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Showing posts from February, 2010

Pain, suffering and Joy

PSALM 126
Joy Ellen from Glasgow in her autobiography tells of her father. He was a Presbyterian elder. She writes, “He was entirely unselfish, and in his long life never committed a pleasure.”
H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy!"
I rarely meet such people and the stereotype is a lie.
Take the 16th century Puritans for example: “Actually, the Puritans welcomed laughter and dressed in bright colors (or, to be precise, the middle and upper classes dressed in bright colours; members of the lower classes were not permitted to indulge themselves -- they dressed in dark clothes). As Carl Degler long ago observed, ‘The Sabbatarian, antiliquor, and antisex attitudes usually attributed to the Puritans are a nineteenth-century addition to the much more moderate and wholesome view of life's evils held by the [Puritans]’.”
The Christian life really is about joy: 
it is about a future joy that goes beyond anything that we can imagi…

Jesus offers us LIFE

JOHN 2:1-11
1. Jesus is saying that he has come to give us LIFE.
This is a wedding, and it is a party. And in the middle of this party, Jesus turns water into wine. It is so life affirming.
1 Timothy 4:4 says, 'Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer'.
God is not against LIFE.
Jesus wants us to give us life to its fullest. I went to see Avatar the other day. It is in 3D. It is amazing. We can show films in 3D.
But God gave us eyes so that we can see in 3D. He created a 3D universe (well, actually it may have a few more dimensions). He created music, he created laughter, he created food and taste buds, he created jokes and conversation, he created sexuality and marriage and weddings, he created creativity and games, he created wonderful amazing unique human beings. He loves seeing his people party; he loves seeing them LIVE.
The problem is that it has gone wrong. …

Why have an exhibition about the Life of Jesus?

A talk given at the LIFE EXHIBITION in St Peter's, February 2010
This LIFE exhibition is fantastic, and I hope that you think it is really important that we do this – even if you do not believe it yourself.
At a human interest level, our children need to know about Jesus. We need to know about Jesus. There really is a great ignorance:
He is for people, at the least:
1) A great teacher: we see some of that stuff here in the exhibition.
Take the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Why should the Samaritan go out of his way for someone who hates him? Are not the other two who pass by simply being sensible? And yet the story of the Good Samaritan embodies so much of the teaching that was specific to Jesus: ‘Love for enemies; Doing to others what you would have them do to you; Sacrificing yourself for another person; compassion for the weak and the vulnerable’)
And so much of Jesus’ teaching has influenced us and our society far more than we think.
It has shaped our system of just…