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
In the gospel reading for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, Jesus sets out what kind of life and what kind of commitment are necessary for those who would follow him.
A feature of Saturday night television these days is the reality competition. At the moment we have The Voice which will soon give way to Britain’s Got Talent, and then in the autumn Strictly Come Dancing and The X-Factor. Then there are Dancing on Ice, I’m a Celebrity, Big Brother … the list goes on.
Not everyone watches such things, so for those of you who don’t – in these shows people at home will have different competitors they follow through the competition. And a major part of such shows is the public getting the chance to phone in and vote for their favourite competitors. And those who watch such shows will know that along with the opportunity to phone in, the government considers it important that everyone, when they phone, is aware of the terms and conditions. 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?
A few years ago scientists undertook some research done into memory and age. They wanted to find out at what age your brain starts to malfunction. And it’s younger than you think. They discovered that your brain starts to malfunction, mainly because your brain cells start dying, once you reach the age of 40. At that age you can expect to start getting that experience of walking into a room and forgetting why you did, or of going to the fridge and opening the door and then standing there like a lemon thinking “why on earth have I opened the fridge door?” The only comfort you can take from knowing that your memory is fast disappearing is that everyone else over the age of 40 is just as bad and is in the same boat. Continue reading
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.
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
Last Sunday was, of course, Palm Sunday. Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and is hailed as a king before he is nailed to a cross as a criminal. It’s a day when we get two gospel readings, as if we can’t quite make up our minds where the emphasis of the day lies. We begin with the Palm Gospel, and set off singing away waving our palm crosses. Then we get the Passion Gospel, and come face to face with the reality of the cross. Here’s what I said.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
I first read that at school! And it seems to me that Charles Dickens could have been writing about Palm Sunday. Continue reading
Here’s my sermon from Palm Sunday
The Star Wars fans among you will no doubt have been as surprised as I was when we heard the news last October that there are to be three further instalments to the Star Wars movie Franchise. For those of you who don’t get quite as excited at the thought of further films to the most successful series of science-fiction films ever let me explain the story so far… Continue reading
John 13.1-17, 31b-35
Jesus began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel. John 13.3-4
Maundy Thursday means one thing – time to look on the internet for feet jokes. And I’m afraid the best I could find was: Did you hear about the man who was born with two left feet? He went out and bought some flip flips. You really don’t want to hear some of the others. So I’ve had to resort to recycling last year’s feet joke which was somewhat better. A little boy put on his shoes himself for the first time. His mother noticed that he had put the right shoe on his left foot and his left shoe on the right foot. So she said to him, “Timmy, your shoes are on the wrong feet.” He looked up at her, rather puzzled, and said Continue reading
Busy week, of course, being Holy Week, with services every day, so only just catching up with sermon posting. However, for those of you with a bit of stamina I’m about to post all our sermons from Holy Week. The first, from Palm Sunday, was preached by Mother Anne-Marie.
Mark 11.1-11; Mark 15.1-39
Jerusalem was a conquered city, a city under Roman occupation. Not unusual. Throughout the entire history of the known world, people have conquered other people, Kings have sought to rule the world and empires have come and gone. Jesus enters the Roman occupied city of Jerusalem to the triumphal waving of palms and the victorious cries of the crowd “Hosanna, blessed is the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David”. Is Jesus coming to reclaim Jerusalem – coming to conquer it back? The cries of the crowd would indicate that perhaps they thought so. “Hosanna” – the Hebrew “hosha’na” – God save us – that was what the crowd were shouting – hosha’na – God save us. Jesus was interested in conquering territory – in conquering a place as yet unconquered. He wasn’t there to win back Jerusalem but there to win for the first time a far more precious territory. A place as yet unconquered, the unconquered territory of the human heart. He was entering Jerusalem, but more interested in entering the heart of every person lining the road. Continue reading