When you’re packing for holidays – when we’re allowed them of course – what do you put in in addition to all the usual stuff like clothes and toiletries? A few books, perhaps, to read. Or an iPad? Maps and guidebooks.
One of the things I like to take is what is called a travelling icon. An icon is a particular kind of religious picture, portraying Jesus, or his mother Mary, or one of the saints of the church. And a travelling icon is two or three small icons attached to each other with hinges, so they can stood up, or be folded up so that it can be taken with you when you travel.
I have mine here with me this morning. It is a small, foldable, set of three icons showing Jesus in the centre, with his mother Mary on the left and John the Baptist on the right.Continue reading
This week the gospel reading was the story from John of Jesus providing lots of wine for a wedding reception. So much for cutting down our alcohol intake as one of our New Year resolutions!
It can’t have escaped your notice that the U.K. Chief Medical Officer has introduced new limits on the maximum amount of alcohol that it is recommended people drink. I’ve come up with a solution for those who find this a problem. The solution if you don’t want to cut down, is to change your nationality to Spanish if you’re a man, as their limit is two and a half times as much. And if you’re a woman? Adopt Japanese nationality where women, unlike men, are given no maximum at all.
And not only that, the Chief Medical Officer made it clear that any amount of alcohol at all was dangerous. Well, what a good job the Chief Medical Officer wasn’t a guest at the wedding at Cana. What would she have had to say, I wonder? Continue reading
Yesterday we kept the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Here’s what I said in my sermon.
No matter the question, the answer is always ‘Jesus’. Anyone in the Church who works with children knows that problem. The answer to everything is Jesus!
The story is told of the Sunday School teacher who wanted to teach the children about the importance of being prepared and working hard. So she started her lesson by saying, “I’m going to describe something and when you know what it is put your hand up.” And off she went, “I’m thinking of something that lives in trees…” Nothing. “And it eats nuts…” Nothing. “It has a long bushy tail and can be grey or red…” Still nothing. Then, slowly, one boy put his hand up. The teacher breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Well, Freddie, what do you think it is?” And Freddie replied, “Well, it sounds like a squirrel to me, but I know the answer’s supposed to be ‘Jesus’” Continue reading
Today is that day that Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen. Or, as I used to think as a child when the family sat round the piano as we sang carols, the day that Good King Wenslas last looked out, as if he were in the habit of looking out on a regular basis. It is, of course, the feast of Saint Stephen the first martyr. A day after we have celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace we celebrate the death of a young man brutally murdered because some people didn’t like what he believed. Perhaps it seems odd to think about such things during this season of goodwill, but it’s a reminder that following Jesus isn’t an easy option. And we have been reminded of that fact by the news this morning that yesterday, Christmas Day, saw the bombing of churches in Nigeria. As we pray at our mass later this morning at St John’s for the victims and their families we pray also for Christians around the world who continue to suffer and die for their faith and for a greater understanding between those of different faiths.