Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Mark 15.33-39

From noon until three o'clock it was dark over all the land. At three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "My God, My God, why have You left Me alone?"

When some of those who stood by heard that, they said, "Listen! He is calling for Elijah."One of them ran and took a sponge and filled it with sour wine. He put it on a stick and gave it to Him to drink. He said, "Let Him alone. Let us see if Elijah will come and take Him down."

Then Jesus gave a loud cry. He gave up His spirit and died. The curtain in the house of God was torn in two from top to bottom. The captain of the soldiers was looking at Jesus when He cried out. He saw Him die and said, "Surely, this Man was the Son of God."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Palm Sunday 2008

A sermon for Palm Sunday, as promised!

Year A Palm Sunday 2008

What did they think they were doing?

As we hear again the familiar story of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, as we imagine the crowds pressing against him, the shouts, the palm trees being stripped of leaves, cloaks laid on the ground. As we imagine the air ringing with the sound of acclamation ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’. As we see this rag tag collection of ordinary people, along with prostitutes, tax-collectors, fishermen, labourers, fanatics, religious types following this odd figure seated upon a donkey, a beast of burden. As we wonder at the adulation of the crowd and the song of people we should ask ourselves – what did they think they were doing?

Jesus came into Jerusalem, we are told, on this wave of popular support. But they were an odd group to have considered taking on an occupying army, if that is indeed what they expected to do. I mean, if they were declaring Jesus king, as the inference of their words seems to do, they weren’t really equipped to deal with the Roman soliders that would be quick to put down such an insurrection. [more]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Really quite poorly, actually

That cold turned into a pretty hefty bout of 'flu which knocked me out for the best part of a week, hence no postings! I then found myself thrown into our Marriage Preparation Day where we prepare as many couples as can make it for their wedding day later in the year. We find by putting all the content of what could be a number of evenings into one day we get a lot more done and we offer both some Christian perspective on what we believe marriage to be, and some practical help in putting together a very personal and individual wedding service. A good day, but quite intense and tiring...

Then Sunday was palm Sunday, which was a good day, I had three services on Sunday, all of which were very thought provoking for different reasons. We took different perspectives on the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem which then led into the reading of the full passion narrative from the Gospel of Matthew. Very moving, very profound. I only preached at one of the three services because for two of them the very long Passion Gospel was enough - the story spoke for itself. For the third service we didn't have the longer reading so I preached on the Gospel of the entry into Jerusalem. I will try and post that sermon here in the next few days.

We are now in the midst of Holy week, which sees lots of different worship events, and different opportunities to engage with the meaning of this time of year leading to Good Friday. Yesterday we had a service of penitence and Holy Communion which I led. It is a very reflective service with the opportunity to think about that old fashioned but still pertinent idea of 'sin' and to let go of some of the things which weigh us down as we follow Christ. During the service participants have the opportunity to place some incense on burning coals as a symbol of confession and of letting go of sin. Another very moving experience which led into a very simple and equally moving Communion as a reminder of the promise of wholeness God offers in this meal of restoration and taste of hope of the kingdom...

Now that's a sentence that bears unpacking...

another time, perhaps?

Of course in amongst all the special services we have the usual important things to do. Having the vestiges of 'flu hanging about means that its not wise for me to visit too many folk, esp if they are frail. I still have a sermon which I have to prepare and lead tomorrow and I have visited the family today. there is a lot going on at the local school which I have had a part in, today being the 50th anniversary of the opening of the school on its present site so we had a celebration culminating in a short service which I'd prepared and then a very enjoyable 'birthday tea'.

There's more school visiting to do tomorrow, along with some preparation for our special Good Friday service, and a funeral. So I will leave things here, just to say that I've missed you all :-) I will try and post more over the next few days, but no promises. Whatever happens, have a blessed Holy Week and a happy Easter. May the light and life of Christ be yours!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

a bit poorly

Well, having escaped the flu-ey bug up to now it really hit yesterday - fortunately I don't seem to have it as bad as the rest of the family had it, but I still felt pretty rotten yesterday and today - which was a bit of a shame as yesterday was my birthday. Thirty-nine years old and wondering what I will do to mark my Fortieth! I guess it depends where we are by March of next year!

So here I am now, aching and nursing slightly strained back muscles due to excessive coughing! Despite the fuzzy head feeling that i have I am still trying to put together something original by way of a sermon for tomorrow. Fortunately it's a 'light' Sunday with only an 8.30am and a 10.30am to cover.

Unfortunately this coldy thing started on Thursday evening and I took myself off to bed early, which was when i was going to offer reflections on the excellent training day I had been on! I will write more when my head is clear and services aren't looming.

Have a good Sunday!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lots to think about

I seem to be spending a lot of time musing at the moment and not a lot of time doing. I mean, I am doing all the things I normally do, but not really doing more than that. I think part of it is because of the huge amount of work i did in January and February, followed by a week in France, I don't feel as though I have quite reconnected with everything yet.

In fact, things are eerily quiet in the parishes - I've done some visiting of the sick, I've had quite a lot of meetings, I've led a number of services, I've been out and about, I've had a day at Ely Cathedral finding out about what it means to be a 'Day Chaplain' (I will tell you more when I've done a day) and I've spent a lot of time with the family as wife and children have had very heavy colds which has meant no one has been completely healthy (except me) for a week or so.

Even so, that bit of spare time that has cropped up hasn't really seen me doing stuff - I've not been writing (that much is obvious) nor reading anything particularly serious, I did do a Holy Joes evening last week entitled 'What's all this resurrection business, then?' for which I re-read much of Rowan William's book 'Resurrection' which is very good indeed, alongside the pertinent parts of Hugh Montifiore's 'The Womb and the Tomb'. It just seems I have spent a fair amount of time thinking.

This is, in lots of ways, a good thing - its easy to keep going at full pelt and forget to reflect on what exactly is going on - considering where one is at and why, and where one hopes to be going. The thoughts I had about the possibility of ministering abroad are part of this process, inspired by having spent five days in Bergerac and by my reflections on the type of ministry I believe God might be calling me to. I am always telling people it is a good thing to slow down, to be counter-cultural in a world that seems to be making us speed up all of the time - so it is good for me to put that into practice myself!

So I will carry on my musing, there are some things i need to get done, and I am going to a training day about adult education and lay ministry on Thursday. When my musings turn into something defined I will share it with you, until then you might want to check out these....