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Showing posts from 2005

Getting right our relationship with God for 2006

The wisemen are the only people in the Christmas story who come to worship Jesus. They have seen his star in the East, and they just can't wait to pay him homage.
Herod doesn't want to worship Jesus. His only thought is to strangle God's new initiative at birth. He's happy with the way things are, he doesn't want his life turning upside down by a baby who needs to be worshipped.
The shepherds make haste to Bethlehem to see this thing which has taken place, and they make known the amazing story of their encounter with the angels. But they don't worship Jesus. Even Mary doesn't worship him. She only ponders all these things in her heart.
Aren't these responses all too familiar among the people we meet? Many are prepared to acknowledge Jesus as a great and inspiring teacher. But they don't want to worship him, only to borrow some of his ideas perhaps, to pick and mix with other teachings and philosophies, or to ponder the amazing story of his life and dea…

Jesus of Bethlehem

One of the most common titles for Jesus in the Gospels and in the early Church is 'Jesus of Nazareth'. He is never called 'Jesus of Bethlehem'. He didn't come from Bethlehem, you see, any more than I come from Guildford, the place where I was born. He came from Nazareth. That was the place where he grew up as a child and learned to speak with a Galilean accent. That was the place where he learnt his trade and learnt about his faith. And yet he wasn't born in Nazareth. All of the Gospel writers, except St Mark, mention that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
The puzzle is, 'What was he doing there?' The Gospel writers agree that it's got something to do with King David. Jesus is a descendant of David. He may come from Nazareth, but he was born in the place where David used to live. So what's the connection between the two places? How does Jesus come to belong to both Nazareth and Bethlehem?
St Matthew speculates that Mary and Joseph lived in Bethlehem be…

Last July in Beeston

I now know that the so-called journalists' notebooks which you can buy in stationers' shops are aptly named. Almost every journalist seems to carry one, unless they're armed with a microphone. So it was easy to spot the journalists in Beeston last summer as they stood on street corners, scribbling away in their notebooks.
Before last July I had never met any journalists from the big national dailies. Now I've met journalists from international newspapers too – from America, Spain, France, Brazil and Japan, to name but a few.
Many journalists came to Beeston with preconceived ideas, and simply sought out someone who would confirm what they already believed. So one TV journalist strode down Lodge Lane, behind the Building Blocks and Hamara Centres, confidently declaring that Beeston was a 'tense and divided community'. The Times informed its readers that 'extreme views' are 'disseminated in mosques by ill-educated imams' – this despite the fact that…