Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church

Blackrock

The way, the truth and the life

Image John chapter fourteen and verse 6, words of Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper: "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me."

Timothy Radcliffe, the former Master of the Dominican Order in Britain, tells of what often happens when he checks in at an airport in America on his way home to London. The girl at the desk often asks, "Is that your final destination?" What a question to ask a priest! What a question to ask a preacher! What a question to ask any of us believers! Philip Radcliffe in clerical dress often quips to the girl at the desk that he is hopeful that his final destination, his ultimate resting place will be elsewhere. Read more.

A great night wasted. The prodigal son.

"Don't see a great night wasted." A few years ago the drinks firm Diageo sponsored a campaign to discourage young people from binge drinking and to promote the responsible use of alcohol. They launched an advertising campaign with television commercials and posters everywhere on hoardings and bus shelters. The slogan the advertisers chose was a gem. It was: "Don't see a great night wasted." The slogan is particularly effective because of the double meaning of the last word. As well as its normal meaning "wasted" is a slang expression for "drunk out of your mind." What a powerful message! Don't see a great night wasted. "A certain man had two sons and the younger of them said to his father, "Dad, I can't wait to get wasted. Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me so that I can get wasted as often as I want." And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance in riotous living." Read more.

The Good Samaritan

"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead." "On no!" I hear you say. "Please not again. Not another sermon on the Good Samaritan." You have a good reason to protest. We have heard the story so often and have had its meaning carefully explained again and again and so we see it as kindergarten stuff. Indeed the first time we heard this story, it was told us by a lady in a primary school or a lady in a Sunday School. It was wonderful then, truly wonderful. In the freshness of childhood we recognised that here was a great story told by a great storyteller. But now at the umteenth telling it has gone rather stale. Do we have to go through the infant class again? Must we encounter yet again the Samaritan whose lessons we swallowed long ago? Surely by this time we ought to be taking a course in Advanced level Christianity? Read more.

God in Christ has made all things new

The climax of the Book of Revelation is the vision of the Holy City. John, the Christian prophet, exiled on the penal colony that is the island of Patmos, glimpses the New Jerusalem. This renewed and restored and radiant city is coming down from heaven as God's supreme gift to his beleaguered people. It is breathtakingly beautiful. John describes it as "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." As this vision is revealed to John, God himself speaks. This is the first time that God speaks in the whole of the Book of Revelation. And God's words underline, emphasise and drive home the divine victory which no evil can thwart. All distance between the Awesome One and His children is abolished. At last amid dangers and darkness and dread God addresses us directly, addresses us directly with a word of hope. Read more.

A Holy Race, a Royal Priesthood

First Peter chapter two and verses 1-10 (especially verse 9)

Rev. Cunningham Morrow tells of one Sunday when during the service he noticed a young man sitting near the back of the church. The young man clearly did not consider himself to be part of the service. He remained sitting during the hymns and his posture in the pew suggested an aloofness, which was different from the attentiveness shown by the rest of the congregation. Afterwards he came to speak to the minister and it turned out that he was a postgraduate university student doing a study of the Christian religion. The young man was not a believer and was determined to examine Christianity from the perspective of an outsider. He was not impressed by the service which he had just sat through. Indeed Cunningham Morrow had to admit that it had not been the most impressive act of worship ever held in that church. Most of the young families in the congregation were absent that weekend, the singing was rather lacklustre and the preacher was well aware that this week's sermon was not the best he had ever delivered. "Is this all there is?" asked the young man. "Is this the great religion that once turned the world upside down?" Read more.

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