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When confusion gives way to joy. Easter Sunday 2016

Luke 24.1-12


The first consequence of Easter morning was not joy but confusion.
You see we live in a universe that appears to be ruled by death. We come from dust and we return to dust. And if the current cosmological theories are right we live in a universe that began in darkness and nothingness and that will end in darkness and death. And we learn to live with it.
We will live, we will do stuff, stuff will be done to us and then we will die. And that is it. ‘Life’, said Ernest Hemingway, ‘is a dirty trick. A short trip from nothingness to nothingness’.
And as far as the dead are concerned: We remember them. There is a great line in the film, ‘Good Night, Mr Tom’. The boy is grieving for his friend who has been killed in the blitz. He can’t get over it. So Mr Tom takes him down to the grave of his wife. ‘Look’, he says, ‘They do not die. They live on. In here. In your heart. In your memory. ‘ Yes, we remember the dead. And we honour the dead. This church is littered with memorials…

Are we free to speak?

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A legal, historical, philosophical and biblical look at the subject of freedom of speech.
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For ​further consideration on the subject, Mike Ovey has written a very helpful article on free speech: Is the Wrath of God Extremist? [Themelios 40.3 (2015): 389–391




The king who comes to bring peace.

Mark 11.1-11


Today we remember and we give thanks for that day when the king rode into his city.
He is the King, the Messiah That is so clear in Mark’s gospel.
This is the first time that I have noticed this, but Mark does not quote Zechariah 9.9. Zechariah 9.9 is the prophecy that the Messiah, God’s King, will enter Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey.
‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; Triumphant and victorious is he, Humble and riding on a donkey, On a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
Matthew quotes Zechariah 9.9; John quotes the first part of Zechariah 9.9. But Mark does not. A Gentile, a non-Jew, as they heard this read, would completely miss the reference to the idea that Jesus was fulfilling prophecy, or that Jesus was coming as a humble king.
What they would hear is something very different: God's King is coming to God's city.
1.They hear of his followers serving the coming king.
He sends them. ‘Go into the village…

Who is your true mother?

Galatians 4.21-31
Paul writes, ‘The other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free and she is our mother’ (Galatians 4.26)
It is strange language. Why not ‘home’? It would make more sense But when Paul talks about ‘our mother’, he is speaking of our origins.
Our understanding of our origins is vitally important. It shapes our self-understanding, and our understanding of other people. That is why programmes like ‘Who do you think you are?’ are so fascinating. It is why many people research their family histories.

In our society we usually look for our origins through the paternal side. But for the Jew, origins are traced through the maternal side. I am a Jew not if my father is a Jew, but if my mother is a Jew.
So when Paul wants to remind Christians that we are not children of this world, but children of that world; that we are not children of biological necessity, but children of the promise of God, he asks us to think through the question, ‘Who is your true mother?’
Is our m…