Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent
Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45
Saturday 1 April
In Henning Mankell’s novel ‘The fifth Woman’, Linda, Wallander’s daughter, asks her father, “Why is it so difficult to live in Sweden”. He replies “Sometimes I think it’s because we’ve stopped darning our socks. When I was growing up, Sweden was still a country where people darned their socks … then suddenly, one day, it was over; socks with holes in them were thrown out, no one bothered to repair them, the whole society changed. Wear it out then toss it was the only rule that applied.
As long as it was just a matter of our socks a change didn’t make much difference, but then it started to spread, until finally it became a kind of invisible moral cold. I think it changed our view of right and wrong, of what you were allowed to do to other people and what you weren’t. More and more people, especially young people feel unwelcome in their own county. How do they react; with aggression and contempt. The most frightening thing is that I think we’re only at the beginning of something that’s going to get a lot worse. A generation is growing up right now …. who are going to react with even greater violence and they have absolutely no memory of a time when we darned our socks. When we didn’t throw everything away, weather it was our woollen socks or human beings.
Question: Did Jesus darn socks? He certainly didn’t throw away relationships. For him people were children of God, they were the ‘Imago Dei’ of God. So, what has that got to say about how we approach people who would appear different today? What are the consequences of drawing closer to God during this Lenten period, and what does the approaching Holy Week and Easter story mean for us in today’s world? Should we learn to darn socks?
Posted in Insights, Lent, Observation, Reflection, Uncategorized
Tagged darn, father, Henning Mankell, holy spirit, hpc, huddersfield parish church, Imago Dei, impressions from st pete's, jesus god, relationships, socks, st peter's, unwelcome, Wallander, welcome
Thursday 1 December
John the Baptiser was clear about his role and purpose in life: he was to clear the way for God to come among his people. The Kingdom of God is simply where God is to be found – something the people couldn’t quite understand. John is preparing them for a surprise: God among them as one of them. To do this, he forgets tact and diplomacy and calls people to clear away the distracting rubbish and open themselves to the coming of God. Repentance means changing the way they look, see, think about and respond to God’s presence … in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, not in the resolution of their problems.
Question: What might you need to clear out in order for God to be welcomed?
Loving Lord, open our eyes to see Jesus as he is. Open our ears to hear his call to join him and his friends. Open our minds to think about him afresh. Open our hearts to receive him. Amen
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Insights, Observation, Reflection, Uncategorized
Tagged clearance, God, hpc, huddersfield parish church, Jesus, John the Baptist, kingdom, open, repentence, st peter's, welcome
Friday 4th March
Another day another contact.
A wonderful contact, just like Philip being brought to Jesus. One of the faithful brings a friend, who wants to belong, wants to be among friends, and is willing to learn a pathway to do so. She comes seeking baptism.
But it is the friend’s faith that is attractive and I know that friend comes with simplicity of heart which again is attractive to the others.
I am happy because I know she will be welcomed, warmly welcomed into our open community.
Thursday 31 December
I have two different ways of preparing for celebrating a Eucharist.
During the week and at the early Sunday service at St. Peter’s, I robe early and go and sit and wait as worshippers arrive. At the main service on a Sunday I wait at the back and greet people as they come into church.
Both forms of preparation are significant. The first is ‘my’ time and spreads to those who gather. Catching up is done at the end. However the at the back welcome is equally important and has something to do with linking together of the much larger gathering; I have spoken to nearly everyone beforehand and there is an integration achieved through this contact. Late or on the cusp arrival don’t glean this connection to the celebrant, but ho hum you can’t win them all.
Thursday 8th January 2015
The greatest impression of the Bethlehem shepherds is that they are ordinary.
No scrub that idea for they were less than ordinary. If you were retelling the arrival of the son of God, you probably would’ve imagine poor, smelly, no hope or dream shepherds to be included in the visitors list.
Indeed the style police and door keepers would have kept them well clear. This is until you remember the stable and birth place. Not less than ordinary individuals but rather on a par and normal for this poor and lowly birth of the most magnificent.
Do not be over humble in thinking that God is either beyond nor beneath you. Whatever your ordinariness – Jesus has been there!
The Rev’d Canon Simon Moor – Vicar of Huddersfield Parish Church
We ‘Welcome’ really well. We are open and receiving.
Interesting, because in a sense when you are welcoming it is not welcomed who needs to change to make being hospitable a reality.
We welcome by opening a door, offering refreshment, turfing the cat off of the most comfortable seat. We do not stand behind a locked door, staring through frosted and shouting through the barrier; we would not expect a guest to bring their own drink; and we would expect them to sit on the floor in favour of the cat.
God’s Grace is welcoming and calls us to be the same.
In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, Luke 15:1-10 we read this evening about Jesus and the Pharisees and teachers of the law at loggerheads. Not only was Jesus welcoming tax collectors and sinner, but he was putting them beyond the ordinary. Lost sheep and lost coins given every last drop of resources and attention.
We are challenged to such welcome that rejoices, is thrilled by hospitality.
Reflecting on welcoming – how difficult can it be?
Just look at the alternative. Being unwelcoming is so stressful. You feel uncomfortable, unwanted, unwilling to return to a place or situation for similar rudeness.
Being hospitable and open builds relationship and long term trust, so that when it matters help can be sought and given.
Too often places are empty of people or devoid of atmosphere when a genuine welcome is lacking.
Be therefore at ease with one another and reap the benefits.