An Archival collection of sermons from the ministry placement at St Johns Mt Waverley of Rev Dr Max Champion.
Hebrews 13 - At the end of the Letter to the Hebrews the tiny group of pilgrims to whom he is writing is reminded that, on the long march toward the heavenly city, they are to be grateful for the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before them and to behave in a manner befitting the love of Christ. They are to be a counter-cultural community on earth loyal to the One who was ‘crucified outside the gate of the earthly city’ (v11).
Hebrews pictures the Christian life as a long march towards the city of God. Along the way there are many distractions. People become weary and despondent. Complacency, resentment, dissension and unholy behaviour threaten harmony. They need to be reminded of the grand adventure to which they have been called and the glorious destination that awaits them.
The true pilgrimage of faith based in courage.
Courage is integral to faith. Who can doubt it after listening to the lessons? Many faithful men and women have suffered terribly for their bold faith. All experienced conflict and upheaval because of the inescapable presence of God in their lives. 'It is,' as the writer to the Hebrews said earlier, 'a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God' (10:31). Faith involves courage.
The Good Samaritan is ‘the patron saint of all who equate Christianity with good deeds and have no time for obscure points of doctrine. He is the lay person's model of virtue and the preacher's great example of true Christianity.' 1 He represents all who don’t care about theology but live by morality thought to be shared by followers of all religions, and none. He encourages us – Christians, fellow-travelers and unbelievers - to show kindness to the ‘down and out.’
This is fine as far as it goes, but it isn’t the point of the parable! Remember. It is told by the One who was rejected, crucified and raised from the dead. When the whole (big) Christian story is forgotten, and (little) memorable stories, like this, take on a life of their own, the original meaning is distorted. When this happens, Jesus is treated simply as a teacher of good works.
Sermon by Rev Dr Max Champion, Uniting Church Anniversary, 26th June 2016
Lessons: Jonah 1: 1-6; 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21; Mark 4: 35-41
‘We believe’ says the Nicene Creed, ‘in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church’
‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘do you not care if we perish?’ (Mk 4:38)
Sermon by Rev Dr Max Champion, Pentecost 5, 19th June 2016
Lesson: Psalm 43; Galatians 3:23-29; Matthew 28:16-20
'As many of you as were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.' Galatians 3:27-28
Jesus said: ‘Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much (Lk 7:47) … Paul said: 'We are not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ' (Gal 2:16)
The distraught man said to Jesus, ‘Come and touch my dying daughter, so that she may be made well …’ (v23). And the haemorrhaging woman said to herself, ‘If I touch his clothes I shall be made well’ (v28).
These are very touching stories. When Jesus healed the afflicted women, the hearts of the most sceptical bystanders were touched. They were used to healings done by pagan wonder-workers spruiking their powers. But they were so moved by Jesus’ compassion for sufferers that they began to see in him much more than a miracle man. In his healing touch they begin to see him as the touchstone of God's love for us.
Now, after Jesus invited them to breakfast, none of the disciples dared ask him: “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord (Jn 21:12)
But Thomas said to them, 'Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and place my finger in the mark of the nails and place my hand in his side, I will not believe (v25) ... Then he said, ‘My Lord and my God’(v28)