Christian Comment

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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 [...]

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 [...]