I sometimes feel, looking at the programme guide on our television, that for the British there is nothing more important than what we eat and drink, and where we and others live.
To test my theory I checked yesterday on the BBC website. Bear in mind that this is only the BBC – other channels are available of course – if you are into homes and gardens there are 49 different programmes or series that you can currently watch to indulge your interest.
If it’s food and drink you’re into, then you’ve an even bigger choice. 85 programmes in that category. Mary Berry isn’t in all of them, though she does seem to have cornered the market in food programmes for the great Christian Festivals. At the moment, you could be watching Mary Berry’s Easter Feast. Once Easter is over, you can start getting ready for Christmas with Mary Berry Saves Christmas. And just in case you’re not sure what to do for the rest of the year there’s Mary Berry Everyday!
Someone visiting us from another planet might well conclude that we are obsessed with what we eat and where we live.Continue reading
There are three signs that you are getting old. One is memory loss. I can’t remember the other four.
What’s your memory like? When was the last time you put down your house keys, or your glasses, or your phone – and then couldn’t find them again?
I lost my house keys this week. But that’s not a problem. I have an electronic tag on my keys so that if I can’t find them, I just press a button in an app on my phone – it then shows me where my keys last were so I know whether they’re in the house somewhere, or if I’ve lost them outside. It makes the tag on the keys play a tune when the keys are nearby so I can hear the keys and locate them. At least – it does if you remembered to replace the battery when it ran out. It even makes it easy for you to remember, by telling you when the battery is low and needs replacing. But if you ignore the instructions, and forget to replace the battery, the system is useless. It won’t find your keys. So you end up searching all over the place – as I did – and panicking, until you finally find them. I’ve now put a battery in the tag!Continue reading
I don’t know whether any of you know St. Leonard’s on Sea, but if you do you will probably know the church on the sea front after which the place is named.
I visited the church many years ago when I was doing a placement nearby, during my Church Army training, at the Youth Centre in Bexhill. And the church has always remained in my mind because of its pulpit. The church was destroved by a V1 flying bomb in 1944 and soon afterwards, Canon Cuthbert Griffiths, the Rector of the church and who would later oversee the rebuilding, had a dream. He dreamt that Jesus was preaching to the church’s congregation from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Soon afterwards he went to Galilee, and bought the front half of a fishing boat – he had it brought back and installed it in the rebuilt church as the pulpit.
And there it is – the front half of a boat, protruding from the wall of the church. And so, just as Jesus had preached from a boat on the Sea of Galilee, so the clergy of the parish could preach from a boat. And week by week, the people of the parish would be reminded of this incident in Luke’s Gospel, when Jesus taught from the boat and called Simon Peter to fish for people.Continue reading
In this week’s gospel we hear Jesus asking the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Perhaps the most important teaching of the gospel message is not that we need to respond as Peter did with, “You are the Messiah”. It is that unlike Peter we must then accept that the way of Jesus is a path that leads to suffering, rejection and death leading on to resurrection. Jesus tells us that if we follow him we must also accept the way of the cross.
Strictly season is upon us again! Yes, for some of us our Saturday night treat is back. Strictly Come Dancing (some countries know this as Dancing with the Stars) began last Saturday and our annual autumn feast of celebrity dancing – or in some cases not dancing – will keep us going up to Christmas.
And one of the aspects of programmes like Strictly is that we get to see celebrities as they really are. Of course, I use the word ‘celebrities’ advisedly – I don’t know who half of them are any more than you do – but presumably they are all celebrities in someone’s eyes. When you’re a celebrity you are in the public gaze. But instead of the public persona they usually show – whether through music, acting, sport and so on – we get to see, over the weeks, more of the real person as they struggle with rehearsals, strut their moves on a Saturday night, face up to the critique of the judges, and then endure the results and the prospect of going home. Continue reading
Jesus calls his first disciples. But what about their families? This week’s gospel reading invites us to reflect on the reality of being called by Jesus to follow him.
Do you remember the good old days? When instead of everyone doing their own thing in an evening families used to gather together and either watch TV or play games? And simple games. Nothing like the complexity of today’s video games. And one of the games that used to be popular, and that we played when I was little, was the card game Happy Families.
A Happy Families pack of cards consisted of a number of sets of four. And in each set there would be a father, identified by his occupation and a surname that fitted. Names like – and these are all genuine names from Happy Family sets according to the article on Wikipedia.
- Mr Pipe the Plumber
- Mr Flatfoot the Policeman
- Mr Bacon the Butcher
- Mr Ashes the Undertaker
- Mr Fisher the Fisherman
Then, in each set, there was a wife. She never had a job – she was always, for example, Mrs Fisher the Fisherman’s wife. Then there would be two children – Master Fisher the Fisherman’s son and Miss Fisher the Fisherman’s daughter. In those days a happy family apparently consisted of a man who worked, a wife who didn’t, and two children, one of each gender. Continue reading
Here’s my sermon for Easter 3. In the New Testament reading we hear how Saul encounters Jesus, and in the gospel reading how Jesus calls Peter to follow him.
Jesus, after the resurrection, needed to do some recruiting. He had twelve posts to fill – he needed twelve apostles to be the founding leaders of his church. So how did he go about it? Place an advertisement in the Jerusalem Times? Draw up a list of interview questions? Get an interview panel together? Job description and person specification?
And if Jesus had carried out background checks – character references, criminal records checks, and so on – of those he wanted to be his apostles where would we be? Would he have appointed them? Or would he have decided that they weren’t suitable candidates for the job? Continue reading