Martin Tarr

Last Sunday we celebrated Candlemas, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and Rev Sheila Cameron reflected in her sermon on the watching and waiting of Simeon and Anna. Here are some of her thoughts:


The story of Simeon and Anna meeting the infant Jesus is a story about patient waiting finally rewarded, and it’s also a story about vision. … There are times when we all wait for promises to be fulfilled; and as people of faith, we look for signs of God’s presence and purpose in our lives. And we’re encouraged in our waiting when we have a clear vision of what could be and must surely be. Luke shows us through both Simeon and Anna that, if we hold on to our faith even when nothing seems to be happening for us, it will be rewarded in God’s good time, and that the Holy Spirit of God will be revealed in us and through us, his faithful people.

We’re all called to times of waiting for God to answer our prayers, times when our faith is sorely tested. The story of Simeon and Anna tells us that we should never give up hoping for the Lord’s appearing. Sometimes we have to wait a very long time but, if we wait in faith, our faith will eventually be rewarded. … If the things we pray for really are the things God wants for us, then we can be assured that our prayers will be answered in God’s good time. We may not get everything we desire, but we’ll get what in the sight of God is right for us. May the things you hope for be the things God desires for you, and may God sustain you with wonderful visions of things to come in all your times of waiting. Amen.


Do read the whole sermon, which is available at this link.

Our picture of someone watching and waiting is by Ümit Bulut and comes from the Unsplash platform.

Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday, so Rev Sheila Cameron joined the many preachers struggling to define and explain the difficult concept of the Holy Trinity! Here are some of her thoughts:


Our three-personed God should not be seen as one person wearing three different hats, or operating in three separate modes, but as a unity of three persons who have co-existed from the very beginning … inseparable in the creation, the redeeming and sustaining of the world.

… A(nother) helpful image of the Trinity I’ve come across is that of light: think of the light produced by a candle, where the three elements of wax, wick and flame come together simultaneously to create light. No one part can provide light without the presence of the other two; all three parts need to combine for the whole to realise its purpose of bringing light into darkness.

… We say that God is love, and this is another image that demands threefold participation: for divine love, like all loves, cannot exist without the threefold interaction of the one who loves, the one who is loved and the love itself that binds them together. And through the beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in his relationship with God the Father, we too are drawn into that fellowship of love with God and with one another.

I’ve come to see that our three-personed God contains everything our human nature requires in one true God who is creator, redeemer and sustainer. The created world of which we are a part is a place of poignant beauty: poignant because it contains pain and imperfection, loss and unfulfilled longing. But our faith teaches us that we’re moving onwards towards perfection, the perfect creation that exists in the mind of God the Father, and we believe we can do this only through the gift of Jesus, the Son. … Our ultimate destiny is union with God in glory and divine perfection. We need to be redeemed, forgiven and reconciled to our creator and to one another; and in the absence of the physical Jesus we need to be sustained and blessed in our daily struggle by that third person of the Trinity, God’s Holy Spirit – dwelling within us, among us, and in our world.


Do read the whole sermon, which is available at this link.

Our picture is of the floral arrangement at Rosyth Methodist Church created for Trinity Sunday by Val Leslie.


Below are some extracts from Rev Sheila Cameron’s sermon on 14 May 2023, when our readings had included Acts 17:22–31 and John 14:15–21.


How we need that “Spirit of truth” that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel!The church has always had a tough challenge standing up to the spirit of the age and, as Christians, we need to gather together in places of safety in the midst of the storms of scepticism and materialism that assail us …

In the Easter season we draw inspiration from the Acts of the Apostles, which tells a story of great courage and joy and spiritual power in the face of an equally sceptical audience. Today’s reading starts at the beginning of a great speech by Paul to the Athenians, but the verse just before it gives us an interesting glimpse of life in ancient Athens. The Revised English Bible has the translation: “Now, all the Athenians and the resident foreigners had time for nothing except talking or hearing about the latest novelty.” This was a world very like our own, restless, endlessly seeking fresh stimulation and new versions of everything, unable or unwilling to commit to anything in much depth or settle down in one place for long: perhaps because the one commitment that might be the key to life, the commitment to Jesus Christ, had so far eluded them.

In Acts 17, we see Paul addressing the scepticism of his own age, and pointing to the hunger for truth that lay behind it. The Areopagus was a large rock in the centre of Athens which served as a public forum and a place of trial, and Paul was taken there to be interrogated about the new faith in Jesus and the Resurrection which he had been preaching around the city.

What is so enormously impressive about this speech is how Paul identified with his audience. He showed them how familiar he was with their thinking; he referred to their commonly held beliefs – that there was a creator god; that this god had no need of anything from humans, including being worshipped in temples built by human hands; and yet this god was available to those who reached out to him.

Paul won the respect of his hearers, and what an important lesson that is for all of us. In the sharing of our faith it is so important to establish a foundation of common ground with our neighbours, to be friendly and concerned, generous and respectful. We don’t need to quote the Bible or recite the history of the church to explain the gospel. Shared culture, shared history, concern for others, common life experience and above all, willingness to spend time with others all provide excellent starting points to begin communicating our faith by our presence, interest, kindness, good humour and joy.


Do read the whole sermon, which is available at this link.

Our picture is of a stained glass panel that you can see at St Giles’ Catherdal, Edinburgh, made available through WikiMedia Commons at this link.


This is an extract from Rev Sheila Cameron’s sermon on 7 May 2023, The Fifth Sunday of Easter, when she was reflecting on our readings in the light of the Coronation of King Charles III the previous day:


Today, as we look forward to Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit, our readings celebrate the status of Christians as God’s chosen people, divinely gifted, and celebrated in that rich variety of images in 1 Peter: we are not only “the stones that the builders rejected,” but also “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking there are just too many images here to get your head around. But Christians are all these things, because as followers of Jesus, we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit. The journey begins with baptism, and that includes the gift of the Spirit, a sign of which in our Anglican tradition is the anointing of every new Christian with the oil of chrism …

Yesterday’s moment of anointing, or Act of Consecration, was veiled from the eyes of the public, hidden from the cameras, kept as a moment of deep personal encounter between the new sovereign and God. Like our Lord Jesus Christ, King Charles was anointed “not to be served but to serve.” The moment of anointing was similar to baptism, in the eyes of Christians a transformative moment of encounter and divine gifting.

We read in Acts today of one particular life transformed by the gift of the Spirit, challenged in a way that was irresistible. The death of the first martyr, Stephen, is a shocking story, and yet the focus is not on the violence but rather on the radiance that shines from the face of Stephen. He was “filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Like Christ on the mountain, he was transfigured. …


Do read the whole of Sheila’s sermon at this link.

Our picture by Matea Gregg is a slightly lightened version of the one made available on the Unsplash platform.


This is an extract from Rev Sheila Cameron’s sermon on 30 April, The Fourth Sunday of Easter, when she was reflecting on the story of Noah told in Genesis:

… Such Old Testament stories are the foundation of our Christian narrative and our New Testament or covenant with God through Jesus Christ. In the first covenant that God made with humans, he reassured Noah, who was a good and godly man, that he would never again destroy the earth; and, as we read in Genesis 9, the rainbow was given as a sign of that promise. The earth had become an evil and violent place but the Flood brought a fresh, new world living in a new relationship with its Creator. Our Christian baptism is a sign of our covenant with God through Christ: a covenant of grace offered unconditionally. All we have to do is accept in faith the offer of salvation through Christ, for we have inherited eternal life by being baptised into his death and resurrection.

The early Christians saw Noah as a character who called people to repentance; according to Clement of Rome, for example, writing around the year 96, “all who listened to Noah were saved.” The Ark soon came to be seen as prefiguring the Church, which came to be called the “ship of salvation.” …


Sheila went on to talk more about the ship image and the church, the way that the “community of salvation” operated and grew in the early church, and about Christ as our only means of access to salvation. Do read the whole of her sermon at this link.

Our photograph is of a section of the 11th-century murals illustrating the books of Genesis and Exodus on the ceiling of the barrel-vaulted nave of the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, in Poitou, France. If you don’t have time to visit, as your webmaster did, more delightful images can be found at https://tinyurl.com/mtnwjrud.

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