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Showing posts from September, 2010

Taking Risks for God

Deut 30.15-20
Luke 14.25-33
Have you ever been in trouble for taking a risk? Some risks just aren’t worth taking, are they? Things like running across the road when cars are coming or using a pelican crossing when the picture of the red man is lit up.

I heard someone on the radio say that when he lived in Germany he noticed no one - young or old - ever walks onto a pelican crossing when the red man is lit up. If you do, he said, even if you’re a grown up an old lady will tap you on the shoulder with her walking stick or her umbrella and tell you that you’re setting a bad example to children and young people. He said that people in England would think that was daft but, on the other hand, Germany is a much nicer place to live because its citizens behave more responsibly.

And then, as well as irresponsible or silly risks there are the sort of risks that we might think it’s worth taking, like going on a rollercoaster ride. Rollercoaster rides look very dangerous, especially when the ride lo…

God's Overwhelming Generosity

Isaiah 28.9-22
There’s a very contemporary feel to this passage from Isaiah. The Prophet laments the people’s lack of religious understanding and spiritual maturity. They are like newborn babies who haven’t learnt to speak yet. The language which God uses, the language of ethical standards and justice, the language of compassion and concern for those in need, the language of deep peace and true security, the language of loving kindness, is like a babble of meaningless noise to them, a foreign language which they do not know. In fact, not only do they not know how to communicate with God, they also deride God’s word and dismiss them as something barbarous or meaningless. God has offered true rest to those who were exhausted, but even then they would not listen.

Is there a parallel here with our own secular society, where many people have turned their backs on religion and tuned out from spirituality because they believe that it is primitive and irrational, the stuff of childish fantasy a…

Time To Be Heroes

Hebrews 11.29 - 12.2
Luke 12.49 - 56
"Heroes" is the name of a cult television series - with a huge following at the moment - about ordinary people who discover that they have extraordinary abilities. They have to ask themselves: Who am I? What does having these powers mean for the world around me? How should I live my life - shameful or proud? And should I hide or live out in the open? And if this world of hidden powers is revealed, will the ordinary world ever recover?

But this is only one of a rash of similar films and television programmes. The X-Men, created by Marvel comics and immortalised in a series of films, is another example of the super hero genre, this time featuring people with mutant genes which give them special powers or abilties.Why is Wolverine like me? The likeness may not be immediately obvious but it’s because, like me, he doesn’t need to carry a comb in his pocket! The X-Men stories are a rattling good yarn, but they’re also a metaphor for the everyday s…
Psalm 49.1-10, Colossians 3.1-5, Luke 12.13-21
Suppose you had a wealthy Aunt and one day she rang you up, or wrote you a letter, or even sent you a text, and said she was going to give you a thousand pounds? What would you do with the money?
Let’s make the choice a bit more difficult. You’ve been thinking for a long time of redecorating your living room, but – on the other hand – the church needs help to fund an important new community project. Do you keep all of your Aunt’s gift for yourself, or do you give some to the church?

Or how about this? For the first time ever, you have been chosen to play in the school’s netball team, or football team, but the match happens to be on the same day as your best friend’s birthday party. Do you go to the party or do you play in the match?

Or you need to practise the piano before a music exam, but your friends want you to go out with them, to play outdoors or to go into town. What do you choose to do? We have to make these decisions like these every…

The Fate of the Innocent and God's Compassion

Genesis 18.20-32
Luke 11.1-13

Ever since I was little, I have been in love with rules and regulations. Right from the start I could never stand the sort of game where other children - my brother or my friends - simply moved toys about haphazardly, just as the fancy took them. All my toys - whether they were farm animals or toy soldiers - had to move four paces at a time. And all of the toys in the game had to have the same ‘go’ before the next turn. The sort of game where one of the players just picks up a toy horse and gallops it all round the room, and so on - just didn’t seem real enough for me.

Little wonder, then, that when my brother and I graduated to playing table football I was the one who read the rule book from cover to cover while my brother just got by on his wits. He would score a goal, and I would solemnly pronounce it ‘off side’! ‘That’s not fair!’ he would, and I would reply, ‘But it’s rule number 48 on page six.’ And then he would storm off and refuse to play with me an…