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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, [...]

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 [...]