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21 08, 2017

Constant Companion

August 21st, 2017|

Some time ago, I heard something about the meaning of the word ‘companion’ on the radio which raised my interest, so I investigated! Apparently, the word ‘companion’ dates from about the 1300’s. It comes from the Latin word "Companionem”, meaning, "one with whom you would eat bread" - "Com", meaning with, and "Pan", meaning bread. Presumably then, your "companion" is someone with whom you "break bread” or ‘share your bread’. So, describing Jesus (as I often do) as our companion, the one who is always walking alongside us whether we realise it or not, is more appropriate than I ever [...]

10 08, 2017

Yorkshire Day

August 10th, 2017|

This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) Yorkshire Day is celebrated on the 1st of August to promote the historic English county.  The date is linked to the Battle of Minden. The Battle of Minden was an engagement between the Anglo-German army against the French to capture Hanover. The 1st of August is also to the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire (1834) for which Yorkshire MP William Wilberforce along with others had campaigned. Yorkshire Day 2017 was celebrated in Sheffield Cathedral. To mark the day, the [...]

3 08, 2017

Baking a Devil’s Food cake

August 3rd, 2017|

It’s Elders tonight and I always bake a cake or biscuits. It’s hard to know how it started but it’s become part of my relationship with them- of saying “thank you” for giving up an evening to sit in a meeting room often talking about drains or some other matter of church governance. I often look for odd and interesting recipes to try out and to date they have all been polite enough to eat them- even though we agreed that kiwi fruit in a cake is something that there should be biblical injunctions about. There is something magical in [...]

31 07, 2017

Rejoice always

July 31st, 2017|

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. The above scripture encourages us to rejoice always but sometimes in difficult times it may not be easy to rejoice. In the light of all the situations in London and Manchester recently we have so much to pray about and seek the comfort of the Holy Spirit for all those who cannot understand why they have found themselves in situations beyond control. We can give thanks for all the service men who helped those in need and the [...]

24 07, 2017

Wheat and Weeds

July 24th, 2017|

Given the fact that it is the beginning of the school holidays we might hope to have a bit of light relief on Sundays, but many of us will have been hearing in church a section of teaching from Matthew’s Gospel that has to do with how we hear and how we listen. In Matthew chapter 13 verses 24-30 we have the parable of the wheat and weeds. The owner of a field sows the wheat, but an enemy comes not to trash the crop overnight but to do something more subtle – to scatter grain that looks just like [...]

17 07, 2017

How do you tell the difference between a crow and a rook?

July 17th, 2017|

… or should it be a crow and a raven … because several large black birds have been frequenting our garden recently. And no, they are not blackbirds! We know what they look like. Consulting various websites set me thinking. How do people know we are Christians? I found my ornithological enquiries illuminating. The name "crow" is used for an entire family of birds, Corvidae, which includes different species, like magpies, ravens, rooks, jays and other birds. The name “Christian” is used for an entire family of people which includes Anglican, Methodist, Evangelical, Pentecostal and other “species”. Though both crows [...]

6 07, 2017

The Politics of Hope

July 6th, 2017|

For four months in the Autumn of 2008 I had the privilege of living in Atlanta as part of a student exchange programme. It was a great opportunity and I very much enjoyed being in America for the election of Barack Obama. I’ll never forget the excitement, the passion, the hype and the hope that many of my fellow students had in America’s first African-American President. In many ways, the hope was joyful and infectious. In other ways, it made me realise the unrealistic expectations we put on earthly politicians and leaders. Fast forward nine years, and Obama’s legacy wasn’t [...]

4 07, 2017

Where are we?

July 4th, 2017|

A father had three sons… The eldest was His true son, his beloved heir. The father hoped that he would come into partnership and inherit his business. Legal agreements were drawn up and promises made. But the relationship was stormy; the son was proud and resented his father's guidance, especially having to set an example to the other children. Rebellion simmered and estrangement ensued. The son moved far away and communication was sporadic. The father made many attempts to contact but these were spurned. But he never disowned his true son so, in time, the relationship has thawed. The father [...]

21 06, 2017

Hope

June 21st, 2017|

The word hope is on my mind right now. It is in the lectionary this Sunday in Paul’s words: “…and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5). It is what the people needed in the crowds that Jesus encountered and which Matthew’s words give poignancy to when he reports: “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) Jesus then sent out his disciples with authority to [...]

2 06, 2017

You are with me

June 2nd, 2017|

Almost every day in the media, we see tragic events taking place somewhere in our world. Though seeing and hearing events through the media keep us detached, the media is still able to bring distant events closer to us. But there is however, nothing like tragedy happening in our own neighbourhood, to make closeness ever so much more real, even if only seen in the media. The impact is real, the experience is real, the tragedy is real, the immediacy is real, the reality that it could happen to me becomes real. When we see a young person, a child, [...]