Vicar's Thoughts

The Dishonest Steward

17 September 2016

On Sunday we read the bible story Jesus told of the Dishonest Steward of a great man’s estate (Luke 16.1-13). A servant who, about to be sacked for dishonesty, went around to everyone who owed the great man money and deliberately cooked the books so they didn’t have to pay quite so much. An act which, Jesus’s story goes on to relate, the owner of the estate, surprisingly, then praises him for.

Praising the dishonest steward for losing him money in order to help others?

What’s that all about?

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Luke 12.13-21 & Ecclesiastes

4 August 2016

Help me Jesus! Take my side. He’s in the wrong and I’m in the right. Tell him. Tell him off. Make him give me the money he owes me.

That, in a way, is how one Gospel passage starts (Luke 12.13-21). In the Ancient Near East Rabbis, Teachers, the Learned, were sought out by parties in dispute to give a legal ruling on any given issue. One wonders, without legal institutional accountability, whether some of those ‘learned folk’ - those people in positions of authority, responsibility, trust - were perhaps corrupt and would look more favourably on those people who – shall we say – offered some kind of ‘thank you’ in terms of money or goods for finding in their favour? Thank goodness that doesn’t happen today (!)

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Pentecost and Trinity 2016

14 May 2016

This is the time of year when Christians celebrate Christ's Ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Ascension is an odd thing, really isn't it? In Art we are usually presented with the image of Jesus floating off into the clouds. It certainly is the image we are given as Children. And it seems, well, unbelievable, right?

Perhaps I can let you in on a little secret...? Human beings have – and have always had – difficulty in believing anything. Anything. So we shouldn't be surprised if we, as human beings – at least most of us, I assume – find this Ascension event difficult to get our heads around.

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John 13; v31-35

23 April 2016

One of our Bible Readings in this post-Easter period The Gospel of John Chapter 13 includes a discussion about what it means to be Jesus' 'own'. It is important to look at these things as we head towards our celebration of the Ascension (when we recall Jesus' leaving the Disciples to be in the nearer presence of the Creator), and the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost where Jesus' 'own' come into their own so to speak. This discussion centres on two things: Glory and Trust.

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Easter 2016 Message - 'Talitha Kum'

25 February 2016

What do we think of when we hear the word 'nun'? Do we immediately summon up in our mind's eye a middle-aged, rather austere woman, in a full-length black dress with some kind of funny-looking headgear? Perhaps, we have had some unhappy experience in our childhood of being schooled by severe nuns? Or, perhaps we think of the golden-hearted nuns of 'Call the Midwife'? Maybe we remember feeble television and film comedies featuring nuns doing something absurd or saucy? Or, again, maybe, we immediately raise the question of celibacy?

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Christmas 2015 Message

29 November 2015

A friend of mine emailed me the other day and noted how concerned he was that everyone standing on the station platform - except himself - had their heads down looking at their Smartphones or Tablets. Was life so empty or so scary, he wondered, that they had to bury their heads in technology - rather than experiencing the beauties and wonders of the real world?

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The Kingdom of Heaven

21 July 2015

"Where is heaven and how do I get there?"

That's the question I was asked once by a very nice chap who was clearly interested in hearing the answer. Moreover, he was expecting a definitive answer. He also wanted it straight away. No amount of 'Well, that's an interesting question and one that has been puzzling human beings for thousands of years' would do. He wanted answers. And now.

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Easter Reflection

21 April 2015

It’s a very simple equation: the saving work of Christ on the cross enables us to be free of the way we used to be and enables us to live our lives - with each other, in community, in the world - differently.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed a certain all-pervasive attitude on television in recent years? From talent shows, through shows about strangers making each other dinner, via stand-up comedy shows, to shows about watching people watching TV, there’s a particular underlying attitude to all of them. We find ourselves watching how quickly and strongly people form opinions about the people and events they are observing. Their opinions are often naive, critical, harsh, cruel, spiteful; making huge assumptions about people they have never properly met and couldn’t really know; situations about which they know very little indeed. And then, of course, there are the Social media websites where cruelty and criticism can reach new, extremely damaging even dangerous heights. The ascendancy of Opinion over Truth. 

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Easter 2015

14 March 2015

"He is not here."

What a surprising thing to say. Two thousand years or so ago, some people went to a graveyard in Jerusalem.  They were going to one of the tombs, just one among countless other similar tombs there: carved out of rock like little caves. According to their culture and tradition, they were going to anoint the body of their friend who had died and had been buried there a couple of days previously. But as they approached the place, they saw that the huge stone that had been put across the mouth of the tomb had been moved, by persons unknown. And, even more surprising, they were met by someone who said this odd thing: "Why are you looking for your friend? He is not here."

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Candlemas 2015

1 February 2015

One might just be forgiven if we don’t pay quite so much attention to Candlemas, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, as perhaps we should. Yet, this event is not really an anecdote, an aside, a digression from those other two great moments we celebrate in the Life of Christ: Christmas and Easter. It is not a pleasant bench on which we can sit and rest for a minute in the course of a long country walk. It is very much part of that walk. Part of the whole journey, the whole pilgrimage we undertake as Christians.

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