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4 03, 2019

Lent

March 4th, 2019|

6 March, of course, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Like ‘Easter’, the word ‘Lent’ does not appear in the Bible. They are both Anglo-Saxon words, ‘Lent’ referring to the lengthening of the days. We thrive in the light, just as plants stretch towards it. It encourages life. Increased light and warmth cause the Spring plants to burst into life, and we ourselves feel so much better as we find the days growing longer and brighter. Not for nothing did Jesus call himself ‘the Light of the World’. The Christian journey which we are all on is a movement [...]

25 02, 2019

“Give us compassion for the poor”

February 25th, 2019|

Dear Friends, It is likely that, if you have been in worship recently, you will have heard readings from Luke’s gospel (because it is the lectionary gospel for this year – the gospel from which our set weekly readings tend to come.) One of the first things we tend to say about this gospel is that, of the four, it seems to be the one which expresses most concern for the poor, the marginalized and the outcast. So, for example, you may have heard Luke report Jesus’ use of a quotation from Isaiah in his home synagogue which begins, ‘The [...]

18 02, 2019

A shadow of things to come

February 18th, 2019|

We are halfway between Christmas and Easter. Walking the way; journeying from stable to cross. Journeying from birth to death and resurrection. The joy of Christmas is over, and the relentless march towards the inevitable is about to start. The shadow of the cross falls across the stable. It’s a liminal time, a catalyst time.   This photo was taken by Kathryn Newman, one of the St Andrew’s Scarborough church family, who has an eye for seeing the meaningful in the everyday. In a world with both darkness and light a shadowy figure of change is approaching and we don’t [...]

11 02, 2019

Love

February 11th, 2019|

This week love is in the air as we celebrate St Valentine’s Day. The man responsible for this celebration is long dead. The stories of Valentine have little historical accuracy; some argue he was a priest who resisted the Roman Emperor and was martyred; a popular story has him marrying couples during the persecution of Christians and another has him refusing to bow down to pagan gods and ending up in prison. Whilst he was in prison, he restored the sight of his gaoler’s daughter and, after he had been executed, she found a note from him signed, ‘Your Valentine.’ [...]

5 02, 2019

How relevant is the church to the local community?

February 5th, 2019|

The strap-line for the Yorkshire Synod of The United Reformed Church is ‘Together, making a difference for Christ’s sake’. So who would notice if our church wasn’t there? Our congregations? We would hope so! Our user groups? Our local community??? So What Can The Church Offer?  A physical presence.  The Church has a physical presence in most neighbourhoods.  Its facilities can be used for community activities. A full-time presence.  Unlike most organisations and agencies, church personnel and members do not leave at night but have a continuing presence in the community. A constant presence.  The Church has had a sustained involvement [...]

28 01, 2019

Walking the Way

January 28th, 2019|

A friend recently sent me a photo of a sign appearing in a bookshop window.  In case it doesn’t show up too well on whatever screen you use to read this, the sign states: ‘The post-apocalyptical fiction section has been moved to current affairs.’ I guess this could be taken either as a dystopian comment on the state of things today, or a funny observation, or perhaps even a prophetic word! However it strikes you, we might be forgiven for thinking that the growing instability being reported on in the media every day really does seem to point to societal [...]

14 01, 2019

A good Christmas?

January 14th, 2019|

‘Did you have a good Christmas?’ A familiar question still doing the rounds this week as life returns to ‘normal’. Like me you may respond, ‘Yes thank you – and you – how was yours?’ This year it has made me think: just what is a ‘good Christmas’? What makes Christmas ‘good’? Is it to do with • Who we spend it with? • Friends and family? • Our health – how we feel on that day? • The turkey – tender, tasty, well cooked? • Were the presents good - given and received? • Did everyone get on together [...]

7 01, 2019

Forgiveness…

January 7th, 2019|

I have always found the month of January to be a difficult month in a number of ways, as although the first month of the year heralds the beginning of a New Year, and for many the invested hope of better things to come, there is often a fair amount of anxiety that a growing number of people experience within the first few weeks of the year. Some of the anxiety is often born from the external pressure to strive to adhere to unrealistic New Year resolutions, that in some way speak of the growing need to establish a much [...]

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, [...]