Here we are a week after Christmas. I suspect mince pies and Christmas cake have lost their shine right now. And biscuits. And turkey. Maybe even chocolate!
Yet we are still journeying through the Christmas story. And we are still thinking of the nativity and its scenes.
In Bethlehem, the world’s most earth-shattering event has happened. Silently, a wondrous gift was given… a gift that meets all the hopes and fears of all the years. There was no fanfare. No trumpets. Mortals sleep. The silent stars go by. And a King of an eternal Kingdom is born. The baby – God’s son – lies asleep in a manger as the shepherds come to visit him.
Christmas Eve / 4th Sunday of Advent
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given…”
In Bethlehem, the world’s most earth-shattering event is happening. Humanity is receiving a gift. A gift that meets all the hopes and fears of all the years. There is no fanfare. No trumpets. Mortals sleep. The silent stars go by. And a King is born. The baby – God’s son – lies asleep in a manger. Continue reading
4th Sunday of Advent – Christmas Eve
We are here. The 4th Sunday in Advent. Christmas Eve. The season of waiting for the coming of Christ. We’ve been to carol services, started on mince pies and watched the nativity plays.
Last Sunday I was at the Ballyholme children’s nativity. In it, the little Angel tells the little Joseph the amazing things that would happen – how Mary, his fiancée, was going to have a baby, but it was God’s plan. Joseph listens, pauses, and responds with a beautifully underwhelmed, “oh, OK.” Continue reading
When I was an undergraduate in Sri Lanka I was shocked by what a friend whispered to me during a prayer meeting. “I know which of the boys I can marry,” she confided. I looked at her blankly. While everyone’s eyes were closed, she went round the circle indicating with her eyes, whispering “him, not him, not him, him…I think him.” Continue reading
Are you a troublemaker? This is what Paul and Silas are called in Philippi. They were accused of troubling the city. Today, Christians are rarely viewed as troublemakers. In fact, the church today is riddled with respectability. Continue reading
The Transfiguration story is strange. Transfiguration literally means “metamorphosis” – a slightly more familiar idea. We know about the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly, or the tadpole into a frog. And on Valentine’s Day, perhaps a frog, if you kiss the right one, may be transformed into a prince. Continue reading
As part of my placement with St Clements and the Dock Café, I sat in on the Mission planning meeting with the bishop some weeks ago. It was exciting and thought-provoking to be with a congregation thinking about the future, and I was inspired by the presentations about a vision for reaching the community with God’s love. (And, because I am training for ordination, I took down a lot of notes and ideas – which I hope you won’t mind me using someday). So thank you to Chris and all of you for inviting me to sit in on the meeting.
The mission meeting at St Clements also set me thinking. About how easy or difficult it is for us in the church to welcome people in? To associate with people from various backgrounds, with various histories, with those that our society considers outcasts and sinners? Continue reading
I recently watched a documentary series by Stephen Hawking about the beginning and end of the Universe. This is serious “end times” stuff. And it isn’t very nice at all. We could be blasted by a passing giant asteroid (last time the dinosaurs went extinct, but this time it could destroy all life on Earth). Or a nearby star could explode in a supernova and finish us off… in fact it could already have happened, and its devastating shock waves could be heading towards us this very minute. Continue reading
The film Trainspotting opens with John Hodges’ cynical poem that uses the same phrase, “Choose life”, that we read of in Deuteronomy, in a bitter rejection of life and its meaningless choices:
“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big Television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electric tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage… Choose your future. Choose life.” Continue reading
We are big on doing things our own way. We often say “I have the right to live my life the way I choose”. As a child, I upheld this virtuously – and often told adults “I will do it my way”. It drove adults around me nuts. And because spanking was common, back then, my wanting to do things my way often also left me smarting. Yet it never stopped me.
But isn’t “doing things our way” a norm for adult life as well? Continue reading