One of my all-time favourite passages in the Bible is in the second half of Markâ€™s Gospel chapter five. Typically for this Gospel writer, two incidents are woven together: the healing of a little girl, Jairusâ€™ daughter, is sandwiched between the account of the healing of the haemorrhaging woman. The fact the woman has been unwell for the same length of time as the girl has been alive, 12 years, is part of the beautiful parallel in this account.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to every parish priest in the country, encouraging us to pray for the nation in the week leading up to Pentecost. This is from their letter:
No sooner are the Christmas cards and decorations removed from the supermarket shelves, than hot cross buns and Easter eggs appear. It is like retailers want to hurry us through the year, by beginning to sell things a couple of months ahead of their due date. But I have to confess, I am less bothered by the hot cross buns in January, than I am by tinsel appearing in September. It is not just because I really enjoy eating those buns(mmmâ€¦toasted with butter, nothing better!) ....
I love the Spring. Trees which formerly looked cold and lifeless, with branches completely bare through the winter, now in the spring produce green shoots, leaves appear, and soon we will have blossom sprouting too. They might have looked dead, but they certainly were not, and now are full of signs of life. And it is wonderful to celebrate the resurrection and Easter when this transformation is happening in the world around us....
Lent is the time in the churchâ€™s year when we remember the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent in the wilderness, before he entered his ministry. It leads us to Easter, when we remember Jesusâ€™ ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. To read more click on the image:
As the New Year begins, it is traditional to take up a New Yearâ€™s resolution. Attendance at a gym, or quitting smoking, or reading the Bible cover-to-cover, or not eating chocolate ever again. Whatever it is, I wish you well with your resolve. But if we are honest, we know that so often the New Year resolution has not lasted until the end of January. I would like to suggest that instead of resolving to do something drastic, that we each resolve to do very small things, every day....
Later this month (15th September at 7.30pm) there will be an important event at the cathedral to launch a year-long initiative for all of us to further develop our Bible reading.
I write this just after our Fun Day held on June 11th, to celebrate the Queenâ€™s birthday (see p16 for pictures). We had a good turnout in spite of the dubious weather, and good fun was had by all, young and old. We organised a variety of activities at the Fun Day, including biscuit decorating and also making a crown (thank you to Lynn Wakefield and Clare Davies for leading those). These were primarily designed to be for the children, but one of the delightful things was to see how adults (old enough to be parents, or even grandparents) also enjoyed taking part.
As Christians, we are used to talking about having Christ-like attitudes in our daily lives. But, if we are honest, how much does that really impact what we do as individuals, or as different groups in the church? The PCC is considering adopting the Jesus Shaped People programme for Holy Trinity Church. What does this mean?
Surveys in this country show that two thirds of people who have no faith know somebody who is a Christian. Most think positively about the Christians they know, and the same surveys show that about 20% (one fifth) of people are open to getting to know Jesus better. Taken together, that means that those of us with faith have quite a responsibility to help bring the non-Christians we know to Jesus.