Thursday, October 23, 2008

As promised, again

A follow up to the Moan Moan Moan sermon...perhaps a bit more sympathetic!

Year A Proper 21 (2008) RCL Principal
Seeing from the other side…

Last week I preached on moaning, and talked about how good we, and by we I mean most human beings, are at moaning. It doesn’t matter what our usual temperament, or whether we are generally happy, give us the chance and we will be away, grumbling about the weather, the economy, the government, the way things aren’t what they used to be, the Church, the world, whatever.

This train of thought was inspired by the Israelites in this amazing story of the Exodus. Freed from Egypt following the 10 plagues, brought through the red sea without even getting their feet wet, they seemed to follow that up with a protracted campaign of complaint. At least that’s what the text seems to say. First of all we have complaints over bitter water, which is sweetened by God and made drinkable, then complaints over the lack of meat and bread in the desert. We had that almost incredible moment when they seem to say ‘it was OK in Egypt really because the food was good’. No matter that they were in slavery, no matter that at the end their children were being murdered, that they were being beaten and oppressed – they got meat and bread. Now I am as fond of meat and bread as the next person, as is obvious, but when compared to being free or being enslaved, even I would take the freedom and get on with sorting out the meals later. It reminds me of a picture I was sent yesterday which said in large letters ‘never underestimate the power of stupidity in large groups of people’. [more]

As promised!

A longer talk, part of a series on parables, as always continued on New Kid Deep Stuff

Coming home – the parable of the lost son

Jesus was a consummate storyteller. It may seem obvious to us now, but the way he used parables was, though not unusual in the ancient world, certainly striking and filled with a depth and meaning upon meaning that even now through the ages resonates with us as we try and know him more and seek his will and the Kingdom of God that he proclaims.

And today we are faced with one of the most striking and, in some ways to the leaders of his day, disturbing parables that he told. The parable of the prodigal son, as it is known, or perhaps more accurately the prodigal father or the lost son (as it is headed in the New International Version that we have here).

Of course, like most Biblical passages, it helps to have a bit of background, a bit of context to add to our understanding and, whilst we could probably never know the definitive meaning of any parable – as every time we read one new meanings come out – it might help us grow in our appreciation of all that is in this parable. [more]

The incredible disappearing Vicar

As you might have guessed, the painful process of moving has been preoccupying me for the past few weeks so blogging has gone right out of the window! In fact I am sitting here in my study, empty except for my PC and junk on the desk, surrounded by boxes, whilst the removal company men are stopping for lunch. It's an odd time, a certain sense of excitement at moving on, with some trepidation about what's next and a huge sadness at what we are leaving behind. There's much that is good and worth celebrating about this Team of Parishes and the clergy colleagues I have, we have made great friends here and been very happy, though we have had lots to do and it has been very hard work much of the time....

I think that the most striking thing had been, looking back, how much I've learnt, how my life has changed, and how I have discovered much of who I am as a minister and as a person. These revelations haven't all been easy, and there's been some heartache and struggle, but as for where I am and where I'm going I am pretty much at peace with all of this.

The next time I write I will be in Devon, in my new home and looking forward to a new ministry - unless I can get the hang of blogging by mobile (on my shiny new iPhone) then it may be another few weeks before I get to do this - I don't think my internet will be connected until November 8th or so. I do have a couple of sermons/talks I want to put up so I will investigate that in the next few hours before I get unplugged (internet wise, rather than personally, obviously - I am actually solar powered) - there may be something to read here in the near future.... or maybe not....

So it's goodbye from Bourn, Cambridge, God bless.