Valley of the Shadow of Death

Psalm 23 When did you first work out what a valley was? At what age did geography impinge upon you? Those of you born and brought up in the Allen Valleys have always been part of a landscape of valleys and fells. But if you grow up in Norfolk, for instance, valleys are hard to […]

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Easter Drama

Acts 10:34 – 43 Our scene is a massive Victorian church, on a huge council estate in Birmingham. It is Easter Sunday, nearly forty years ago; and the church is full, for a special service. Everyone’s been welcomed, and we’ve sung the opening hymn, and said the opening prayers. And now, several oddly-dressed young people […]

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Perfume and Persecution

John 12:1– 8 Imagine you were watched, as you came into church today. Imagine two shady characters sit in a large black car outside in the market square, with notebooks and dark glasses, earpieces, and cameras, recording you as you walk up the path. Imagine that as we speak, malevolent authorities are being notified that […]

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Mothering Sunday

Luke 2.41-52 Have you any idea how much stuff we throw away these days? Packaging and plastic bags, old clothes that would have been mended years ago. Computers and cameras and televisions that are out of date. Things don’t seem to last as long, do they? It’s often less expensive to throw something away and […]

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Seige

Matthew 18:10 – 14 Unless you are a shepherd; perhaps even if you are, it seems to make no sense, this gospel reading. Jesus picks up on the scripture from Ezekiel, and offers a picture saying, well of course the shepherd goes after the lost sheep. But I have this image in my head of […]

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Temptations

Luke 4:1 – 13 What is he going to do now? How is he going to do it? Why is he going to do it? The cool, cleansing waters of the Jordan have washed away the traces of his former life. Carpentry and Saturday Synagogue, home and family, Nazareth normality. All drift away down-stream. Now, […]

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On being left behind

Luke 9:28 – 43 I thought that my carrot cake was a pretty strong entry in the gentlemens’ baking class at the summer show that year. A pleasing, golden crust. A good rise. But it didn’t even place, never mind win. If I tell you that the year in question was 1988, and that I […]

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Storms

Luke 8:22-25 I wonder how old they are, Peter and James and John and these other disciples? I wonder how long they’ve been at the fishing game. Long enough to own a boat, and run a fishing business, certainly. But I wonder, because they’ll have known the waters and the weathers of the Sea of […]

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Blessings and Woes

Luke 6:17 – 26 Picture this vast throng of people, gathering out here on a flattish piece of ground, somewhere near Nazareth. Some of them have travelled for days to get here! How did they even know where to come? We don’t do this sort of thing now, really put ourselves out in order to […]

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Epic Christianity

Luke 5:1 – 11 Years ago, if you wanted to win Oscars, you made a biblical epic. My grandmother’s favourite film was The Greatest Story Ever Told. I remember being taken to see The Ten Commandments and Barabbas at the cinema. Our favourite, of course, has always been Ben Hur. Everyone remembers the chariot race, […]

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