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Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  September 1st 2019  Lending and Giving

A 2014 study from Wells Fargo revealed that the most challenging topic to discuss with others is personal finances (44%);  whereas death (38%), politics (35%), religion (32%), taxes (21%), and personal health (20%) rank as less difficult.  We don’t like talking about money.  We don’t like knowing how much money our friends earn or have [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  August 25th 2019:  Catastrophe!

Jesus was certainly a thorn in the side of the religious establishment.  Today’s lectionary includes Luke 13:10-17, in which Jesus engages in a furious exchange with the leader of worship about what should and should not take place on the Sabbath.  His words are not placatory:  “You frauds! Each Sabbath every one of you regularly [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  August 11th 2019  The use of money

Today’s lectionary, Luke 12:32-40, is about the use of money and contains the memorable phrase of Tyndale’s “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Jesus urged his disciples to separate themselves from the love of money so that they might more easily let go of it when they came to leave [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  August 4th 2019  Hosea puts his finger on it

Today’s readings are about how we have lost our way.  Hosea 11 starts the ball rolling with a frightening description of modern life, echoed by Paul (Colossians 3) and Jesus (Luke 12).  All are reminding us that there are good ways to live and destructive ways to live.  We often describe these ways in language [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  July 28th 2019:  Vanity Fair

Paul’s letter to the Colossians (2:6-15 is in today’s lectionary) is about living Jesus-Shaped lives, for people who had never known Jesus in the flesh, as indeed Paul hadn’t either. William Makepeace Thackeray had a way with words;  the opening scene in the TV series of Vanity Fair, spoken by Michael Palin, haunt me:  “This [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  July 21st 2019: Wasps

This week’s lectionary, unusually, did not inspire me, particularly as I was captivated by watching some wasps building a nest.  The big queen had found the hole in March, in that spell of fine weather, and had spent the spring building the first few cells in which to lay her first eggs, which then hatch [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  July 7th 2019 Little things mean a lot

I have not read the story about Naaman for a long time, but it is in today’s lectionary.  A famous and valuable general, he was unfortunately suffering a nasty skin condition, maybe psoriasis.  He travelled to see Elisha (read the story in 2 Kings 5) and was met by the prophet’s servant who told him [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  June 23rd 2019: Elijah

The books of Kings and of Samuel are generally held to be the work of the two authors who also wrote Deuteronomy.  The second author finished up writing about contemporary issues in the 6th Century BCE but, mostly, they were both retelling stories passed down the centuries.  This would be like us trying to write [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  June 16th 2019 Lady Wisdom

Proverbs 8 is not read often now, particularly by spin doctors working for large corporations and for governments.   In Proverbs, Wisdom is portrayed as a wise woman trying to persuade us of the truth, in some versions, she lives just down the road from Sanity, Knowledge, and Discretion.  It is worth reading Proverbs 8 in [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  June 9th 2019: Babel

In Genesis 11, the writer tries to account for the diversity of languages across the known world.  People were smart, they got together to build a tower to reach to Heaven, God didn’t like that and so confused their languages so that they could not understand what each other was saying;  they could no longer [...]