Trinity 3
21st June 2015

In our Gospel reading, Luke describes how the Pharisses and scribes, who had the power to get Jesus arrested, tried to make it difficult for Jesus to speak. They didn't respect his love of sinners. He told the parable of the lost sheep. We wouldn't look for one lost sheep but He does, everyone is important to Him. Our world is under threat, according to academics today, because of the acts of mankind. Through Jesus, those who were far off have been brought near through peace and love. Peace means we are precious to God and our opinion counts. 

You need to be spot on with baking, 1oz either way can make a big difference. Its the same in life, you need the right ingredients or things can go wrong. There is a dark side to people, we can be impudent and stubborn. Yesterday we remembered our Armed Forces,  there for the safety of our country. Take the Tunisian attacks this week - what can we do? We have to react to the weaknesses of men. God doesn't like it, but that why we need the Armed Forces. We are grateful for those servicemen and women who went before, serve now and in the future.

A selection of Past Sermons from Rev Duncan Walker.

 

A summary of sermons from 2016 and 2017

Trinity 5

5th July 2015

 

Many people, even some clergy, no longer read the Old Testement, but there are valuable lessons within. In our reading from Exodus, Moses  says that God is both merciful and gracious, slow to anger and full of steadfast love. God is offering us a love that endures through all the ups and downs of life. He forgives our sins and does not make our descendants pay. Is it fair, as in today, to mount up debts that will have to be paid off by our childrens and granchildren? Moses recognises that as humans we are both wonderful and dreadful, and we should love God as he loves us.

Trinity 6

12th July 2015

 

There are lots of good science programs on TV, but science can often only tell us how something happens not why. Our reading from Job tells us how this rich man is humbled before God, he was full of himself before this, but he learned the lesson that God is great. Are we humbled before God? The same message is in the passage from Revelation where even though the Roman Empire was all powerful, the people believed that God's will would be done. We need to learn the lesson of Job, no matter what may we think we know, we must respect, love and be loyal to God.

St Mary Magdalene

19th July 2015

 

Tradition often identifies Mary Magdalene either with the sinful woman who anointed Christ's feet in Luke 7:36-50 or with Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha mentioned in Luke 10:38-42 and John 11-12. By the sixth century A.D., figures such as Gregory the Great had begun to advance the notion that these two women mentioned in Scripture were one and the same person: Mary Magdalene, who hailed from Bethany and who had become a disciple of Jesus after leading a notoriously sinful life. This tradition explains why Mary Magdalene was revered for centuries as the "model penitent." From a biblical standpoint, it is not impossible that Mary Magdalene could be identified with either one or both of these two women, but decisive evidence is lacking and so it must remain uncertain. 

She was the first recorded witness to the resurrection of Je-sus, His most ardent and loving follower. She had stood with Mary at the foot of the Cross on that brutal Good Friday afternoon and had been by the side of Mary during these difficult hours. On Easter morning, she went with the other women to the tomb and it was there, in the garden near the tomb, that Jesus appeared to her. It was she who brought the news of the Resurrection to the Apostles, and Peter and John raced to the tomb to see what had happened. 

She was from Magadala, a small fishing town on the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Tiberias. She was known to be a "great sinner," a woman of the streets who heard Jesus speak of the mercy and forgiveness of God and changed her life completely. Her matter-of-fact witness to the Resurrection moved Peter and John to go and see for themselves: "I have seen the Lord and these things he said to me." Jesus had chosen her to bring the news to them and she simply told them what had happened. 

She has always been the example of great love and great forgiveness, one of those close to Jesus who grasped the truth of God's love for human beings and spent her life bearing witness to that love. 

Trinity 4
28th June 2015
Trinity 9

2nd August 2015

 

This week we hear that the Ebola vaccine has been 100% successful which is wonderful. As children of the antibiotic world we think all things can be that simple, including our faith. Our readings tell us that if we trust and walk with our Lord then droughts will not touch us, God says the safest place is to walk beside Him. "Enter by the narrow gate", meaning to come simply, measure our lives by His promises, anything else will fail. Is coming together once a week enough for us all in this complicated world?

Trinity 12

23rd August 2015

 

Our reading today from Mark says "...he even makes the deaf hear and dumb speak", and Isaiah says "...the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped". People then as now are sick and thousands would come for healing. But God talks not just of sick people but what they represent. Use your eyes to see and your ears to hear. Slavery existed in Jesus' time and it still exists now. There are real slaves today and many others are enslaved by debt. Its too easy to try to follow fashion and spend too much. The readings tell us there is only one way to be freed and that is through Jesus.

Trinity 15

13th September 2015

 

Our readings today include Chronicles written by Ezra and Nehemiah. They were concerned that society at the time had changed when the Jews returned from Babylon with new ideas. He wanted to bring the people back together as one. So he retold the stroies of King David and Solomon, concentrating on their hope in the promise of the Messiah - the coming of Jesus, that faith can unify a nation, and how the future we want for our children should not just be for health and education but it should include faith as well. 

Trinity 16

20th September 2015

 

A question for modern Christians is how do we take the Bible? Do we leave things out, water it down? Soundbites are the popular things now. But if you do that with the Bible it becomes meaningless. Our readings today teach us to have a deep faith. In John's letter Jesus talks of having two masters, the world and our faith. Remember that things we value in life are gone all to soon, whereas Jesus talks of a deep and meaningful faith. So dont read the soundbites, read all of your Bible. Go for a deep, deep understanding and live by the values of Jesus

St Luke

18th October 2015

 

Luke wrote not only his Gospel but also the Acts of the Apostles. A big question for him was whether the new church of Christ should just be for the Jews. St Peter thought Jesus came only for the Jews, but Luke believed that the gospel was for the world. As a Dr of Medicine he set out the facts of the life of Jesus in an orderly way, and structured it so that the people of Northern Europe would be able to relate to the story. Without Luke we in Europe would not have come to Jesus. He is Patron Saint of surgeons,butchers, students & artists

Rememberance Sunday

8th November 2015

 

As Christians we should contemplate peace. It is one of Jesus' great titles "The Prince of Peace". This is a priority for God, to be above the corruption of the world and for us to be on His Holy Mountain. Where would we be without those who gave their lives for us in battle. Today is a day of great thanksgiving and sorrow for us. We remember war in the hope that there will be no more war. Until that day comes we remember those that keep us safe. 

Advent 3

13th December 2015

 

We seem to think that life today is too complicated, that we have too much to do. But that should not stop us acting in the way of a Christian. We see from today's readings from Malachi that life was just as complicated in his time. There were many invasions where people had to change their lifestyles often. He says God will be a witness against sorcerers, adulterers, those who are dishonest and those who oppress others. These are the priorities of our Lord.

Christmas 2
3rd January 2016

 

Our reading today from Isaiah tell us "Turn to me to be saved, for I am God and there is no ither." Is salvation only through Christ? Today we hear of many religions, and a recent Archbishop said that any one view does not hold any more legitimacy than any other. But the Bible says salvation is only through Christ, there is no other way and Article 6 of the 39 Articles of the Anglican Church says that nothing in Church shall be contrary to scripture.

Ephiphany 1
10th January 2016

 

Obedience is the theme in our readings today, as obedience is the great theme of Epiphany. "Keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion". We heard the story of Jesus in the Temple and hear that when his parents found him "He was obedient to them". When Jesus went to the cross He says "Thy will be done". As Christians on a journey of faith we are working to be obedient to what God wants us to do. We must remember to live by God's rules, not society or our own rules.

Ephiphany 3

24th January 2016

There is always pressure in relationships when people stop communicating, problems occur. Its the same in the church. Many of the great hymns we like today were actually written about 250 years ago by Wesley etc. But we must listen to what God says to us today. People like John Wesley and William Williams Pantycelyn created a following because they listened to what God said to them in their time. Our readings this morning ask us if we are listening to God today? Everything we do needs the guidance of God.

Epiphany 4

31st January 2016

 

We all love Disney films, they change our emotions. Real things change people emotionally as well, such as falling in love. Our reading from John's 1st Letter today describes how we can all change over time. Written 30 years after Jesus died, people were starting think that what happened was not real. John reminds the reader that he heard Him, saw Him and touched Him. He is telling the reader that Jesus was not imaginary, he was real. He is not a Disney character.

Quinquigesima

7th February 2016

 

There are all sort of newspapers, some good, some not so good. Todays papers Telegraph, which is usually reliable, says that the British countryside is dying. Our reading from Genesis talks of convenants where we all have a responsibility to care for all of creation. St Paul says that Jesus tells if you take His love then you must also share it. The population is growing, and we must pay a fair price to farmers so they can grow our food and care for our countryside. Reflect His love in all we do and all we plan.

Lent 1

14th February 2016

 

Our readings tell of Jesus fasting for 40 days and nights. As a human this had a great effect on him. If the devil takes us to a dreadful place it leaves a mark on us all. Jesus offers us the opportunity to live each day in His grace and love, to walk with Him in His spirit, not with material things or great riches. The challenge is to be a Christain and cherish the small things in life and when you make decisions make them with Christ

Lent 2

21 February 2016

 

People say modern art is wonderful, but that doesn't mean we throw out all the old art we have. It is the same with the great minds of the church. The Welsh saint, Teilo, his job was to establish the church in the Celtic lands, and he prioritised learning, believing that church leaders should know what they are doing. He also believed the church should have authority. Do we just look back? No, Wales is similar now to then where many were not interested in the church or recognised its authority. We can learn from this today.

Lent 3

28th February 2016

 

Those of us brought up watching the old Western films knew the problems would always be sorted in the end, but actually the old West was a seriously dark place. In Wales 1500 years ago at the time of St Tydfil it was like that, where bandits raided and killed her. She had built a 'Llan' putting the church at the heart of her community and healed the sick. We can learn from this as we tend today to keep our Christianity private but we must share it in our families and communities. Tydfil thought all of our answers could be found through a life with Christ.

Lent 5
13th March 2016

 

The first five books of the Bible refer to Passiontide with references to God being disgusted with the world and withdrawing from it and all the human selfishness that He sees. Its like when you decorate a room and at the end its a total disaster and you simply have to start again. God started again with the death of His own Son, His descending into hell and the resurrection. Easter therefore is a time of renewal, joy and exhaultation for those willing to start again, but the weeks leading up to Easter are a terribly hard journey.

Easter Sunday
27th March 2016

 

The apostles Peter and John accepted that Jesus had died and were comfortable with Him as a martyr. But Jesus had not come to be a martyr, He came to be a Saviour. We are used to the burdens of losing someone you love. But by the resurrection death has been stopped. The Saviour brings people to a new beginning in life. Some find acceoting the resurrection very hard but if you can accept that He rose for you then your life is changed. This is why we light the pascal candle, as without the resurrection everything else is just words.

Easter 2

10th April 2016

 

St Peter was not well educated but he wrote the best lessons in the Bible. So where did this come from? He was very unusual but what distinguishes him is he is inspired by the Holy Spirit. As we have a Baptism today we must remember that when the Holy Spirit enters someone, special things happen. Many have been inspired by the Spirit in the past and many will be again.

Easter 3
17th April 2016

 

In school there are tricks to doing well and for some things just come easily, but in reality the harder you work the more likely you are to be successful. It is the human way to think we can achieve more with the minimum of effort. Its the same with our reading today from Paul's letter to the Corinthians. They had a good modern lives for those times, free and easy but St Paul reminds them what it is like to be a Christian. St Paul says if you love Jesus you have to be changed, you have to work at it.

Easter 4

24th April 2016

 

Jesus says "I will protect you, come into my protection". Protection is important, and this is what Isaiah is sayng in our readings today - allow God to protect you. As Christians we should be protecting the planet. God can't protect us if we dont allow him to. What are the Christian values we can share? Protect the Sabbath and keep it holy? Do we as Christians discuss these things? What about salvation - meaning becoming more Christian like. This lovely church is not our faith, what we discuss between is is how we grow our faith.

Easter 6

8th May 2016

 

Bill Gates of Microsoft says that somewhere there is a teenager working on the next step up after Microsoft. Its a young person's business and people like their energy, respect new things and the power of change. Our reading from Isaiah though was written when he was 64, at the end of his ministry, when he was old and wise. And Isaiah says to trust in God and his power, and blessings will come. He says you must allow God to shape you, as the potter shapes the clay. Being a Christian is a process of change, but we value to wisdom of the old and traditonal.

Trinity Sunday

22nd May 2016

It doesn't matter how many times you have driven down the same road, its good to keep your eyes open, things may have changed. It's a big thing for some Protestants to say 'I'm saved', but that is not the end of it. Its fine to have faith today, but you must ensure you have your faith in a month, in a year.  We should always be open to new ways as Christians. Jesus tells Nicodemus in our readings today to bring the Spirit of God with you on your journey. It's all about the reconcilliation of your life to Christ, with all its ups and downs and mistakes. 

Trinity 3

12th June 2016

If we want to understand someone we have to listen to what they say, not just hear the words. Our reading from St Luke tells of the tax collectors coming to listen to Jesus. For Jews this was unthinkable. If you find what Jesus says comfortable then you are not listening. The scribes and pharisees were ambitious people and did not think they needed to listen to Jesus. He was an ordinary man who questioned the fundamentals of their faith. You cannot just coast along, read your Bible, every day. it is full of the word of God. 

Trinity 5
26th June 2016

We have been through a momentous few days after the referendum. The Bible is also full of politics. From our readings we hear of Moses and the tablets with the 10 commandments. Its was religous but also political, the Jews were walking out of Egypt, and whether their choice was right or wrong they decided they must walk in step with the Lord. Its the same with Elijah, he stood up to his King, with King David who beat the Philistines through is faith in God. In times of crisis, take what you have in faith and let God's will be done.

Trinity 10
31st July 2016

Is it essential that someone who cals themselves a Christian has faith? Knowing Jesus and allowing him to shape our lives is vita. As Christians we should love Jesus and continually deepen our love for Him. Faith in Jesus is essential and there is no other way, and it has to be a living faith, that makes us grow and is testing us. In our readings today Jesus respects Zaccheus because depsite being a tax collector he is trying. We need to read our bibles daily and discuss these things. St John says he has written the Gospel so that we can believe. 

Trinity 11

7th August 2016

The book of Isaiah was his life's work. When says "Listen to me coastlands" he is recognising that the whilst the Holy Land is a small place, this area was different. It was not just the Jews who lived there but other races, there was more money and it was an easier life. Isaiah was distressed that they had little time for the Lord. Jeremy Taylor (see below) wrote the we cannot know God unless we make time for Him. Don't be too busy, love His Son. Knowing God takes time, often more than we are prepared to give. 

Trinity 18

25th September 2016

There are popular teach yourself books available especially the 'For Dummies' series. Deuteronomy is a similar DIY book. All that Moses is trying to explain about the faith is in there. It says you must be a person of faith all of your life. Just like Porthcawl Rock, loving God has to be stripped right through us. Deuteronomy gives us all we need to know. Be a person of faith in everything you do. Christianity is not an idea or a text book, its a way of life.

Trinity 19

2nd October 2016

Harvest is a wonderful gift for the church, but these days we don't have the same connection to the land. Due to supermarkets, the whole growing process can seem remote. As Christians we should stop and think of the blessings that come into our lives - our food, family and God's blessing. Cardinal Newman used to say at Harvest that if everyone said the Grace at every meal it would remind us of what God has given us and if we just started with that it would help. The abundance of what we have in our lives is all thanks to God.

Trinity 20

9th October 2016

What define a human being, intelligence, the ability to communicate? No, the key thing is to know when we are wrong and to be able to change. In the parable today of the prodigal son, he realised he had dishonoured and weakened his family, and despite making these mistakes he came back. It would have been easy for the father to never forgive him but he welcomed him back. If we can accept that sometimes we can be fundamentally wrong and accept this, then God will guide us through and give us the strength to move on.

Trinity 22

23rd October 2016

Our first reading was from Genesis, and the stories within have been handed down from generation to generation. Jacob had not always been a nice man, he stepped on people as he rose. His youngest son Joseph was of course sold by his brothers into slavery, and whilst Jacob was bereft he had to move on with his life. Do we allow our faith to shape us, no matter what life throws at us? Joseph stood firm to his faith throughout his time in slavery. What would we have done? Life can be a challenge for us but we must keep our faith with the Lord.

Trinity 23

30th October 2016

The Church has always had All Souls Day, but Halloween has become very commercial and brings dangerous things into our lives. The day before on All Saints Day we remember all those who give us confidence that we can make a difference and touch peoples lives, such as JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and William Wilberforce, all of whom touched many lives because they were Christians. In a time when we flirt with evil, beware of the dangers and reflect on what Christ has done for great people in the past and can do for you today.

Advent 1

27th November 2016

In this season of Advent we anticipate the birth of Christ. The shops are secular but its ok to go out and buy, so long as we remember we are sharing gifts to celebrate His birth. At that very first Christmas the people involved did not know what was happening , Mary was a peasant woman, how would Joseph react? The shepherds were afraid when the the Angels came to them but they went to see anyway. The wise men followed the star. Let us try and see what these people felt as we pray each day in the wonder of what is to come.

Sunday before Advent

20th November 2016​

The Gospel reading today describes what a Jewish wedding was like 2,000 years ago. But that was then and not now. There is more to being a Christian that we realise. It's like when you skim read a book, sometimes we can skim through life. Jeremiah says that what Isaiah said in his day was good for then, but what he Jeremiah is saying is personal to him and his relationship with God. We are called to have a personal relationship with God though His son Jesus. The whole purpose of Advent is to share it personally with Christ. 

Epiphany 3

22nd January 2017

We are called to ministry in many different ways. Just today we have people who welcome us with a smile and give us our service books, we have our wonderful organist, the people who arrange our flowers and those who prepare our tea and biscuits. We also have our wardens and those who do home visits. We are all involved in ministry and we are doing it for God. And for those of you who cant do anything due to busy lives etc, you can pray. Listen to God and ask for His guidance, and then wait for His answer. 

Epiphany 4

29th January 2017

In our Gospel reading today we are reminded of when Jesus turned water into wine. His mother asked him to do this, so we know that he must have done this before. Think of it as perhaps learning His craft before releasing it to the world. In the Epistle from John we are told that Jesus is a man, that you can see Him and touch Him. Lastly in our reading from Jeremiah we are reminded of the power of prayer. Great and wonderful things can achieved if we all remember to pray.

Sexagesima

19th February 2017

In our Psalm today about the parable of the sower, the fool said that in his heart this is no God. Anyone who denies God is doing a most terrible thing. Our relationship with God is crucial. Jesus says that our salvation is like the grain growing in the field. The cares and worries of life can choke the faith out of anyone, so like the sower we must ensure that our relationship with Jesus is alive and nurtured. We have to take care and make it grow, we cannot take it for granted.

Lent 1

5th March 2017

James, the brother of Jesus, sonf Bishop of Jerusalem, was very conservative and didn't like change. James and others did not like Paul's letter to the Galatians. In his meetings at Galatia he agreed that the Gospel of Jesus lives at the heart of faith and fulfils the Jewish traditions but is not bound by them. This meant that Christianity was for everyone, not just the Jews. From this point the modern church was born. So we must continue to focus on Christ, be blessed by his gifts and share his good news - everywhere.

Palm Sunday
9th April 2017

In the Gospel of St John the chief priest asks why he should change his ways? It would take them out of their comfort zone. Paul said the same in his letter to the Galatians, they had to much violence and not enough love. Some think that if Jesus led an army and came in on a charger they would have taken notice, but because Jesus rode on a donkey, they felt He was not strong. But that is the power of Jesus, his humility and his loving ways. God asks us this week to empty ourselves and think only of Him. To follow His ways and not our own ways.

© 2016 Parish of Pyle and Kenfig                                      St James Pyle                                                 St Mary Magdalene

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