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Showing posts from May, 2009

The Holy Spirit: how he guides us

John 16:12-15
Pentecost is very special. We have heard the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit.
And it is good to be here together today: first time in the reordered St Peter's. There is something very encouraging about being together, and we need the encouragement of each other.
It is hard to be a follower of Jesus Christ today. In fact it is, at times, a bit like a hard long slog. 
1. You have to be prepared to be different, to live by a different agenda. To live for the things of Jesus Christ and not for the things of this world (wealth, comfort, status, satisfaction of our physical desires)
2. There are times when we experience opposition - or at least feel that we have become an unappreciated or unloved minority. Whereas 100 years ago, legislation was on our side; today we are increasingly finding we have to struggle against that legislation. Our church communities seem to be increasingly isolated from wider society. 
One of the inte…

What does it mean when we say Jesus Christ is Lord?

Acts 1:15-26
Last week - we celebrated the ascension.

Jesus ascends into heaven. I find it very hard to imagine. So did the disciples: they stand open-mouthed.
The world in which they lived had suddenly got very much bigger. They couldn't make assumptions. There had to be an openness about what could be possible. And very very obviously, they realised that when Jesus said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me', he was speaking the truth.
But so what? How was this going to change the way that they lived, especially now that Jesus was not with them?

And what we read here in this rather unusual reading in Acts is the first attempt of the church to live in the light of the ascension; to live in the light of the fact that Jesus is Lord.

And that is very helpful for us. What does it mean for us to live as servants of Jesus Christ? Yes, it might mean that we are part of the church, that we do church things; but what else? How does it affect what we do on Monday…

Ascension day 2009

Ephesians 1:15-23
We meet in ruins. It could be a picture of the church today. A once mighty institution that has been humbled. A church in a culture that is happy for us to stand as a monument to a past by-gone age, but that has very little place for it. 
And yet we meet to celebrate the ascension of Christ, that Jesus Christ has been made Lord of all things. 
I guess we can look at the story of the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and dismiss it as a fairytale. Of course the story has a meaning, just as every fairytale or myth has a meaning - but there is no reason why this myth is more privileged than any other myth Or we can stand with the disciples and as Jesus goes up, as a cloud hides him from our site, gaze open-mouthed, and begin to realise that the world is a much bigger place than we first thought. 
It is our choice. We can look at the ascension in the light of the world's wisdom,  or to look at the world in the light of the reality of the ascension.

And Paul prays…

Grace

Acts 8:26-40
I'd like to look at this passage from the perspective of the Ethiopian eunuch.
Here is a man who as far as the world is concerned is an insider. He is a top banker. He is in charge of the treasury of the Queen of Candace - actually Candace is the name of a dynasty and a province within Egypt. He is being driven in a chariot. He is a man of influence.

But here is a man who as far as his faith is concerned is an outsider.

We presume that he is a Jew: there was a large Jewish community in Egypt. But he does not live in the land that God had given to the Jewish people. His ancestors would have been the people who disobeyed what God said through Jeremiah, and chose to move to Egypt at the time of the exile. They chose to live in a different land. And the land of Israel was so important to the Jewish people. He would have been a welcome visitor to Jerusalem, but very much a second class visitor.

And secondly, he is a eunuch. He has been castrated. And that would mean that …