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Showing posts from June, 2006

Political correctness

ACTS 10:23b-48

"I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men (and women) from every nation .."

It was an astonishing statement for Peter to make. All his life he had assumed that there was an unbridgeable chasm between Jew and Gentile (non Jew). All his life he had assumed that Gentiles could be touched by God, but could never be part of the people of God. All his life he had assumed that he could be contaminated by Gentiles, that he should not really associate with Gentiles and certainly not eat with Gentiles.

And now he had had a vision, which was then vindicated by the visit of the messengers from this Gentile, a man called Cornelius.

We must not underestimate the significance of the events of Acts 10. The church of God was put on a completely new direction. Up to this point, the first Christian missionaries - who were Jews - only preached to Jews. Now they preached to everyone. The gospel goes global; the gospel goes international.

The deb…

On the occasion of the Queen's 80th birthday

Matthew 22:16-22

It is good to give thanks for our Queen

We give thanks for her role as a figurehead for our nation.
Throughout her reign of 54 years we have, as a nation, known relative stability and prosperity. And some of that sense of well-being is due to the fact that God has granted her a long reign and a long life. Throughout my life, and throughout the life of many people, we have only known one monarch. And psychologically, if nothing else, the fact that she is - is, in a very changing world, one of the constants of life.
We give thanks for her role as head of the commonwealth: it is widely recognised that the reason the commonwealth has been such an effective organisation is because of the work of the Queen
We give thanks for her as a person.
For her wisdom: perhaps we will never know the significance of her weekly meetings with successive prime ministers: but there are very few things that she hasn't seen and she hasn't done
For her sense of duty: She has shown total dedi…

The Holy Spirit

JOHN 16:5-15

Good to be together

You are a gathering of astonishing people with a remarkable range of gifts and passions.

And in many ways, this is when we are most church. It is good that we have services that are of different styles, and they can be most effective when we are reaching out to new people, but there is also a danger that we create me-centred religion: I choose the service that most suits me, that I feel most at ease in - and I am uncomfortable if things are different or if people worship in a different way.

But it is gatherings like this that remind us that the church of God is bigger than our own congregation, that we need each other, that we are actually part of one body, we are members one of another.

So it is not insignificant that it was while the first followers of Jesus "were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1), that the Holy Spirit came.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He comes from the Father and yet has always been with the Father a…