A parable for the last day of summer

Beach

A parable is story +. It is more than the sum of its parts. It holds truth within it and this truth must be sought out. The following parable began life years ago during a weekend in Bournemouth. It began as a reflection on parenthood and has morphed into a meditation on God.

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Is the idea of taking leave unbiblical?

 

A friend who works for the Baptist Union told me he was about to take a couple weeks of annual leave. His reference to ‘leave’ instead of ‘holiday’ hardly jarred but it gave me a jolt.

Why was he taking leave? Who said he could? Why this use of military language? And why does it unsettle me?

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Before the ending of Trinity Sunday

 

God of many names,never fully known;

Mystery of mysteries, Calling us your own.

John Bell

The writer highlights the paradox of the Trinity. Many attempts have been made to explain the incomprehensibility of God and yet our experience tells us that we have sense of his intimate relationship with us that goes beyond words.

And that’s Trinity Sunday for you. It’s a day to keep Christians humble….and Continue reading

Before the ending of Pentecost Day

 

No rushing wind here in this part of England this Pentecost Day just gentle breezes and birdsong as the weather wonders whether to let it be spring or not.

So I took the opportunity to browse through John V Taylor’s The Go-Between God written in 1972 when the Charismatic Renewal was beginning to take off and I ponder its opening paragraph.

The chief actor in the historic mission of the Christian church is the Holy Spirit. He is the director of the whole enterprise. The mission’s first task is to focus on Jesus Christ.

He makes an important point. The Holy Spirit is not primarily about special gifts or unique healings. For those of us who remember those times and can reflect on what happened in many churches it is a reminder that the Holy Spirit was not given to change the way we worship but to lead us in Christ’s missionary work in the world. Continue reading

At the ending of the day 15

I am slowly getting used to not asking what actually happened on that first Easter Day.
It is a question which has burdened me from the early days of my theological formation and the incessant demands of secular thinking that will only believe in what can be backed by so-called scientific proof.
So I am gradually getting used to asking more productively; whatever did happen, what is the meaning of Christ’s resurrection?
Here is a brief and tantalising answer. Continue reading

Before the Ending of the day 14

 

The beautiful parish church of Great Bowden and a soft early spring evening where I attended Soul Space. It is a gentle end of the day gathering which invites me to sit and respond in quietness and modest faith. There are no demands that tell me how to feel or think; just a space offered for the possibility of prayer and worship.
As I arrive I am given a piece of paper and its first words are
CHRIST IS RISEN
WE ARE RISEN.
Really? Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 13

There was a garden in that place and a new tomb in which no one had been laid
John 19:41
I first visited the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem in 1988. I returned there to study at St George’s College ten years later and one afternoon re-visited the site and this describes what I saw. Continue reading