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Showing posts from November, 2019

Luke 23:33-43 Hope when life goes wrong

Luke 23.33-43 We heard last week from someone who’s 20-year-old friend was on a hiking trip in New York State. They were exploring caves. One moment she was fully radiantly alive. Then she slipped and fell 150 feet to her death.   One can imagine the pain of the parents, of the boyfriend, of other friends – although I suspect that one needs to have experienced something like that to really know what they are going through. And it sent me into one of those Ecclesiastes moods For those of you who don’t know the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, it is well worth reading. But not when you are depressed! It speaks of the futility, the pointlessness of life. If this - what we see and hear and taste and smell and touch – is all there is to life, then it is meaningless. ‘All is vanity’ says the philosopher. And for some people, and there is no reason to think that we will escape this, life can go very wrong. That was what had happened to this man who was cru

Striking the head of the serpent. A talk for remembrance Sunday

Genesis 3:8-15 It is one of the most ancient stories in the world. God creates a good world. He creates men and women, and they live in harmony with each other and with creation. But evil, represented by the serpent, tempts Adam and Eve. He lies to them. He tells them that they can become like God if they eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And so they eat. And our first reading speaks of the consequences They do not become like God. Indeed in their hubris, in their attempt to become like God, reality hits them and they realise that they are a million miles away from being like God, that before God they are naked, and they are ashamed and try to hide from God. And when God questions them, they begin to play the blame game. Adam blames Eve: she made me do it. Eve blames the serpent: it made me do it. And there are consequences: harmony is broken, and Paradise is lost. Well, maybe it is just an ancient story But I think few would d

Hebrews 12:1-2 Celebrating all the saints

Hebrews 12:1-2 If you go into an Orthodox Church, you will see in front of you an iconostasis, literally ‘a resting place for icons.’ It is full of icons of the prophets and forerunners of Jesus, of the apostles, angels and saints. I remember when we lived in the theological college in St Petersburg, an American Baptist minister was visiting. He came into the church, looked at the iconostasis and quoted Hebrews 12:1, “Seeing we are surrounded by such a great host of witnesses”. And then he added, looking at the icons, ‘and here they are’. Today is All Saints day. We remember those who have gone before and who are now in glory with Christ 1. It is a celebration of those who are our past History matters. We are shaped by our ancestors. In the UK there is a popular TV programme called, ‘Who do you think you are?’. A celebrity is introduced, and they then explore her or his ancestry. We can trace my family back four generations. Sadly, I have no claim to royalt