Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Remain in Me" Why and How

Baptism cleanses us from sin and puts us into Christ and into his body, the church, but it does not guarantee we will stay there by itself. Jesus is quite clear in the reading from John’s gospel for this Sunday.  “You have already been cleansed,” he tells his disciples (John 15:3). But now we need to abide, and keep abiding if we wish to have the life begun in us at baptism to flourish and us to grow, rather than wither, die, and then, as Jesus puts it rather starkly, “be thrown into the fire and burned” (verse 6). This call to abide in Christ constantly is not simply for us to experience closeness with God, though that may happen. Ultimately, as Jesus says in verse 8, the call to abide is made so that, like branches in a grapevine, we may bear much fruit.
Here are this week's readings:

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Good Shepherd

As you read through the book of John, you will encounter 7 different conversations in which Jesus makes very specific, far reaching, and some might say, outrageous statements about Himself. Jesus does not just claim to know these things, or explain these things.  He blatantly claims that He
is these things.  If true, the implications, and impact are tremendous.  The implications reach deep into our real, daily lives.  The impact involves life-changing transformation with everlasting consequence.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jesus' Resurrection Changes Everything

A further reflection on Easter

Something happened at the Resurrection of Jesus which changes everything ... because He was raised from the dead, the disciples lived differently with a  new sense of purpose, a new hope and a new energy. But this new purpose, hope and energy was not only because He was raised from the dead, but because of His promise to return and renew everything.  They had a sense that in Christ they had discovered the one through whom God would make all things new. Is there experience your experience?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter: Resurrection Power in You

Jesus' resurrection declares that God has the final say and that He is the God of the past, present and future.
As a text I have chosen the words of the angel in Mark 16:6&7:
"He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

This reminds us that even when we are not sure of what lies ahead of us, we can be sure that Christ is going ahead of us. And that, I would hope, is rather good news for you and for me this morning.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Holy Saturday: He descended to the Dead

                                                                                                   Image sourced here
A Holy Saturday homily written in Greek in the fourth century; the author is unknown.

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Good Friday: A Man of Sorrows, acquainted with Grief

...a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.
...a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
...a man of pains, well acquainted with illness.
...a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.
...a man who suffered, who knew pain first hand.

Jesus has many names and many titles. I have a list here which takes 6 pages to print out, but I suggest the most important is the Man of Sorrows. This day is the centre of our faith. You will all know that when you have most needed Christ, you don't turn to Bethlehem, you turn to Calvary; in our darkest hour, we prefer Gethsemane to Nazareth. When we are in pain and suffering, we don't turn to the fact that He will come again in glory as King, No, we turn to the fact that He came as a man who knew sorrow and was grief stricken: A Man of Sorrows, acquainted with Grief, that's someone we can identify with, can't we?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Maundy Thursday: What on earth does that mean?

Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.

Still He Walked

This "poem" is generally accredited to "Author Unknown", but one source credits it to Paul Ciniraj, India. One of our staff introduced us to it at our Staff Devotions on Wednesday morning of Holy Week and took us for a walk on our campus and onto the surrounding streets, stopping every now and again to read a stanza. It was quite moving as we remembered that life went on around Jesus as He carried His cross through the narrow, crowded streets of Jerusalem, as folk rushed about, getting ready for the Passover before the Sabbath began. It would have been a real nuisance to have an execution procession on the streets that day and it would have made passers by all the more abusive

Prayer for Prisoners of Conscience

We visited Salisbury Cathedral in January 2014 and what a wonderful experience it was. In January 2015 I visited Westminster Abbey, hoping for a similarly uplifting spiritual encounter, but to no avail ... it is a much busier tourist attraction with no real opportunity for  being still, knowing He is God, and sensing the stones crying out in worship of Him. Salisbury Cathedral allows for a much more intimate encounter. I took this photo of Salisbury Cathedral's Baptismal font and looking towards the front of the cathedral. At the east end (front) of the Cathedral are the striking blue windows of the 'Prisoners of Conscience'.  The designation of these windows speaks of a person being obedient to