Tagged: Lazarus

Burning money

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

John 12.1-8

Last Sunday’s gospel reading told the story of how Jesus shared a meal with his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. And we hear how Mary behaves quick shockingly. Here’s what I said.

I’m going to begin with a story – a true story. It is told by William Carter [1], a Presbyterian Pastor from Pennsylvania. He writes:

I will never forget the furore 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.”

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What I said this Sunday – All Saints Sunday

We kept All Saints Day on the 1st November, but as I know attendance at a weekday feast is always low, we also kept All Saints Sunday as the Church of England allows us to do.

John 11.32-44

Today is a day for thinking about heaven. This morning we celebrate the great feast of All Saints, as we remember those great heroes of the Christian Faith who have gone before us. And tonight, at our evensong for All Souls – the annual commemoration of the faithful departed – we remember those dear to us who have also gone before us and who join with those great saints we remember this morning in the worship of God in heaven. For all are now equal and worshipping God for eternity. Today we think about heaven.

The Co-operative Funeral service recently undertook a survey of the music that people choose to have played at funeral services. It was widely reported in the news. One thing they discovered is that pop songs now outnumber hymns by two to one. On the whole, while they might not be everyone’s choice, most people pick songs that are favourites of the person who died, or that express some emotion or sentiment on the part of the mourners. Top of the list for the seventh year running is My Way by Frank Sinatra which, apparently, is now played at one in every seven funerals. At number two, from Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli comes Time To Say Goodbye. At least I suppose you can say it’s relevant. However, several of the songs express – even though they may not be hymns – profoundly Christian sentiments. Continue reading