The great gulf ..

I was in our Cathedral on Sunday – something which I always enjoy

I’ve gone back to writing a full script for the sermon. Partly discipline. Partly because there is economy of words and time because, however succinct you think you are without a script, you aren’t. But the question is the relationship between the script and the delivery. When read, it’s dead. So the challenge is to ‘stick to the script’ while not reading it. I don’t learn a script. I sort of embrace it as a whole and then deliver without reading it – hoping that that will produce spontaneity with economy

Well maybe – or maybe not


  1. Pleased to hear your treatment is finished, hope all continues well.
    A couple of comments re your cathedral talk, ‘Well maybe – or maybe not.’

    There is no doubt that injustice occurred for which the rich man was culpable and of which Lazarus was the victim. But I think the point is missed when you say, To be consistent with the rest of Scripture, it was not injustice that landed the rich man in hades but lack of faith; it was not for Lazarus’ poverty that the angels carried him to Abrahams bosom but for his faith. The rich man’s wanting Lazarus to return was not to get his brothers to act justly but to repent, to believe, and so avoid the end and the torment in which he found himself. True faith may and should lead to justice, but justice does not lead, nor is it a prerequisite, to faith. Those who know God’s mercy should show mercy to others but, without faith, showing mercy does not gain or earn God’s mercy.

    What you say about the origin of the chasm is similarly problematic. There is no doubt that our selfishness and injustice – or our selflessness and justice – affect our condition (our glory or otherwise) in eternity (e.g. Matt 25:31f) but it is not these things which determine on which side of the great chasm we will find ourselves. That is determined by our faith or lack of it, our belief or unbelief. The chasm itself is not fixed by our actions, it was fixed by the One who separates the sheep from the goats, the faithful from the faithless.

    While we as Christians should be seen to be champions of justice (at least where it meets us) the preaching of justice offers no hope for the world and no certainty of which side of the chasm any will find themselves. It is only the preaching of ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified’ which will bring that certainty; it is only God’s justice in the cross which will liberate people to be truly just.

    Rev Kym Smith
    All Saints
    South Australia

  2. Thought your sermon yesterday was very much to the point. I have heard some remarkable nonsense talked about Christians and poverty but you hit a whole series of nails on the head. I had a Sunday off and wanted to see Dr. John Brennan whose wife died of cancer a few weeks back. We were able to have a conversation that I hope ws useful to both of us.
    Enjoy your break .ou seem to be bearing up very well. Good wishes. John.

Comments are closed.