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Reflections of a Lay Pastor: March 31st 2019: Mothering Sunday

Judges chapter 5 is possibly the oldest piece of Jewish poetry in existence, dating from 3200 years ago.  It is often called The Song of Deborah.  Prophet and Judge to Israel, Deborah was known for her wisdom, courage and compassionate zeal for justice.  She provided an example of leadership that wasn’t normally seen in society [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: March 24th 2019: The habit of Gratitude

At the beginning of Luke 13, Jesus asks the disciples whether they think that bad things only happen to bad people, or whether they just happen.  Jesus supplies his own answer.  Psychologists tell us that our minds find it difficult to cope with the idea of bad things happening to good people.  Our minds, evidently, [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: August 5th 2018: Happiness and Sadness

All three synoptic gospels recall the story of Jesus and the rich but isolated woman who was unclean because of continuous loss of blood (Luke 8:43–48 for instance).  In this story, a ceremonially unclean woman, living with discomfort, having spent all her money on doctors with no effect, touched the hem of Jesus cloak in [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: January 21st 2018: Changing Tack

Jesus called the fishermen (Mark 1:14-20) and they gave up their livelihood and followed him.  What a risk!  Yet this is how movements begin.  Sometimes, it will affect the lives of all it touches, Gandhi’s “Satyagraha” movement, non-violent resistance to British Rule, for instance.  This is sometimes how individual families change their fortunes.  The question [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: October 29th 2017: The Bible

Matthew 22 records an awkward exchange of questions between Jesus and some Pharisees.  Pharisees claimed to be literalists, to follow the instructions of what is now the Old Testament to the letter, for by doing so they pleased God.  Jesus took a different point of view.  He was quick and able to quote sections;  he [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: August 27th 2017: Party time for a new temple

1 Kings 8 describes Solomon’s dedication of the new temple.  Solomon was not shy of claiming credit for its construction, he was in a bragging mood.  Apart from sacrificing 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and running a party for two solid weeks he also prayed, and his prayers deserve study. Solomon asked God to hear [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: May 28th 2017: Prayer

Anyone who has ever successfully transplanted a tree will tell you that water is the key.  A whip is a small, unbranched first- or second-year tree, more of a seedling really, and provided the ground is damp and you firm it in well, it will grow.  Anything larger, with an established root system that you [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: February 19th 2017: building lives

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul compares building a life with building a temple; our lives are God’s house of course, construction is important, construction materials are important.  How are we to know about the quality of the building materials that we are to use in constructing our lives? And, No; it isn’t too late, whatever [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: April 3rd 2016 Low Sunday

We celebrate Easter this year overshadowed by events in Europe, and at home, about Europe.  A small and unrepresentative sect of Islam, disowned by most Muslims, has taken to seducing young men and women to destroy themselves and many other people by means of suicide bombs.  In the same way, Christians indulge in terrorist violence [...]

Reflections of a Lay Pastor: March 27th 2016 Easter Sunday

Very few of us know when we will die; the date and time of our deaths. Maybe those on death row have a clear date in mind, but even so there are appeals. Maybe suicide bombers have the opportunity to prepare themselves. Maybe someone living with a terminal illness has a date in mind, but [...]