Sermon – Hosanna to the Son of David

Matthew 21:1-11

Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church of Scotland in Renfrewshire on 17th April 2011, Palm Sunday.

Sermon – ‘You do not know that day’

Matthew 24:36-44

Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church, on 28th November 2010, the First Sunday of Advent.

Bishopton Church of Scotland in the snow on Advent Sunday

Bishopton Kirk in the snow

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and as Advent comes every year, we know with a great degree of certainty that Christmas is also coming in less than five weeks this year. We know that Christmas day is coming. We look at the calendar and know the exact date. And we are ready for it. If we haven’t bought the gifts yet, I’m sure most of us have at least made the lists and sent them by email to Santa Claus…

And in a stark contrast with us knowing exactly the date when Jesus is coming to us this Christmas, the passage we read from the Gospel according to Matthew tells us that “no one knows when that day and hour will come.” This is a most intriguing tension, especially since this idea of uncertainty is repeated five times in different forms in this short passage. I know you will immediately correct me and tell me that Matthew is not writing here about the birth of Jesus, but rather about the ‘second coming of Jesus’, but then I would be forced to tell you that this expression does not appear in the Bible.

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Leaving triumphalism behind

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting rather tired of watching clergy and apologists defending the church. There is so much energy being spent in defending the church against Atheism, or Antitheism or any other theism for that matter, that there is no energy left for moving forward. Every single debate I watch in which the church is involved in a way or another, the church’s representatives have the bad habit of over-emphasizing the good that the church has done in society in the past, and minimizing the mistakes at the same time. I think that is rather distasteful and counterproductive, which is probably why I’m not an apologist.

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