Showing posts from 2019

The Giver of Wisdom

Colossians 3.12-17

Happy Mothering Sunday
It didn’t begin by being all about mothers! It began because the set bible reading for the Sunday (in the BCP) speaks of the idea that the heavenly Jerusalem, in the words of Galatians 4.26, is our mother. It is the idea that we are embraced by the Church of God, the community of people - from all times and all places – who choose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. It also happened to be the Sunday, three weeks before Easter, when servants were given a day off, and so would travel back to their home village, to their families and mothers. And the two were put together, and it became mothering Sunday
And this morning I’d like to focus on the Church bit, because it is through the Church, through God’s people – from then (the apostles and first believers) and from now (those who proclaim the word to us) – that we hear the gospel, the good news about Jesus. And it is through the Church, through God’s people, that we are nurtured and fed and grow in …

When someone wants us dead

Luke 13.31-35

We are looking today at how to handle death threats!

I suspect that many of us may have thought, ‘My mother is going to kill me if she finds this out’.
Or maybe we have had someone really mad at us and saying, in the heat of the moment, ‘I’m going to kill you’.

By the way, never say that, however angry you are. To threaten to murder someone is to threaten to kill a person who has been made in the image of God, and you are effectively crucifying Christ again. And if you have said that to anybody, then you need to say sorry. Sorry to God, and ask him to help us control our anger, and a big sorry to the person we have threatened.

But there may be a few here who have been on the end of a far more serious death threat. It might be from a maniac or a stalker; it might be because we have done something stupid and got ourselves in big trouble; it might be because we have crossed or threatened someone who is evil; or it might even be a threat from those people who should really…

The four temptations of Jesus

Luke 4.1-13

I like the story of the girl who, on her way back from school, used to go swimming in the local lake. Her mother found out and told her that she should not do that. So the next morning mum checked her daughter’s bag – and found in it her swimming costume. ‘What’s this’, says mum, ‘I told you that you were not to go swimming on your way back from school’. She replied, ‘Don’t worry mum. I wasn’t going to go swimming. But I put it in, just in case I was tempted’.
Our reading today is about the time when Jesus was tempted.
He is, please note, led by the Spirit into the desert. Please do not think that if you are tempted it means that you are not a Christian. Jesus was full of the Spirit and he was tempted. Here it is the Spirit who takes Jesus into that place where he will be tempted, where he will begin to do battle with Satan
And this is serious stuff. When Satan comes to him, he doesn’t play around with things like adultery, fornication, stealing, lying or murder. Those …

Shared glory, shared hearts Luke 9.28-36

Luke 9.28-36

Peter, James and John get a glimpse of heaven
The clue is in the 'About 8 days later'. The 8th day is the first day of the new week - the first day of the new creation. If the old creation began on Sunday and Saturday is the 7th day on which God rested, then the Sunday after the Sabbath is the 8th day and the day of the new act of creation.
And there are two things that I would like to draw out from this glimpse of heaven
1. It is about shared glory
We share in the glory of Jesus.
He is shown to be the Son of God. He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. All light and all colours radiate from him. When you refract white light, you see all the colours of the spectrum. Jesus contains it all.
In icons of the transfiguration, Jesus is the source of light, and everyone and everything is lit up by that light.
And here, Moses and Elijah share in that glory: ‘They appeared in glory’
This is a glory which transcends space, time and death. Moses lived 2000 year…

How to be rich, satisfied, happy and respected

Luke 6.17-26
For Christmas we were given a game. You are given the first part of a sentence and then told to guess what are the most common internet searches that begin with those words. So, for instance, ..
Well, what would you think would be the most common internet searches that begin with the words, How can I be .. ? Answer: (Become) rich, happy
Jesus speaks in our reading about those two things - and he adds two others, that I suspect are pretty high on the search ratings: satisfied and respected.
These are four of the things that we aspire for, that we think are worth living for.
The pursuit of wealth and riches The pursuit of the satisfaction of our physical and emotional desires The pursuit of happiness And the pursuit for respect and honour.
I think that last one is often underestimated, and yet I wonder if it might not actually be number one on many of our lists. For the sake of respect, people put up with poverty, deprivation and possibly even a bit of misery. Just think of the athl…

Luke 5.1-11 In the presence of Holy Fire.

Luke 5:1-11

Most of us will have stood by a bonfire. At first, we stand close by. We want the warmth. But as the bonfire begins to burn, as the fire gets hot, so we move away.
That is what happens with Simon Peter He is drawn to the fire that is Jesus. He is ready to call Jesus master. He is ready to let Jesus use his boat He is ready to even follow Jesus’ ridiculous instruction to go fishing in the middle of the day – when they caught nothing all night.
But then he suddenly realises that this is not some little fire that he can warm himself by. He realises that this is a burning furnace. And it is getting too hot.
So he falls at Jesus’ feet and he says, ‘Go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man’
Many of us here will have been drawn to the fire. We have made the decision to follow Jesus. We call him master There are times when we even do what he says!
And maybe there are moments when we pray that God will come close to us – that we might see him clearly at work. We pray for r…

What happens when we run out of wine?

John 2.1-11

Later in the service, at the prayer before we distribute the bread and wine, we will hear the words, ‘In the water made wine the new creation was revealed at the wedding feast. Poverty was turned to riches, sorrow into joy’.
That is what Jesus is doing when he turns water into wine. He takes one of the key elements of life – the ancients had four key elements: earth, water, air, fire (I’d have done a lot better in chemistry if we had kept to those four and not found 118 different elements – the periodic table killed me). But he takes water and he turns it into wine.
Not just any old wine – but the best. And not just a little: he produces about 1100 bottles of wine.
Click below to listen to the talk

It is a very human story. This time, last year when we looked at this passage, we were celebrating the wedding of Olga Fabrikantova and Simon Burke  - and this story is about a wedding, a village wedding.
Often these weddings would take place in the autumn, after the harvest ha…