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Showing posts from May, 2008

Do we need to worry?

Isaiah 49.8-16a
1 Corinthians 4.1-5
Matthew 6.24-34
Today's Old Testament reading from Isaiah includes two striking images. The first is a feminine image - comparing God's faithfulness and care to that of a nursing mother. What mother, asks the prophet, would abandon her tiny baby? But, of course, it does happen occasionally - whereas God's love for us is so profound and tender that he - or she, perhaps - will never abandon us.

The passage concludes with the second striking image, which is a word from the Lord to the Prophet, "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands."

Sometimes when I find myself with nothing to write on I write names or phone numbers on my hands. This is a technique which only works if I remember to transfer this vital information to a more permanent place before I next wash my hands! Often, as I dry my hands, and remove the last vestige of the data, I remember the funny moment in the first episode of Cold Feet when one of the characters h…

Our relationship with God

Exodus 34.4-6,8-9
2 Corinthians 13.11-13
Matthew 28.16-20


These passages, specially selected for reflection on Trinity Sunday, illustrate that the doctrine of the Trinity is not so much an attempt to discern the essential nature of God as to describe God's relationship with creation, including ourselves, and with Jesus - whom Christians believe to be a human being in perfect relationship with God.

The passage from Exodus contains the unpleasant verse about God's wrath visiting the iniquity of parents on their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, and the editors of the lectionary have chosen to miss it out. However, there is a truth here. We cannot hope that our mistakes will not have implications for future generations. The slate is not wiped clean after things go wrong and we recognise the error of our ways. If we wanted proof of this uncompromising truth we need only think about global warming.

However, people suffering for the iniquity of t…

Mobilising for Mission

Numbers 11.24-30
1 Corinthians 12.1b-13
John 7.37-39

The point of the strange story about Moses surely lies in its punchline. We don't need to worry too much why the Lord should have commanded Moses to gather a symbolic group of seventy elders around the tent of his presence, in order to bestow on them a share of the prophetic spirit which he had already given to Moses himself, although a quick look back at the earlier part of the story shows that it was part of God's response to Moses' complaints about the intolerable burden of leadership which he felt that he had to bear on his own two shoulders.

So part of the story's purpose is to remind us that God's people can never rely on one or two charismatic leaders to carry out God's mission for them. Mission is a shared enterprise which requires team leadership at the very least.

This much might seem obvious. But the punchline then takes the lesson of the story to a new and unexpected level which is much more challengin…