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Reflections of a Lay Pastor:  September 22nd 2019  The Crooked Manager

The story of the crooked manager in Luke 16 is a parable, and a very odd one.  We can’t ask: “Who is represented by the rich man?”  “Who is represented by the crooked manager?” because these questions don’t make sense when applied to a parable.  It is just a story that illustrates a truth;  Jesus [...]

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: February 10th 2019: Trust

How do we know whom to trust?  More to the point, how do we make sure that our children find out quickly enough in their short teenage years whom to trust?  “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to no one”, is wise advice from Shakespeare; but the Bible was not written by people who [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: January 20th 2019: Koinonia

The Greeks had a word for it and we haven’t.  Koinonia occurs about 20 times in the New Testament and it means something like fellowship, communion, a joint present or, sometimes, looking after one another.  Ever since we were told that there was no such thing as society (and perhaps this was not meant as [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: January 13th 2019: Joy

Our church is studying Christian Values for the next six weeks; one value each week.  Last week it was Humility, this week;  Joy.  We asked people what values they would include in the series and chose seven.  We would still like to hear more contributions because we plan to continue the series next year, 2020. [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: December 23rd 2018 Two pregnant women

In Luke’s first chapter he records the meeting of two pregnant women.  Elizabeth had been childless and “disgraced” for being so, for not being a “proper” woman.  She and her husband had longed for a child and she became joyfully pregnant in her old age.  Not all childless women who want children are so fortunate, [...]