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Showing posts from May, 2024

John 15:26-16:15 on the Holy Spirit. Pentecost 2024

John 15:26-16:15 It is a very special few days: we have Ascension, Pentecost and, next Sunday, Trinity At Pentecost we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit The Spirit can come dramatically – like he did in our first reading: the sound of a wind, tongues of fire and the disciples speaking in tongues. I have had experience of that. I had been asked to speak about being filled with the Spirit to our college Christian Union. It was the first time I had spoken. I spent hours preparing the talk. I was so nervous that I knocked over a bottle of milk as I came forward to speak. I read from my notes. And amazingly, God turned up. It was like Pentecost. At the end two people made the decision to follow Jesus, and to the best of my knowledge they are still going strong; and we had to have a chill out room because people were just, like drunk, with the overwhelming presence of God. But the Spirit also comes very gently. In John, we are given another description of the coming of the Spirit: It i

On dragons.

The dedication of the coronation gate.  St Margaret's Church, Burnham Norton. I’d like to speak for a few moments about the dragon on our new coronation gate. St Margaret's coronation gate DRAGONS ARE SCARY For the ancients, dragons represented the unknown, the monstrous, the terrifying. They were fire-breathing serpents, with an obsession for treasure and a sweet tooth for princesses. I think of Smaug in the Hobbit, your archetypal dragon: living deep in his mountain, in caves scattered with the bones of cattle and humans, never fully asleep, guarding his treasure, virtually indestructible, cunning and deceptive, and when stirred or hungry or simply in a lousy mood, rousing himself to raid the haunts of men for food or treasure, and bringing devastation with his fire. Dragons have come to represent in the ancient imagination, all that is scary, all that is beyond our control, all that is fearful, all that brings death and destruction. They are, in the ancient world’s imaginati

A call to persevere. Mark 13.5-13. St Mark's day 2024

Mark 13:5-13 ‘When you hear of wars and rumours of wars’ It is rather an appropriate passage. Jesus is being asked when the temple will be destroyed. He does sort of answer their question, ‘within this generation’, but he expands the destruction of the temple so that it becomes a picture of what the end will be like. And rather than talk about time, Jesus instead turns the conversation around and challenges them. It is not a matter so much of when the end is coming, but of how we should live before the en And Mark 13 is a call to us to be aware, to be alert, to keep awake (it is repeated at least 6 times in this chapter). It is a call to not be afraid, to be courageous, to endure to the end. We are called to beware of false ‘Messiahs’. We are called not to give in to the fear caused by wars, and rumours of wars, and earthquakes and famines – the fear which leads us to misplace our hope in the real Jesus, the Son of God, who lived 2000 years ago in Palestine, who was crucified, rose fro