Christian Comment

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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, [...]

2 06, 2017

God in the difficult times

June 2nd, 2017|

I write this one week after the Manchester terrorist attack and you may well be reading it in the final few days before the General Election. Between these two events we have remembered the Ascension and celebrated Pentecost but the question is, what, if anything, do those 1st century happenings have to say to the 21st century events? There is no doubt that we live in difficult, confusing and sometimes violent times and for many of us there is a feeling of helplessness, how can we change anything? Yes of course we can and must cast our vote, yes of [...]

15 05, 2017

‘God so loved the world…’

May 15th, 2017|

‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3: 16 is one of the best known verses in the Bible, but it is worth pausing to think about what it says to us today, both about the world and our God who loves it in his particular way. It speaks to me about the magnitude of God’s love for the world. I have recently returned from a post Easter break in North Norfolk, the first time I have been there. It is [...]

10 05, 2017

How will you vote?

May 10th, 2017|

In churches across Britain as 8th June approaches congregations will be exhorted to vote. It’s uncontroversial; I will hear that people have died for my right to vote so I need to exercise that right. Democracy: it’s what made Britain Great! Vote! It may be a safe election message to proclaim, but it is not enough. As a child, when there were elections of any kind at school someone would always ask - can you vote for yourself? Yes, you could then, and too many of us do now. Will you vote for yourself on 8th June? Many of us [...]

26 04, 2017

Persecution

April 26th, 2017|

During the last 24 hours of his life Jesus taught his disciples many things. He warned them to expect persecution in the future. As the servants and friends of Christ, they were told to expect to be treated in the same way as their Master (John 15:20). Whatever Christ faced, be it insult, mockery, false accusations, torture or death – his disciples must expect similar treatment from a hostile and fallen world. And so it has come to pass. The Church of Jesus Christ has regularly faced persecution throughout the running centuries, but at this moment in time, there is [...]

20 04, 2017

Life after Death

April 20th, 2017|

What happens to us when we die? It would be easy to give the smart answer, ‘I don’t know. I have never died before and no-one who has ever died has told me’. But actually we do know something. Many who maintain that there is life after death believe that our bodies die but it is our souls that live on. The body is just a container of the really important part of us which is our soul. Death, then, is actually a release, as though the door of the cage were opened to let the bird fly away into [...]

18 04, 2017

New Life, New Hope

April 18th, 2017|

Moving in to our new home as we did in the depth of last winter, I am discovering only by degrees what our new garden has to offer.   As the seasons have changed, there have been ever new delights.  Alongside the expected spring bulbs are other more exotic plants, the naming of which is way beyond my limited horticultural knowledge.  Gardening, therefore, has to be for me a careful balance between making plans and forming projects on the one hand, and on the other, patient watching and waiting. In my experience, spiritual growth, like that of a garden, needs a [...]

6 04, 2017

“It was only banter”

April 6th, 2017|

“It was only banter.” But a teenager has taken his or her own life, and it’s something to do with the way this ‘banter’ has undermined them, hurt them, made them nothing, despised. “It was only a bit of banter.” We don’t always know the effects of our actions on others. Sometimes those effects can be far more profound, more hurtful than we ever dreamed.  What one person considers just a bit of banter, not intended to hurt, does in fact hurt, and more deeply than anyone had imagined.  Sometimes, when we think what we do is harmless, the effect [...]

30 03, 2017

People who live in glass houses

March 30th, 2017|

After years of living in Harrogate, the time has come to move house and we have chosen a village in Nidderdale called Glasshouses. Apparently the name originated in medieval times when the area provided materials for manufacturing glass that was required for installation at nearby Fountains Abbey.  Just to finish off the blend of history and geography, a short distance from Glasshouses is Smelthouses where local ore was smelted to produce lead required that pieced together the stained glass in the windows. Ever since I have been telling friends we shall be living in Glasshouses, they inevitably come back with [...]