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 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 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 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” 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 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 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 Sunday: Nicodemus May the Almighty, who is, who was and shall be forever, continue to engage, enlighten and inspire us all the days of our life? Amen. If you had the opportunity to have a conversation with Jesus, what would you ask him? Nicodemus, the man in our gospel reading this morning, had just that opportunity. Nicodemus was a … Read More
They are all drunk! There were thousands of people milling around. It was a day of obligation, they had to be there to bring the Grain Offering to the Temple. It was the “Festival of Weeks” a celebration, a day to give thanks to God for the early wheat harvest. It was exactly fifty days after the Passover, a period … Read More
“As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them…” John 17: 18 Have you ever had someone tell you they are praying for you? It’s likely we all have had people pray for us, but it is different when someone tells you they are praying for you. It might be when you are going through a … Read More
Love one another “Love one another with a pure heart fervently.” A line from one of my top ten anthems, and one that gave me the most embarrassing moment ever. I learnt this anthem in my twenties when I had a voice that had a range that enabled me to sing all the parts. One day on my walk from … Read More
The True Vine May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. The Evangelists ‘Jews for Jesus’ often remark that Chapter 53 from Isaiah is the turning point in the conversion of many Jewish people, and today we read of Philip who was perhaps the first evangelist and of his encounter with an Ethiopian of … Read More
‘The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’. Amen. John 10.11-18 He was 6’2” tall, with strawberry blond hair and a beard, as the girls would say now he was ‘fit’, he wore a long white robe, held a staff, and had a lamb draped around his neck. This is the earliest picture I can remember from my … Read More
The ancient world knew all about ghosts, visions, apparitions, and spooks. Amen. Luke 24:36b-48 “Searching” is the word used to describe what happens to many of us when someone we love has died. For example, there you are, in Tesco buying cakes for the after funeral tea, when you see him – or her. Just glimpses in the crowd, but … Read More
When suddenly he was there in the midst of them; “Peace be with you,” he said. Amen. John 20:19-31 Peace be with you, a phrase we use very often in church, both in the liturgy and as a general greeting, just as Jesus used it in the upper room. During the pandemic we have needed the Peace of Christ in … Read More
“The Lord is Risen.” “He is Risen indeed.” Amen. How many of us, I wonder, having listened to our Bible readings in the past, said our prayers and believed we had cracked it, this business of being a Christian. Then, out of the blue, wham, COVID happened, it knocked us so hard to the ground that we really needed Jesus … Read More
We all know there are three things that cannot be talked about. You know them, don’t you? Religion, sex, and politics. But have we got it wrong? We do talk about those things. We just do it really badly. There is, however, something we don’t talk about. Death. Yes, we acknowledge death when it happens but for the most part we don’t talk about death with any real depth or substance, and certainly no enthusiasm. We don’t deal with it. We deny it. We ignore it. We avoid it. No one wants to die.
Happy Mothering Sunday. Amen.
Whatever the circumstances or makeup of our own family there is one certainty, we all have or had a mother. It may not always be the one who gave birth to you, an adopted mother or care giver all have the same role to play in our lives.
As I wrote about in early February, the foundations of our language and relationships begin even before we are born. I wonder what your mother was like. Mine was loving, generous but demanding. What was Mary like? I think we can learn a great deal about her mothering skills from what we read throughout the gospels.
It was business as usual.
He was speaking of the temple of his body. The religious people that day just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that he was talking about the temple of his body because they were about business as usual. It was business as usual that day when Jesus showed up at the temple. Animals were being bought and sold. Coins were being changed. All the usual people had their usual places and usual roles.