Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How ordinary and how human

Morning: Psalm 45; Isaiah 48:12-21; Galatians 1:18-2:10

The hometown crowd took offence when Jesus taught in Nazareth.  He said: ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’  This morning, I arrived back in England to visit my mother.  Now I am no prophet, nor do I presume to teach my family.  Nonetheless, sometimes it feels to me as if people think I am still that teenager, as if I just left - though that was 48 years ago!  Perhaps you, too, can imagine how ordinary and how human was his experience.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Time to get up … moving from fear to trust

Morning: Psalms 41, 52; Isaiah 48:1-11; Galatians 1:1-17
“Talitha koum!” were the words Jesus spoke to a young girl who seemed at the point of death … “Time to get up, little girl!” he said.  These were ordinary words in Aramaic, the local language that Jesus used every day.  Here was a sign – because the little girl did in fact get up – of something extraordinary breaking into ordinary life, inviting her and her fearful family to trust in a power beyond their understanding.  To only ever trust what you can understand doesn’t leave much room for trust, does it?  Jairus chose to trust Jesus and was not disappointed.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Conversations about what “sin” is

Morning: Psalms 63, 98; Isaiah 47:1-15; Hebrews 10:19-31
Evening: Psalm 103; John 5:2-18

People seem to think clergy know the answers to thorny questions!  Or maybe they want to see if you’re arrogant enough to assume you know!? Lately, a few people have asked me what “sin” is, or whether some action is a “sin”.  When Jesus heals, he says, “Go and sin no more.”  So … If healing means being delivered from isolation, like the man at the pool, maybe sin is simply broken-down relationships – us with God, us with others, or with our own divided heart?  So let me ask you: What do you think “sin” is?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Absorbing evil so that others can go free

Morning: Psalms 30, 32; Isaiah 46:1-13; Ephesians 6:10-24
The Romans overran the Mediterranean before Jesus was born.  Their rule was thought evil; the nations were ‘possessed’ by them.  Then Jesus frees the naked, wounded demoniac from demons.  The demons go into a herd of pigs, who rush into the Sea, suggesting the Roman occupiers will be thrown back into the Mediterranean.  Yet greater than the defeat of Roman rule is Jesus’s story … human evil absorbed in his naked, beaten form.  Jesus is the pioneer on the Way to the healing of human brokenness, taking the full force of evil on himself so that others can go free.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The minstrel of the dawn

Morning: Psalm 19; Isaiah 45:18-25; Philippians 3:4b-11
Evening: Psalm 119:89-112; Acts 9:1-22

Do you remember being on one path in life, but then you started to see things differently?  Whether slowly or suddenly, your world changed – your life, your relationships, your work, everything.  Some sunrises are hidden, light dawns slowly; Saul’s new ‘dawn’ was like blinding sunlight bursting over him … suddenly he realized who Jesus was.  When that light dawns, buckle up – you’re in for quite a ride.  For Saul it meant a new name, Paul; it meant becoming what Gordon Lightfoot might have called a ‘minstrel of the dawn’ for millions of others.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Measure for measure, small is beautiful

Morning: Psalm 37:1-18; Isaiah 45:5-17; Ephesians 5:15-33
Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” paraphrases Jesus: “The measure you give will be the measure you get”.  But Jesus is speaking here not about justice so much as investing ourselves in God’s dream for the earth.  The more you give yourself to the dream, the more you will be intrigued and inspired by it; the less you engage, the less you will care.  Our addiction to instant success may blind us to the long-term value of faithfully planting seeds – in small gatherings and devoted attention to right action. A couple of dreamers working diligently in some backwater can change the world.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Jan 23rd – Not everyone thinks Jesus’s News is Good!

Morning: Psalm 38; Isaiah 44:24-45:7; Ephesians 5:1-14
Evening: Psalm 119:25-48; Mark 4:1-20

Oxfam says 26 people (who would all fit into our living-room) possess as much wealth as the poorest 50% of humankind.  The world’s treasure is held by fewer and fewer people.  This is unjust.  But Jesus’s Good News sees justice restored.  Some don’t hear; some don’t want to; some can’t; some rejoice.  Others resist for fear of losing out.  For us, part of Jesus’s Good News may be that the rapid concentration of wealth (and power) in a few hands is unsustainable.  Eventually, justice will be done.  This is dangerous News – because powerful people may object – but it’s Good News.

How ordinary and how human

Morning: Psalm 45 ; Isaiah 48:12-21 ; Galatians 1:18-2:10 Evening: Psalms 47, 48 ; Mark 6:1-13 The hometown crowd took offence when Je...