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Showing posts from November, 2009

The example of Hannah

1 Samuel 1.4-10 & Hebrews 10.11-25

Sunday's Old Testament passage seems far remote from our modern culture, yet it contains some very topical themes.
the jealousy and bitterness between rivals for someone else's affections;the deep-seated need felt by many people for children, and their pain and sadness when this need is denied;the conviction that God is in control of our lives and can change things, for better or for worse;the tendency to make assumptions about other people based on the flimsiest and most superficial evidence;and the idea that some people are worth more or less than others, in this case that women are worth less than men.The first of these themes, sexual jealousy - leads naturally to the conclusion that loyalty to one person works best. Forget all the carefully refined arguments about the Christian understanding of marriage, family life or sexuality. The central idea which the Bible communicates about sexual relationships is the wisdom of committing yoursel…

On being a piece of the jigsaw

1 John 3.1-3, Mark 12.28-34

November the First is All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day as it used to be called in old English. That, of course, is how we get the nameHalloween, the evening before All Hallows. Our first Bible passage is one of the special Bible readings for All Saints Day.

It's also a reading that is especially appropriate for a baptism, because when the Bible talks about saints it doesn't mean people who are especially good or holy. It means all of the people, throughout the world, who recognise that they belong to God and who call God their Parent or Father because they know that God loves us even more than our own mothers and fathers do.

Not everyone realises this, of course. Some people don't believe in God, and some people don't believe in a personal God. In other words, they don't understand that God actually cares for us, and loves us, and wants to know us and be known by us. That's the real difference between the saints and everyone else. A s…

Freed to be part of the Elect

Psalm 24.1-6,Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9, John 11.32-44, Revelation 21.1-6a

Every member of the human race belongs to God. But does that make everyone a saint, a member of God's family? Not according to the Psalmist. Only someone whose deeds, motives and intentions are pure can be blessed and vindicated by God. Everyone else is out of luck. But that leaves us with a problem, because which of us is pure?

If we aren't good enough to worship God in the old temple in the old Jerusalem, what about the new Jerusalem? There is no temple in the new Jerusalem for in Jesus God comes to be with us instead of waiting for us to have the moral stamina to ascend to meet him on his holy mountain. Nor does God come in judgement. He comes ready to comfort the afflicted and the bereaved.

However, the way things are now will be swept away. The world will be turned upside down. And that cannot be good news for the powerful and the privileged, who maintain their position at other people's expense. Fur…