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29 04, 2019

Hidden Narratives

April 29th, 2019|

The terrible bombings in Sri Lanka hit the headlines and rightly so. But something nags: if the victims had not included western holiday makers (including Britons), would we have heard much? The bombings follow on the heels of the Notre Dame fire: the cause, as yet, undetermined, but highlighting increasing attacks on churches in France, with more than 10 desecrated or damaged since January. Three churches in Louisiana, USA, were also recently destroyed by arson. These stories are repeating globally and daily but are not widely covered in the media. And it’s not about buildings: according to persecution monitors Open [...]

21 04, 2019

This is the day that the Lord has made

April 21st, 2019|

Words from Psalm 118: 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. The choice of Psalm 118 for Easter Sunday is so appropriate.  It provides [...]

15 04, 2019

Holy Week – one week with eternal consequences

April 15th, 2019|

The phrase “A week is a long time in politics” is attributed to Harold Wilson. Born and brought up in Huddersfield he went on to be an MP and served as Prime Minister for two periods in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  The phrase rings true:  the fortunes of a politician or political party can change drastically in the course of just one week.  As I write it’s difficult to predict the outcome of the Brexit process, nor its effect on our domestic politics. A lot could happen in one week, but it might not. In the light of eternity, a [...]

8 04, 2019

Doing a new thing

April 8th, 2019|

‘I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?’ Isaiah Ch 43 v 19 So says God through Isaiah to the Israelites as he reminds them of all he has done for them through history whilst also telling them not to rely too much on the past, important as that may be. These were people living in exile in a foreign land. They were surrounded by unknown gods, oppressive rulers, unfamiliar languages and strange customs. Some had become used to this new way of life whilst others longed for the day they [...]

25 03, 2019

Is this the world we created…?

March 25th, 2019|

A brutal culture of binge drinking, gratuitous violence and pointless knife crime: that is the long forgotten world of the Icelandic Sagas. Someone wronged you and you were entitled to avenge your family violently. We might have hoped that in the last 1000 years we had moved on, but no. We have regressed. At least in Iceland all that time ago retaliation ended the matter. It might have been senseless but it stayed personal. You hurt me. I hurt you back. The matter ends. In our “civilised” world if I feel like you are a threat to me it seems [...]

18 03, 2019

‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’ (Mark 13: 31)

March 18th, 2019|

 ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’  (Mark 13: 31) Mark 13 is a problematical chapter. Jesus spoke to his friends about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, false Messiahs, wars and rumours of wars, his followers being handed over to councils and, eventually, the Son of Man coming with power and glory. Those listening may well have felt alarmed. What Jesus was describing was the end of the world as they knew it, leading to the start of a very different world I am writing this at the close of a confusing [...]

12 03, 2019

Grace inflow and outflow

March 12th, 2019|

My wife and I recently returned from a ten day pilgrimage in the Holy Land. It was a wonderful experience and one we shall never forget. Six days were spent in Jerusalem and then four in Tiberias at the edge the Sea of Galilee. It is difficult for me to single out a highlight, for there were so many, but I did enjoy the Galilee dimension of the pilgrimage more than the Jerusalem one. And I was so uplifted by the beauty of the two great “Seas” in this land – the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee, and [...]

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 [...]