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Dependence on God and miracles.

Mark 6:1-13 “And Jesus could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them” (Mark 6:5) Compare that with Mark 6:13 “They (the disciples) cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them”. A link to the audio of this talk There was a huge difference between the ministry of Jesus in his hometown and the ministry of the disciples – and, one suspects by the reference to anointing with oil, the ministry of the early Christians after the death and resurrection of Jesus. We long to see those deeds of power. We long to see people set free from the grip of evil, and those wonderful healings. When I finished at university I went to work as a parish assistant in Hackney. I was asked to visit a young man who was in a long-term coma. I sat by his bed, and I would pray for a miracle. Perhaps, if I am honest, I wanted to see that miracle so that I could claim that I had power, so that I would be vindicated, so tha
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Excellence in Giving

  2 Corinthians 8:7-24 Talking about giving! It is sometimes difficult coming into the middle of a passage. In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul has been speaking of the Christians from Macedonia who have given generously to the fund that Titus and he are collecting for the Christians in Judea and Jerusalem who are facing famine. Now he addresses the Christians in Corinth. He speaks of how they excel in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in eagerness (one assumes, to do the will of God). He adds, oddly, that they also excel in being loved. It is, incidentally, much easier to give when you know that the one to whom you are entrusting your money really cares for you. Financial consultants understand that, and so did Paul. And he urges the Corinthian Christians, just as they excel in many other things, to excel in their generousity. There are several things that I would like to draw out from this passage. 1. If you want to know what a person loves, look at what they give We give to what w

The presence and absence of Jesus. A talk at the end of the Community of St Anselm year 2023-4

Mark 4.35-41 There is the story told of a millionaire who threw a party. He takes his guests outside and shows them his swimming pool. He says, “I will give to the person who swims from this side to that side a million pounds, or a share in my estate, or the hand of my daughter in marriage. But I need to warn you that there is a killer shark in my pool who has already eaten two people who have tried.” There is a splash and a man is seen swimming as fast as he can to the other side. The shark swims towards him and opens its mouth, but as the jaws slam shut, the man is pulled out of the pool. The millionaire says to the man. “I keep my word. What do you want? A million pounds?” The man says no. “A share in my estate”. The man says no. “Ah. So you did that because you love my daughter”. And the man said no. The millionaire asks in surprise, “So what do you want?” And the man replies, “I want to know who pushed me in”. I suspect the disciples felt pushed in. There is a large crow

True God from True God.

1 John 5.18-21 A couple of weeks ago I was helping with some interviews for a Christian chaplain at a hospital. One of the questions that I asked was, ‘What is at the heart of your spirituality and your faith?’ An audio of the talk can be found here It was the way that I asked that question, but 5 of the 6 candidates spoke about something that they did: they said that it was prayer.   Only one of the applicants said, without any pause, ‘Jesus Christ, my Lord’. It is not about me or my praying – because sadly that is pathetic. It really is all about Jesus. The clue is in the name: Christianity And the Creed is nearly all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God: About who he was – who he is – and about his death, resurrection, ascension and second coming. This morning we focus on a few of the words in the Creed about who he is: God from God Light from Light True God from True God The creed, as I’m sure you will have heard, was shaped at a time when there was a dispute about wh

Four reasons not to lose heart.

2 Corinthians 4.13-5.1 In 2 Corinthians 4:1, the beginning of this section, Paul writes, “We do not lose heart” And here (4.16), “We do not lose heart” The audio of this talk can be found here It is understandable why he might have lost heart. For the sake of Jesus Christ, of the good news, Paul suffered terrible affliction. He has already written in this chapter of how he has been afflicted, driven to despair, persecuted, beaten down. So why continue? Why speak? And for us? I suspect that many of you here have been followers of the Lord Jesus for many years Why bother? Why do you continue to come to church? There are so many other things you could be doing on a Sunday morning.  Why do you continue to try to say your prayers?  Why do you try to continue to live a life ‘worthy of the calling that you have been called to?’  Why do you – if you do – speak of Jesus Christ to others, even though it means that they think you a bit of a fanatic or funny in the head? I notice from our gospel

A prayer based on the Magnificat

O Mighty and Holy God, my Saviour, Look with favour on me, Your servant. Keep me in the fear of You, so that I may receive all things as a gift of Your mercy. Humble me, so that you can lift me up. Empty me, so that You can fill me with good things. Bind me to all those who through the ages have put their trust in Your promises, so that together with Mary and Your faithful people, my spirit will rejoice in You and my soul delight to declare Your Glory. Amen Magnificat (The Song of Mary) 1    My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,     my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;   ♦ he has looked with favour on his lowly servant. 2    From this day all generations will call me blessed;   ♦ the Almighty has done great things for me     and holy is his name. 3    He has mercy on those who fear him,   ♦ from generation to generation. 4    He has shown strength with his arm   ♦ and has scattered the proud in their conceit, 5    Casting down the mighty from their thrones   ♦ and lifting up th

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