A short Easter service on Christ seeing us from the least.
Taking of fresh starts, I can remember nearly every moment of that day in June of 1995. It was warm day and I was in the Navy. I had been reasonably successful and was looking forward to another 12 years of a career I enjoyed. However, that day as I walked across to see my boss I was slightly apprehensive. For I knew a series of redundancies was being announced. I had come to the conclusion if I was to be made redundant he would giving me the news there and then. I had even come to the conclusion that if I went to his office and he had a brown envelope on his desk, my number was up. Continue reading
Tell me – how many cheers do you give today. And that the answer to that depends on whither you greet this morning with unalloyed joy or with mixed feelings. Certainly Christ greeted the Jerusalem crowd with the latter. As a result, our lesson this morning speak volumes for many of us here – many also who are just out there – many who have mixed feelings about entering. Continue reading
For on Tuesday on returning home from a series of Church meetings, I caught the second half of that great film – My house in Umbria. This is a bitter-sweet comedy which nevertheless deals with some very dark themes indeed.
It starts with a terrorist bomb going off on an Italian inter city train. The foreign survivors of the bombed carriage all end up recuperating in a chaotically rustic pension ruled over by a somewhat fey and often tipsy Emily Delahunty played by Maggie Smith. The main plot revolves around a small American girl who has been orphaned by the atrocity. She is destined to return to the States with her desiccated and self-absorbed uncle.
In time, it is revealed that the gentle young German student, Werner, who is so attentive to the child – almost like a brother – is in fact the bomber.
At the film’s end, with the child entrusted to this rag-tag group’s care, they walk in the warm Italian sunset and Maggie smith’s character says to Ronnie Barker’s, I forgive even Werner. Shocking the others, they ask why. And she replies we all need forgiveness.
It seems then by the good action of offering forgiveness, they could give to each other their brokenness as well. And as a result they found peace, they found acceptance, they found even contentment.
Now as we approach Easter, let us do the same.
It is tempting to say that Easter gets earlier every year! Needless
to say the idea that this season could be any earlier this year is, of
course, nonsense. Nevertheless, this expresses the sense that the
pivotal event of our Lord passion and resurrection rushes upon us
without time for proper preparation. The outcome can often be
that Easter is just another holiday without spiritual meaning, depth
What’s to be done? Well, during worship on these Lenten
Sunday’s we are preparing ourselves by hearing the story of
Christ’s journey to the cross and the empty tomb. This is only
natural since Lent is indeed a time for stories. It’s the time when
we think about the story of the Israelites escaping from slavery in
Egypt, miraculously crossing the Red Sea, struggling through the
wilderness for forty years, and, at last, entering the promised land.
It is also the time to tell and retell the stories of the struggles and
miracles of the early church.
And all of this is hugely important since we all have stories to tell:
stories about who we are, where we come from and where we
hope to go in life. We all have stories of our travelling in faith.
Why not join us then this Lent time for worship? For then you will
be part of truly saying to the world ‘This is our communal;
story’: the story of the Israelites, the story of Jesus and the story
of our church family’s ‘journey of faith’. Moreover you will be
affirming and finding meaning in your own story – your unique
story – your story of one loved by God shown in the Easter of
I don’t know about you – but I do feel the telly is rubbish at the moment! It was therefore a delight a few weeks back to watch a programme that truly engaged me for a whole two hours. It was about the annual competition
held by the metropolitan opera in New York to find the best young singers in the United States. As you can imagine this is a highly prestigious award and competition is fierce. The programme picked up when the finalists
from across the states meet up in the vast opera house itself and prepare for their trial debut on stage.
Well, needless to say, there are many tears and tribulations on the way until the few awards are dished out a fortnight later at the end of a gala evening. However, one singer stood out. Continue reading