Tag Archives: faith

Simple Confession

 

Readings for Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-9, Philippians 2:5-115: 1-11 & Matthew 27:11-54

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 Wednesday 5th April

In the Philippian’s reading on Sunday St Paul distils his understanding of Jesus’ path to Jerusalem . From way before his Christmas birth and onward into time. A simple creed to ‘confess’ that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Placing the next few week’s thoughts centred on that one line.

 Prayer Give me wisdom and faith as I read , glory and pray the word of Paul in his letter to the Philippians 2:5-11.

 

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Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45

 Monday 27 March25

The Collect for next  Sunday affirms, at its most basic, that by the death and resurrection of Jesus the world has been delivered and saved and that by faith in that we may triumph. We speak, as Christians, quite a lot about being saved, but saved from what, delivered from what?

There’s no magic here, in the sense of a quick fix. God in Jesus waves no magic wand that once upon a time put everything right, allowing us to get on with it, all freshly polished as it were. The reality is that the world, you and I, every moment in fact, needs delivery: delivery from all that runs contrary to that which we see and understand about God in Jesus. And if Jesus’ death means anything, it means that this delivery is costly and sacrificial. Saving the world is a moment by moment commitment to be the presence of Jesus for each other and for the world in all our circumstances, all our days.

Question: How am I involved in the process of sacrifice and the  saving of the world today?

Prayer: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” – Teresa of Avila.

Ultimately, It is the day by day, moment by moment sacrifice of every one of us that saves and delivers this beautiful but broken world.

 

Readings for 3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17: 1-7, Romans 5: 1-11 & John 4: 5-42

18Saturday 18th March

What happens to us when God breaks the rules? We are called as Christian people to model our behaviour on the behaviour of Christ. What a challenge! I wonder if an alien arrived in our parishes this Sunday, and was asked to imagine Jesus based on the behaviour of his present-day disciples, what conclusions that alien might draw?

Perhaps that the Jesus we follow was a nice comfortable chap who liked to sit in big buildings once a week? Perhaps that the Jesus we follow was a sensible, common sense sort, who would like to hope for the wonderful, but generally expects the slightly below par, with a small dose of cynicism and a bucket of pragmatism thrown in. But of course that is not the Jesus we try to follow. That Jesus would surely never have chosen the cross. But our Jesus did – chose the outrageous, dangerous, glorious expression of ultimate love – so   that our faith and love for God could transcend what we have  been told, what we have inherited. So that we might truly be  liberated to follow the Saviour of the world.

Question: How do our lives reflect the way Jesus lived?

 Prayer: Freedom-giving God, loose the chains of habit and culture that bind us to false religion. Set us free to follow the earth-changing ways of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Breaking…..!

Readings for 3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17: 1-7, Romans 5: 1-11 & John 4: 5-42

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Friday 17th March

 

So God in Jesus breaks the rules – the rules that people thought were His in the first place – but that it turned out we’d got a bit wrong.  Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well, he asks for her help (something that many of us in church communities still really struggle with – simply asking for help when we need it)  – and then Jesus goes a step further.  This meeting isn’t just a quick story to show Jesus’ revolutionary credentials – it’s  a true encounter – a complex dialogue. Jesus really listens to what the woman has to say about her faith, and he answers her in kind, speaking directly and with conviction of the nature of God the Father and his own nature as God’s Son. It is through this dialogue, this deep encounter, that the woman’s knowledge, what has been passed down to her by her ancestors, is transformed into relationship with the living God. It is Jesus’ presence, his  attention, his listening, the building of  relationship, which builds  the bridge between tradition and living faith. It is our presence,      our attention, our listening, and our building of relationships, which will enable our churches to grow in living faith.

 

 Question: Can we speak easily to others about our faith?   If we can’t, how can we develop that skill?

 

 

Prayer: Listening God, hear the cries of my heart today, for myself and for your world. In my busyness help me to be present to others, and to you. Amen.

 

 

 

A Dry Place.

Readings for 3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17: 1-7, Romans 5: 1-11 & John 4: 5-42

Monday 13th March

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When we hear of time spent in the wilderness, what do we picture? An arid dry place? Somewhere familiar, or a landscape beyond our experience? We live in one of the most built up areas in our country, but an area where we are never far from the moors. I wonder what landscape we picture?   I wonder if a distant wilderness is more frightening because of its unknown dangers, or if it is the desolation of the familiar moors which strikes us cold, because we may be only too aware of its dangers.

In Sunday’s reading from Exodus, God’s people are travelling from the wilderness “by stages”, and journeying towards the place God has   promised them. There is danger, there is risk. There is the known and   the unknown. And there is God.

Question: As we find ourselves in the middle of Lent 2017, I wonder what stage of the journey from wilderness to promise we find ourselves at.   Are we in the middle of a journey from unbelief to faith? We may be   confident of our direction and hopeful of our destination – or we may find ourselves unable to see an end to the wilderness of work, stress, anxiety and pressure.

Prayer: Creator God, you are the God of my everyday, the close & familiar – and you are the God of the wilderness places in my life and heart. Open the eyes of my heart to feel your presence on this journey. Amen.

 

 

 

Focus

Monday 4 April

The prayer at the end of one of this morning’s psalm was moving for me.

Gracious God, you are full of compassion;
may we who long for your kingdom to come
rejoice to do your will
and acknowledge your power alone to save;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

so very Easter in its focus.

Palm Sunday Tale

Sunday 20 March

The simplest of memories from the South Yorkshire village of Hoylandswaine. 

We were walking fro the chapel to the church one Palm Sunday behind our donkey. The
Vicar and choir were robed, the sun shone and people we passed received palm crosses. Even cars were hailed and given the same gift.

Six years or so later I am loitering in Huddersfield Parish Church when a man comes over and asks if I was once the vicar of Hoylandswaine. I nervously said yes.

They said they received a palm cross which was blu-tac-ed onto their dash board. Only being given the cross flipped a switch in their spirituality from which baptism and commitment flowed.