Showing posts from 2021

The Resurrection world. Luke 24.36-48

Luke 24.36-48 Ethiopian Jesus Icon Today we are looking at Luke’s account of how Jesus appears to the disciples The fact that the accounts are a little different doesn’t worry me in the slightest.  People remember things in different ways.  And each of the gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are telling the story in a particular way to make particular points - so they are going to emphasise different things.  And actually, the four accounts - although different - have quite a number of constant themes running through them.  And as in John, so here in Luke. When the risen Jesus appears to his disciples, the first thing that he says to them is ‘Peace be with you’ And he shows them 1. A more solid world, the resurrection world When Jesus first appears to his followers they think he is a ghost. Why? How many of them had seen a ghost before? - probably none of them.  Ghosts were from stories that you told to frighten each other Ghosts are about a shadow world,

The risen Jesus brings peace. John 20.19-31

 John 20.19-31 Three times, in our readings, the risen Jesus says to his followers: ‘Peace be with you’ The risen Jesus brings peace  He brings peace to disciples who were terrified. The disciples are meeting together in lockdown. They are not afraid of infection, but they are afraid for their safety. The authorities have arrested and executed Jesus and who knows who is next on their hit list. They are scared for their life. And the risen Jesus comes to them and he says ‘Peace be with you’: Peace be with you, because I have risen from the dead Peace be with you, because death is not the final word Peace be with you, because eternal life can begin today. Metropolitan Anthony writes a penetrating and helpful article about Death, and I’ll put the link to it on the web version of this sermon on my blog (slog?). On death . Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh ( But he begins by saying this: “ Death is the touchstone of our attitude to life . … If we are afraid

Easter 2021. Meeting with Jesus

Mark 16.1-8 We’ve just read Mark’s account of the resurrection of Jesus Although it doesn’t tell us of the resurrection. It tells us what happens when the women go to the tomb, find the stone rolled away and a young man who tells them that Jesus is alive. What makes it powerful, and particularly relevant for us, is that in Mark, the women do not meet the risen Jesus. There is the promise of the meeting, but no actual meeting. And that helps us to identify with this passage 1. There is the messenger who brings them the word that Jesus has risen from the dead. The messenger is not described as an angel. The women thought that he was a young man, dressed in white, sitting on the right side (that is a fascinating, completely pointless fact, but it is a very eye-witness sort of thing that someone might say: I can’t remember what he looked like, but he was there on the right-hand side). I suspect that it was only later, as they thought through what had happened, they realised that the y

The centrality of the Cross

The cross is central in the Christian faith Churches are built in the shape of the cross, many of us wear a cross, and many of us make the sign of the cross.   The first Orthodox service when we were sent by the Anglican church to live in the St  Petersburg seminary, was the service for the exaltation of the cross. We were clueless! At one point everyone suddenly disappeared - they were prostrating themselves - and we were left standing up. That happened 7 times, so we got the gist of it and realised when we needed to go down!    In many churches, at the Good Friday service, the congregation are usually invited to come forward to kiss a cross. And in the Roman Catholic Church, the congregation hear the words, , with the words,  “Behold the wood of the cross on which the Saviour of the world was hung. Come let us adore him” And on Wednesday we had a special service of meditation and music, and heard James Macmillan musical interpretation of those words, in his piece, Kiss on

Kiss on Wood. Reflections for Holy Week

Some reflections for Holy Week based on James Macmillan’ Kiss on Wood, Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater, and Tavener’s Prayer of the Heart. Kiss on Wood: James Macmillan Our first piece of music is from James Macmillan. It is called kiss on wood. In the Roman Catholic Good Friday service, the congregation are invited to come forward to kiss the cross, with the words   “Behold the wood of the cross on which the Saviour of the world was hung. Come let us adore him”   And I have reflected on those words.   I imagined a carpenter’s workshop in Jerusalem It is a bit of a seedy place It was certainly not the workshop of a carpenter craftsman.   This is where they take something that was once living and breathing - a tree - and turn it into an instrument of death. This is a place where they take two or three rough pieces of wood - and nail them together.   It doesn’t require any skill. The wood does not need to be prepared or sanded down or treated. It is a late in the day job with cast-off wood.  

Walking beside Jesus Mark 11.1-11

Mark 11.1-11 There are those who go ahead of Jesus and those who trail behind Jesus. There are those of us who go ahead of Jesus At the time these were the ones who thought they knew what Jesus had come to do: he was coming as a military ruler and he would breath life back into the resistance movement. He would raise an army and by force he would expel the Roman occupiers, and then he would establish the Kingdom of God. Israel would again be free. The cause was everything and they were believed that Jesus was the man for their cause. But they had missed the point. This was not what Jesus had come to do. It is very easy to think that we can recruit Jesus to our cause: the environment or the economy, socialism or capitalism, gender issues or traditional values. We imagine that Jesus is the champion of our cause, that this is what he is all about, that this is what the gospel, the good news, is all about. Or maybe we are not quite as idealistic. We go ahead of Jesus in the sense that we w