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Showing posts from March, 2006

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18

A sermon for a memorial service

It is good to be here and to remember.

We are not very good in our society at grieving. Yes, people are supportive at the time of death and funeral - and in the days that follow. But after a month or so - well, they've got to get on with their life, haven't they. And we're expected to pick up the pieces and to carry on: life gets back to normal.

But of course life does not get back to normal. How can it - when we've lost someone who is either genetically part of us, or with whom we have shared in the utmost acts of intimacy, or who has been part of our life for one, five or fifty years.

And I guess that two of the words that might sum up how we feel are the words confusion and despair.

Confusion: how is it that the person who I loved, who was part of my identity, who was once so physically strong and active and significant, who lived and worked and fought and laughed - is now a memory and a photograph. And in 100 or 200…

The Good Samaritan

LUKE 10:25-37

This is a very well known but deeply challenging passage: and I think that as we look at this together you will realise that it is saying slightly more than we might think on first reflection.

The situation is this: A lawyer comes to Jesus. He asks, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

I wonder how you would answer that question. I would probably say to people: You need to realise that God loves you and has a purpose for your life, but that you have rejected that purpose and that we have sinned.  You need to repent of your sins and turn to Jesus and receive his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

But Jesus doesn't.
First of all, Jesus is much wiser than me. He is not in the business of giving people a list that they can tick off. 'Yes, I believe that; I've done that and I've prayed the prayer - so now I have eternal life.'
Jesus knows our hearts: he knows how easily we kid ourselves. He wants to take us deeper.

The lawyer comes to te…

Good Friday Talks 2006

A series of talks based on Mark 14:43-15:47 Mark 14:43-51 We are going in these three hours on a journey through the last hours of the passion as told by Mark. Jesus has been praying in the garden of Gethsemane. The disciples have been sleeping. And now the crowd comes to arrest him. It is a very sad and also all too common story. It is about how human beings do things that, at other moments, they could never imagine themselves doing. In this case, it is the story of a betrayal, a lynch mob and desertion. Of course we justify our actions and we justify ourselves. It is human nature. We try to show others how good we are, how worthy and how significant. We hide behind titles and honours and degrees. We build ourselves up with our qualifications and achievements and successes. And when things go wrong, or we do things we would rather not have done, we make excuses for ourselves: we blame the situation or the circumstances or the tools or our background or others. We compare ourselves with ot…