We are the Body of Christ

Reflection on the local Church
30th September 2018, Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

James 5.13-20 & Mark 9.38-50

saltAs some of you reading will know, Marlborough is currently without a Rector. It is a strange thought that the local Church is currently without a leader. However, todays readings remind us that being the local Church, being the Body of Christ in a place, is a responsibility in which we all share. We all have a role to play in the local Christian community, each in our own way, as well as together in relationship.

Starting at the end of the Gospel reading, I’d like to work back toward the reading from James’ letter, making some observations on the way. The Gospel reading set for today ends with the phrase ‘Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another’. At the face of it, two competing principles. Having salt in ourselves: standing up for what we believe in; and yet being at peace with one another: making sure that relationships are harmonious.

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Why I go to Church: today’s answer

A Reflection for the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary
15th August 2018

maryWhen I was teaching a physics course a few weeks ago, one of the questions asked was how I reconcile science and religion. In answering that question this time around, I realise that the answer has changed over the years, and I would not be surprised if it will continue to change. So to start with a disclaimer: don’t hold me to this answer forever.

My first response to the question how I can be a physicist and a priest is that both enable me to have an inquisitive attitude to the world around me. Signs of a healthy approach to science and faith are that we feel encourage to seek a deeper understanding; to ask questions that probe deeper instead of signing up to a set of doctrine or dogmas.  Continue reading “Why I go to Church: today’s answer”

Hearing and speaking truthfully

A sermon preached at St James’ Cherhill
8 July 2018, Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Ezekiel 2.1-5 & Mark 6.1-13

prophetIf we’re absolutely honest, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine the scene of today’s Gospel reading happening. For a moment, think back to the place where you have grown up. For some of you that may be this village, or nearby. For others it may be further away. Many of the children we went to school with, we probably haven’t seen for a while. Maybe we can think of one or two of them, who we would be surprised to see speak and teach in public with authority. So, yes, in some ways, we would probably be like one of the people in the synagogue, surprised to see someone come back and teach.

And again, if we’re honest, sometimes we also judge people by their families. Well-educated people are often able to offer their children a good education, and we can also think of families where education is not a priority, and children quickly fall behind in school, and their opportunities in later life become more limited. Continue reading “Hearing and speaking truthfully”

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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It’s alright to be wrong

right wrong

Homily preached at St Mary’s Marlborough

Bible Sunday: Nehemiah 8.1-12 & Matthew 24.30-35

 

When looking at this morning’s Gospel reading, we seemed to be faced with a problem. Two problems, actually, if you ask theologians and believers throughout the centuries. The first one is a general difficulty for most Christians: in how far do we take seriously the images that are given of the day of judgement, the second coming? Not only here, but also, for example in the Book of Revelation.

The second problem, and the one I would like to look at in a bit more detail, is when this might happen. As some of you may remember, in Paul’s letters, there is a real sense of immediacy about when the Messiah will come again. And today we even hear Jesus himself saying that ‘this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.’ Continue reading “It’s alright to be wrong”