

Tough questions
OS 27 (B)
Job 1:1; 2:1-10 & Mark 10:2-16

‘There once was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.’ So begins a very powerful story – powerful, because Job’s story is our story and the questions that Job asks, may be our questions – powerful, because there’s no escape into easy answers, no evading of the tough aspects of human existence...

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Sunday 30 September

The faith community that jingles

OS 26B
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22 & James 5:13-20

You may have had the experience of someone reporting how something you said or did had affected them deeply – how, through you, they experienced God’s mercy and love – perhaps even, God’s power. Such feedback says more about God than us. It’s about how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things – to act, to heal, and to transform the lives of others. The Bible is loaded with such stories – tales of people whom God uses to fulfil divine purposes...

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Sunday 16 September

About a God who likes to keeps bad company

Saint Matthew
Matthew 9:9-13

Adrian Plass, who is a rather successful writer on Christian themes, tells this story about himself.

When I was sixteen I loathed myself. I hated my face and my body, I had been expelled from school for truancy, and I had neither a job nor any visible prospect of getting one. The chaos inside my head was quite frightening. To make matters worse, I had developed a strategy of using scathing sarcasm in the conduct of my relationships with almost anyone who made me feel silly (that is, almost everyone).

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Sunday 9 September

Please listen to me!

Ordinary Sunday 23 (B)
Mark 7: 31-37

‘They brought to Jesus a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him.’

Mark tells this story because of what it says about Jesus. In Jesus we see the fulfilment of the promise that when the Messiah comes ‘The deaf will hear … and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.’ It’s evidence for who Jesus is. But I wonder, what was life like for the man – what was it like to be deaf and to live with a speech impediment?

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Sunday 2 September

Our Inward Hearts

Ordinary Sunday 22 (B)
James 1:17-27 & Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

We’re back into Mark’s Gospel, and what do we get, but this seemingly obscure argument between the Pharisees and Jesus about washing hands. How on earth can this connect with our lives today? Well, to do that, we need to get inside the world of first century Judaism...

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26 August 2018

Giving Thanks

1 Chronicles 16:4, 7-13, 34; Psalm 136:1-9, 25-26;
Ephesians 5:15-20; Luke 10:21-24

You may recall the old harvest hymn: ‘We plough the fields and scatter…’ The refrain goes: ‘All good gifts around us / are sent from heaven above / so thank the Lord, oh thank the lord for all his love.’ The hymn doesn’t limit all those good things to harvest, but encompasses ‘our life, our health, our food…’ God is the giver of all good things: every mouthful of food we take; every breath of air we inhale; every note of music we hear, every smile on the face of another human being – all that, and countless more, are good gifts from God’s generosity...

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19 August 2018

The Stewardship of Treasures
Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 112; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7; Luke 21:1-4

The Catechism asks how we are to live the life of the baptised, and gives this answer: ‘By prayer, by regular worship and by using our time, talents and money to serve Christ in the world.’ Stewardship is a fundamental element of the way we live out our baptism...

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12 August 2018

The Stewardship of Talents            
Sirach 10:28-31; Psalm 24; 1 Corinthians 12:4-12; Matthew 25:14-30

Stewardship is a way of life. It’s about how we live our lives as members of God’s family. Stewardship is an attitude in which we acknowledge that all that we have and all that we are is a gift from God, who generously entrusts us with so much.

Last week we thought about the stewardship of time. Today we focus on talents. The word talent comes from the parable told in the Gospel reading. It’s a story about people like us, who were called in by their boss and entrusted with something. In the parable it’s a sum of money, but because of this story we use the word to include the skills, experience, abilities and gifts that people have...

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5 August 2018

The Stewardship of Time
Deuteronomy 5:12-14; Psalm 90:1-4,12; James 4:13-15; Mark 1:32-39

God has shown great trust in us by putting into our care many things: the world in which we live, our talents, time, material resources, and life itself. And God asks us to manage this immense wealth. What I’m talking about is stewardship. It’s the belief that everything we are and have belongs to God, and we need to figure out what that means in practical terms. Stewardship is a way of life that acknowledges that all that we have and all that we are is a gift from our loving and generous God. This month we’ll think about three particular gifts: time, talents, and treasures. First up is time.

7 days in each week, 24 hours in each day, 60 minutes in each hour, and 60 seconds in every minute. There are many inequalities in life, but one thing we have in common is the same amount of time each day. God has allotted 24 hours to each one of us. Yet we often talk as though we’ve been short-changed: “There isn’t enough time to do everything I need to do. I’m so pushed.” Familiar? Time has become, not a gift from God, but just another commodity in short supply. So we end up in a rush, hassled, and tired. But the issue isn’t about not having enough hours in a day. It’s our view of time, and how we use the time we have...

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29 July 2018

The miracle of the little
Ordinary Sunday 17 (B)
John 6:1-21

In his book, Growing Places, Jay Kesler tells of how one night he was descending by plane into an Indian airport. As the plane touched down, he noticed the bodies of sleeping people lining both sides of the runway. When he asked about this he was told that these were the homeless. During the day the runway soaked up heat, then at night it acted as a radiator that protected the people from the cold. After disembarking Jay took a bus to the nearby city, arriving soon after midnight. Walking down the deserted street to his hotel, he saw poverty all around him. Then suddenly he heard a strange sound: thump scrape, thump scrape, thump scrape. He turned and saw a boy whose legs were amputated almost to his body. The boy was propelling himself along with two small crutches. When the boy reached Jay he held out his hand. Jay gave him all the loose change he had, and then continued on to his hotel. He hadn’t taken ten steps when he heard another strange sound. Turning around Jay saw several beggars hitting the boy with his crutches, forcing him to give up his coins...

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22 July 2018

The Feast of Mary Magdalene 
Song of Solomon 3:1-4 & John 20:1-2, 11-18

Mary Magdalene … was ever a saint more maligned? As one writer puts it, she has ‘served as a scrim onto which a succession of fantasies have been projected.’ Her story intrigues and fascinates. In the film The Last Temptation of Christ, she represented the power of lust Jesus had to resist if he was to be true to his divinity. In Dan Brown’s fantasy, The Da Vinci Code, she’s the woman who carried Jesus’ bloodline into history. Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar portrayed her as the conflicted woman perplexed by the passionate feelings Jesus aroused within her. But these portrayals aren’t restricted to modern times. Down the centuries Mary Magdalene has frequently been presented in art and poetry as a scarlet sinner; the sensual, reformed penitent ¬– usually painted with long, flowing red hair...

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24 June 2018

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) –
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Ps 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43
Out of the depths – to a new place

“Out of the depths have I called to you O Lord.”

Out of the depths of grief. We know what it is to grieve. It’s what we experience whenever we lose something or someone that matters to us – that gives meaning to our lives. Grief has been described as part of the price of loving. When we lose what we love we encounter the deepest source of pain. Love and loss are intermingled...

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17 June 2018

Seeds sown and seeds growing
11th Sunday in Ordinary Sunday (Year B) – Mark 4:26-34

The seed of the Chinese bamboo tree lies buried in the soil for five years before any seedling or sprout appears above ground … five long years … and all during that time the seed must be watered and fertilised. But when the bamboo seedling finally emerges from the ground it grows to a height of over thirty meters in just six weeks.

Why does it take so long to emerge? Why does it grow so fast once it does emerge? Experts say that during its first five years in the soil, the bamboo seed is busy building an elaborate root system. It’s this root system that enables it to grow over thirty meters in just six weeks. God’s way of working can be like that...

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10 June 2018

Being out of our minds
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – Mark 3:20-35

It’s near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and he’s already starting to have an impact. He’s teaching and healing people, and started to deal with unclean spirits – driving demons out of people. This has got people both excited and worried – so much so that some say he’s out of his mind. So his family try to restrain him. It’s not a very complimentary picture of Jesus’ family. But can you blame them? Who wants a family member with that sort of reputation?

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3 June 2018

“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
9th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139

The book of 1 Samuel, which takes us into the early life of the nation of Israel, opens in the house of a man named Elkanah. He’s married to two women, and Hannah, his favourite, is barren. Hannah begs God for a child, and during her prayer, she encounters the priest Eli, who is somewhat lacking in pastoral sensitivity. He accuses the praying woman of being drunk. Despite this unhelpful encounter, Eli tells Hannah that her prayer will be answered. Hannah gives birth to her long awaited child and does as she promised. She gives the child, named Samuel, to the Lord. The boy remains with Eli at the holy place in Shiloh, taking on the role of an altar server. Hannah’s action of giving her child over like this may seem odd to us, but she’s affirming, as we do, that our children don’t belong to us, but are given to us by God, and as they grow, they must develop their own relationship with God. And perhaps, there’s a parallel here to baptism, in which we’re called to life-long service, and as we develop in our relationship to God, we seek to discern the ministries God has called us to...

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27 May 2018

Love, the Beloved, the Lover
Trinity Sunday (Year B) – Isaiah 6:1-8; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17

Church festivals usually focus on an event or the life and death of an individual. Today is different as we’re invited to reflect on who God is. ‘A Catechism’ in A New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa says about God:

God is eternal, earth maker, pain bearer, life giver; source of all that is
and shall be; father and mother of us all. We learn that God is one, yet
revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a Holy Trinity.

That’s what we celebrate today: the Holy Trinity. But this isn’t a head exercise. I’m not going to give you a doctrinal lesson explaining how 1 + 1 + 1 = 1, and not 3. We know who God is and what God is like, because God has chosen to act in our lives and get involved in the nitty gritty of human existence...

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20 May 2018

God’s breath
Pentecost (Year B) – Ezekiel 37:1-14; Acts 2:1-21; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

On the eve of his death Jesus shared a final meal with his disciples at which there was much table talk. In the midst of it, he promised that after he had gone, he would send the Spirit to them.

The Spirit, the Holy Spirit – that’s God at work in the world, at work in us. The Spirit has always been around, for the Spirit is God. The Spirit was present when the world was created, sweeping over the waters of chaos and breathing life into the dust of the earth so that so the earth creature (adam) was formed. In the Hebrew Scriptures we see the Spirit working through special people like prophets and rulers. Then of course, the Spirit was present and active in and through Jesus. But now Jesus promises something new. The Spirit would be poured out on all people – on women and men, old and young – on those like us...

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