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Showing posts from April, 2019

The gift of peace which overcomes fear

John 20.19-31 Jesus gives peace to people who are afraid The disciples are in a house with a door that is locked because they are afraid of the authorities. That is what fear does. It locks us in We are so often paralysed by fear: by fear of other people, by fear of being shamed, by fear of failure, by fear of condemnation, by fear of losing something or someone that has become so precious to us that it is part of us, by fear of being hurt or pain, by fear of death. It is because of the fear of being rejected that we do not invite someone out for even something as simple as a coffee or a drink It is because of the fear of humiliation that we are not prepared to share our weaknesses and vulnerabilities It is because of the fear of the consequences that we do not do what is right. Many years ago I was going into one of the churches where I served, when I noticed two young men go up to an older drunk man who regularly used to sit on a bench in the park in wh

Meeting the risen Jesus in the tomb

John 20.1-18 The story is told of the drunk man walking home on a very dark, very misty moonless night through a graveyard. As can be expected because this is a story, he falls into a deep open grave that had been dug for the next day. He tries to get out, but as he clawed at the sides soil fell on top of him. He begins to get scared. Unknown to him, at the other end of the grave there is another man, who has also fallen in and who has also tried unsuccessfully to get out. So as he once again tries desperately to jump and claw his way out, he hears a whispery hoarse voice coming from the other end of the grave through the thick swirling mist: ‘You'll never get out of here’. But he did. John had to go into the grave, into the tomb before he really saw and before he believed. Mary comes and tells him that the stone has been removed. So he runs with Peter to the tomb. He gets there first and he looks in – and he sees the strips of linen. He’s got all the evide

The suffering servant: a talk for Good Friday

Isaiah 52.13-53.12 We are looking today at our reading from Isaiah. Isaiah speaks about a servant of God. He might have been talking about himself; he might have been talking about the people of God; but the first Christians were convinced – when they looked at the death and resurrection of Jesus – that he was ultimately speaking about Jesus Christ. Isaiah writes, “See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him — so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals — so he shall startle many nations” (52.13-15) People will be startled by his exaltation, but that is after people have been astonished at his humiliation. Indeed, people will not just be astonished. They will be stunned into silence. ‘Kings shall shut their mouths because of him’. (52.15) And today, Good Friday, we also stand in astonishment, in awe, in silence, as we reflect on