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...

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. ...

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...

Together we belong – together we are strong

One of the songs sung by the military wives led by Gareth Malone is titled “Stronger Together”. It says “together we are stronger we can overcome. Together we belong together we are strong”, and it makes a reference to the voices above the noise which are full of life and full of hope. To me those voices echo voice of the Holy Spirit supporting and leading on through the challenges of this life to overcome the powers of evil and hold fast to the love of God. In recent months, we’ve seen examples of this through the coming together of Mancunians and of Londoners where those of different ...

The riddle of a parable

Okay guys, I've a few facts for you. Firstly, global warming is a reality. Honestly; in millions of years of recorded temperatures - more recently through scientific observation and analysing weather patterns, over time through arctic ice core samples and the rings of ancient trees: both felled in recent years and those millions of years old but petrified into rock itself. Yup, since we humans started to industrialise the world, temperatures on this little globe have increased dramatically in contrast with variations over the millennia before. And another? Hate to break it to you, but t...

A Tuesday evening walk

I'm walking along over gravel that crunches under foot. The track snakes away in front and behind, partially lit by sunlight, which rests in dappled patches through the leaves and branches that overhang the path. To my left and right spindly hazel and holly share a forest with larger oaks and clumps of fern beneath. As I round the path, a sudden scuffle of leaves reveals a bird, angrily chirping as my walk disturbs her evening forage. Overhead, the tree branches sway gently in a light breeze - their leaves making a background shush to the light buzz of insects, occasional bird tweet and co...

Banquet for all?

Banquets: course after course of good food. Canapés, soups, fresh fish, steaks, lightly cooked fresh vegetables, new potatoes, dauphinoise potatoes, French fries, pavlovas, mousses, tarts, ice cream, sorbet soft and hard cheeses, cheese biscuits, grapes - all accompanied by good wine and finished off with a cup of freshly ground coffee. All of the above? Picture that against a background of light background music, surrounded by good company and conversation - and all the time in the world to relax and talk. Well, if that’s what it’s like on Earth, I can promise you God’s banquet will be...

Thoughts on a walk

On Saturday the 17th June, I joined twenty-eight of my work mates for a walk. The event was a company sponsored one, in aid of the St James Society - a homeless charity that the company I work for, Benefex, are supporting this year. We started Friday afternoon, loading a coach with supplies: tents, sleeping bags, cool-boxes, food stuffs, camping stoves, pillows, barbecues, camp chairs and backpacks in all manner of shapes and sizes. Finally, we were loaded on ourselves too - headed to Crickhowell, where a campsite would be our home for the next two nights. Work mates are funny things. I ...

Traditional or modern?

Sister Act
I'm not often one for the theatre. It's never been a first choice for me where an evening entertainment is concerned: perhaps it's a sign of modern times, but I'd consider the cinema before a play. Or perhaps I'm just uncultured. However, everything I've seen at the theatre I've enjoyed. A ballet, based on the story of Dracula. War Horse - which I won't deny left a tear in my eye. There's a certain skill involved in telling a story when the only space you have to tell it is on a stage; where you've only one take to get it right; where set design, props and lighting are as much a part...

Dr Livingstone, I presume?

David Livingstone
Fascinated by the person of Dr. David Livingstone, the missionary/explorer. I read and reread the accounts of his explorations, his amazing expeditions (he was the first European to cross the African continent from west to east on foot) his visits back to England, and finally his lonely death in a remote area of East Africa, where he had been searching for the source of the Nile. But although I had read a good deal about Livingstone, I couldn’t say I really knew him. I knew he had a wayward son who caused him a great deal of heartache; I knew he and wife endured long periods of separation...