Centred on Christ: Setting the Captives Free

I`ve learnt over many years to be very cautious about the all too casual comments that people make about what we call the Old Testament. It seems to me tragic that the rather negative assumptions many people have about these texts serve to prevent us from gleaning what I can only refer to as perhaps…

The people who pray “Our Father…”

I think it`s fair to say that sometimes the disciples of Jesus are not portrayed as being especially bright. From time to time the Lord`s patience with them seems to wear a little thin, to say the least. But on that, particular occasion we heard about a moment ago, (Luke 11.1-13) the disciple who said,…

Contemplation and the Christian Difference

I`m not someone who is given to quoting poetry very often. But of all the poems I`ve come across in recent years, there is one by a man called R.S. Thomas, which contains an image which I`ve found helpful. In his poem called `Folk Tale`, Thomas describes his experience of praying. He imagines himself as…

When Prayer doesn`t “work”….. Think again.

In John`s Gospel the Lord tells the disciples, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete”. (John 16.24) I have to confess that every time I hear these words, I feel a certain nudge in my own ribs. I always…

Learning to be still: Elijah and the `Shouty` God

The Prophet Elijah was riding the crest of a wave. He had taken on the false prophets of Baal and completely crushed them. The first Book of Kings tells us how he taunted them. They hadn`t been able to rouse their god into action. And we`re told, “At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, ‘Cry aloud!…

(Pentecost Sunday) Church: we don`t get to make this up

Many clergy know that the one thing you need to do, especially around Christmas time, is to get out the candles. Deploying a few candles around the Church seems almost designed to ensure that (some people, at any rate) people go home reasonably happy. At the door, people will say, “that was special”, “that was…

A Church full of moving parts…But where is it going?

Those few verses from Luke`s Gospel are the ones we traditionally hear on Ascension Day, which was last Thursday. (Luke 24.44-53) I thought it would be good to hear them again essentially because Luke manages in a very few words, to say so much that is fundamental to why we`re here this morning; and why,…