A Good Friday Reflection on the power of the cross (based on the account in Mark’s Gospel)

Jesus was being crucified with two “rebels” or “bandits”. Not “thieves” as traditionally rendered. These were not men who had run off with somebody’s handbag. Crucifixion was reserved for runaway slaves and those who had rebelled against Roman rule. Jesus has the charge “King of the Jews” over his head. Only the Emperor is allowedContinue reading “A Good Friday Reflection on the power of the cross (based on the account in Mark’s Gospel)”

A Reflection for Palm Sunday

We’ve just had a long weekend in Jordan. Driving around I’ve enjoyed looking out for flocks of sheep and goats (sometimes with a shepherd), camels, and the occasional donkey. I’d like today to focus on the donkey ridden by Jesus into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday. What is Jesus doing commandeering somebody else’s donkey? IsContinue reading “A Reflection for Palm Sunday”

Father & Son: further reflections

Having written on Sunday about the importance of the Father:Son relationship in Christianity, I realised that this raises a number of issues which might be bugging some readers. In the first place, is this just a projection of our own needs? In a hostile world do we make up a Sky Father who we hopeContinue reading “Father & Son: further reflections”

Building for the Kingdom

In my last post I talked about the Christian hope of resurrection – of heaven coming to earth at the second coming of Christ so that the whole creation is healed and purged of evil and suffering forever. That hope raises some questions. If it’s true, then what are we meant to do now? HowContinue reading “Building for the Kingdom”

Acts 2.14-41: How not to bore people with sermons

I was recently asked to preach a sermon about preaching sermons. Sermons do not have a good reputation. The novelist Anthony Trollope wrote in Barchester Towers: There is no greater hardship inflicted upon mankind in civilised countries than the necessity of listening to sermons. Must it be so? Do sermons have to be boring? IContinue reading “Acts 2.14-41: How not to bore people with sermons”

Malachi 3.10-12: The Promise of Tithing

It has been said that there are five Love Languages – ways we express our love: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. One of the ways we express love for God is by what we give to him. Ourselves, our faith, our time, our obedience and, somewhere inContinue reading “Malachi 3.10-12: The Promise of Tithing”

In praise of the nation state

Why stand up for the nation state? Isn’t this a bit out of date? I don’t think so. The nation state still has a vital place in human society – for several reasons, the first of which has become particularly relevant during the current pandemic. The nation state has borders. Borders allow nations to protectContinue reading “In praise of the nation state”

Two kinds of fear

During the last week of his life Jesus had several encounters with the authorities in Jerusalem where they tried to trap him with tricky questions but found instead that they were the ones who got caught out. In Matthew’s Gospel the sequence begins with the chief priests and elders of the people challenging Jesus aboutContinue reading “Two kinds of fear”