Covenant Service 5 January 2014
22 January 2012
Matthew 6, 19-27 and 1 John 1 5-10
I discovered over Christmas that I suffer from the Winter Blues and that the cause is a lack of light get into my eyes. Using a light that mimics the sun without the uv rays I have noticed an improvement in my mood and an increase in energy. It reminds us that we are creatures dependent on our environment and perhaps helps us understand something of what Jesus meant in verses 22 and 23 of Matthew. But there is also a spiritual meaning. John speaks of the light which reveals the truth about the sin in our lives and God’s love. Matthew places his verses about the eyes and light in the context of teaching about material things. We need to focus on God and not possessions and then our lives will be full of light. As we face uncertain economic times ahead we are promised all that we need. We are called then to a covenant with the light because God is light.
Remembrance Sunday 2012
The passage in Isaiah 65 tells us of a time when we will be able to forget all the pain and suffering in this world as there will be a new creation of all things. But in the meantime it is good to remember because those who died in wars did so on our behalf. But this sacrifice also points us to the sacrifice of Christ who died on our behalf too but on this occasion in a once perfect and all sufficient offering which will make the hope of the passage in Isaiah a reality.
7 November 2010
In these times of economic uncertainty we may fear about having enough to live on. In Genesis, when the serpent questioned Eve if God has said she couldn’t eat from any tree in the garden, even though Eve knew this was wrong, the possibility was raised that she might not have enough. Perhaps that is partly why she took the fruit from the forbidden tree. Psychologists have discovered the earliest part of our brain in evolutionary terms whose job it is to warn of a lack or attack. It is still part of our brain and still working, looking for imminent attack of a lack. Interestingly as far as Genesis is concerned it is called the reptilian brain. Of course, even if we are facing redundancy or a drop in income; though the reptilian brain may see this as a major threat; we may have less but we will still have enough. Being aware of how this part of our brain works may help us to stop worrying and as Jesus says, consider the birds of the air, for they have all they need. Why not us?
29 August 2010
Luke 14, 7-14 and Jeremiah 2, 9-13
In this passage Jesus comments on how we behave at dinner tables and advises us to take the lowest place rather than presume to sit in the best place. What then would he make of Come Dine With Me on TV in which dinner parties have become a competition? Jesus is giving practical advice about dinner parties but also about the place of humility in God’s kingdom. He also suggests we invite those who cannot invite us back, thus exposing how many of our actions are motivated by self interest. All of this amounts to the challenge of finding our whole security and life in God, who, as Jeremiah describes it, is like a spring of water. This is contrasted by Jeremiah’s description of people attempting to secure everything for themselves, as being like cracked cisterns which only let the water leak away.
25 July 2010
Mark 7, 1-23
Is religion good or bad for a person?
Purely outward forms of religious practise as demonstrated by the Pharisees can lead to spiritual pride and judgement upon others. It can also lead to an avoidance of obedience to the spirit of God’s laws which is replaced by a legalistic obedience to the letter of the law. Outward forms of religion can also lead to an unquestioning blind faith which is quite immature.
For Jesus and the gentile and Jewish community Mark was writing for, one issue was whether all foods should be eaten and Jesus is recorder as saying yes.
But the issue is really what comes from inside you.
It is only when we acknowledge the truth of our darker sides and allow this truth to be met and transformed by the love and grace of God that we can be transformed. This is good religion.