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Showing posts from November, 2009

When Christians face persecution

Revelation 1:4-20 Today, before we begin the period of preparation for Christmas known as Advent, we remind ourselves that Jesus Christ is the King. The Church calls today ‘Christ the King’ Sunday. Our passage in Revelation describes Jesus as King. He is described as ‘the ruler of the kings of the earth’ (1:4); it talks about his kingdom (1:9); it talks of him as being Lord of time and as the Lord of life. It talks of how one day he will return, not as a baby – in some sense hidden – but openly, so that all people will see that it really is he. This is something that we need to remind ourselves This month our mission focus has been on Christian Solidarity Worldwide which argues and prays for the protection of Christians, and for that matter – of people from other faith groups – and that they be allowed to practice their religion in freedom. In Colombia, for instance, since 2004 200 churches have been forcibly closed, 35 pastors have been assassinated and a further 50 received death thr

What Jesus can do for you?

JOHN 4:27-32 Jesus has met the Samaritan woman. He has spoken with her. And the conversation has led her to change her mind about Jesus In verse 9, he is a Jew In verse 19, he is a prophet In verse 29, she is saying to the people in her home town, ‘Could this be the Messiah?’ Now the disciples return. They’ve been in town to get the supplies. And John writes, “Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” (John 4:27) Those two unasked questions are answered in our passage. 1. What do you want? (or, ‘What do you seek?’) What do we seek today? Security, health, entertainment, respect, dignity, pleasure, wealth [story of A: ‘I want some money’] John sums it up in one word: ‘Food’. The disciples assume – fairly reasonably – that the thing that Jesus is thinking about is his stomach, how to satisfy his physical desire. They assume that Jesus wants food. (John 4:31) But Jesus turn

A funeral address for Richard Spaul, 9 October

Richard Spaul 20 December 1940 - 29 September 2009 Psalm 8 Today is immensely sad. We say goodbye (literally ‘God be with you’) to a man who was so special to all of us here, but particularly to you. And Sheila, Rachel, Jonathan and Philip; Michael and Joan, and the family – we do pray for you. How does one speak of Richard? Here was a man: a fully human person who lived life to the full. He was able, gifted and passionate. When he spoke, he conducted. He spoke with his whole body. There was no side to him. He was straight forward and direct, sometimes a bit too direct. He was a man of great integrity, someone who lived according to his convictions. I am not even sure if the word ‘compromise’ was in his dictionary. Here was a man who loved this world: he was fascinated by it. He taught. He was the first to introduce computers into his school. He was a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. He loved gardening. He loved cricket. He loved singing (more recently, St Peter’s music gr

Glory, suffering, Greatness, service

Mark 10:35-45 In our Bible reading today, James and John seek glory: "Grant us to sit, one at your right and one at your left, in your glory" Jesus instead offers them suffering And the disciples seek greatness Jesus offers them service James and John were two of three disciples closest to Jesus. Peter was the third. • Jesus took Peter, James and John with him when he raised Jairus' daughter. • He took Peter, James and John with him when he went up the mountain and was transfigured. • And, after this, it was Peter, James and John who Jesus took with him when he prayed in the garden of Getsemane just before he was betrayed. So if any of the disciples could assume that in the coming Kingdom they would be in the top places, it must have been James, John and Peter. They were the ones closest to Jesus. They were, it seemed, the inevitable - not successors of Jesus, because Jesus was always going to be around - but they were the inevitable right hand and left hand men. What is

True power and true wisdom

WYMONDHAM COLLEGE FOUNDERS DAY 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 What would you like to build your life on? Money: have the wealth of a Bill Gates Fame: have the celebrity of a Danny Minogue Brain power: be as clever as a Stephen Hawkins Political power: have the authority of a Barack Obama Physical ability: run like a Usain Bolt Or would you prefer to build your life on Jesus Christ, who got himself crucified. It is obvious. You choose anyone but him. They are successes in life He is a failure Perhaps you might say that he has not done that badly. We are here 2000 years later and someone is talking about him. But in life he was poor, homeless, shamed, tortured and executed. He was the victim. And not only that. He said that if anyone wished to follow him, they had to deny themselves, and to be prepared to be crucified for him. The choice for us is whether we live our lives for power and wealth. Watched the X factor a couple of Saturdays ago, when the contestants went to the judges houses. There w