This week we heard about the way Jesus responded to the question: Is it lawful to pay taxes? Here’s what I preached.
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
I’m sure you’ve all heard that saying before – and it’s known, of course, as Murphy’s Law. It’s named after the American aerospace engineer Edward Murphy who worked on safety-critical systems and who is believed to have first coined the phrase. We tend to think of Murphy’s Law as somewhat humorous, but it is quite serious in its application. When designing systems it is important to eliminate any possible areas where something might go wrong – because if it can go wrong, in the end it will. Continue reading
“For a man who lives in No. 10 Downing Street, has two multi-million pound homes and an upbringing steeped in privilege, it was the one question which stopped him in his tracks.” So wrote The Daily Telegraph when David Cameron was asked a particularly difficult question during a question-and-answer session recently. For the question was this: “What would your response to Jesus be on his instructions to us to sell all our possessions and give the proceeds to the poor?”
David Cameron, having to respond to such an awkward question, according to The Daily Telegraph went on to say that he thinks the Bible is “not a bad handbook” for life – perhaps understating a little the importance of the Bible for Christians – but admitted that it would be “a little more difficult” to follow the scriptures to the letter and surrender his belongings. He said: “I’m a Christian and I’m an active member of the Church of England, and like all Christians I think I sometimes struggle with some of the sayings and some of the instructions.” Continue reading
The gospel reading for last Sunday was the story from Saint John of Mary, Martha and Lazarus entertaining Jesus. And Mary pours perfume on Jesus’ feet and wipes them with her hair. Here’s what I said.
In the name of the Living God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
I’m going to begin with a story – a true story. It is told by William G Carter , a Presbyterian Pastor from Pennsylvania. He writes:
I will never forget the furor sparked at a stewardship conference at which an ecumenical group of pastors gathered to discuss generosity. One presenter spoke about offering a gift directly to God, and the clergy began to yawn. Then he pulled a $100 bill from his wallet, set it on fire in an ashtray, and prayed, “Lord, I offer this gift to you, and you alone.” The reaction was electric. Clergy began to fidget in their chairs, watching that [banknote] go up in smoke as if it were perfume. One whispered it was illegal to burn currency. Another was heard to murmur, “If he is giving money away, perhaps he has a few more.” “Do you not understand,” said the speaker. “I am offering it to God, and that means it is going to cease to be useful for the rest of us.”
Today’s gospel is about burning money. Continue reading