Written for the Marlborough LitFest edition of Tower and Town.
When I was asked recently what I had been reading theologically, I had to admit that most of the books I read over the summer had been novels. Some were recommended by friends, others I had picked up because they looked interesting and not too heavy for a summer’s evening. I don’t think that was the expected answer, but I suspect I have learnt at least as much from reading good fiction as I have gained understanding by reading more academic works.
Although I am by no means an expert, for me a good book tells me something about myself, and the world in which I live. In one way or other I can identify with the characters, or recognise some of the scenarios which are brought to life. One particular book that has stayed with me is ‘The Cut Out Girl’ by Bart van Es.
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What if God was one of us?
A reflection for the Feast of Candlemas
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?
You may know the song What if God was one of us by Joan Osborne, which was released in 1995. Last month, when we celebrated the Feast of Epiphany, this was one of the songs we used in our All Age service.
It’s an interesting question to ask ourselves, and maybe some of us do occasionally: What if God was one of us? And, as the song continues, ‘Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus?’ One can reflect philosophically on this question: is the idea of a God who is both transcendent and immanent logically coherent? But that’s not what I want to now, as it would require some more than a few hundred words.
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Bible Sunday: Isaiah 55.1-11 & John 5.36b-47
Sermon preached St George’s Preshute, 28th October 2018, 10.00am
Today, the Sunday before All Saints’ Sunday, can be celebrated as Bible Sunday. As it is usually also the last Sunday of October, we can link this in with Reformation Sunday, remembering that on 31st October 1517, Luther allegedly put his 95 theses on a church door in Wittenberg, marking the beginning of the Reformation.
The Bible as we now know it, was formalised, so to speak, in the fifth century. Despite some differences, most Christians agree on the contents of what is now our Holy Book. However, although we may agree on the content, since the very early days of Christianity, people have disagreed on what it means to believe in the authority of Scripture.
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A reflection on what we say
Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity: James 3.1-12
‘Not many of you should become teachers’, is how James starts the part of his letter that the lectionary suggests for this Sunday. Because those who teach have an even greater responsibility in getting things right. So, no pressure there for those who teach then this morning. However, James is not just talking about those sitting on the back rows, but to each one of us who has some sort of responsibility and authority, so I guess that means all of us.
Words are important, and words do have an impact, as we all know. We all will have heard things that have upset us, as well as things that have made us feel really good, for that matter. And equally, we will have said things that have upset others, as well as encouraged them and made them feel good.
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A sermon for Trinity Sunday
Preached at St Mary’s Potterne, Sunday 27th May 2018
The 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?
Continue reading “A mystery to enter into” →
A reflection for Holocaust Memorial Day
Last Saturday, 27th January, Holocaust Memorial Day was marked around the world. This year’s theme was ‘The Power of Words’, and it was suggested that the power of words is the moral response that they demand.
Continue reading “The Power of Words” →