Trinity 20: True leadership is…

Some of you may know the Rector of Chingford, Justin Lewis-Anthony. He came to see me last week and we were talking about leadership in the Church of England. He said something that really struck me. “We talk about Jesus Christ but we expect John Wayne.”
We want leaders in the Church of England and our model of a leader is a secular manager or even the hero of a Western, someone like John Wayne or the eponymous hero of “Shane” – one of the best films of 1953.

Harvest 2021 with the Scouts

Welcome for all the Scouts/Beavers
I was a scout – story of raccoon hunt
I loved badges – what badges to you have?
Today you’ve come to the church on a special day – what day is it?
Harvest Festival!
The story of Harvest Festival begins with Parson Hawker of Morwenstow

Trinity 18: God’s Love for the Hurting

Our gospel reading this morning starts with a discussion about divorce and ends with a discussion about entering God’s kingdom like little children. While they seem to be disconnected, they really are not, and we need to find out why.

Trinity 17: An analogy and an adventure

Trinity 17: An analogy and an adventure Mark 9.38-50 Our Lord uses harsh and shocking language in the Gospel today. He speaks of exorcisms, demons, amputations, and hell. Why does He talk like this? It’s not really what you’d expect in the Church of England is it? Perhaps the parable of the ducks can help us to understand why. Once … Read More

Trinity 16: True greatness

Trinity 16: True greatness Mark 9. 30-37 Do you want to be great? May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.  ‘I am the greatest’ the mantra of Mohammed Ali, some thought it presumptuous, but he really was a very successful boxer. If we are honest that’s how we’ve lived in this very ‘me’ … Read More

Trinity 15: Take up your cross

Trinity 15: Take up your cross Mark 8. 27-38 In today’s Gospel Jesus conducts a sort of survey. He asks his disciples: Who do people say that I am? They give Him different responses—John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets. He then makes it personal: Who do you say that I am? And Peter replies on behalf of the … Read More

Trinity 14: “ephphatha” – Be Opened!

Trinity 14: “ephphatha” – Be Opened! St Mark 7. 24-37 There’s one word in the Gospel today that sums up the whole mission of Jesus Christ. It’s one small word that sums up all His work. The Evangelist Mark gives us that word in the very language that Jesus spoke so that we can hear it even more vividly. The … Read More

Trinity 13: The flow of power is reversed

Trinity 13: The flow of power is reversed Mark 7 1-23 (with omissions) Today we meet Jesus’ most persistent and regular antagonists, the Pharisees and the Scribes of Jerusalem… when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands they found fault. They are disputing about something that perhaps even Christians today barely even … Read More

Trinity 12: Be strong in the Lord

Be strong in the Lord Ephesians 6. 10-20 In our second lesson St Paul tells us to: …be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, … Read More

Trinity 11: Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood! May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. There is so much in today’s gospel for our understanding and encouragement. But we must remember from the beginning that what was important to the first century Judaeans may not be so for us. For example, what was painfully obvious to the Judaeans … Read More

Trinity 10: The grief of a parent

Trinity 10: The grief of a parent 2 Samuel 18. 5-9; 15; 31-33 The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’ It was … Read More

Trinity 9: Food for thought

Trinity 9: Food for thought John 6.24-35 May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. There are lots of idioms and sayings that include food but are not about food and we are familiar with the point being made when we hear them. A taste of paradise, I’ll eat my hat, or a grain … Read More

Patronal Festival 2021: St Mary Magdalene

Patronal Festival 2021: St Mary Magdalene St Mary Magdalene is our patron saint: but why do we have patron saints and what do they do for us? The custom goes all the way back to the fourth century -1600 years! Churches were named after a local martyr, like St Alban. Sometime a church possessed the relics of a saint and … Read More

Trinity 7: Work, rest and pray

21-07-18 work rest and pray

Trinity 7 2021: Work, rest and pray May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. When and where to get your rest. When small children are around it can prove almost impossible to get an uninterrupted conversation between adults. I have insisted that our grandchildren always say “excuse me grandma” with the promise that … Read More

Trinity 6: Dissidents in our culture

21-07-11 Dissidents in our culture

Trinity 6 2021: Dissidents in our culture. Mark 6. 14-29 The party is out of control. Herod is drunk. A young girl, a teenager called Salome, starts dancing for him in front of all the men there. She’s the daughter of his brother’s wife Herodias. Herod had an affair with Herodias and then divorced his own wife to marry her. … Read More

Trinity 5: They took offence at Him

Trinity 5: They took offence at Him Mark 6. 1-13 Jesus had become famous for His miracles and His teaching. One day He returned to His hometown, to Nazareth, and He began to teach in the synagogue. But the people there were not impressed. They took offence at Him. The French novelist Francois Mauriac wrote in his life of Jesus: … Read More

Trinity 4: Touch and Faith

21-06-27 touch and faith

“Trinity 4: Touch and Faith” Mark 5.21-43 May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. It’s what we have all missed during this pandemic, touch. Our gospel today tells two different, but intertwined stories that involve touch: a dad desperately trying to save his daughter, and an unnamed woman desperately trying to save herself. … Read More

Trinity 3: calming of a storm

2021-06-20 seastorm 1

Trinity 3 2021: Calming of a storm Mark 4. 35-41 What do you think of when you hear this Gospel story of the calming of a storm at sea? I think of this terrible pandemic we’ve been living through. I think of us being shut out of church and shut into our homes during lockdown. Because I think of the … Read More

Trinity 2 2021: The Kingdom of God

Trinity 2 2021: The Kingdom of God Mark 4. 26-34 These last few weeks have been a little bit busy for me. I’ve been beginning my ministry here with you, and my other job as Area Director of Ordinands at the same time, as well as trying to finish decorating and unpacking at the Vicarage. There’s a prayer I love … Read More

Trinity 1 2021: Not tame but warmly strange

A monk in the ancient Church once asked his elder, “Will Christians in the last times be able to raise the dead or perform miracles like us? The elder answered him, “It will be a greater work for them to even be Christians in those times.”