What a picture!


3232165 - open photo album

Yesterday Christians around the world kept the feast of the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration is the name we give to the event when Jesus took three of his disciples up a mountain, and something amazing happened. Here’s what I said.

Luke 9.28-36

You know what it’s like!

Some friends invite you round for a meal. And what do they do? They get out the photo album. Or more likely, these days, they get out their phone or iPad, with their ability to take endless photos! First it’s the holiday photos. And then it’s the photos of the children. And you struggle to pretend that you’re really interested – your eyes start to glaze over and you keep saying, “Yes, that’s really nice …” without meaning it. Continue reading

How much would you pay for the kingdom?


675836_m

Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52

It was reported this week that a nine-year old boy called Dylan has written a fan letter to President Donald Trump. How do we know this – well, I don’t know how many fan letters he gets but his press secretary read out Dylan’s letter at a press briefing. I won’t read it all out – you can look it up online – but here’s a bit of what Dylan said:

You’re my favourite president he wrote. I like you so much I had a birthday about you. My cake was the shape of your hat. How old are you? How big is the White House? How much money do you have?

At which point the press secretary laughed and said: “Dylan, I’m not sure but I know it’s a lot.” Continue reading

Put down the bagpipes!


26991266 - color shot of a person holding a traditional bagpipe.

Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43

One of the best known commands of Jesus is the command to love your neighbour. Even people who aren’t Christians or have never opened a Bible know it. And yet, as we all know, neighbours are not always easy to get along with!

There is a story of a young man who leaves his home in Aberdeen and goes to live in London. After he has been there a while he phones his mother to let her know how things are going.

“How’s the flat you’re living in,” she asks him, “what are the neighbours like?”

“Well,” he replies, “the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night long, and the guy on the other side is constantly banging on the wall!”

“Never mind,” says his mother, “don’t let them worry you – just ignore them.” Continue reading

How many 3s in 1?


27856769 - clover with white background ,blank place can copy your document

Trinity Sunday! The day preachers try to avoid preaching because how do you explain the Trinity? I gave it my best shot – and here it is! I wasn’t preaching at home this week – I was away at St Mary’s Church in Caterham, our next door neighbour.

Isaiah 40.12-17, 27-end; 2 Corinthians 13.11-end; Matthew 28.16-end

Don’t you just love parish quiz nights?

In my last parish, at one quiz night, there was a round just for the clergy. The person who had set the questions seemed determined to catch the clergy out. So, he asked a question: what was the name of the prophet Isaiah’s second son, who has the longest name in the Bible?

Of course, you all know the answer! Continue reading

Does what it says on the tin!


52725911 - varnishing a wooden shelf. paintbrush and can on the wooden surfaceThis Sunday was the Sunday following Ascension Day, and is a day when we both look back to and reflect on the Ascension and also look forward to Pentecost when we celebrate the wonderful gift to us of the Holy Spirit. It was also the day after a major failure of British Airways’ IT system, which caused a major crisis at UK airports and left thousand of unhappy travellers stranded.

Acts 1.6-14; John 17.1-11

The task of advertising executives is to come up with slogans that people will remember and that will sell the product and boost its reputation.

This morning, two in particular come to mind: Continue reading

The box of chocolates gospel


28068104 - assorted chocolates confectionery in their gift box with red bow

In this Sunday’s gospel reading we heard Jesus talking to his disciples after they had shared their final supper together. We heard the first part of what has become known as the Farewell Discourse – Jesus’ final words to his disciples before his arrest.

John 14.1-14

Today’s gospel reading is like a box of chocolates. Open a box of chocolates and you’re faced with a choice of mouth-watering centres. All the chocolates look fantastic. And you’re not quite sure which to pick first. Some you like – some you don’t – some you’re not sure about. Open your Bible to our gospel reading today and you’re faced with a choice of uplifting and encouraging and familiar statements from Jesus. And just as any chocolate box has those chocolates that some people don’t like, so this passage has sayings of Jesus that some Christians don’t like or feel uncomfortable with or find hard to relate to. And the preacher is faced with a difficult choice – which one to choose, which one to preach on?

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Easy for Jesus to say, of course, yet we spend our lives being troubled and stressed. Continue reading

Getting away from it all


17933656_m

Today at St John’s we kept Godparents Sunday – a new initiative of the Church of England last year, though the Orthodox Church has always done it as far as I know. The gospel reading was the account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection. Mother Anne-Marie gave the talk at our main service and it was interactive, as we had all the children in, so isn’t easily reproducible here. I, however, also gave a short homily at our early mass and spoke about the road to Emmaus – here’s what I said.

Luke 24.13-35

Many years ago we had a friend who – although in a well-paid job – was not particularly good at handling her finances. At regular intervals she would get a letter from the bank informing her that she was over her limit and asking how she intended to correct the situation. These letters always depressed her greatly – and to ease her depression she always resorted to the same solution – she would go out shopping and have a spending spree. It made her feel better even though it just made things worse in the long run. Continue reading