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The passages set for this Sunday offer rich fair: the story of creation from Genesis, Paul’s amazing vision of creation renewed in Romans 8 and Jesus’ injunction to consider the birds of the air in Matthew 6. The verse that jumped out at me as I sat down to write this is from Romans “Now hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see we wait for it with patience” 16-02-2020 17:09 Download
I haven’t tried this, but imagine if you go round asking people if they are religious most people will say no. It’s not a word we like to apply to ourselves because it does not have especially positive connotations. On the other hand people will tell you they do their best to live a decent life: to be good parents, to lend a helping hand, to be a force for good in the world. 09-02-2020 17:08 Download
There is something that links all the people who first recognised Jesus as the Messiah: the shepherds, the wise men and, in today’s reading, Simeon and Anna; they were all watchers. The shepherds were watching over their flock, the wise men were watching the stars and Simeon and Anna were watching for what Luke calls “the consolation of Israel”. 02-02-2020 17:06 Download
“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near” is the central message of Jesus as he begins his ministry in the Gospel reading set for today. “Repent” is a harsh word to our ears. It seems to be a condemnation: “Change who you are: you’re bad!” Is that what is at the heart of Jesus’ message? 26-01-2020 17:05 Download
I wonder what it was about Jesus that made John the Baptist declare “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” They were cousins: presumably they had met before and from the Bible accounts Jesus had lived a pretty unremarkable life to that point. But John was a prophet: he had that gift of sight and something stirred in his spirit then just as it had when he was still in the womb and Mary visited his mother Elizabeth. 19-01-2020 17:03 Download
I would like to take this opportunity, as this is the first Grapevine of 2020, to wish you all a very Happy New Year. 12-01-2020 17:00 Download
On this last Sunday of Advent our attention turns to Mary the mother of Jesus. Luke’s Gospel tells the story through her eyes, but Matthew focuses on Joseph. The outstanding quality in both is their openness to God’s will: if this was the way it was then they would accept it, no matter what the consequences would be. So Joseph took Mary as his wife, mysterious pregnancy and all. 22-12-2019 16:57 Download
There are all sorts of stories about satnavs: how they can tell you to drive into a river or along a non-existent road or get lorries stuck in places they can’t reverse out of. One of the best things about them, though, is that at the end of a tiring day you can get in your car and press “home” and it will calculate your fastest route. Somewhere in its little electronic heart it has a record of where home is and it always knows the way from here to there. 15-12-2019 16:55 Download
Across the team various choirs will be gearing up for Christmas. One of the key features of a choir is the opportunity to sing in harmony. Belting out the tune is one thing, but adding an alto, a tenor and a bass line, or maybe the descant when we get to “Sing choirs of angels” transforms the whole song. It is hard to do, because you have to stick to your part and not revert to what everyone else is doing, but boy is it worth it. 08-12-2019 16:51 Download
I have a snooze button on my alarm clock, you probably have as well. When that annoying buzz wakes me from my beauty sleep I can reach out a hand and earn myself just ten minutes more. Ten minutes later I can do the same, and again and again. What I really need is a small dog that comes and pounces on me and licks my face… oh, wait a minute, I’ve got one of those. 01-12-2019 16:49 Download
“Take me to your leader” is the classic thing that aliens are supposed to say when they land on our planet. I suppose at the moment we would have to explain to the little green men that we are in the process of an election and it would be helpful if they could come back after December 12th, but at any time, of course, the world doesn’t have any one leader: just a bunch of people who think they ought to be. 24-11-2019 16:46 Download