Posted in Easter on May 07, 2016
With our modern understanding of the world, the Ascension can be rather hard for us to comprehend. After all, surely if you go up and up into the sky, you don't go up into heaven at all, but you just end up going into outer space. So what was it that the apostles witnessed at the Ascension and what does the Ascension actually teach us?
Posted in Easter on Apr 30, 2016
Sometimes a recipe book will say something like, “Don’t worry that the mixture does not look good at this stage. That is how it is meant to be. Just put it in the oven, and it will turn out fine.” When faced with a culinary concoction that looks more like a lumpy puddle than something tasty to eat, this friendly advice is most reassuring!
Posted in Easter on Apr 23, 2016
Someone once told me that the purpose of a sermon is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Clever words, but I’m not convinced that it’s my job to decide who I think deserves to be afflicted; I’m fairly sure we all need words of comfort, of consolation, from time to time.
Posted in Easter on Apr 16, 2016
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is sometimes called Good Shepherd Sunday. Each year the Gospel reading is taken from St John chapter 10, where Jesus speaks of himself as the Good Shepherd. Sheep farming was a regular part of life in Palestine, which is why sheep and shepherds are a frequent image in both Old and New Testaments. For example, we probably all know the Psalm, ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, and the hymn based on it.
Posted in Easter on Apr 09, 2016
Unlike before his death, when Jesus was more or less “on tap” for his friends, now they feel much more his absence – and when he does appear to them, it’s never when – or how – they expect. This time, they’re out fishing – back to the old job. But no success. An irritatingly simple suggestion from a stranger on the shore, and they net a record catch. ‘It is the Lord.’ They have a resurrection moment, the passage from the sterility of death to the abundance of life.
Posted in Easter on Apr 02, 2016
The apostle Thomas reminds his fellow apostles of the hellish death Jesus had undergone: ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe.’ For Thomas the pain of Jesus’s death and the pain of his own loss seem to be insurmountable.
Posted in Easter on May 16, 2015
A man in white – the astronaut Yuri Gagarin – reportedly said: “I went up to space, but I didn't encounter God”. But had he listened to the two men in white who spoke to the men of Galilee, he could have saved himself the trouble of seeking God up in space. “Why do you stand looking [up] into heaven?” (Acts 1:11).
Posted in Easter on May 09, 2015
Jesus was Jewish. Peter, John, the apostles, Mary and Joseph were all Jewish. As Christians we sometimes forget this. We have just kept the feast of St.Joseph. The main emphasis of the feast was on Joseph as a worker, but another traditional theme is how Jesus cared for his dying father Joseph. Joseph died as a good Jew. So why are we not Jewish? Why don’t we habitually eat kosher food?
Posted in Easter on May 02, 2015
At the fifth Sunday of Easter we reflect on how the love and mercy of God reach into our lives as we struggle with our selfishness.
Posted in Easter on Apr 25, 2015
We say in the creed that Jesus is God. This wasn’t clear at all at first, even to his close friends and followers. He was their Rabbi, their miracle worker, their healer, and preacher; later, to those closest to him, he was anointed Messiah, the King to come, to rescue his People from slavery.