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8 10, 2018

Are we standing up for justice?

October 8th, 2018|

At this time I’m up to my ears in Harvest festivals at church and the many schools and nurseries I visit. In Christ Church Swanland, the local school all troop over to the church clutching their tins and packets. We sing jolly Harvest songs as we collect over a ton of food for the local food bank. Like many Christians I have mixed feelings about food banks. I support them because they feed the hungry and literally save lives. But I can’t help but wonder why in such a rich country people should have to rely on them at all? [...]

1 10, 2018

Life’s Journey

October 1st, 2018|

Journeys happen with one foot in front of the other, sometimes slow and steady other times with haste. We all journey each and every day; to school and college, or to work, to meet friends or to the shops, even to go on holiday and to church. Journeys happen on foot, in cars and buses, on trains and occasionally by boat or aeroplane, taking from a couple of minutes to a day or more. We all travel with purpose, for a reason, even if it is just to get out of the house for a wander around the block. We [...]

20 09, 2018

Time to de-clutter

September 20th, 2018|

A friend of mine is selling her house and moving into rented accommodation as she prepares for the time when she will no longer be able to drive. She wishes to live in the community where she goes to church, and where her friends are, and to have everything in easy walking distance or accessible by public transport. Not that she is in her dotage. She still plays golf, and dances regularly at a weekly Scottish country dancing class. No - she is just making sensible preparations to enable her to have a continuing full and active life. In preparation [...]

13 09, 2018

Who shapes your mind?

September 13th, 2018|

In 2013, a declassified report from Russia showed that the USSR spent $1 billion developing mind-control weaponry between 1917 and 2003. Even in the mid-1980s, the Soviets had 50 institutions working on mind control. Mind control efforts still continue today, in different guises. From a young age, people in North Korea and China are taught and conditioned to see their leaders and governments in a particular way, and there are strict controls on the media and on what websites people can access – in an attempt to control people’s thinking. It happens in the West through advertising. What is advertising [...]

5 09, 2018

Well, it’s a nice story, but…

September 5th, 2018|

Sometimes you think you know what the Bible says but, when you take a closer look, what it ACTUALLY says comes as a surprise! Take the PARABLE of the Good Samaritan; read the actual text (leaving out the headings added by the very helpful people who print our Bibles…). There is NO MENTION of it being a parable! Also note that, in it, Jesus talks about real places: Jerusalem and Jericho…But he never mentions real places in his parables - they don't have that much detail. So I conclude that Jesus isn't telling us a parable but a real event [...]

20 08, 2018

Time to stop and wonder

August 20th, 2018|

It’s that time of year when some of us have a bit of time to take a breath, to look at the world around us and to remind ourselves of the wonder and glory of our God. In the non-conformist tradition we are used to our chapels and churches being plain and unadorned. It is not long since the suggestion of using candles in our worship was met in some places with a fear that we were ‘going over to Rome’. As a denomination we are ‘doers’ and as we rush from one piece of service to another there is [...]

14 08, 2018

“It’s Boris being Boris”

August 14th, 2018|

- A phrase used in the past to excuse the behaviour of Boris Johnson when he broke the party line or made outrageous and unjustifiable statements. Other words have been used to describe him in the last week after his controversial news article.  Whilst apparently arguing against banning the wearing of the burqa he then proceeded to mock those who wear it.  So who is the real Boris Johnson?  What does he really stand for?  Does he know his true self? Boris Johnson: a true likeness? All this is a way into asking if we know whom we [...]

7 08, 2018

Where is God?

August 7th, 2018|

The other day, in the face of unbearable suffering, I was confronted by that question. “So where is God now, then?” To the unbeliever who asked it, God has always apparently been absent. And continues not to act. Yet in that absence and anger, I felt God’s very real presence. When we stop looking for a God who is going to sort everything out, a God who removes our ability to make our own choices and who steps in miraculously whenever we ask, then we might encounter the God who loves each one of us enough to give us life. [...]

30 07, 2018

Do we show the compassion of Jesus?

July 30th, 2018|

Jesus once saw a great crowd. ‘He had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd’ (Mark 6: 34). Compassion is ‘pity inclining one to be merciful’ (Oxford English Dictionary). It is an active desire to help, to show kindness and generosity, to make things better. I am sure Jesus looks with similar compassion at our world today; on our country with its apparently irreconcilable divisions over Brexit and the difficulties people have coping with the persistent heat; and on countries whose problems are much more serious, Greece coping with the aftermath of a lethal fire, Pakistan [...]

23 07, 2018

Remaining in Christ

July 23rd, 2018|

During my sabbatical I have had the opportunity to reflect and pray about our Moderator’s prophetic word to the URC; Come back to my Son…. After seeking to respond to this call through repentance and rededication, I then asked God, now what? The word that then came to me was; Now remain in my Son. And so began a prayerful study of John 15 and the passage we know so well concerning Christ the true vine, and his disciples - the branches that must remain in him and draw on his life. Jesus says “remain in me” 5 times in [...]