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Showing posts from July, 2008

Children of the kingdom and children of the evil one

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 This is a challenging parable. It is not challenging in the sense that it is hard to understand. It is actually very clear, and Jesus tells us what it means. It is challenging in what it teaches us. The good seed stands not for the Word of God, but for the 'children of the kingdom'. The bad seed stands for the 'children of the evil one'. It is, in this world, very hard to tell them apart. The commentators talk about a weed called darnel, which is virtually indistinguishable from wheat, until the ears form. It was actually a crime under Roman law to sow darnel among wheat as an act of revenge. So these two: the children of the kingdom and the children of the evil one live together in God's world; they grow together in God's world; and it is only at the end of time that they will be separated. There are a number of very clear - and quite difficult - principles in this story. 1. We are not all children of God. Of course,


Matthew 6:5-8 It is very easy to turn prayer into yet another of those things that we do in order to make ourselves feel either good or at least not bad, or to make others feel good about us, or to impress God. It is easy for prayer to become one of the most self-centred things that we do, and also one of the greatest burdens that we impose onto ourselves. I hope that in these few short minutes as we look again at Jesus' teaching on prayer in Matthew 6:5-8, we will glimpse just how gloriously liberating prayer can be. It can set us free from self and free from the need to 'perform' in prayer. Prayer is not always a blessing. In the story that Jesus told about the Pharisee and the tax collector, the Pharisee went to the right place. He addressed the right God: he addressed God, the God of Abraham. He said, 'God I thank you that I am not like other people. I thank you that I tithe, that I keep the law, that I am very devout, and that I am not lik

Wedding address

Colossians 3:12-17 Congratulations. A great passage to choose, because it begins with God's 'yes' to his people: "Holy, dearly beloved, chosen". God has given us so much: he has given us this life and love and each other. And even though we have walked out on him and badly messed things up, he has not walked out on us. He has given us Jesus Christ his Son, forgiveness, new life, hope of heaven. He has given us 'All things'. And this 'yes' of God to his people is the starting point of all healthy relationships 1. It sets us free to love Paul writes, "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" Because God has said 'yes' to us, we can say 'yes' to each other. We don't need to prove ourselves. I remember hearing a couple interviewed who had reached their 80th wedding anniversary. It was a record. He was asked the secret of the success of their marriage. He replied, "Two word

The Christian hope

2 Peter 1:12-21 If I gaze into the crystal ball and tell you that in ten years time you will receive £200million pounds, what would you say? Would you believe me? What would you want me to do to prove that it was true? If you did believe me, would it make any difference to your life now? Peter, in our reading, wants to remind those of us who listen to him that there is something amazing that is going to happen in the future. Far more amazing than being told you will receive £200m in a few years time. The amazing thing is this: that one day, it may be in our life time, it may well not be - but it will still effect us; one day Jesus Christ - the Son of God - will return to this world in glory and in power. We don't know what it will be like. It will not be the end of space and time, because they were created by God and are good, but it will be the end of space and time as we know it. It will not be the end of heaven and earth, because they were created by God and are good, but it wil