Tagged: Holy Spirit

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 answer is blowin’ in the wind


The gospel last Sunday was the story of Nicodemus visiting Jesus at night in order to ask some questions. Here’s what I said.

Genesis 12.1-4a; Romans 4.1-5, 13-17; John 3.1-17

Questions. Today’s gospel is about questions. Or rather, it’s about someone seeking answers but not really knowing the right questions to ask.

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. So said the great French philosopher Voltaire.

But how do we know what the right questions are? Some of history’s greatest thinkers have pondered: What are the questions we should be asking? And they’ve come up with some interesting answers to that question. They’ve come up with questions like these – posed by in my opinion probably the greatest ever winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature:

How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
Or how many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?
Or how many times must the cannon balls fly before they’re forever banned?

What are the answers to those questions? Well, some of you will have recognized those words, so you will know: Continue reading

Get off the mobile and enjoy the view!


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John 14.8-17

There are apparently, and according to the UN, more mobile phones in the world than there are people! If you want a symbol of the modern world and what is at the centre of people’s lives, look no further than the mobile phone! For so many, daily life is ruled by their mobile.

One of the most popular programmes on the TV at the moment is Channel 4’s Gogglebox. Just to explain, for those of you who don’t watch it, the idea behind the programme is that families and friends are filmed watching television, and we see their reactions. Each week a variety of different programmes are watched, and cameras inside people’s houses record their reactions to what they watch.

On Friday, just back from holiday, we sat down and watched the previous week’s episode, and one of the programmes people sat back to enjoy was a programme about railway journeys made by Paul Merton. As we were treated to an aerial view of a train travelling through some of Britain’s wonderful countryside, we then saw the reaction of two of Gogglebox’s regular participants – two sisters from Leeds.

One said: I like train journeys like that where you go on really beautiful, scenic routes.

To which the other replied: Continue reading

Pentecost Sunday – The promised Holy Spirit


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Acts 2.1-21; John 15.26-27; 16.4b-15

Anyone who uses computers knows the feeling.

You press the on button and wait – and nothing happens. Or it starts up but never finishes – it just switches on and never quite finishes loading everything. And you start to get that awful sinking feeling deep down inside. Everything is on the computer – all your email, thousands of family photos, the book you’ve been writing, twenty years’ worth of sermons! And you start to say to yourself:

  • I knew I should have paid for another year of that anti-virus software
  • Why on earth didn’t I install the firewall
  • I know I said that backing everything up could wait until tomorrow – what on earth was I thinking

The computer is dead. And everything on it is gone. And because you didn’t look after it properly there’s no recovery, or if you’re lucky and can afford it an expert might – just might – be able to dismantle it and get your stuff off the hard disk. But there’s that lingering feeling – if only I’d done what I knew I should, everything would all be safe. If only … Continue reading

In the world but not of the world


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Mother Anne-Marie was preaching this week on Acts 1.15-17, 21-end and John 17.6-19.

A week last Thursday we had a general election and through the night a surprise result emerged. A result none of the polls, until the exit poll at 10 p.m., had come near to predicting. The next day leaders toppled as those parties who had had disastrous, or just not too good results, expected their leaders to fall on their swords and take full responsibility for the failure. We are now into a period of uncertainty in most of the opposition parties as Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP struggle to rebuild and find new leadership. And we have a government with an overall majority they didn’t expect, so there is perhaps more change ahead than was anticipated. We are in a time of uncertainty and change. Continue reading

What I said last Sunday for the Feast of Pentecost


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Last Sunday was, of course, the Feast of Pentecost. Here’s what I said in my sermon.

Acts 1.1-13; John 20.19-23

There’s not much that’s more annoying than a flat car battery.

You know what it’s like! The last time you used the car there was nothing wrong. Then you go out to go somewhere – and it’s always when you’re going somewhere important and are in a hurry – and the car won’t start. These days, with electronic central locking, you are forewarned because the remote control key won’t unlock the car. And you get that sinking feeling. And yet, having had to use the key the old-fashioned way and actually put it in the lock, you get in and even though you now know you have a flat battery you still try and start the car. You know it’s not going to work but you try anyway. No power! And you’re not going anywhere. And the worst thing is you know that it’s almost certainly your fault. Either you’ve left headlights on though that’s increasingly difficult these days. Or you’ve left the interior light on. Or – as I managed to do recently – you’ve left the boot slightly ajar so that the boot light had not gone out! Continue reading

What I said this Sunday – Easter 6


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John 14.15-21

“I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.” The final words of Humphrey Bogart just before he died at the age of 57.

Famous last words. Some clearly thought them through. Some tried to be amusing at the last. Others simply didn’t know what to say. And yet if you’re famous you can guarantee that your final words will live, and be repeated, long after you are gone. And one of the problems of being famous is that you are often expected to leave behind you something inspirational. Karl Marx, as he neared death, was asked by his housekeeper who was the only person with him, for some profound and meaningful last thoughts. “Go away!” he shouted at her, “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!” and she fled from the room to leave him to pass away in silence. And yet last words can often be deeply moving and inspiring. Continue reading