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
There is an image used by James May (one of the Top Gear lads) that has stuck in my mind – I may have mentioned it to some of you. He was presenting a series, “The 20th Century”, which explored the changes that made the last century so distinctive. One of these revolutionary changes was the coming of electricity. The Earth, viewed from space, is no longer dark – it is a glowing globe. Our habits, our interests, our occupations, our very world have all been transformed. Continue reading
26th January, 3rd Sunday of Epiphany
As a child I always encountered Christmas in three phases. First came Anticipation and Expectation; then Christmas itself; and finally, The New Year with its resolutions and new beginnings.
As a child, anticipation ran high. Approaching Christmas the atmosphere was fragrant with baking and sweetmaking… the promise of good times. Continue reading
We all know the pitfall of extravagant promises. There is a story I think of when I read about the three men who wanted to follow Christ: A young man very much in love emailed his girlfriend a card that said “I would cross the hottest desert, swim the deepest sea, and climb the highest mountain to be with you.” At the bottom of the message was a PS: “It is raining heavily here, so I can’t make it tonight”. Continue reading
12th May, Sunday after Ascension
Monarchs are a strange mixture. Nations inherit them, there isn’t much choice, and nobody quite knows how they will turn out. Some are benevolent and conscientious like the present Queen. But then there was King Henry the VIII, defender of the faith, disposer of wives. And King John who lost the crown jewels in the Wash. Sri Lanka had a particularly unsavoury story of an ambitious Prince who plastered his father, the King, into a wall. Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts and Blackadder’s Queenie both enjoyed a good beheading.
Monarchs have fascinated people throughout history. The Israelites, too, were intrigued by the idea of a King. In 1 Samuel 12, we discover that they had a brand new King, not by royal lineage, but by choice. Continue reading