There’s nothing worse than being given a nickname you don’t like – especially if you really don’t deserve it.
So I’ve always felt rather sorry for poor old Thomas. Everyone has heard of ‘doubting Thomas’ – even people who have no idea who he was other than that he was a Thomas who doubted.
And there are two questions I’ve always had about Thomas.
Why on earth did poor Thomas get his nickname? Because it seems to me he doesn’t deserve it.
And who was his twin brother? Or sister?
Well, let’s deal with that first question – why on earth did poor Thomas get his nickname?Continue reading
I never thought I’d ever find myself saying this.
I think I want to go and live in Albert Square.
Albert Square is, of course, in the London Borough of Walford. And for those of you are still in the dark let me tell you – it’s where Eastenders is set. (Note: Eastenders is a famous soap opera broadcast by the BBC.)
But why do I think I might want to go and live there?
Well – the residents of Albert Square are coping with the Covid19 problem just like the rest of us. We know they are because every so often it gets a mention. But living there is so much better than living anywhere else. For a start, no one has been shielding or self-isolating. And no-one seems to possess a mask. Not only do you not see any of the local residents wearing masks in the street, they don’t wear them when they go into the local convenience store to do their shopping. Neither do they wear them when they go into the Queen Victoria public house. Yes! The pub is still open and has been all through lockdown! As is the local café. No ‘takeaways only’ in Albert Square!
People in Albert Square are in and out of each other’s houses all the time. I grant that it’s usually to argue with each other, but at least they can go visiting.Continue reading
As a child I was hopeless at sport – sport was simply not my thing. The best I ever managed at secondary school was the report in my first year where the sports master had written for Gym: He has absolutely no aptitude for this subject but he tries his best. And it wasn’t helped by the fact that my sister was a superb athlete who ran for the county! People always assumed that I would be able to run as fast as my sister!
But I was the one nobody wanted on their team. When I was at primary school we used that iniquitous system of two people being chosen as captains for football, and then they picked their teams. And of course, when it came to choosing who was going to be in your football team it was never going to be me, because I couldn’t play an even half-decent game of football if my life depended on it. I always knew that I wouldn’t get picked but that didn’t make it any easier.
There is nothing worse than being left out.Continue reading
A ghost walked into a pub, went up to the bar and said to the landlord, “Can I have a brandy please?” “I’m sorry,” said the landlord, “we don’t serve spirits!”
Yes – the old ones are the best!
Ghost or real. That’s the question facing the disciples – and us – in our gospel reading today!
It’s been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster ride for the followers of Jesus on that first Easter Day. Throughout the day they are in turn startled, terrified, frightened, joyful, disbelieving, puzzled, wondering! Try and imagine what must have been going through their minds as they deal in turn with the death of Jesus, his burial, their fear of the authorities, and then various in their number turning up and saying: He’s not dead at all – he’s alive again. Continue reading
Alleuia! Christ is risen!
Last Sunday was, of course, Easter Day, and this year as both the Western and Eastern Churches were keeping Easter on the same day it meant that the whole of Christianity were able to celebrate together!
It’s hardly a surprise then that my sermon was about the risen Jesus – but I wanted to remind people that there needs to be a response to the reality of the risen Jesus from us, just as there was from the disciples on the first Easter Day when they discovered that Jesus was alive.
Just a preliminary note for those from outside the UK. I start by talking about Eastenders, which is a hugely popular TV soap opera in the UK broadcast four times a week. Recently it’s been a bit sensational with among other things a major bus crash followed by a car crash! The reference to snow is that outside scenes shown at the beginning of April had clearly been filmed a couple of months earlier when we had snow!
Perhaps it’s just my imagination.
Eastenders always used to seem to be so miserable and depressing. But recently I’ve noticed that nobody in Eastenders seems to have to face the problems that the rest of us are dealing with. In fact, it seems that Walford is a good place to live – at least as far as health is concerned! Continue reading
They had watched the person die. They checked the body – yes, definitely dead. And so, having made sure that the body had been buried, and knowing that the grave was subsequently sealed, they thought it was all over. The only problem was that subsequently someone saw the person again – apparently alive. Or was it a ghost. They can’t be alive, surely, thought those who knew the body must still be buried. And then they were confronted by the person they thought gone for ever, alive and talking to them. The grave is empty.
Yes – Eastenders (For those outside the UK – a widely watched British TV soap opera and a bit of a national institution) have done it again. For those of you who don’t watch Eastenders you don’t know what you’re missing. Or perhaps you do, which is why you don’t watch it. Let me explain. Continue reading
Easter day at St John’s began with our dawn service at 5.45am. We started with the kindling of the Easter fire and the lighting of the Paschal candle we processed in the darkness into the church where everyone lit their Easter candles. After I sang the Exsultet (the ancient hymn praising God for the light of Christ, represented by the Paschal Candle) we listened to the drama of our salvation unfolding through readings from the Old and New Testament before renewing our baptismal promises and celebrating the first mass of Easter.
This year we had the gospel reading from Mark and his account of the women going to the tomb. Unlike the resurrection accounts in the other gospels it ends on a rather odd note. Continue reading
This week, the Sunday following Easter Day, has us thinking about Thomas the doubting disciple. Here’s my sermon.
As a child I was hopeless at sport – sport was simply not my thing. The best I ever managed at secondary school was the report in my first year where the sports master had written for Gym: He has absolutely no aptitude for this subject but he tries his best. I was the one nobody wanted on their team. When I was at primary school we used that iniquitous system of two people being chosen as captains for football, and then they picked their teams. And of course, when it came to choosing who was going to be in your football team it was never going to be me, because I couldn’t play an even half-decent game of football if my life depended on it. I always knew that I wouldn’t get picked but that didn’t make it any easier.
There is nothing worse than being left out. Continue reading
Here is my sermon for Easter Day.
Perhaps it’s just my imagination. Eastenders (for readers from abroad – Eastenders is a highly popular TV soap from the BBC noted for its miserable storylines and characters) always used to seem to be so miserable and depressing. But recently I’ve noticed that nobody in Eastenders seems to have to face the problems that the rest of us are dealing with. In fact they seem to be rather oblivious to the regular stream of bad news that we normal people have to cope with.
I can’t remember anyone moaning about the cold weather – or the cost of petrol – or rising fuel bills. Continue reading
Sermon number two was from Mother Anne-Marie.
Reading: John 18.1, Mark 14.33-36
Jesus went out with His disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” And going a little further, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want but what you want.” Continue reading