Christian Comment

/Christian Comment/
17 01, 2018

New Year, New Start

January 17th, 2018|

A new notebook, some readings about wisdom and a newspaper article all came together on one of those grey and dark January days that feel as though the sun has decided to stay in bed to keep warm. That notebook, a Christmas present from a granddaughter who, like her grandmother, cannot resist anything stationery. Here at the beginning of a new year my notebook gave me a feeling of excitement even anticipation. Pages and pages of space like the days to come in 2018, offering opportunities. The possibilities, not merely for writing stuff down but because this is about the future and what that future holds for me and the world I inhabit and what God has got in store. […]

8 01, 2018

All in a Name

January 8th, 2018|

I can hear Eleanor outside. She is tearing down trees and power lines and, according to a BBC news report, she has damaged someone’s garden fence! Eleanor is not only your friend down the road, she is the first named storm of 2018. Naming storms is a relatively new thing in the UK. A few years ago we could just expect a windy day, and now we get storms with their own names and personalities. What are we doing when we give a name to such a natural phenomenon? The Bible tells the story of the first man naming his [...]

2 01, 2018

Jesus is not just for Christmas

January 2nd, 2018|

At New Year it’s common in parts of the media for journalists to look ahead and predict what could happen in the coming twelve months. Could 2018 contain as many surprises as the previous two years – Brexit, President Trump, N Korea missiles, 2017’s General Election to name a few? The truth is we cannot tell. Every New Year is unpredictable and sometimes they are frightening too. What we might do is remind ourselves that Jesus is not just for Christmas, certainly not just for the manger. There are other darker parts of the Christmas story that do not make [...]

19 12, 2017

Christmas Countdown

December 19th, 2017|

As I sit down to write, Christmas is only 6 days away. The shops, our cities and towns are busier than usual. Each one of us, and a great many people around the world will be getting more stressed as Christmas Day gets closer. Will we get this or that done, have we got all the presents, the food, will all the work be done? Looking at it like that it is no wonder that for a great many people Christmas falls flat and is not much more than a holiday, and a great deal of expense. I wonder if [...]

13 12, 2017

Reformed Christmas

December 13th, 2017|

As we have acknowledged the anniversary of Luther’s attack against Church corruption and heresy, any celebration has been dampened by also remembering all the hurt and misunderstanding, even persecution and atrocities caused because of divided Christendom. However, as we approach Christmas it is right to remind ourselves of the great truths of God’s love, that the Reformers rediscovered. Martin Luther apparently thoroughly enjoyed Christmas, both the festivities and the opportunity for preaching. Here is an excerpt from a 1543 lecture: The Son of God did not want to be seen and found in heaven. Therefore he descended from heaven into [...]

4 12, 2017


December 4th, 2017|

Well, we’re in Advent now, but you wouldn’t think it. It has been Christmas since about the middle of October – at least! It is sad that our lives are ruled now by the supermarkets and advertising. Even in our churches the Sundays of December are given over to Nativity and Carol Services. There is no time left to celebrate Advent except on Advent Sunday. And yet Advent is a very special season and lasts an incredible four weeks. It is a time of preparation and anticipation. The four Sundays of Advent were traditionally given over to the meditation on [...]

27 11, 2017


November 27th, 2017|

By the time you read this, Sausagerollgate will be a memory. Greggs will have boosted their sales. We Christians will have had a bit more attention. And life will go on. But I am left with a question: what is the difference between Jesus and a sausage roll (which, to keep it simple, we assume is pork-free)? Sadly, some Christians are too posh for Greggs, but I do like a nice warm bit of cheese or meat-based gloop encased in glistening pastry, when it’s cold outside. Many of us really like that kind of stuff. But you can’t build your [...]

20 11, 2017

Joy in the cold wind of winter

November 20th, 2017|

Between stepping out of the car and entering West Park Church there are no more than a few paces. It all sounds easy to do – but this is Harrogate that I am talking about and Harrogate is a town my father-in-law describes as being “an overcoat colder than anywhere else”.  In other words, by the time we get into November, there is a distinct edge to any breeze which chills people to the marrow in seconds.  Any benefit of cocoon-like comfort within a motor car is lost en route to the church door.   Only when inside the church do [...]

13 11, 2017

A time to remember

November 13th, 2017|

In the early days of November we are given many opportunities to remember. On 1st November the Church celebrates All Saints Day and remembers the lives of all those who have shone with the light of faith and have been recognised with the very formal title of Saint. The following day, 2nd November, the Church remembers all those who have died as it commemorates All Souls Day. On 5th November, we remember the events of political intrigue against the King and Parliament, graphically retold this year by the BBC! As I write our nation is preparing to be still, waiting [...]

6 11, 2017

Feasts and Festivals – My neighbourhood

November 6th, 2017|

Church Related Community Work Ministry is about working to bring about change and transformation in a local church and the neighbourhood. Tackling the big issues which affect people’s lives locally are central to that work – whether that is the issue of unemployment, poverty, health, quality of life, environmental issues or community cohesion. One excellent way of promoting community cohesion is bringing people together with food or a community festival.     Extravaganza was the first festival I was part of, and ended up organising. About 7,000 people turned up for a day of fun, food and music. The Eccleshill [...]