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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Street Preaching: Two Cracking Good Christmas Sermons

I realize that many of those who read Gower Street may have already run across at least one of these two fine sermons, not least because I am so late in posting the links! Nevertheless, here are two Christmas sermons from two rather different bishops who are both scholars, great preachers, and Godly servants of Christ and the church. They make me proud to be an Anglican.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams preached
this sermon at Canterbury Cathedral on Christmas Day, 2005. A preview:

It ought to shock us to be told year after year that the universe lives by the kind of love that we see in the helpless child and in the dying man on the cross. We have been shown the engine room of the universe; and it ought to worry us – us, who are so obsessed about being safe and being successful, who worry endlessly about being in control, who cannot believe that power could show itself in any other way than the ways we are used to. But this festival tells us exactly what Good Friday and Easter tell us: that God fulfils what he wants to do by emptying himself of his own life, giving away all that he is in love....

...Morality, said one prominent modern Greek Orthodox theologian, is not about right and wrong, it’s about reality and unreality, living in Christ or living for yourself. Being good is living in the truth, living a real life, a life that is in touch with ‘the fire in the equations’ and that lets the intense creativity of God through into his world. The goodness of the Christian is never a matter of achieving a standard, scoring high marks in a test. It is letting the wonder of God’s love knock sideways your ordinary habits, so that God comes through – the God who achieves his purpose by reckless gift, by the cradle and the cross.


Wow! And Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright, in his Christmas sermon, chose the interesting theme of drawing together Christmas and the DaVinci Code. Among other standard Christmas-story unpacking and discussion of evidence, he says:

Conspiracy theories are always fun: fun to invent, fun to read, fun to fantasise about. Truth is sometimes a bit bleak and harsh by comparison. That's part of the point; real life sometimes is bleak and harsh. And God came to share it, to take the worst that it could do on to himself. That's the point of the Christmas story.


Take and read -- and enjoy these two Christmas crackers.

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