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23 12, 2018

Christmas begins with Christ

December 23rd, 2018|

This Advent we were invited into St. Luke’s Gospel which will be our guiding Gospel for Sunday reading throughout the next year. It would have been too simple to start reading at Chapter 1, so instead we were taken to the heady melodrama of Chapter 21, where Jesus warns about the horrors coming upon the world in the end times. Jolly stuff for Christmas preparation and certainly not to be read before the 9 o’clock watershed! The early Christians believed that Jesus would return imminently and so they wrote with urgency and passion to keep people alert, and on their [...]

17 12, 2018

Images at Christmas

December 17th, 2018|

I am sure some of you reading this have at some time in your life looked at your reflection in a mirror that distorted your image. What did you think? Did it make you laugh or leave with an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach? Did the image stay with you? Did it frighten you? I was reflecting on how distorted Christmas has become. The image of Jesus’ birth has been used to sell everything from sweets to socks over the years. And although people go on about a secular society, when I asked a group of children, [...]

12 12, 2018

The Chrismon Tree

December 12th, 2018|

Visitors to St Andrew’s this Advent may have noticed something odd about our Christmas tree this year. That’s because this isn’t just a Christmas Tree (no, it’s not an M&S tree either), it’s a tree with a difference – a Chrismon Tree. All its decorations tell something of the life and nature of Jesus – a reminder that it is his birth we celebrate and his life example we try to follow. The word ‘Chrismon’ comes from a shortened version of ‘monograms-of-Christ’, or, put simply, pictures of Jesus. Our Chrismon Tree will speak the message of those who made it. It [...]

3 12, 2018

A hope for the future

December 3rd, 2018|

As we have passed through our autumn and we look to the winter are we full of “it is over” or full of “what is to come”? Do we see just dead trees or remember what has been, and the promise of new life in the spring? We often forget the seasons when we are in the delights of the summer and wonder in awe of the autumn colour.  We grumble in the middle of a cold damp winter, forgetting what is to come. We can sometimes look at the church in the same way, but just as the seasons [...]

27 11, 2018

TRUST IN THE LORD

November 27th, 2018|

If you look up in the Bible the word trust there are many examples of how it is used. Psalm 9.10 encourages us saying ‘Those who know your name trust in you, for you Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.’ Psalm 20.7 tells us ‘Some trust in chariots and some horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord or God.’ Proverbs 3.5-6 instructs us ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’ Of course there [...]

19 11, 2018

Christ in the unexpected

November 19th, 2018|

I’ve been living in Headingley now for over a year and enjoy being in such a lively place. It used to be a ‘student’ area, and although many have moved to accommodation nearer the University, there are a good number still living in the area. As a Minister fairly new to the pastorate, I’ve been encouraging the Church to think about our mission, greatly aided by the ‘Crisis and an Opportunity...’ paper, forcing the point. There is a lot we could do, lots of opportunities. We are still to find our niche in an area with a good number of [...]

12 11, 2018

Volunteers or Family?

November 12th, 2018|

Over the last few weeks and months, I have been thinking a lot about what it actually means to be a follower of Jesus. You may think that I should already have that sorted out, and you may be right. Nevertheless, that is where my thoughts have been taking me. I have been challenged by certain words, that have engaged my thinking and my being, in my relation to Jesus and how He uses me to encourage you in your discipleship and journey. Some of those words have been challenging, and continue to make me think and act differently. Words [...]

5 11, 2018

Telling our Story

November 5th, 2018|

The picture is of a piece of the Gospel about the size of a one pence piece, and the cross on this side tells part of a story, we as Christians are familiar with. On the other side is written in extremely small writing the Lord’s Prayer, although I suspect my perception of the size of the printing is now down to my aging eyesight, as my 25 year old daughter read it with no trouble at all! When I took the photo I thought it looked a little worn and so it should!  It was given to me when [...]

29 10, 2018

Recognising Jesus

October 29th, 2018|

In Mark’s Gospel, which many of us are reading this year, a blind beggar called Bartimaeus who is sitting by the roadside outside Jericho, hears that Jesus is approaching and cries out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ (Mark 10:46-52.) I am struck by the way that at this point in the story, Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus approach but he didn’t see anything - not in the physical sense, - but he still recognises who Jesus is. This is really a story about our inner vision, about the way that our eyes are often closed, and as [...]

15 10, 2018

Let your light shine!

October 15th, 2018|

‘No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way’. (Luke 8:16 –The Message). It would appear that the world has become more diverse and we are exposed to different viewpoints, cultures and other faiths, however Christians in the UK seem to be less willing to talk about their faith. The URC has been declared a multi-cultural and intercultural church recognising the important contribution the denomination is making in areas of inter-faith relations. [...]