Showing posts from September, 2016

Guest post: Fr Gareth Powell preaches at Michaelmass

“Humanity should strive towards the Angelic life. By imitating the Angels. Who are exemplers of faithful worship, of doing good, by this imitation we too are lifted up to the generous source of all good, where all things, according to their measure, share in the infinite light of God.” - Dionysius the Areopagite
“If we imitate the heavenly angels in this way, we will find ourselves always worshipping God, behaving on earth as the angels do in heaven.” - S. Maximus the Confessor
What might it mean for you here to have the St Michael and all the angels as the patrons of this community? To some it might seem odd. Having supposed celestial beings as patrons. How might they encourage us in our Christian faith? How might they build up our common life in this place as we seek to be witnesses to the Gospel? So often we feel as though Which feels rather odd because scripture is full of angels… from the angels guarding the Garden of Eden to them in myriad form in the throne room in the book of Rev…

Warm your souls by the fires of Hades

Not very often I get to preach about hellfire and damnation. It’s tempting to go up into the pulpit just so I’ve got something to bang my fist on. I don’t think this legilium would take the impact, somehow. But hellfire and damnation it is, threatened against those who live richly and leave the poor lying at their gate. People often ask how a God who is love, revealed in the forgiveness of Christ crucified, could threaten anyone with the fires of Hades. In fact, how could there be evil in the world at all? Many of the ancient church Fathers tried to answer this by arguing that in its own right, evil does not properly speaking exist. Otherwise, if God created evil, then he would not be entirely good. Rather, they said, evil is nothing but a lack of good - a “real absence,” if you like. God made us in his image, which includes free will, and that means that we are free to turn away from goodness, to turn away from true reality as God made it towards the unreality and falsehood which…

Slaves to Mammon

People complain that our Church talks too much about money, but Jesus talks about it without blushing and often. Today is one example. “You cannot serve both God and wealth,” as our translation puts it. But Luke’s Greek, carrying on the theme from the sentence before, is rougher and more explicit: what he wrote was, “you cannot be a slave to both God and wealth.” We are in the world of the Romans, not of Downton Abbey, and there is a great difference between those paid to live in rooms below the gentry and those who are private property, owned. The Lord says that you can choose only one Master: not one squire, one liege, one employer, but one Master whose slave you are.

As much as we may protest that Britons never, never. never shall be slaves, that is what we are warned against becoming today. Slaves to that of which we naively think ourselves the masters. We say jokingly that we “slave away,” whether to buy the things the salesmen say we need or just to earn our crust and shelter; …

It's not about the 99%

This week, I've been taught a lesson in humility. The press caught wind of us applying for a  entertainment and alcohol licence, and I hoped to tell a straightforward story about a parish church trying to serve its parish’s people: which in our case includes the thousands of alternative music lovers who throng Camden Town. Putting on gigs would also help to fund our mission of service to Camden’s poor and vulnerable people, building on the Legal Drop-in to start offering debt counselling, a homeless drop-in service, addiction services and whatever else we might need to do. 
But the story ended up being about me. Flattered by a question about my own musical taste, I threw into a press interview a few kinds of music I like. Funnily enough, of those I mentioned, the genre that caught the media’s imagination was heavy metal, and out of the bands I mentioned on the spot, they managed to pick one out which in its early days released some seriously anti-Christian songs. I said that it wa…