This week’s gospel reading was the story from John’s Gospel of how Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a well.
You might think that when it comes to leading a blameless life Jesus was streets ahead of anyone else. You might think that when it comes to preaching the gospel we have a lot to learn from Jesus.
Let me just introduce you to someone who has the edge on Jesus. Billy Graham, the famous Southern Baptist evangelist from the United States, has led a remarkable life. It is estimated that he has preached the gospel to more people than anyone else in the history of Christianity – if you include his crusades, as well as his television and radio audiences, about 2.2 billion people – far more than Jesus ever managed. It’s a truly amazing achievement and he has changed so many people’s lives.
He has also, apparently, led a far more blameless life than Jesus did when it comes to women. What makes me say that? Well, I remember reading once that Billy Graham has said that in all his adult life he has never been alone with a woman who wasn’t his mother or his wife. He has said that a Christian should be above reproach and his reasoning is, presumably, that you have to be careful not to give people ammunition for gossip. Just think about that for a moment. How on earth do you manage to avoid ever being alone with a woman other than your mother or your wife? Continue reading
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise”.
You’ve probably all heard the expression, “This separates the men from the boys!”
Well – putting on one side the inherent sexism in such a phrase, we all know what it means. It’s used – or certainly used to be used – of situations that would mark out some as being somehow superior to others. Marking out those who would be willing to get involved in things that are dangerous or risky. Things that take courage and sacrifice. Things that are grueling, or require maturity and perseverance. Things that require more than childhood enthusiasm and energy. Things that require someone to step up to the crease – or to use an Americanism that has crept into the language even though we actually play cricket, not baseball – things that require someone to step up to the plate. Continue reading
You may have noticed that I didn’t post a sermon last week. That’s because I didn’t preach. However, the priest I live with did and she has now sent me her sermon so that I can post it for you.
Perhaps you were surprised this morning when you heard the gospel reading – surprised at its length. Apart from Holy Week when we read the passion gospels, it is the longest gospel you will get in the year. Well you may have been surprised at its length, but were you surprised at its content? This is a gospel story full of surprises. Perhaps for us as 21st Century Christians we miss some of those surprises. Continue reading