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Licensing of Canon Bruce Bryant-Scott – Crete Oct 12th 2018 (Acts 27, 13-26; John 20, 19-23)

Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan

 

I chose the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles for purely pragmatic reasons. It mentions Crete which connects the island to the journey of the great apostle St. Paul on his way to Rome which would his place of martyrdom.

The second reading tells of St. John’s version of what we would otherwise call Pentecost – it his powerful statement of the risen Jesus Christ outpouring the Holy Spirit on his disciples.

By the end of this sermon I hope to have joined up these two rather disparate readings.

If you were here for the liturgy on the Feast of Pentecost this last May, you would have heard a sermon from me about authentic witness. ‘If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then it is a duck’. An authentic description.  I further added, just to complicate things, what sounded to be an octopus (χταποδι), but I was actually describing bag-pipes (γκαιδα). Try playing a Scottish reel on an octopus, or eating a little dish of marinated bagpipe!

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Harvest Sermon – St. Andrews Patras 7th October 2018

Revd Canon Leonard Doolan

 

The words of so many of our harvest hymns are great. They express the beauty of God’s glory in creation, but also there is something very comforting about them.

The seasons come and go, not with relentless monotony, but each season with its own distinctiveness . καλο  φθινοπορο. The evenings begin to change, and even in Greece there is a crispness at times in the early mornings and late evenings.

For the beauty of the earth,  For the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth, Over and around us lies.

Yet despite the beauty that God reveals in his creation as his handiwork, there is much that distorts it, which is our handiwork.

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Trinity 19: Genesis 2, 18-24, Mark 10, 20-16

Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan

 

We have just all witnessed Sarah and Luke saying their marriage vows to each other in the sight of God. The reason they asked for this is that they were married in a Registry Office when their faith did not mean the same to them.  We rejoice that they are making a journey of faith together and we pray that renewing their marriage vows here will bring a rich blessing to their marriage.

The vows are lovely – of course they are, and the vows when they were first married represent the legal commitment to each other. I rather like the words we all said together for they represent the spirit of marriage, and most importantly that marriage should bring joy and be life-giving.

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Trinity 18: Numbers 11: 4-6, 10-16, 24-29; James 5: 13-20; Mark 9: 38-50

Fr. James Harris

 

You could’ve heard the yelp in Piraeus.

 

There was I, wandering along to Bazaar with the two girls in tow to pick up some groceries; when, at the sound of the said yelp, I turned round to observe Rosa, our youngest, sticking out of a manhole in the pavement, one leg in, one leg out, her flip flop dangling precariously into the void below, eyes wide with the shock of it (understandably) and totally unable to extract herself from her predicament.  The cover of the manhole was missing; she had not ben looking where she was going as she toddled along behind me and had stepped straight into it, her momentum carrying the rest of her forward.   She escaped with only a grazed shin and it’s the sort of thing I’m sure we will laugh about in the future – do you remember the time Rosa disappeared into the pavement? – but I recount it this morning because of what happened afterwards, which I think speaks into our Bible readings this morning.

Nearby on the pavement that afternoon was a Greek family – Mum, Dad and a toddler safely in a pushchair. Seeing the incident unfold, the Dad leaped into action, helping to extract Rosa, delving into his bag for antiseptic wipes, stuffing some waste cardboard into the hole to prevent further mishaps and even going into the shop to remonstrate with the staff as to why they hadn’t reported the hole or done something about it themselves. (I must admit that made it slightly awkward when we then had to limp in there to get our shopping!)

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Trinity 16 2018: Isaiah 50, 4-9a; James 3, 1-12; Mark 8, 27-end.

Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan

 

In my previous parish in England every year we had a big town centre celebration for the switching on of the town Christmas lights. In fact it always happened on the Saturday that was the day before Advent Sunday. I managed to get them to rename the event from Christmas Market to Advent Market – it made no difference to the fun that we all had, but it meant that Advent got a look in, and we held off the name of Christmas for a few more days.

It was the custom of the Town Council to bring in what they call a ‘big name’ to turn on the lights. What that usually meant was a minor celebrity who had no work except the pantomime at Swindon.

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Trinity 15 2018 : Isaiah 35, 4-7; James 2, 1-10, 14-17; Mark 7 (passim)

Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan

 

On Friday afternoon I went with Fr. James to introduce him to the work of Apostoli . We were shown a video of their work. I already knew about many of the projects, but it was really impressive to note all the good works that the Archdiocese is doing throughout Greece as it seeks not only to support refugees and migrants, but also Greeks who have been affected by times of austerity, or whose needs cannot be filled by a government in chaos, strapped for cash.

We saw a facility for elderly people with alzheimers; a safe haven for children and young people with Downs Syndrome; projects to protect and nurture unaccompanied minors stranded in Greece because of the tragic situations in their own countries; tens of thousands of meals being produced every year to feed the hungry – and I noted how many of those who were thankful are Athenians. There are projects to ensure that medicines  and medical operations are made available for those who have no medical insurance.

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Trinity 14 2018:   Deut 4, 1-2, 6-9; James 1, 17-27; Mark 7 1-8, 14-16, 21-23   

The Revd.  Canon Leonard Doolan

 

Athens has been full of tourists during this last month – sufficient I hope to help sustain the essential tourist economy.  Inevitably if you walk around the Plaka district you will see the usual signs of tourism. Little necklaces with names spelled in Greek, made of wire; I love Greece T shirts, gold coloured laurel leafed crowns, and in particular for females those sandals with leather work that you tie up to the knees. Such is Athens in the tourism season.

I contrast this with what you would see if you went to Jerusalem, and in particular to the Western or ‘Wailing’ Wall. Not sandals with leather straps up to the knees, but men with leatherwork bound around their hands and lower arm and a leather box strapped to their foreheads. This is not a sign that they are tourists in Jerusalem, but that they are faithful Jews. They do this to keep faith with the command we have heard in today’s reading from Deuteronomy.

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Trinity 12 (Prov 9, 1-6; Eph 5, 1-6; John 6, 51-58) Preached at St Paul’s Athens

Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan

 

‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever;  and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh’. (John 6, 51)

So many situations in the gospel revolve around food, eating and sitting at table together. We have such a hospitable God who invites us just to come and sit with him. One bishop once said, ‘God doesn’t need a church to live in, but he needs somewhere to show his hospitality’. That’s a challenge to us. What do you think a church is for?

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Trinity 11: 1 Kings 19, 4-8; Eph 4, 25-5,2; John 6, 35; Preached in St. Paul’s Athens.

The Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan.

 

We note that in tragedies, as well as loss and suffering, there are great acts of bravery. Such bravery is not just among members of the emergency services, but in normal human beings. These are times when human nobility shines through the darkness. We should rejoice that we as humans can be transformed from our everyday lives, to actions of heroism – humanity at its best.

Sadly, of course, we don’t always see humanity at its best, and we can ourselves be the culprits. We can be examples of the very antithesis of the nobility I have referred to. We can so easily be attracted to the baser instincts of behaviour and attitude, and we can often say the wrong things. A deep reason for this is often boredom and complacency. In boredom we are not well motivated; in complacency we don’t seem to think it matters how we speak to someone else, or about someone else.

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Sermon preached after the devastating fires of East Attica

Trinity 9 (29th July 2018)  2 Kings 4, 42-44; Ephesians 3, 14-21; John 6, 1-21   (Preached in St. Paul’s Athens)

 

Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan, Senior Chaplain, Greece.

 

When a priest asks an elderly man why he comes into church for a time each day, the elderly man  says, ‘Sometimes I sit and pray. Sometimes I just sit.  ’Sometimes I sit and pray. Sometimes I just sit.’

The three readings set for our liturgy today have a common theme, namely the abundance of God. God is the great and generous provider, offering to humanity more than we could ever ask or deserve.

A  hymn so wonderfully says, Finest bread I will provide, till their hearts are satisfied.

In the first reading Elisha is faced with a dilemma. How can he feed a hundred people with insufficient grain to make the bread? God says,’ Let them eat. They shall eat and have some left.’

God is indeed a God of bounty and of endless generosity.

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