25 September 2017



2012
> Have You Not heard? Commissioning and Baptism
> Papatoetoe district 150 years opening service

2010
> Pentecost - The Genesis Experiment
> Freedom and human trafficking
> The Corinthian Puzzle - Resurrection Body
> [Waitangi Weekend]. Hope for a Future
> Being a Healing Community
> Turbans and Prophets in Manurewa
> Light to the Nations -O Surely Not the Samaritans!
> Jesus the real human - not Avatar

2009
> Prophet at Copenhagen Needed
> CLIMATE CHANGE - Revisiting the Creation stories
> Love Lived
> Questions of God
> Tsunami.and Job, God in disaster
> Reconciling Cultures
> John the Baptist - A reminder of reality
> Do not follow the advice of the wicked

2008
> If only You would sort it God!
> Invited and rejected - Texts of terror
> Saying Yes! but its really No!
> Thanksgiving
> Claiming God is on our side - Dangerous and Unwise
> Let your Love be genuine
> Bible and Qu'ran Ishmael and Isaac
> Fruitpickers wanted
> Faith Changing Culture
> Easter greeting - Peace be with you
> Freed For Seeing
> Temptations of Leadership - Dedication of leaders
> Let There be no Divisions Among You

2007
> How many husbands in Heaven?
> The Dishonest Manager
> The Prayer which Changes the World
> What are we getting them into? Succession planning
> Faith there is a future
> Forgiven - the one who loves much
> THE SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, SIGNS AND WONDERS
> Temptation
> Free flowing wine, Free flowing grace

2006
> The Birth Stories of Jesus - whom do we serve
> Sexuality Working out our Faith
> What is Wisdom?
> Stilling the Voices of the Storm
> THE GROWING SEED
> Pentcost - Facing the Darkness
> Moving on from Betrayal
> Friends my Mother Warned me About
> Ethiopian Eunchs Are In - Good News For theChurch
> St Patrick and Mission today, Potatoes and Rice
> Family is a Cultural word

2005
> Christmas Day Reflection - Power of Hope
> Subverting the System - The Talents Revisited
> Living God! Joshua Leadership with Wet Feet
> Futurechurch conference and the Presence of God
> The Golden Calf is not the Name of a Pub
> Who?
> Induction Sermon - Pukekohe Who Is Your Neighbour
> What is Fair and What is Just?
> Confrontation at Hunters Corner
> Food in the Wilderness
> Bombers in London, Weeds among the Wheat
> The Gospel is already Sowen for us to Find
> Human sacrifice. God's Demand or Our Desire
> Marriage - From Contract to Promise
> Who is he?
> Seeing the Light
> The Man at the Well
> East of Eden- Our Story
> Dingwall 75th - Charity or Justice
> Doing Justice - An Induction Sermon
> Light in the world
> Tsunami - World in Turmoil

2004
> Promises Kept
> Christ The King - We don't have Kings anymore!
> What is Our Mission : Connecting with Other Faiths
> The Word of God is not Chained
> Descent into Hell
> What does the Lord Require - Assembly report
> 150th service Rev Sharon Ensor's sermon
> The neighbour who comes from God..
> Driving out Demons - Fears Of Mental Illness
> Flowing Waters 2 Spirit of Peace
> Flowing Waters 1 - Reflections in Japan
> Putting it On The Line
> Go Fishing- Youth Leaders Dedication
> Waitangi Day Celebration
> God's Love is Wider than We Want
> The Best Wine
> Dancing Stars - Science and Theology

2003
> First Sunday of Christmas
> Church culture to Mission Culture
> Be Wise
> Trinity - Beyond Miracles
> Sir Ed Hilary- Ascension Sunday
> Culture challenged by Love
> On the Road to Gaza
> Whose Voice? - Mother's Day
> Rows of White Crosses. [Anzac]
> Easter Day - Go , Jesus is Waiting for You.


Sermons
Sermon - 23 May 2010
Bible Verses: Acts 2: 1 - 21 & John 14:8-17, 25-27
(click the verses above to read the passages online)

Pentecost - The Genesis Experiment

The news from the Genesis experiment, that we can create life now came with all the hype, spin and pseudo scientific knowledge that we have come to expect when something new happens.

Frankenstein will stalk the earth, danger, evil and disease will all happen, probably next week or next year, intone the media attracting prophets, sounds like doom and disaster because God' job is being usurped. The media who usually decry the existence of God now ask are we being God?

Well in one sense we are God like, made in God's image we are told, made to be creative and curious and experimental and with that comes all the risks of failure and dangers of success. So what do we do? Freeze?

What has actually happened is that using the base amino acids which form our DNA strands, and a computer, because to work through the millions of possibilities a scientist has finally found a new DNA sequence which will actually grow in another cell. The DNA tells a cell what it is, what it turns into. To test the sequence he, and I guess an army of the research team, took the existing DNA out of a one cell bacterium and replaced it with the synthetic one and the cell started to multiply like other cells.
This gives a possibility that cells can be made with the properties which the maker wants, eg eating up oil spills, if a DNA code for doing that can be made.

It is a tremendous breakthrough it may mean that diseases can be cured, but with that always comes the downside that diseases could also be produced. It depends entirely on that other form of life, the human being. Whether we choose good or evil, whether we blunder into disaster our greed or restrain our explorations for wholeness and wellbeing of everyone. At the end of the day , it is our humanity which will decide.

One of the stupidest statement about this matter I heard was , now there is no mystery about life. No mystery about life IT makes the mystery about human being even greater. Yes you can come out with a formula for the DNA , but still every person is different, unique as a whole. There is more to our being than being the bundle of chemicals that make us up, or our DNA code which we all share with minor variations.
The scriptures knew this. In poetry and prose they tried to express.what life is. The old Genesis says the wind / Spirit moved over the waters, creatures and beings were made but at the end they needed something more to complete them, The wind becomes breath, and God breathes life into God's creation and then there was life, there were people.

Today is the day when Luke takes that story and tells us in Symbol and story that Spirit breath from God does more than just enliven us and how the church was breathed into life as the people became filled with the spirit of God's life. .
I wondered if how many of you have been in a place where the harvest was celebrated. After that hard work of gathering the grapes, getting in the hay, picking the fruit, harvesting the grains.

On the day of Pentecost , 50 days after the feast of Passover, where the liberation and freedom of the people from Egypt was celebrated, Pentecost was at first a harvest festival in which people brought their first fruits to God. But over the centuries, the Day of Pentecost had become primarily a celebration of God's gift of the law to Israel, serving to remind the Jewish people of the fifty-day interval between the Passover in Egypt and the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, the covenant with God and God's people.
Pentecost was one of the major festivals - a time to gather together for celebration.
Yet many of those who had followed Jesus had retreated into hiding after the crucifixion, waiting quietly for God to act. But the festival remained central to their faith and so they gathered with others to celebrate.
And as Luke tells the story, The heavens roared; fire burned. The Spirit of God descended. Disciples preached. The crowds wondered.
Those listening to Luke's story would have seen his meaning, that a new law, a new covenant had come.on this day, when the bringing of the law by Moses from the smoking slopes of Sinai was celebrated with fire and flame,
Flames like fire danced on the disciples as the law of love came to life in the little bunch of Jesus followers in Jerusalem.

On the day of Pentecost, when the first fruits of the land were gathered and presented with thanksgiving, when the new wine was flowing. The streets of Jerusalem are packed and there is a new harvest. The first fruit of the new covenant.

These people who spoke God's word with languages that could be heard by all the Jews and others present. People from all over the known world, every language, every people, were given understanding, God's spirit was with them, among them, blowing all the old accretions on the Law out of the way.

It gave courage and enthusiasm to people like Peter who had only recently been mourning their leader and the betrayals in their midst.
The rumour of resurrection was turned into a new reality as people were brought together and the Spirit of God breathed new life into them.

The life that God brings is dynamic, not rote reproduction. It builds bridges, not high towers, she teaches us to hear new languages, he gives us new speech to communicate. It is God featured human language—one of humanity's divisive and also most community building characteristics — to symbolize his kingdom community. Using language to demonstrate the holy possibility - human understanding.

No longer is the spirit of God confined to a few prophets and kings. - God is on the loose, not confined to the temple edicts and those who might seek to kill or silence her. He is poured out on all, women and men, the young and the old, enslaved and free, all the categories that the old legalism tries to put boundaries around.

Forgiveness is possible, releasing people for new life, not held by the past. Peter quotes from the Prophet Joel, about the realisation that God is among us, loose and its not surprising that has the doomsayers and fearful statements that express our dismay when we find things are out of our control and may even be in God's open freedom. Anything can might and will happen, for it is God who is acting in and through God's creation bringing life in all its mystery.
God Spirit, the spirit of Jesus, the deep magic of God, is on the loose

This is expressed using the word magic - mystery by Leonard Cohen
GOD IS ALIVE, MAGIC IS AFOOT

God is alive, magic is afoot
God is alive, magic is afoot
God is alive, magic is afoot
God is afoot, magic is alive
Alive is afoot, magic never died
God never sickened
Many poor men lied
Many sick men lied
Magic never weakened
Magic never hid
Magic always ruled
God is afoot, God never died
God was ruler
Though his funeral lengthened
Though his mourners thickened
Magic never fled
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live
Though his words were twisted
The naked magic thrived
Though his death was published
Round and round the world
The heart did not believe

Many hurt men wondered
Many struck men bled
Magic never faltered
Magic always lead
Many stones were rolled
But God would not lie down
Many wild men lied
Many fat men listened
Though they offered stones
Magic still was fed
Though they locked their coffers
God was always served
Magic is afoot, God rules
Alive is afoot

Alive is in command
Many weak men hungered
Many strong men thrived
Though they boast of solitude
God was at their side
Nor the dreamer in his cell
Nor the captain on the hill
Magic is alive
Though his death was pardoned
Round and round the world
The heart would not believe

Though laws were carved in marble
They could not shelter men
Though altars built in parliaments
They could not order men
Police arrested magic and magic went with them
Mmmmm.... for magic loves the hungry
But magic would not tarry
It moves from arm to arm
It would not stay with them
Magic is afoot
It cannot come to harm
It rests in an empty palm
It spawns in an empty mind
But magic is no instrument
Magic is the end
Many men drove magic
But magic stayed behind
Many strong men lied
They only passed through magic
And out the other side
Many weak men lied
They came to God in secret
And though they left Him nourished
They would not tell who healed
Though mountains danced before them
They said that God was dead
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live
This I mean to whisper to my mind
This I mean to laugh within my mind
This I mean my mind to serve
Til' service is but magic
Moving through the world
And mind itself is magic
Coursing through the flesh
And flesh itself is magic
Dancing on a clock
And time itself
The magic length of God © 1966- Leonard Cohen.

Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 

The Bible Gateway
Home - Who are We - Worship - Sermons - Minister's Minutes - Youth & Children's Ministry - Community Centre - Contact Us
Copyright © St Johns and St Philips Presbyterian Church 2000-2017. All rights reserved.