Bishops Commission for Mission – October 10th, 2017

Is it me, or is it getting darker in the evenings now?  I arrived a little early, having left work early in turn - what a manic day it has been and I found myself at home with more time to spare than I expected, before I needed to leave for this evening’s BCM. That works well though; after racing around mentally at 100mph, a break before thinking on the divine is a good thing! Catch up time in our smaller groups on last week. It seems I might have missed a bit about the second portfolio task - Stacey, Jo and Martin had been drafting an order of service - I’d only focused on the music...
More

Bishops Commission for Mission – October 3rd, 2017

As the sun settles under a clear sky, I arrive at St Lukes in Sway - for the second session of the BCM.  I’m a little early; but fortunately, the lights in the hall are on and tea is being brewed.  With my bike locked up outside and myself out of my motorcycling garb, I come into the warmth for a cup of builders-strength tea. Not a bad tea, but for me, tea isn’t strong enough, unless the spoon can stand upright in the cup by itself. At one end of the hall, a stand and electric piano await; tonight, the theme is on music in worship - and I’ve fears of being asked to play something later in t...
More

Bishops Commission for Mission – September 30th, 2017

I’m on a course. No, correction; it’s a programme; there isn’t a test at the end as such, just a range of material to get through to reach a goal. It’s the ‘Bishop’s Commission for Mission’, or ‘BCM’ and for me specifically, the ‘Worship’ stream. As a part of this course, I should keep a diary - apparently nobody needs to see it, but it’s a reflection of my thoughts as the course - ahem, programme - develops. I imagine, if I keep good notes, it’ll be interesting to look back at this, week one, at the end of the ten weeks or so of this programme; will my perceptions and outlooks have changed al...
More

Our Christian journeys

I have just returned from a parish holiday in Sidmouth. Twenty-one of us left last Sunday afternoon and returned on Friday. On Thursday, we went for a cruise on the river Dart from Totnes to Dartmouth and I daresay some, or maybe all of you, have done that trip at some time. As you journey down the Dart you see very wide sections of the river, and the steamer is in the centre of the river, but at other times, it is narrower, and the steamer has to travel near to one side of the river as that is where there is deep water. As you travel it gives one an opportunity to wonder at God’s creation a...
More

How well do we listen to God?

How well do we listen to God? Do we listen when what he says fits in with our own longings? Do we listen when we think what we hear Is what we think is right? Do we listen just when its convenient - or do we even bother to listen? When we pray, most of us spend most of the time telling God all the problems he already knows more about than we do, and more than often we continue by suggesting how we’d like to see them fixed. We all know what it’s like when someone is talking to us and doesn’t give us space to join in and create a conversation. I just wonder sometimes how God feels when...
More

Faith in Zambia

One of many banners found in Lusaka, Kitwe and beyond
St Mark, who is the saint our little church in Pennington is named for, was responsible for introducing the newly forming Christian faith to Africa. As with many of the saints, he met a sticky end; but his life's work was a success - and today, the Christian presence is strong across the African continent. The county of Zambia is nestled within the heart of Africa, surrounded by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola. It's a country ideally situated for farming, with predictable weather, plenty of water and good soil. An observation that can...
More

Healing through faith

Jesus heals
We ‭have three main characters in the Gospel story of Jesus healing the Centurion slave: namely the Centurion and Jesus, who are present, and the slave, who doesn’t make an appearance, but who is saved from death by Jesus healing powers. What we know about each of these people? We know from reading the Gospel stories that Jesus healed many people physically during his time on earth. It’s also clear that the news of Jesus healing powers spread rapidly as he passed through different regions, healing among the crowds as he went. And obviously the Centurion had heard these stories. Rememb...
More

Out with the old, in with the new?

The story of the Transfiguration is an important one and there is a lot I could have talked about. About how muscled the legs of holy people in Israel must have been, what with all the mountains they had to climb to be a part of the miraculous happenings recounted in the Bible. About how Peter wants to control and contain such an important assemblage - despite the fact they've already grabbed their coats and made motions to leave - and Peter wanted to prolong the moment. About how - along with his birth, baptism, crucifixion and resurrection, the Transfiguration is an essential part of Jesus...
More

Mustard Seeds and Trip Advisor

Well, I don't know about you but I am confused by Matthew 13. In true Bible style we are given parables to describe our ultimate destination, God's kingdom. I am not sure that Trip advisor reviews like those would help. Is somewhere like a mustard seed nearer  a 5 star rating or a 1 star. Who could resist the lure of a kingdom that is like yeast? So we need to try and work out, without the help of a star rating, what Jesus was telling us about the kingdom of Heaven. As I read it these parables can be paired up. The first two, the mustard seed and yeast refer to growth and power. ...
More

Four Undeniables

Peter and John help the beggar
God had just used Peter and John to heal a beggar in his forties who had been lame from birth. The spectacle of this man walking, leaping, and praising God drew a crowd, and Peter proclaimed the gospel to them. Perhaps after the main message, John joined Peter in responding to the crowd, since Acts 4:1 says, “As they were speaking to the people….” Suddenly they were interrupted as the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees came upon them, extremely upset that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. They arreste...
More