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

Before the Ending of the day 12

 

They think it’s all over; well it is now.
Easter Evening approaches– the transitory mess of chocolate eggs wrappings, bunny cards and Easter flowers grace the day’s close. The church’s Easter garden is already wilting.
Easter has come and gone.
In John’s gospel the dying words of Jesus are: it is finished. It may appear strange to be considering them on Easter Day but they point to the significance of his resurrection.
I wonder how many people die, content. For them life has come to a perfect conclusion with all ends tied up. They have lived a neatly packaged life which can be boxed up and put away.
I have had that impression from some funeral services I have attended and certainly the favoured alternative – a celebration of the departed’s life. But I wonder. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 11

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit

This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
It would appear that in the account of his death in the later gospels Jesus died at peace with his Father in heaven but what about us?
I found this beautiful prayer by Bishop Jeremy Taylor. It was written in the Restoration period of the 1600s. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 10

 

A request too far?

In John’s account of the death of Jesus there is a moment when the frail humanity of Christ breaks the silence. He cries out: I am thirsty. It is the thirst of the dying. But when the drugged cloth is offered him he refuses. Was there another sort of thirst he need quenching?
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 9

 

United by his death
In John’s account of the death of Jesus there is a poignant scene where he unites his mother with the disciple with whom he had a unique love. After his death Jesus has decided that she will go to the disciple’s home.
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
It is a sad fact that sometimes it is only after a death that something fruitful can happen. Continue reading