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Showing posts from October, 2018

Conkers

Mark 10.35-45 I guess only people my age and older can remember playing conkers at school. Sometime after I left school conkers were banned from the playground. I guess we all know why!
Looking back, I remember with horror now all the children who were injured at my school during the conker season. You only had to miss, when you were taking a swing at the other person’s conker, and you could easily crack their knuckles. You can imagine them all sitting at their desks with plaster casts on their hands, unable to hold a pen.
And then there were the unfortunate children - not so many as the ones with broken knuckles - who were hit in the eye by flying fragments when their conker was smashed to pieces, not to mention the unwary dinner ladies who were knocked out by conkers flying through the air when the person holding the string had it knocked from their grasp as a well-aimed blow struck their conker with devastating force.
Of course, I’m joking. Nothing like that ever happened. I never saw …

Keeping the Sabbath

Exodus 31.12-17, Mark 2.23-28
What was Sunday like when you were a child? Was it different from all the other days? It was for me! My parents were probably a bit old-fashioned, but we weren’t allowed to play loud noisy games outside, and for a time we weren’t even allowed to watch the football highlights on ITV, even though they sometimes featured our local team, Grimsby Town.
My grandparents would have liked us to spend the day either in church or reading an improving book. They were harking back to the Westminster Confession, adopted by the Puritans after their victory in the English Civil War. Most secular work was forbidden on Sundays - opening shops, making things or working on the land. Puritans weren’t even supposed to think secular thoughts, but had to devote themselves to worship, prayer, Bible study or - for a bit of light relief - they could dip into a book of theology or religious poetry.
In the Nineteenth Century there were even popular movements set up to protect Sunday as …