23. The wise men gave myrrh, to show that Jesus would die.
The incarnation of Jesus is not just for Christmas. The wise men sensed there was something powerful in the birth of this child. Myrrh, a bye-product of incense resin, had been used in ancient burial rites for eons. So, these visitors might as well have given a coffin! A portent, a guess, a mistake, why would they make such an offering. I suppose any incarnation, fully valid, would have worked out in death or full humanity for Jesus would have been no more than a cheap trick or God playing at the human state. Did the wise men imagine the cross or were they just acknowledging the human frailty that must end?
Pray for those whose lives are ending at this time, those who you have loved and lost. Remember too through the gift of myrrh Jesus too followed that path – horribly in the cross.
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Christmas, Christmas Thoughts, Insights, Observation, Reflection
Tagged coffin, Cross, death, frailty, gift, huddersfield parish church, humanity, Jesus, myrrh, potent, wisemen
Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent
Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45
Friday 31 March
John 11:43, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ Come out of the dark, come out from the touch and stink of death, come out of the emptiness and shadow of the underworld into the light, into the air, and live. David, Simon, Susan, Brenda ……. Whoever you are, Jesus is calling you – come out from darkness into the light, emerge from the chrysalis like the beautiful, yet fragile butterfly and live……If only it were that easy, to ‘come out’ takes courage, it takes courage to open yourself and to trust that others won’t use your vulnerability and squash the emerging self. Come out & live, is different to come out & wish you could go back because you are afraid. It’s perfect, unconditional love that casts out fear & perfect, unconditional love is what we have to offer because it is what God in Jesus offers us. But, oh it’s hard – and our faltering failure injures others.
Prayer: Lord I know that coming out to freedom is costly. Grant me the grace and strength to hear your voice and follow you.
Posted in Lent, Observation, Reflection, Thought for the day
Tagged courage, death, emptiness, father, grace, holy spirit, hpc, huddersfield parish church, impressions from st pete's, jesus god, lazerus, st peter's, strength, vulnerability
Readings for 3rd Sunday in Lent
Exodus 17: 1-7, Romans 5: 1-11 & John 4: 5-42
Tuesday 14th March
I wonder if each of us knows what brings out the worst in us, and I wonder if we would admit it if we do? When the Israelites are following Moses in the wilderness, a people liberated from slavery by God’s miraculous intervention, it is their thirst for water that starts to bring out the worst in them. It is their thirst for water that erodes their trust in Moses as their leader, and in God, despite all they have experienced. To be fair this comes as no surprise – this is a life and death issue – and it is these issues that challenge our humanity most.
We will hear on Sunday of how they quarrelled with Moses and tested God; but I imagine that first they would have quarrelled amongst themselves. As water became scarce they would perhaps look at their community, their friends, their families, with envious eyes, harsh words and surreptitious actions. But God is a God of compassion. He responds to the envy and squabbling of our communities, to our lack of trust – not by withdrawing from us, but by giving more. The rock is split, and living water flows from it. Christ’s life is given, and all things become possible.
Question: What situations bring out the worst in me? How can trusting God more help me deal with this?
Prayer: God of our ancestors, help us trust in you, to turn from our deepest fears, to your life giving love. Amen.
Posted in Lent, Observation, Stories, Thought for the day
Tagged Compassion, death, God, hpc, huddersfield parish church, impressions from st pete, israelites, Jesus, Lent, Life, living water, moses, Prayers, st peter's, thirst, water, worst
Tuesday 15 March
In another of our Lent books, Holy Sweat, Tim Hansel says, “To be able to fail well is absolutely critical.
But the ability to make failure work for you and not against you requires one more quality: perseverance.”
In some ways death is a failure, letting our ultimate human weakness finally win and take over. This is what happens to all of us. This is what happened to Jesus on The Cross. And yet God makes something out of this weakness.
From Jesus’ emptied being comes the ultimate hope of eternal life. From our own deaths comes a share in his eternal life. But the weakness of death is not enough by itself; it requires something else – Tim calls it perseverance. But it has another name, which is, “faith”
Friday 11th December
Two subjects of this week’s blog. Prophets and vigil.
The coming together of these two thought and I am minded of an Advent a number of years past. Call to anoint Milly as in her great age as she slipped towards her end. The vigil lasted a couple of days and well into each night. Bar the last hours Milly was intermittently awake and focussed to know her time was limited and who it was that sat with her.
We had spoken of these last moments and had an understanding that I would try and be with her. So her eyes would flutter and she would smile. Her last words told me not to worry that she was not frightened. For all her faults she told me God loved her and this was not an end but a beginning.
A prophetic vigil!
When she passed illness’ lines faded and Milly not only looked peaceful but quite joyous. I thought of her while writing yesterday’s thoughts down.
‘May she rest in peace and rise in glory.’ What she saw as her promise and slipped towards that one Advent season.
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Observation, Stories
Tagged advent, anoint, blog, death, God Jesé, love, Peace, promise, vigil
12th February 2014
Anna’s and Simeon’s prophecies share a note of hope and expectation, along with declarations that in this child God’s promise is moving into realisation.
Going back to the beginning of Epiphany there was a showing of rich and poor, learned and ordinary, kingship, worship and death. Glimpses of who and what Jesus is to become.
This series of thoughts ends with the mature, with male and female the promise of hope and expectation.
Whatever your gender or status etc. God’s love makes all things new and all things possible.
The Rev’d Canon Simon Moor – Vicar of Huddersfield Parish Church
Posted in Bible text, Observation, Thought for the day
Tagged death, epiphany, expectation., female, hope, Jesus, kingship, learned, male, mature, ordinary, poor, promise, rich, worship
“Death defeated, life vindicated” – a line from today’s lectionaries reading – from 2 Timothy 1 (The Message Version) perhaps sums up our ability to be fully human.
I have know a number of individuals who have died with me present and who were ‘ready’ and, more heartening, were neither afraid nor frightened. They were not afraid of death nor frightened of the future after the moment of dying.
Faith turns the tables on death. It is not even about being prepared, which makes death something to be faced with human valour. “Death defeated” can take fear out of our sphere of torment simply because “life vindicated” gives our mere human form freedom to live life fully- no need to whittle about future – all is within God’s realm.