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Showing posts from April, 2015

Three big prayers: a talk for the parish service of rededication

Ephesians1.15-22
This is a good passage for an Annual Meeting
Paul writes to the Ephesian Christians and he thanks God for their faith and love.
listen to ‘Three big prayers: a talk for the parish AGM 2015’ on audioBoom

'Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you' (v15)
This is a community of people who love God and who love one another. And Paul thinks of who they have at the very centre of their lives: when I heard about ‘Your faith in the Lord Jesus
When I look at the Christians in Bury St Edmunds and specifically at St Peter's and St Mary's,  I see so much to give thanks for. Your love for the word of God, your desire that Christ will be preached and made known, your prayer for each other, for other Christians and for people in all places; for your love for each other, the care and support that you show, the small groups, your hospitality and generousity, your willingness to serve, you…

Call on the name of Jesus

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Acts 4.1-12 listen to ‘Call on the name of Jesus’ on audioBoom
Peter and John preached a simple message.
2000 years ago God raised Jesus from the dead. 
That is remarkable, but in itself it is not life changing. It is an interesting fact. Something to talk about over coffee or a pint. ‘You know that Jesus?’  ‘He was crucified’. ‘Yes. But he came back from the dead’. ‘No! I don’t believe you’. ‘It is true, I met him. Gave me quite a turn’. ‘What’s he doing these days?’ ‘Not sure. He comes and goes. Turns up here and there’. ‘Amazing. I wonder whether I’ll see him. Do you think Arsenal stand any chance of catching Chelsea?’
If Jesus rose from the dead, then that is great for Jesus, but it does not really need to affect you.  
But Peter and John do not simply say that 2000 years ago God raised Jesus from the dead. They make, if it is possible, a bigger claim. 
They are ‘proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead’ (v2) 
In other words they are saying that Jesus did not…

Easter changes everything

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Mark 16.1-8
We love the idea of Easter.
It is about bunnies, eggs, chickens and chocolate
(I have an egg here. With the words ‘Death’ and ‘Myself’ painted on it. I had fun when I went into Thorntons!)
It is about hope: seeds in the ground are springing up into new life It is about life after death: maybe there is something after this life It is a story of how goodness, love and life win in the end.
But we have become too familiar, too comfortable with Easter. 
We have turned Easter into an idea, and forgotten that Easter was an event.

If you remember from our reading, the first reaction to the resurrection was not joy, but trembling, bewilderment and fear (Mark 16.8)
ON THAT FIRST EASTER GOD SHATTERS EVERYTHING.
1. The resurrection shatters death.
Nobody expected anything would happen. He was dead. 
The women were coming to anoint his body. (ask for volunteers) They bring spices (give them some spices from the spice cupboard!) – the best we can do in the face of death is to try and take…