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Showing posts from November, 2018

100 Years Since The November Armistice

Isaiah 49:13-19 When I was a child the Charge of the Light Brigade was scarcely any further removed in time than the First World War is now, but when I was born the First World War was recent history. It had been over for barely 40 years. Although it seemed like a different era, it was more recent then than the moon landings or the Miners’ Strike even are now. 
My grandfather, who fought on two fronts - in France and Italy, had never talked about his experiences until I questioned him about them as a small boy. I was fascinated. Had he killed anyone? Had he been wounded? Could I see the wounds, please? What did it feel like to be shot? My grandmother listened intently as she had never dared to ask such intimate questions!
My grandfather's reticence didn't mean that he had put the War behind him. Later, when he got Alzheimer's Disease, he formed the impression that my parents were military policemen and spent ages fumbling for his leave papers in an imaginary tunic pocket whil…

Fake News

Mark 13.1-6 Until I saw this, I didn’t know who Jessica Rowe is. Apparently she’s a journalist in Australia, but I’ve seen the same advert - many many times - with a different face on it, someone I do know. For some reason I get a lot of adverts at the moment in which a man called Peter Jones, who appears on the TV programme Dragons’ Den, is pictured having a really rough day. He too has got a terrible black eye, worse than this one, and he looks really haggered, as though someone has set about him with a baseball bat. But it’s not true. It’s fake news. We might not like them, but Jessica Rowe gets particularly upset with these adverts because she’s in them. One day she was looking at the Internet with her nine year-old daughter when her daughter said, ‘Mummy, what’s that?’ And it was this fake advert. You and I are not celebrities so we will never feature in an advert like this one, but we can still be the subject of fake news. My Aunt rang me one day just to check whether I’d been mugg…

What it means to be a saint today

Psalm 24.1-7, Isaiah 25.6-9, John 11.1-4, Revelation 21.1-4 Technically, the word ‘saint’ simply means ‘a member of God’s People’, and in particular a member of the church. In his letters, Paul often uses the word to refer to members of the churches he’s working alongside.
But in popular usage it’s come to be associated with martyrs. In the Catholic Church, to be martyred for your faith is the surest way of becoming a saint. Witness the example of Archbishop of Oscar Romero from El Salvador, who was martyred for speaking out against those who were oppressing the poor.
One Salvadoran woman, who attended his recent canonisation in Rome, said he had been a saint from the beginning. Esther Chavez first met him when she was working in a school. She was explaining to him what she did for a living when he said, ‘I think you have a different type of job to do.’ He asked her to go and work with poor women in her home town, providing childcare for them while they went out to work, and she has been…