Saturday, 13 July 2013

DANGER ZONE (Preaching again)

Despite what I wrote earlier in the year I have not entirely quit preaching. Tomorrow  I'll be down at St. David's Episcopal Church in Englewood FL.

I am fond of many of the worshippers there, so I agreed to "sub" because their Priest-in-Charge" will be out of town.

(A note for non Church attenders: --- in the Episcopal Church, and in  many others, we use assigned passages each Sunday. We read a lot of scripture - a reading from the Old Testament; a Psalm; another reading from the Epistles etc, and a final reading from the Gospels).

All too much scripture (in my humble opinion) and not enough time to reflect on it.

The sad norm in the Episcopal Church is to more or less ignore the O.T. and Epistle readings, and to preach on the Gospel. 'Tis too bad - for there is much in other parts of the bible which is profitable - and necessary.

The Gospel reading tomorrow is the famed "Good  Samaritan" passage (see below).

I will not preach on this Gospel passage. This is for three reasons.

1. It's a bit "old". So many Christians are familiar with the story that it is hard to imbue it with fresh meanings.

2. The story brings out my judgmentalism. "Of course", I say, "the Priest and the Levite were dreadful people" (conveniently ignoring  my own dreadfulness).

3. The story can easily evoke my own self righteousness. When ever I read it I "know" that I would be the good Samaritan. (If you believe that, then let me sell you a bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn).

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Instead I will preach from the Old Testament passage (Amos 7:7-17). "Amos" (circa 800 B.C.) spoke at a time when the rich were getting richer, and the poor were getting poorer, (so what is new?).

I'll try not to preach a left wing rant.  I'll do my best to let the passage from Amos speak for itself.

I'll post my sermon tomorrow at which time you'll be able to discern whether or not  I abstained from ranting, and whether or not I allowed the Word of God in Amos to do its own work.

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Luke 10:25-37

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’
 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’

Friday, 12 July 2013

Food, glorious summer food

It's peach season  --  so I made some Peach Salsa today

See this simple  recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-summer-peach-salsa-152714

It was "damn good", and I had some for supper/dinner, together with some homemade Tuna Salad.

Tasty, nutritious, and healthy.

Good!

You too can make this.




Thursday, 11 July 2013

To Republicans (USA) or Tories (UK): who are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

To my Republican/Tory friends:

I respect that you are "right of centre" by honest and prayerful  conviction.

I know that you too respect my "left of centre" stance.

But we, as Christians,  (Republican or Democrats)  should be very concerned at this video which mocks and disparages the poor, see:


http://youtu.be/eK2TSBz8OiU  (please  cut and paste this link to your browser)





 (video via my friend Karen N)

There is nothing gracious  in the sentiments it expresses. It is not biblical.

See for instance -   Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things".


Indeed the video explicitly denies the teaching of Jesus who said "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:20

And the video is in direct opposition to what Jesus is recorded to have said in Matthew's Gospel: : see Matthew 25:31-46.



The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

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With these biblical texts in mind and heart I ask my dear republican/tory  sisters and brothers to link up with their district /constituency parties - so that :


1. the biblical concern for the poor is reflected in conservative policies, 

2.  Jesus' teaching about the poor becomes  "front and central"  for both liberal and conservative Christians,

3.  the horrible sentiments as expressed in the video do not become the norm for republican/tory Christian voters. 

And as a left of  centre Christian I will strive to subject my political views to the teaching of the Bible.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Sunday, 7 July 2013

My fabulous "big sister" Maureen. (and the men's final at Wimbledon)

I chatted yesterday (July 6th 2013) with my fabulous big sister Maureen on the occasion of her 76th birthday.

Maureen is just about one of the most wonderful women I have known -  and she is my sister.

She is utterly respected and loved by her husband Bernard; by her three daughters and her one son, by her sons-in-law and her daughter-in-law, by her grandchildren....

and especially by her eight siblings.

I am one of those sibs, and I could not wish for a better and more inspiring sister.

I thank God for her, and for all those thoughts of her which bring me such joy and hope, and which encourage me towards deeper faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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With all of that in mind, I called my youngest brother Martyn this afternoon (July 7th). We found easy agreement in our love and respect for our oldest sister.

Martyn is making an incredible recovery from his May 26th 2013 surgery  -  thanks be to the doctors and nurses at  Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, and thanks for the many prayers to the loving God on both sides of the Atlantic.

Martyn will return to work on July 8th.  Who would have had "thunk it".

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At the time of my call Martyn and his fabulous wife Wendy were watching the Men's Singles Final at Wimbledon.

This caused us to think about our Mum (God rest her soul). 

Each year she took control of the television for the Wimbledon fortnight.   She loved to view Wimbledon, and none of us would dare to switch channels.  This was Mum's T.V. time  -  you'd better believe it!

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I am no fan of sports of any ilk, but I did get a bit excited as I watched the last bit of this final, and even more excited when Andy Murray prevailed. 

Martyn and I agreed (tongue in cheek) that if Murray won he would be British, but if he lost he would be Scottish.  (lol)

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I know next to nothing about  Murray's opponent,  the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic.  But he was utterly gracious in defeat

His gracious words were a joy to hear.

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For once the American commentators were able to say "Wimbledon".  All except for one jackass on National Public Radio who reverted to the  ghastly American pronunciation of Wimbleton"

We cannot win them all!