Is ‘discipleship’ killing the Church?

‘Two sides of the same coin’ is a common enough saying. So, it came to mind as I was reading the temptation of Jesus in the desert followed by his preaching in the synagogue.   In the wilderness, he was sustained by reading scripture. He developed faith in the sustaining goodness of God. He re-affirmed [...]

Just being there

With the New Year disappearing in the rear mirror, it is time to pack the decorations away. We will soon wrap the nativity story up in a box for another year. And as the attic hatch closes, we can easily forget that story’s characters. Since none were historical figures of great power, wealth, or talent. [...]

Christmas is a deep pool

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com Writing as I do on Christmas Day of 2021, it is difficult to feel the full joy of this the holiest of days. The world seems full of infection, charlatan politicians, and human messiness.  So, I started to think through the ghosts of Christmases past. The midnight carol services [...]

The two faces of Christmas

The local shopping mall has court jesters on top of its marble pillars. From ground level, they look very jolly in their scarlet and gold outfits. But their faces are quite sad when you get closer. Photo by Charl Durand on Pexels.com That’s not surprising for they see the whole Christmas pageant below them. The [...]

Wise innocence in Advent

Photo by Vinu00edcius Vieira ft on Pexels.com The cartoon shows the Wise Men on the way to Bethlehem. One is saying – I still think we should have gone for the Pampers, tiny vests and a teddy! The truth is the Nativity story has remoulded more times than even Dicken’s Christmas Carol. It is used [...]

Seeing Miracles

Uzzah had every right to feel miffed! For, seeing the Arc of the Covenant in imminent danger of crashing to the deck, he reached out to steady it. His reward was instant death as recorded in 2 Samuel and I Chronicles. So, as Mark Twain quipped – ‘every good deed deserves punishment’. Now some commentors [...]

Rebuild the Temple now!

John 2.13-23 Today we consider Jesus’ clearing of the Temple. On the face of it, the scandal that he seems to be correcting is simply the sale of animals. However, he would have known that the provision of livestock was essential to the primary purpose of this building. Since it existed almost entirely for animal [...]

Wed yourself to joy

In Britain, the first meal a newly married couple have together is called ‘the wedding breakfast’. As a minister, I have attended my fair share of wedding breakfasts. Sadly, sometimes after a very busy week, I don't enter into them with unalloyed joy. Nevertheless, as I leave, I always feel refreshed having made new friends [...]

How to be a rock like Peter

He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” – this can be translated as ‘The Rock’. (John 1.42) Many years ago, as a student, I attended a conference with the well-known Scottish minister, John Bell. When going for coffee, I [...]