Sermon preached at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, Bristol, 3 November 1991

[The manuscript is marked “at LMC”, but I am not sure which church or service this refers to.* Nor do I have any idea who C.J. Hopes is or was. It may also be worth noting that my father was himself the oldest brother of all his siblings…

*I’m grateful to Richard’s widow Christine, who has informed me that it probably refers to the Lord Mayor’s Chapel, where Richard was priest in charge for a few years in the 1990s.- SJC]

I have found that once you get accustomed to committing murder it’s very hard to give it up. I am still trying to cure myself of the habit. If you are avidly collecting the current Rice Krispies tokens, you may have some sympathy for me. When I’ve collected eight I’ll have enough to send away for ‘The Zapper’ – an ingenious and innocent-looking instrument which includes a death ray and a machine gun which I can turn on all my enemies (like Skoda drivers and Jeremy Beadle) and blast them all out of existence! Everybody is going to want one, because there ain’t no one who hasn’t at some time felt that great aggression towards people who screw you up. Some of you may be feeling that C.J. Hopes had better watch his back from now on!

Such feelings are nothing new. They go right back. They feature in the story from the Genesis reading this morning. The first Biblical murder.Read More »



[This photo shows Richard in the back garden of the house I grew up in, in Bristol. For many years it was dominated by an apple tree which would have been out of shot to the left; this tree was brought down by the fierce storms which affected the country in 1987 – I remember returning home to find the tree had fallen across the garden at such an angle that it had missed the side of the house by inches. Divine intervention? No one can say. – SJC]