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The vision of God. Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah 6:1-8 Trinity 2024 The Trinity is not a problem to be solved, but a relationship to be encountered. A link to the audio of this talk can be found here There is a great clip from the film, Nuns on the Run where the two characters Brian and Charlie are hiding from gangsters dressed as nuns. Brian has to teach a class about the Trinity Brian: Explain the Trinity. Charlie: Hmm, well it’s a bit of a mystery. You’ve got the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. But the three are one---like a shamrock, my old priest used to say. Three leaves but one leaf. Now the Father sent down the Son, who was love, and then when he went away he sent down the Holy Spirit, who came down in the form of a…. Brian: You already told me—a ghost. Charlie: No, a dove. Brian: The dove was a ghost? Charlie: No, the ghost was a dove. Brian: Let me try and summarise this. God is his son. And his son is God. But his son moonlights as a holy ghost, a holy spirit and a dove. And they all send each other, even though
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John 15:26-16:15 What does the Holy Spirit do? Pentecost 2024

John 15:26-16:15 It is a very special few days: we have Ascension, Pentecost and, next Sunday, Trinity At Pentecost we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit The Spirit can come dramatically – like in our first reading (Acts 2:1-4): the sound of a wind, tongues of fire and the disciples speaking in tongues. I have had experience of that. I had been asked to speak about being filled with the Spirit to our college Christian Union. It was the first time I had spoken. I spent hours preparing the talk. I was so nervous that I knocked over a bottle of milk as I came forward to speak. I read from my notes. And amazingly, God turned up. It was like Pentecost. At the end two people made the decision to follow Jesus, and to the best of my knowledge they are still going strong; and we had to have a chill out room because people were just, like drunk, with the overwhelming presence of God. But the Spirit also comes very gently. In John, we are given another description of the coming of the Spirit

On dragons.

The dedication of the coronation gate.  St Margaret's Church, Burnham Norton. I’d like to speak for a few moments about the dragon on our new coronation gate. St Margaret's coronation gate DRAGONS ARE SCARY For the ancients, dragons represented the unknown, the monstrous, the terrifying. They were fire-breathing serpents, with an obsession for treasure and a sweet tooth for princesses. I think of Smaug in the Hobbit, your archetypal dragon: living deep in his mountain, in caves scattered with the bones of cattle and humans, never fully asleep, guarding his treasure, virtually indestructible, cunning and deceptive, and when stirred or hungry or simply in a lousy mood, rousing himself to raid the haunts of men for food or treasure, and bringing devastation with his fire. Dragons have come to represent in the ancient imagination, all that is scary, all that is beyond our control, all that is fearful, all that brings death and destruction. They are, in the ancient world’s imaginati

A call to persevere. Mark 13.5-13. St Mark's day 2024

Mark 13:5-13 ‘When you hear of wars and rumours of wars’ It is rather an appropriate passage. Jesus is being asked when the temple will be destroyed. He does sort of answer their question, ‘within this generation’, but he expands the destruction of the temple so that it becomes a picture of what the end will be like. And rather than talk about time, Jesus instead turns the conversation around and challenges them. It is not a matter so much of when the end is coming, but of how we should live before the en And Mark 13 is a call to us to be aware, to be alert, to keep awake (it is repeated at least 6 times in this chapter). It is a call to not be afraid, to be courageous, to endure to the end. We are called to beware of false ‘Messiahs’. We are called not to give in to the fear caused by wars, and rumours of wars, and earthquakes and famines – the fear which leads us to misplace our hope in the real Jesus, the Son of God, who lived 2000 years ago in Palestine, who was crucified, rose fro

Easter Sunday 2024. An all age talk. On Easter eggs

John 20.1-9 Who has been given an Easter egg? What is your egg like? You can find remarkable Easter eggs: This is a very clever Dinosaur egg! Much more important: Who has already eaten their Easter egg? Why do we think about eggs at Easter? I want to suggest two things 1. Eggs are about new life Out of something that looks like a stone, out of a hard shell, a baby chick, duckling, fledgling (or baby  dinosaur!) appears. And out of the cold hard rock tomb, which was covered by a stone, Jesus Christ appears.  Three days earlier, on the first Good Friday, they had taken him and nailed him to the cross and watched him die.  To make sure he was dead, they had taken a spear and thrust it into his side.  Then they laid his body in a tomb and put a great big stone in front of it.  But on that first Easter Sunday something astonishing happened.  Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  New life came out of the dead tomb. And that new resurrection life is available for us all It is not that we are in a

Easter Sunday 2024 When it was still dark ...

John 20.1-8 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark .. It was dark. Jesus – the one who the first disciples had put their trust in, who they had believed was the Messiah and was going to establish the Kingdom of God – had been crucified. Everything looked hopeless. They had trusted Jesus, they had given everything for him, and if he had let them down, then who or what could they trust And it was worse than that: for a brief time, for three years, they had thought that light and truth and love and life would win. But on that first Good Friday betrayal and lies and fear and hatred and evil had won. All they could do is to come to the grave, lament the dead body of Jesus and weep for themselves and their broken dreams. Beyond that there was nothing – no vision, no hope. It was dark. But as they come to the tomb on that first day of the week they get three surprises 1. Somebody has removed the stone. John does not mention about the stone being placed over the entra

Passion Sunday Isaiah 50:4-10

Isaiah 50:4-10 On that first Palm Sunday Jesus came down from Mount of Olives, through the Kidron valley and rides up into Jerusalem. It is that ‘down and then up’ picture that we need to hold in our minds as we think about Palm Sunday, our passages (Isaiah 50:4-11; Philippians 2:4-11), and what we are about to hear in the gospel (Mark 14-15). Isaiah 50 speaks of this mysterious servant of God He could be the righteous people of Israel – who suffer exile and slavery in Babylon, but who are going to be brought back to their land The servant could be the prophet Isaiah – rejected, mocked and beaten by his hearers – but who puts his trust in the vindication of God Or he could also be – as Christians understand it – the coming Messiah, of Jesus Christ. He was the one, in the words of Philippians 2, who was equal with God, but who made himself nothing, becomes a servant, humbles himself and becomes obedient to death: who is accused, betrayed, falsely condemned, tortured, humiliated and exec