Sermons by Reverend Paul Hooper

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The Penitent Thief

Three crosses

The Penitent Thief Luke 23:26-49

The man who called on the crucified Christ

When a criminal reached Golgotha, or The Place of The Skull, where the crucifixion would take place, his cross was laid flat upon the ground. Usually it was cross shaped, like a capital T, with no top piece against which the head could rest. It was quite low so that the criminal’s feet were only 2 or 3 feet above the ground. The victim’s hands were stretched out upon the crossbar, and the nails were driven through his hands. The feet were not nailed, but only loosely bound to the cross. Halfway up the cross there was a projecting piece of wood called the saddle, which took the weight of the criminal; otherwise the nails would have torn through his hands. The cross was then lifted and set upright in its socket. Roman crucifixion was a time of terror; imagine the pain the criminal was suffering, it was terrible. However it was not enough to kill, and further suffering followed as the victim was left to die of hunger and thirst beneath the blazing noontide sun and the frosts of night. As people watched, the process was meant to be a deterrent and a public warning of what happened if you rebelled

Watchnight Service 2013

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Watchnight Service

Watchnight Service 31-12-2013

Psalm 50:1-5, Exodus 16:1-8

Sometimes in ministry you are faced with sermons which pose a real challenge. I can think back to Christmas Eve 2010, when I was given the task of celebrating Holy Communion at St Martin’s Church. A few months prior to this, the churches of St Christopher’s, St Martin’s and St Patrick’s had finally agreed to amalgamate into a new parish called Ballymacarrett and St Patrick’s would be the place of worship. At that joint service, for the people of St Martin’s in the congregation this was to be the last formal service in their church. I was very conscious of that and I had to reflect that in my address…