Meeting the risen Jesus in the tomb

John 20.1-18

The story is told of the drunk man walking home on a very dark, very misty moonless night through a graveyard. As can be expected because this is a story, he falls into a deep open grave that had been dug for the next day. He tries to get out, but as he clawed at the sides soil fell on top of him. He begins to get scared. Unknown to him, at the other end of the grave there is another man, who has also fallen in and who has also tried unsuccessfully to get out. So as he once again tries desperately to jump and claw his way out, he hears a whispery hoarse voice coming from the other end of the grave through the thick swirling mist: ‘You'll never get out of here’.
But he did.

John had to go into the grave, into the tomb before he really saw and before he believed.
Mary comes and tells him that the stone has been removed. So he runs with Peter to the tomb. He gets there first and he looks in – and he sees the strips of linen.
He’s got all the evidence that he needs. Th…

The suffering servant: a talk for Good Friday

Isaiah 52.13-53.12

We are looking today at our reading from Isaiah.

Isaiah speaks about a servant of God. He might have been talking about himself; he might have been talking about the people of God; but the first Christians were convinced – when they looked at the death and resurrection of Jesus – that he was ultimately speaking about Jesus Christ.

Isaiah writes, “See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him — so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals — so he shall startle many nations” (52.13-15)

People will be startled by his exaltation, but that is after people have been astonished at his humiliation. Indeed, people will not just be astonished. They will be stunned into silence.
‘Kings shall shut their mouths because of him’. (52.15)

And today, Good Friday, we also stand in astonishment, in awe, in silence, as we reflect on the sufferi…

The Giver of Wisdom

Colossians 3.12-17

Happy Mothering Sunday
It didn’t begin by being all about mothers! It began because the set bible reading for the Sunday (in the BCP) speaks of the idea that the heavenly Jerusalem, in the words of Galatians 4.26, is our mother. It is the idea that we are embraced by the Church of God, the community of people - from all times and all places – who choose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. It also happened to be the Sunday, three weeks before Easter, when servants were given a day off, and so would travel back to their home village, to their families and mothers. And the two were put together, and it became mothering Sunday
And this morning I’d like to focus on the Church bit, because it is through the Church, through God’s people – from then (the apostles and first believers) and from now (those who proclaim the word to us) – that we hear the gospel, the good news about Jesus. And it is through the Church, through God’s people, that we are nurtured and fed and grow in …

When someone wants us dead

Luke 13.31-35

We are looking today at how to handle death threats!

I suspect that many of us may have thought, ‘My mother is going to kill me if she finds this out’.
Or maybe we have had someone really mad at us and saying, in the heat of the moment, ‘I’m going to kill you’.

By the way, never say that, however angry you are. To threaten to murder someone is to threaten to kill a person who has been made in the image of God, and you are effectively crucifying Christ again. And if you have said that to anybody, then you need to say sorry. Sorry to God, and ask him to help us control our anger, and a big sorry to the person we have threatened.

But there may be a few here who have been on the end of a far more serious death threat. It might be from a maniac or a stalker; it might be because we have done something stupid and got ourselves in big trouble; it might be because we have crossed or threatened someone who is evil; or it might even be a threat from those people who should really…

The four temptations of Jesus

Luke 4.1-13

I like the story of the girl who, on her way back from school, used to go swimming in the local lake. Her mother found out and told her that she should not do that. So the next morning mum checked her daughter’s bag – and found in it her swimming costume. ‘What’s this’, says mum, ‘I told you that you were not to go swimming on your way back from school’. She replied, ‘Don’t worry mum. I wasn’t going to go swimming. But I put it in, just in case I was tempted’.
Our reading today is about the time when Jesus was tempted.
He is, please note, led by the Spirit into the desert. Please do not think that if you are tempted it means that you are not a Christian. Jesus was full of the Spirit and he was tempted. Here it is the Spirit who takes Jesus into that place where he will be tempted, where he will begin to do battle with Satan
And this is serious stuff. When Satan comes to him, he doesn’t play around with things like adultery, fornication, stealing, lying or murder. Those …

Shared glory, shared hearts Luke 9.28-36

Luke 9.28-36

Peter, James and John get a glimpse of heaven
The clue is in the 'About 8 days later'. The 8th day is the first day of the new week - the first day of the new creation. If the old creation began on Sunday and Saturday is the 7th day on which God rested, then the Sunday after the Sabbath is the 8th day and the day of the new act of creation.
And there are two things that I would like to draw out from this glimpse of heaven
1. It is about shared glory
We share in the glory of Jesus.
He is shown to be the Son of God. He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. All light and all colours radiate from him. When you refract white light, you see all the colours of the spectrum. Jesus contains it all.
In icons of the transfiguration, Jesus is the source of light, and everyone and everything is lit up by that light.
And here, Moses and Elijah share in that glory: ‘They appeared in glory’
This is a glory which transcends space, time and death. Moses lived 2000 year…

How to be rich, satisfied, happy and respected

Luke 6.17-26
For Christmas we were given a game. You are given the first part of a sentence and then told to guess what are the most common internet searches that begin with those words. So, for instance, ..
Well, what would you think would be the most common internet searches that begin with the words, How can I be .. ? Answer: (Become) rich, happy
Jesus speaks in our reading about those two things - and he adds two others, that I suspect are pretty high on the search ratings: satisfied and respected.
These are four of the things that we aspire for, that we think are worth living for.
The pursuit of wealth and riches The pursuit of the satisfaction of our physical and emotional desires The pursuit of happiness And the pursuit for respect and honour.
I think that last one is often underestimated, and yet I wonder if it might not actually be number one on many of our lists. For the sake of respect, people put up with poverty, deprivation and possibly even a bit of misery. Just think of the athl…