Shorthand

John 1:29–42 Picture the apostle John, as the first century draws to its close, living on the Island of Patmos, just off the Turkish coast. He is very old now, and his young disciples know that he has more years behind him than ahead. Something crystallises for him his last great task: that of writing […]

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Baptism and Crowds

Matthew 3:13–17 A throng of people, spread out in front of him! Crowds, who have come out to hear the new charismatic preacher, John the Baptist. I imagine Jesus walking over a low hill perhaps, towards the Jordan river, to be confronted suddenly by a great crowd of milling listeners; and down on the river […]

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Epiphany

Matthew 2:1–12 I hope you won’t mind if I indulge for a moment, and tell you about our New Year’s Eve. You see, we had to drive back to Allendale that evening, in order to be here for the Fire; and it was a perfect night. We stopped the car at Nenthead and got out. […]

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Babies

Luke 2:1-7 She is such a disappointment! They promised me a baby sister to play with. Can she play? I don’t think so! It’s Christmas Day, and she’s seventeen days old now, and completely useless! They barely let me touch her, let alone allow us to play with my new toys together. She is smelly, […]

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Nativity Playing

Nativity Playing I attended my last ever Whitfield Nativity Play a couple of weeks ago. It was great, as it always is. We had a barn-owl, a whale, a fox, a couple of deer, a horse. Angels, of course, a Mary, Joseph, sheep and a star. Curiously, whenever I’ve been to a nativity play (and […]

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Nativity Playing

Nativity Playing I attended my last ever Whitfield Nativity Play a couple of weeks ago. A bitter-sweet day. It was great, as it always is. Holly was dressed as a bee, we had a barn-owl, a whale, a fox, a couple of deer, a horse. Angels, of course, a Mary, Joseph, sheep and a star. […]

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God With Us

Matthew 1:18-25 I wonder what your favourite Christmas film is. We had a Christmas get-together at work recently, it included a quiz where we had to guess the highest grossing Christmas films of all time. It did inevitably lead to arguments about what counts as a Christmas film. However, I was not surprised to find […]

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Winters and Deserts

Isaiah 35:1–10 It is definitely winter. There is ice on the car windscreen, needing to be scraped off by those who must get up early for work. There are dustings of snow that are becoming daily more frequent. The heating breaks down, of course. You need to remember where you leave your hat and gloves, […]

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Hopeful Leadership

Isaiah 11: 1–10 An Advent election! What fun! And how good of them to synchronise the campaign with our Old Testament reading for the second Sunday in Advent! Meanwhile, leaflets are piling up on our doormats. Television schedules are stuffed with election debates. Posters are appearing on notice-boards and in peoples’ windows. Suddenly, politicians appear […]

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Being Rescued

Colossians 1:11–20 You can hear the surf crashing on the beach. You can feel the cold, cold wind, and taste the salt in the air. But you can’t see a great deal; and what you can see fills you with dread. This little boat looks decrepit, and very small for so many people; and its […]

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