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Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  September 29th  2019:  Wealth

In the first letter to Timothy (6:6-19) Paul talks about money, and wealth.  ‘Naked you came into this world and naked will you leave it’, or words to that effect.  Paul says that wealth and money are not the same and that while it is worth seeking wealth, it is counter-productive to seek money.  If [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  June 2nd 2019: Christ can save us

One of my favourite stories comes up today:  Acts 16:16-34.  Paul and Silas in prison, earthquakes while they are singing and rejoicing, chains fall off, gaoler goes to kill himself because he has lost control, Paul reassures him.  This is one of the few examples in the Bible of how someone changes when they become [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  May 26th 2019: Climate Emergency

It would seem that over the last few weeks, every lectionary has recorded the huge changes that take place when people accept the Love of God into their lives, with all that entails.  Today the story is of a man, crippled from birth, who discovers the ability to walk at Jesus’ command.  The response of [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor:May 19th 2019: Sticking to the knitting

In Acts 11, we can read how Peter was summoned before the rest of the Disciples to account for his mixing with Gentiles.  They were really hung up about male circumcision;  it was really important to them.  According to Jewish law then, and now, it is necessary to cut away the foreskin covering of the [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: May 12th 2019: Hellenists

In Acts 9, Paul went to Jerusalem and had a hard time.  A lot of the disciples, who had stayed put, were suspicious of him.  Barnabus spoke up for him and smoothed his passage into the Christian fellowship there.  But Paul’s experience was different from the experience of those who had travelled with Jesus.  He [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: May 5th 2019: Revelation!

There are two stories from the lectionary today, with similar themes.  Peter had an unsuccessful night’s fishing and then, guided by a stranger on the shore, suddenly took a record haul.  He recognised the risen Jesus who offered him fish from the barbecue and then challenged him about his loyalty.  Peter, from that moment, changed [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: September 30th 2018: Why me?

The book of Esther is the basis of the Jewish celebration of Purim at the Spring equinox.  The story is woven round a massive 180-day feast;  it is one of only two books in our Bible that never mention God. Esther, a Jewish orphan, came to fame when she was chosen by the King as [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: September 23rd 2018: Consider the children

Mark’s gospel, the first to be written, ends with the mysterious empty tomb rather than the later resurrection stories.  It is short, punchy, and in many ways shocking.  In chapter 9, Jesus is trying to talk seriously to the disciples about the future and all they can do is to argue amongst themselves about how [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: August 19th 2018: Go to the ant, thou sluggard!

Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that spreads in cat faeces to other mammals, including humans.  It is extremely common.  Mice that pick up the parasite from the soil develop one of the world’s weirdest symptoms.  They lose their fear of cats.  As a result, they get eaten by cats thereby returning toxoplasma gondii to [...]

Thoughts for the week: May 6th 2018 Noah’s Ark

The story of Noah’s Ark is widely known;  it appeals to children;  it offers drawing and colouring opportunities.  Every major religion seems to have its own flood story and the reason is that there have been many environmental disasters in human pre-history, the stories of which have been passed down and interpreted by many generations [...]