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Showing posts from May, 2010

The Spirit and The Glory of the Lord

Exodus 33.7-20, Psalm 36.5-10, 2 Corinthians 3.4-18, John 16.4b-15

The Lord used to speak with Moses face to face. Exodus tells us that was a unique privilege, something enjoyed only by the prophets of God. But Pentecost ushers in a new reality where the Lord speaks face to face with all believers.
Exodus tells us also that Moses was afraid God might not go with the People of Israel on their journey and might leave him to lead them by himself. But God reassured him, 'I will go with you.' Wishing to press home the point, Moses reminded God that only when we enjoy God's power and presence will other people be able to recognise that we belong to Him. Pentecost is a restatement of that promise, and of its outcome. We are shown to be Jesus' disciples and God's people by the presence of His Spirit with us.
The passage from Exodus concludes by saying, 'No mortal may see me and live.' Moses may see God's goodness and hear God's name, he may speak to God face …

Babel and the Euro Zone

Genesis 11.1-9, Acts 2.1-8 and 13-21, John 14.8-17
The authors of Genesis were obviously fairly wedded to the concept of the nation state. They didn't share the ideals of the people who conceived the European Super-State and the single currency. They believed that the different nations and languages into which the human race is divided were no accident of history but something willed by God to prevent human beings from getting above their appointed station in life and grasping at equality with Him.

Of course, in many ways it's a positive development when human beings collaborate together. But it does depend on what they are collaborating to do. If their aim is to dominate nature and their neighbours, collaboration may simply allow them to make an even more spectacular mess of things than when they were competing with one another. And even when human beings collaborate for good, to try to save the planet from disaster, there is still the danger that we will become too self-relian…

Life Beyond Death

Isaiah 38.9-20, Psalm 86, John 11.27-44
We can't be exactly sure what the people of ancient Israel believed about life after death. Some experts think they believed in a shadowy existence. King Hezekiah clearly expected it to be soulless in the sense that it would have no real substance. Like the writer of Psalm 30, which we used in our morning worship a few weeks ago, he believed that it wasn't possible to have a real relationship with God in Sheol. Some experts think that Sheol, the place of the dead, wasn't even an actual place where dead people were supposed to go. Instead, they think it was a virtual place - a way, in fact, of referring to how we all live on after our deaths, in the memories of those who knew and loved us. So I can still remember my grandparents as if it were only yesterday that I last saw them,whereas it's more than 25 years since the last one died. And if i tell stories about them, as I sometimes do, to my own children then my grandparents will l…

Scenes from the Passion of the Christ

John 14.23-27
I don't know how many of you are familiar with a series of books called 'Where's Wally?' They show extremely complicated pictures of crowds of people doing lots of different things and the reader's job is to find where Wally is hiding in the picture. He can always be identified by his red and white bobble hat and football scarf, and because he always looks a bit of a Wally. But even so he's often very hard to find. The books are all designed by someone called Martin Handford, and the latest one, 'The Great Paper Chase', was only published this year. But it isn't an original idea. The first person to think of hiding someone familiar in a complicated crowd scene was a painter called Hans Memling.
If you Google for Hans Memling's "Scenes from the Passion of the Christ" you will see that Memling, who was a German painter working in modern day Belgium 540 years ago, decided in 1470 to create a picture which we could justifiably…

God's Election Manifesto

Acts 11.1-18, John 13.31-35, Revelation 21.1-6
I wonder what you've made of the election leaflets that we've had through our doors over the last few weeks? Perhaps you haven't looked at them, in which case you won't know that we have the youngest parliamentary candidate in England. He says he represents a real change from the traditional career politicians. Perhaps that's because he hasn't yet had much of a career of any kind. Aged 19, Alan Belmore looks more like a 13 year-old in the picture on the front of his leaflet. Not surprisingly, he's not really chasing the grey vote. Another picture inside the leaflet shows him discussing politics with an ardent admirer, perhaps his girlfriend. The caption says he's with a group of young people - but there's certainly no one else visible.

Are children and young people going to influence the way you vote on May the 6th? Perhaps they should. Young people are blamed for most of the crime and anti-social behavio…