Advent: Waiting for the Saviour

In the final episode of the TV series Inspector Morse, the actor John Thaw gives a fine portrayal of a man who is wrestling with age and declining health. At one point we Morse sitting in a hospital waiting room. This man who was so used to being in control and the prime mover in…

Taking Jesus seriously… Faith and Courage

One of the interesting things about the readings we reflect on at this time of year is that they all have what we might call a bit of an edge to them. As the Church`s year draws to a close and a new year (beginning with Advent) is soon upon us, the subject matter of…

Just what IS the Gospel?

I wonder what comes to mind when you hear that word `Gospel`? We`re often exhorted, aren`t we, to preach the Gospel, share the Gospel. Time and time again, it seems, we`re being told that this `Gospel` is somehow fundamental to who and what we are as Christians… and yet, in my experience it`s a word…

Building Church: Prayer

On the face of it, our New Testament reading this morning begins with a fairly innocuous phrase: St. Paul says: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings should be made for everyone…” (1 Timothy 2.1) And I`d like to think that we might consider this to be pretty obvious stuff…

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…