Running as a metaphor for life

runningThe title sounds a bit more pretentious than I mean this post to be! I have signed up for the Bristol half-marathon in September. Don’t ask me why or how it happened, but it happened. Those of you who know me a little, know that I am a reasonably strong cyclist, but not a very good runner. Even the adjective ‘average’ sounds like a far-fetched compliment when it comes down to my running.

However,  I have found that my ‘training’ so far has given me lots of food for thought. It has made me think why it is that I so desperately want to give up at times, as well as made me challenge how I perceive myself. I guess some of these thoughts reflect experiences not unique to me, but common to some of us, so here they are.

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Freedom, Prayer and Love

A sermon for the First Sunday after Trinity
Preached at St John the Baptist, Mildenhall on Sunday 3rd June 2018

Deuteronomy 5.12–15 & Mark 2.23–3.6

gardenIt it a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon in June. I wonder what the first thing is that comes to mind you will be doing? I suspect some may immediately think of gardening – weeds always seem to grow faster than anything else. Others will have in mind a nice roast lunch with family or friends. Or maybe sit in the garden and read a good novel, or go on a walk. The first thing that comes to my mind are cycling and BBQ-ing! Continue reading “Freedom, Prayer and Love”

A mystery to enter into

A sermon for Trinity Sunday
Preached at St Mary’s Potterne, Sunday 27th May 2018

trinityThe first question one might ask today is ‘Why  have a Sunday dedicated to celebrating a doctrine, to celebrating a Church teaching?’ It is much more straightforward to understand why we celebrate Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, commemorating specific events, moments in history, or at least our salvation history. However, why would we celebrate a concept, even a concept that is nowhere to be found in the Bible explicitly, as it was only first mentioned by the Church Fathers in the late 2nd century?

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Thy Kingdom Come

Sermon preached at St Mary’s Calstone on 12th May
Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost, John 17.6-19

tkcToday is the Sunday between Ascension Day and Pentecost. It is interesting, I think, how in the UK Ascension Day does not really feature, whereas on the Continent in most countries it still is a public holiday.

In the Church of England, this is now the third year that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, have asked people to use these ten days between Ascension last Thursday and Pentecost next Sunday to pray for the nation and the Church. The initiative is called ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, and this year for the first time there will be a big event in Salisbury Cathedral as well, next Sunday evening, 19th May.

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The weirdness of faith

bishopLast week the annual Met Gala took place. For those of you who don’t know what this is, and I have to admit, I was one of you until last week, it is more or less the Oscars of the fashion world. Each year, the event has a particular theme, and this year’s theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

A quick Google Image search shows the most remarkable and extraordinary dresses and costumes, celebrating both fashion and in a way, the human body. Some costumes make explicit reference to Christianity, by including the mitres that Bishops wear, or by being covered with crosses. Ariana Grande even wore a gown printed with the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. For others, at least to me, the connection seems harder to make. In any case, it is far more fashionable than what I’m usually wearing!

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For everything there is a season

For everything there is a season
A Reflection for May Day

seasonsThe first day of May, May Day, has been traditionally been marked as a day to celebrate the return of spring. Despite the chill, it was a glorious morning this year. At Marlborough College we were treated by the Chamber Choir singing the May Madrigals in Court from the Bradleian Arches. It was an opportunity to pause for just a few moments, listening to wonderfully sung music and feeling the warmth of the sun on our backs.

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We and those around us

Some thoughts about living in community

‘The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.’
Edith Stein (1891–1942)

For any community to thrive, whether it’s a town, a school, a business or even a nation, its members need to be able to live together and form meaningful relationships. It also requires an economy of giving and receiving, in which people take on particular roles and show a willingness to contribute to the flourishing of all. This, in turn, will only happen, if relationships are defined by trust, loyalty, and mutual fulfilment.

Community

To establish relationships of this nature, we need a sense of self-awareness, and I would like to suggest that, maybe paradoxically, we will obtain the truest perspective of ourselves if we are rooted in a flourishing community. For most of us, our first community in which we discover who we are consists of our family, and in later life school, university, workplace and neighbourhood provide a framework in which we find our own particular place. Continue reading “We and those around us”