Sermons

This page will be updated regularly with the text and/or audio version from Sunday sermons given by our Rector. If viewed on a full-screen device you should be able to see them immediately in scroll-down windows; on smaller screens you may have to follow a hyperlink which will download the file.

Proper 29: Paying Tax to Caesar?
Jesus neatly avoids a trap set by the Pharisees about paying tax by illustrating his answer using a valuable coin supplied by an onlooker, one that could have been used for tax purposes. This denarius had an image of Caesar on one side and a declaration of Caesar as son of God on the other. Our rector Nick leads us through the thoughts of an imaginary member of the crowd as Jesus outwits his challengers while also encouraging his listeners to recognise the gifts God has given us and to make these same offerings in our own lives as a tribute to God’s love.

Click to access proper-29-20201018-stj.pdf

Proper 28: The Wedding Invitation
Through the parable of the invitation to the wedding feast and the responses the invitees made to it, the gospel indicates what God is hoping to receive from us. As Joy, our leader in this service, puts it: ‘What do we have to bring to the banquet? Nothing except ourselves and the desire to share whatever we can with those around us’. Paul confirms this in his letter to the Philippians: “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable……..think about these things. [And keep on doing them]

https://stjamesthelesspenicuik.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/proper-28-stj-20201011.pdf

St James the Less Harvest Festival
We are reminded of how often in the Old Testament the Israelites  are promised a land flowing with milk and honey. They gave thanks by offering to God the first fruits of their harvest. Will we find ways of caring enough for our present world to help wonderful first fruits continue to be harvested? Do we have the faith to enable us to be grateful as the healed Samaritan did in the gospel reading, and change lifestyles despite apparent cost to ourselves?

https://stjamesthelesspenicuik.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/harvest-festival-20201004-stjtl.pdf

Proper 26: Creationtide 4: Hear What the Spirit is saying to the Church
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others – St Paul to the Philippians; ‘For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him’ – Jesus to the Chief Priests and elders. We have seen the evidence for global warming and its impact on the Earth. Are we as Christians going to change our minds and built-in habits, to put the interests of others first, to help preserve the wonderful part of God’s creation on which we live?

https://stjamesthelesspenicuik.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/proper-26-20200927.pdf

Proper 25: Creationtide 3: Fickle Hearts
Our readings from Jonah, Paul’s letter to the Philippians and St Matthew’s gospel each show various aspects of how we as humans could or do forget the amazing grace and mercy of God’s love when faced with setting our priorities on things that we want or love. In the Creationtide context of this sermon, we are challenged to view how our first-world lifestyle demands are building cultures based on wealth and ‘moreness’ at the expense of the third world’s people and the whole world’s natural future.

https://stjamesthelesspenicuik.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/proper-25-20200920.pdf

Proper 24: Creationtide 2: Holding up a mirror
In St Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells a parable about forgiveness: the King cancels a servants huge debts; that same servant, however, refuses to do the same for a small debt owed to him. We are challenged to view our own shortcomings, especially with regards to lifestyles affecting climate change and the Earth’s environment and to help each other caringly and constructively to do better.

Click to access proper-24-20200913.pdf

Proper 23: Creationtide 1: What is this thing called love?
We are reminded, via the book of Ezekiel, via St Paul in his letter to the Romans and through Jesus in St Matthews gospel, that we are guardians of what God has given us in this world. Whether intentionally or not, are our individual and collective behaviour patterns damaging our environment and the lives of communities in changing area? How should we respond in love to do our part in caring for our world?

Click to access 20200906_proper23_creationtide-1.pdf

Proper 22: Getting things wrong and getting them right again
An angry Jeremiah is encouraged by God to have faith and trust in the ministry he to carry out; having got it wonderfully right in last week’s reading, Peter puts his foot in it this week in a very human way trying to protect his friend Jesus; Paul tries to show all how wonderful life could be if, despite our frailties and errors, we do get things right and follow Jesus’ loving example and message, individually and as a community.

Click to access 20200830_proper22.pdf

Proper 21: Listening to and for God’s message: a reflection by Angela Sibley
We are reminded that Moses warned the Israelites that they were not listening to the prophets’ messages from God; St Paul challenged the readers in Rome to listen to God’s message sent through him and live a new way of life rather than be distracted by all the old bad habits still going on around them; Jesus challenges the disciples about how well they have listened to him by asking them who they think he is. We have to listen to these messages to answer this same question for ourselves and choose how we respond.

Click to access 20200823_proper21_as-st-jtl.pdf

Pentecost 10:  Handling fear by trusting in God

We have all experienced fear in our lives, sometimes deeply. This sermon discusses two biblical examples of fear in life-threatening situations and how God’s loving responses can be applied to our own lives too.

Click to access 20200809-handling-fear-by-trust-in-god.pdf

Pentecost 9:  We have nothing, but …

….  this sermon will remind us or help us to believe that God can make what seems very little to us be more than ample to carry out his purpose, when we share and act with faith and love.

Click to access 20200802_we_have_nothing_but.pdf

Pentecost 7: The Bible: congregation members’ question; Rector’s answers

‘Well, perhaps the description for the sermon before this (Pentecost 6) wasn’t fully accurate. The congregation were given the opportunity to ask questions abut the Pentecost 3 to Pentecost 6 sermons about the Bible. This sermon gives Nick’s answers to those questions.

Click to access 20200719-what-is-the-bible_5-qa.pdf

Pentecost 6: The Bible – 4

The last of 4 consecutive sermons about the Bible. Nick summarises and compares the overall traditional and modern views of the Bible, the different ways of translation from the original languages, and options for our understanding of it today. It is available to listen to or read.

Click to access 20200712-what-is-the-bible_4.pdf

Pentecost 5: The Bible – 3

The third of 4 sermons about the Bible, this one with a focus on the New Testament, its background and origins.

Click to access 20200705-what-is-the-bible_3.pdf

Pentecost 4: The Bible – 2

The second of 4 sermons about the Bible, this one with a focus on the Old Testament, its background and origins.

Click to access 20200628-what-is-the-bible_2.pdf

Pentecost 3: The Bible – 1. The first of a series of 4 sermons on this important topic. Hear this introduction about the nature and origins of the Bible, the various ways of understanding it and how these have changed with time.

Below you can read the sermon, with extra summary information at the end.

Click to access 20200621-what-is-the-bible_1.pdf

Pentecost 2: Music Sunday at St James 14th June 2020

On 14th June we celebrated 90 years as members of the Royal School of Music (RSM). Use the soundbar below to listen to the  bible readings and sermon for this special event. Alternatively (or as well!) you can read/download (depending on your screen type) the sermon from the scroll page or link that is below the soundbar.

Click to access music-sunday-20200614.pdf

Trinity Sunday 7th June 2020

Click to access year-a-trinity-sunday-200607.pdf

Pentecost 31st May 2020

Click to access pentecost-20200531-1.pdf

Earlier sermons.

By using the soundbars below you can listen to some of the sermons given by Nick during the church’s Easter weeks (lockdown already in place).

Easter week 7

Easter week 6

Easter week 5