Easter 3

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews In the Orthodox church, the most common icon of the resurrection shows Christ trampling down the gates of hell, the chains of death and sin and all that ensnared humanity broken open, and the long-asleep dead emerging blinking into the light of Easter.   By contrast, the western […]

Lent 5

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews ‘We wish to see Jesus,’ say the Greeks who approach Philip, and who thus fulfil the Pharisees’ alarm that ‘the whole world has gone after’ Jesus. And it’s no surprise that the Greeks’ curiosity has been piqued. Jesus’ reputation has been steadily growing: the teaching, the healings, the […]

Lent 1

Sermon preached by Emily Kempson   Today is the first Sunday of Lent, or as some would call it, Quadragesima Sunday. Quadragesima Sunday: a name like that tempts a scholar like me to dig into Latin word-origins and to reconstruct the history of Lent – especially with a Cambridge congregation like yourself who just might […]

Ash Wednesday

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews   She stands hunched against the expected blows, against the exultant looks of those enjoying her shame. Her hair covers her face and she is glad of its thin curtain which affords her a last shred of privacy. They can’t see her flushed cheeks, her tears, though she […]

Next before Lent

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews What does God look like? In contrast to pagan society, where images of gods proliferated, decorating temples and adorning houses, the making of graven images is forbidden in Judaism. The temple in Jerusalem called on the work of skilled masons and deployed the best materials to be used […]

Epiphany 3

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews Weddings can be wonderful, joyous, and stressful occasions. Nowadays there is a whole industry geared up to persuade the happy couple that their wedding day will be incomplete without whatever the latest fad is. Famous weddings will have their impact: I remember after the Duke and Duchess of […]

Epiphany 2

Sermon preached by the Reverend Rachel Blanchflower Some years ago, in my pre-children ballroom-dancing days, I was at a Ball… As I was waltzing, I noticed someone familiar whom I thought I had not seen in many months.  In the same moment I saw her, she saw me and we exchanged a smile of mutual […]

Christmas 1

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews After all the frenzied preparations of December, it’s over. The presents have been unwrapped; the leftovers are dwindling in the fridge; we are almost glad it’s now possible to eat something other than Christmas cake for every meal. The only chocolates left in the box are those funny […]

Christmas Day

Sermon preached by Dr Alistair Collen, LLM Several weeks ago I overheard someone remark that every year, his mother would say of Christmas: “Don’t worry, dear, I’m sure we’ll all manage to get through it.” Initially, I heard this as an ironic comment aimed at the despair we can all feel under the pressured commercialism […]

Midnight Mass

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews This year’s Vatican nativity scene has caused something of a stir. Alongside the traditional, expected figures of the holy family, the angel and the shepherds is a host of other characters. Italian nativity scenes, or presepi, are often elaborate, situating the holy family within a whole tableau that […]

Advent 3

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews I have a habit – a not entirely good habit – when people come round or come to stay, of tidying up in such a way that I give the impression that my house is always in a pristine state; that sheets are habitually ironed; that flowers bloom […]

Advent 2

Sermon preached by the Reverend Canon Richard Ames-Lewis The season of Advent is many things. It’s preparation, it’s expectation, it’s waiting, it’s longing. For example, my six year-old grandson Daniel is both prepared and expectant. He has had his letter to Father Christmas written and ready since at least October half term, complete with illustrations […]

Tuesday 5th December

The St Bene’t’s Advent Calendar: a reflection for each day of Advent, by members of the congregation.   The picture for today is a waterfall.   Not a cold, glaciated, ‘in the bleak mid winter’ kind of waterfall, with icicles hanging from rock ledges, but a bursting its banks, abundant, tumbling waterfall, refreshing on a […]

Advent Sunday

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews When I was little I was afraid of the dark. The fear could be somewhat allayed by checking under the bed before I got in it, and by leaving the door open so that the reassuring light from the landing could get into my room. When I was […]

Christ the King

Sermon for the baptism of Thomas, preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews We have arrived at the climax of the liturgical year. From the expectancy of Advent which looked for the coming of the promised Saviour, through the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, royal David’s city, to whom the magi’s gift of gold foretold […]

All Saints’

Sermon preached by Angela Rayner, ordinand at Westcott House   Saint Paul, prior to his conversion persecuted Christians. Saint Moses, prior to baptism, was a leader of murderers and robbers who rampaged through Egypt. Saint Christina the Astonishing was a little unusual; after her conversion, she would throw herself into fiery furnaces and swim in […]

Trinity 11

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews Who do people say that the Son of Man is? asks Jesus. For once it’s a question the disciples can answer: other times when Jesus asks them things they’re shown up to be obtuse, or slow to understand or seemingly incapable of seeing what’s before their eyes. Here, […]

Trinity 7

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews ‘Your kingdom come, on earth as in heaven’, we pray day by day, week by week. ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’, proclaimed Jesus at the start of his ministry (Matt. 4.17). ‘You will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom’ (Luke 22.30), […]

Easter 3

Sermon preached by the Reverend Anna Matthews No one knows exactly where Emmaus is. There are a limited number of places it could be: draw a circle with Jerusalem at its centre and a 7 mile radius, and those are your options. It was, possibly, a village where a garrison was stationed. But its exact […]

Lent 5

Sermon preached by Emily Kempson In the Eastern Himalayas, the nard-plant grows. If you crush its roots and distil the sap, it creates a thick amber oil, called nard. It has a strong, raw, earthy smell. And like perfume, a little goes a long way; a few drops release a cloud of woody, smoky, sweet […]