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1 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Thursday 28th April 2022
Thought for Today
This week I have been sharing some reflections on the first verse of Mark’s gospel. Over the last two days, I have shared some thoughts around “beginnings” and “good news”.
Mark announces that he is telling the good news about “Jesus Christ”, and in using these two words to describe Jesus, Mark is making an important point. Mark is saying that Jesus was an ordinary human being, who had a name, just like you and me – his name was Jesus. In other words, Jesus is not some theoretical concept , living in the minds of philosophers and theologians. No. Jesus is a real person, and like all real people, he has a name. But note that Mark adds the word “Christ”. He could have simply written : “the good news about Jesus”. If he had done so, his readers would have still understood who he was writing about; yes, there were other First Century Jews with the name Jesus, but it was quite clear from the context that Mark was writing about Jesus of Nazareth.
But Mark chose to add the word “Christ” . The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”; Mark was writing in Greek, and addressing people who very probably did n’t know any Hebrew, hence his decision to translate the Hebrew “Messiah” into the Greek “Christ”. The word Christ/Messiah means someone who is anointed; and in the context of the Bible, it means someone anointed by God to perform a particular task. At the time of Jesus, many Jews believed that God would send someone who would be a leader for the Jewish nation; someone who would be anointed by God to transform the lives of Jewish men and women. This promised leader was referred to as the “Messiah”. Many Jews were eagerly expecting the coming of the Messiah, and there were those who were convinced that Jesus was himself the Messiah. If you were a Greek speaking Jew, you would have probably used the Greek word “Christ” rather than the Hebrew word “Messiah”.
So Mark is saying that Jesus is not only a real human being (“Jesus”); he is also the long-awaited Messiah (“Christ”), and as such, he has been anointed by God to transform the lives of his fellow Jews for the better. In today’s language, God had given Jesus a job to do. What was the job? Mark invites us to read the rest of his gospel to find out!
2 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Thursday 28th April 2022
Thought for Today
This week I have been sharing some reflections on the first verse of Mark’s gospel. Over the last two days, I have shared some thoughts around “beginnings” and “good news”.
Mark announces that he is telling the good news about “Jesus Christ”, and in using these two words to describe Jesus, Mark is making an important point. Mark is saying that Jesus was an ordinary human being, who had a name, just like you and me – his name was Jesus. In other words, Jesus is not some theoretical concept , living in the minds of philosophers and theologians. No. Jesus is a real person, and like all real people, he has a name. But note that Mark adds the word “Christ”. He could have simply written : “the good news about Jesus”. If he had done so, his readers would have still understood who he was writing about; yes, there were other First Century Jews with the name Jesus, but it was quite clear from the context that Mark was writing about Jesus of Nazareth.
But Mark chose to add the word “Christ” . The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”; Mark was writing in Greek, and addressing people who very probably did n’t know any Hebrew, hence his decision to translate the Hebrew “Messiah” into the Greek “Christ”. The word Christ/Messiah means someone who is anointed; and in the context of the Bible, it means someone anointed by God to perform a particular task. At the time of Jesus, many Jews believed that God would send someone who would be a leader for the Jewish nation; someone who would be anointed by God to transform the lives of Jewish men and women. This promised leader was referred to as the “Messiah”. Many Jews were eagerly expecting the coming of the Messiah, and there were those who were convinced that Jesus was himself the Messiah. If you were a Greek speaking Jew, you would have probably used the Greek word “Christ” rather than the Hebrew word “Messiah”.
So Mark is saying that Jesus is not only a real human being (“Jesus”); he is also the long-awaited Messiah (“Christ”), and as such, he has been anointed by God to transform the lives of his fellow Jews for the better. In today’s language, God had given Jesus a job to do. What was the job? Mark invites us to read the rest of his gospel to find out!
3 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Thursday 28th April 2022
Thought for Today
This week I have been sharing some reflections on the first verse of Mark’s gospel. Over the last two days, I have shared some thoughts around “beginnings” and “good news”.
Mark announces that he is telling the good news about “Jesus Christ”, and in using these two words to describe Jesus, Mark is making an important point. Mark is saying that Jesus was an ordinary human being, who had a name, just like you and me – his name was Jesus. In other words, Jesus is not some theoretical concept , living in the minds of philosophers and theologians. No. Jesus is a real person, and like all real people, he has a name. But note that Mark adds the word “Christ”. He could have simply written : “the good news about Jesus”. If he had done so, his readers would have still understood who he was writing about; yes, there were other First Century Jews with the name Jesus, but it was quite clear from the context that Mark was writing about Jesus of Nazareth.
But Mark chose to add the word “Christ” . The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”; Mark was writing in Greek, and addressing people who very probably did n’t know any Hebrew, hence his decision to translate the Hebrew “Messiah” into the Greek “Christ”. The word Christ/Messiah means someone who is anointed; and in the context of the Bible, it means someone anointed by God to perform a particular task. At the time of Jesus, many Jews believed that God would send someone who would be a leader for the Jewish nation; someone who would be anointed by God to transform the lives of Jewish men and women. This promised leader was referred to as the “Messiah”. Many Jews were eagerly expecting the coming of the Messiah, and there were those who were convinced that Jesus was himself the Messiah. If you were a Greek speaking Jew, you would have probably used the Greek word “Christ” rather than the Hebrew word “Messiah”.
So Mark is saying that Jesus is not only a real human being (“Jesus”); he is also the long-awaited Messiah (“Christ”), and as such, he has been anointed by God to transform the lives of his fellow Jews for the better. In today’s language, God had given Jesus a job to do. What was the job? Mark invites us to read the rest of his gospel to find out!
4 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Thursday 28th April 2022
Thought for Today
This week I have been sharing some reflections on the first verse of Mark’s gospel. Over the last two days, I have shared some thoughts around “beginnings” and “good news”.
Mark announces that he is telling the good news about “Jesus Christ”, and in using these two words to describe Jesus, Mark is making an important point. Mark is saying that Jesus was an ordinary human being, who had a name, just like you and me – his name was Jesus. In other words, Jesus is not some theoretical concept , living in the minds of philosophers and theologians. No. Jesus is a real person, and like all real people, he has a name. But note that Mark adds the word “Christ”. He could have simply written : “the good news about Jesus”. If he had done so, his readers would have still understood who he was writing about; yes, there were other First Century Jews with the name Jesus, but it was quite clear from the context that Mark was writing about Jesus of Nazareth.
But Mark chose to add the word “Christ” . The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”; Mark was writing in Greek, and addressing people who very probably did n’t know any Hebrew, hence his decision to translate the Hebrew “Messiah” into the Greek “Christ”. The word Christ/Messiah means someone who is anointed; and in the context of the Bible, it means someone anointed by God to perform a particular task. At the time of Jesus, many Jews believed that God would send someone who would be a leader for the Jewish nation; someone who would be anointed by God to transform the lives of Jewish men and women. This promised leader was referred to as the “Messiah”. Many Jews were eagerly expecting the coming of the Messiah, and there were those who were convinced that Jesus was himself the Messiah. If you were a Greek speaking Jew, you would have probably used the Greek word “Christ” rather than the Hebrew word “Messiah”.
So Mark is saying that Jesus is not only a real human being (“Jesus”); he is also the long-awaited Messiah (“Christ”), and as such, he has been anointed by God to transform the lives of his fellow Jews for the better. In today’s language, God had given Jesus a job to do. What was the job? Mark invites us to read the rest of his gospel to find out!
5 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Thursday 5th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week, we’re trying something a bit different : a mini-retreat based around four questions. The first question has focussed on thankfulness : what are we thankful for in our lives? Thankfulness reminds us of God’s goodness, which surrounds us at all times in our lives, even when we’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Having settled ourselves down by reminding ourselves of the ever-present reality of God’s love, we are in a position to consider the second question : what might God be wanting to say to us? We might simply choose to sit down somewhere quiet, where we won’t be distracted. Or we might read a passage from the bible, or perhaps have a conversation with other Christians. We’re all individuals, and so we will have different ways of listening to God; the most important thing is to discover a way that works for us. This might well take a lot of experimenting! And we sometimes find that a method that worked at one stage of life no longer works at another.
So we have thanked God, and we have tried to listen to what he might be wanting to say to us. What happens next?
A possible next stage is to begin a conversation with God. We talk with God about whatever is on our hearts and minds. We might talk to God by actually saying things to him, or we might keep the conversation in our minds. It does n’t matter. The key thing is to talk to God. We don’t have to worry about getting the words right, or choosing words which seem to be particularly religious. God wants us to talk to him, and he is fully capable of understanding what we want to say. God has no need of Google Translate!
God also understands when we are struggling to find the words we want – or when we are using non-verbal forms of communication. If we’re very upset, we might talk to God with our tears, or even our silence – God understands. We might also talk to God through our physical actions. I remember one occasion when I was so overwhelmed with the beauty of scene in front of me that I quite literally fell to my knees, and raised my hands to God! Again, if I’m in a church building, I can sometimes find it helpful simply to kneel at the Communion rail , even if the building is empty.
So today’s question is this : what do you want to talk to God about? What’s on your heart and mind today?
6 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 6th May 2022
Thought for Today
So we have reached Friday, the end of our mini-retreat. Yesterday, I wrote about the value of having a conversation with God : talking to God about whatever is on our heart and mind. The conversation might involve words, or it might not : there might be times when what we wish to say to God lies too deep for words. So we have had our conversation with God; what happens next?
I think a helpful next step is to ask ourselves the following question : where do we see signs of new beginnings in our lives? We started our mini-retreat with a question about thankfulness, which reminds us about the goodness and love of God. Our final question brings us back to the same place : an awareness of the eternal reality of God’s love. When we look for the signs of new beginnings, we are reminded that we don’t have to wait for God to be at work in our lives : he is already at work, planting the seeds of new beginnings and new possibilities. In other words, God is already bringing us new life. Why does God do this? It is because he loves us, and so wishes to bring about our transformation : to free us from the burden of guilt and all the things that oppress us, and to help us experience life in all its fulness. The phrase “life in all its fulness” might ring a bell- it’s a reference to Jesus’ promise in Chapter 10 of John’s gospel : “ I came that they have may have life, and have it abundantly”. “Life in all its fulness” is simply another way of translating these words.
Sometimes, when we are tired, distracted or overwhelmed, we can fail to see the signs of new life all around us. We cannot see the new beginnings, the signs of hope, which show that God is already at work, transforming our lives for the better. A time of retreat helps us to see the reality of God’s love : in our past, and in our future. We have begun our mini-retreat with a focus on thankfulness, which shows us the reality of God’s love in our past. We finish our min-retreat with a focus on noticing the new beginnings in our life and our world : by doing so, we see the reality of God’s love in the future which lies ahead.
As we journey though life, we are continually travelling towards fresh experiences of God’s love; and when our travelling days are over, we experience that fulness of God’s love which we call Heaven.
I wonder where you are seeing signs of a new beginning in your own life?
7 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 6th May 2022
Thought for Today
So we have reached Friday, the end of our mini-retreat. Yesterday, I wrote about the value of having a conversation with God : talking to God about whatever is on our heart and mind. The conversation might involve words, or it might not : there might be times when what we wish to say to God lies too deep for words. So we have had our conversation with God; what happens next?
I think a helpful next step is to ask ourselves the following question : where do we see signs of new beginnings in our lives? We started our mini-retreat with a question about thankfulness, which reminds us about the goodness and love of God. Our final question brings us back to the same place : an awareness of the eternal reality of God’s love. When we look for the signs of new beginnings, we are reminded that we don’t have to wait for God to be at work in our lives : he is already at work, planting the seeds of new beginnings and new possibilities. In other words, God is already bringing us new life. Why does God do this? It is because he loves us, and so wishes to bring about our transformation : to free us from the burden of guilt and all the things that oppress us, and to help us experience life in all its fulness. The phrase “life in all its fulness” might ring a bell- it’s a reference to Jesus’ promise in Chapter 10 of John’s gospel : “ I came that they have may have life, and have it abundantly”. “Life in all its fulness” is simply another way of translating these words.
Sometimes, when we are tired, distracted or overwhelmed, we can fail to see the signs of new life all around us. We cannot see the new beginnings, the signs of hope, which show that God is already at work, transforming our lives for the better. A time of retreat helps us to see the reality of God’s love : in our past, and in our future. We have begun our mini-retreat with a focus on thankfulness, which shows us the reality of God’s love in our past. We finish our min-retreat with a focus on noticing the new beginnings in our life and our world : by doing so, we see the reality of God’s love in the future which lies ahead.
As we journey though life, we are continually travelling towards fresh experiences of God’s love; and when our travelling days are over, we experience that fulness of God’s love which we call Heaven.
I wonder where you are seeing signs of a new beginning in your own life?
8 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 6th May 2022
Thought for Today
So we have reached Friday, the end of our mini-retreat. Yesterday, I wrote about the value of having a conversation with God : talking to God about whatever is on our heart and mind. The conversation might involve words, or it might not : there might be times when what we wish to say to God lies too deep for words. So we have had our conversation with God; what happens next?
I think a helpful next step is to ask ourselves the following question : where do we see signs of new beginnings in our lives? We started our mini-retreat with a question about thankfulness, which reminds us about the goodness and love of God. Our final question brings us back to the same place : an awareness of the eternal reality of God’s love. When we look for the signs of new beginnings, we are reminded that we don’t have to wait for God to be at work in our lives : he is already at work, planting the seeds of new beginnings and new possibilities. In other words, God is already bringing us new life. Why does God do this? It is because he loves us, and so wishes to bring about our transformation : to free us from the burden of guilt and all the things that oppress us, and to help us experience life in all its fulness. The phrase “life in all its fulness” might ring a bell- it’s a reference to Jesus’ promise in Chapter 10 of John’s gospel : “ I came that they have may have life, and have it abundantly”. “Life in all its fulness” is simply another way of translating these words.
Sometimes, when we are tired, distracted or overwhelmed, we can fail to see the signs of new life all around us. We cannot see the new beginnings, the signs of hope, which show that God is already at work, transforming our lives for the better. A time of retreat helps us to see the reality of God’s love : in our past, and in our future. We have begun our mini-retreat with a focus on thankfulness, which shows us the reality of God’s love in our past. We finish our min-retreat with a focus on noticing the new beginnings in our life and our world : by doing so, we see the reality of God’s love in the future which lies ahead.
As we journey though life, we are continually travelling towards fresh experiences of God’s love; and when our travelling days are over, we experience that fulness of God’s love which we call Heaven.
I wonder where you are seeing signs of a new beginning in your own life?
9 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Monday 9th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I thought I would start a new series of reflections, on the subject of being followers of Jesus. What might it mean for us to try and live out the values of our faith in our everyday lives? This is a vast subject and I could not possibly hope to cover every aspect of the Christian life. However, I thought it might be helpful to share some reflections on at least some of the values which I believe to be at the heart of the Christian life.
I’m going to start with the value of compassion. Jesus was compassionate in his actions, and I think compassion is at the heart of the Christian life. To say this is, I think, hardly controversial. Even non- Christians know that Christians are meant to be compassionate; indeed, for some, the word “Christian” is a synonym for kindness. Hence people sometimes say that such and such an act “is not a very Christian thing to do”, by which they mean it is not a kind thing to do. People sometimes talk about the value of compassion, but use different words to do so- words such as “love” or “care” or “kindness” ; I think all these words are usually used inter-changeably, and for present purposes I’m not going to consider whether they can or ought to be distinguished in terms of meaning.
While compassion is undoubtedly at the heart of the Christian life, it is not always easy to put it into practice. It has to be balanced with other values, and we need to understand the context of a situation. For example, if a destitute drug user asked for money in order to be able to afford their next fix, is it an act of compassion to give them the money they ask for? This raises the whole question of consequences : is it legitimate to take into account the consequences of an action when assessing its moral value, or do some actions have inherent moral value regardless of their consequences? . A further question concerns power : to what extent is doing a good deed actually all about making the donor feel good about themselves, and allowing them to exercise some form of power and control over the recipient of their largesse?
So it’s not always easy to know what is the most compassionate thing to do in any particular situation. If the situation is complex, I think it is good to seek advice and also to pray for wisdom. And we need the humility to accept that sometimes we will make mistakes. But nevertheless, I feel that Jesus would want us to try our best to show compassion to others- and to ourselves.
10 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections : Tuesday 10th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on what it might mean for us to try and live our day to day lives as followers of Jesus. Yesterday, I shared some reflections on the importance of compassion : compassion towards others, and compassion towards ourselves. Today, I want to write about the challenge of being called to be peacemakers. You will probably remember that in the Beatitudes, at the start of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pronounces a blessing on those who make peace : “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. Note that Jesus does not say, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will have an easy life”; neither does Jesus say, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be honoured and acclaimed by all”.
It is not easy to be a peacemaker. To be a peacemaker is to challenge the power and interests of those who seek to make war, or to get their own way by the use of violence or the threat of force. To be a peacemaker is to open ourselves to the possibility that others will see us as weak, or naïve, or unpatriotic. To be a peacemaker is open ourselves to the possibility that we will be exploited by one or both of the aggressors, and that our well-meaning attempts to bring peace will simply be exploited by one or other of the warring parties.
And there is the possibility that our desire to bring about peace will perpetuate a situation of great injustice and suffering. Sometimes, in the real world, it is necessary to chose between outcomes which are equally undesirable. Let us take the example of a political leader who invades a neighbouring country, causing untold human suffering in the process. Let us imagine that that leader achieves initial success in terms of annexing some of the territory of his neighbour. Is it best to try and bring about peace as soon as possible, even if it means that the invader is left to enjoy their ill-gotten gains? Or is it best to insist that there can be no peace without justice, and be prepared to continue the war until peace with justice is achievable?
So one might be tempted to re-write the Beatitude along the lines : “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they will be faced with knotty ethical dilemmas”. Yes, peace-making is complex and we will almost certainly make mistakes. But I think this should not prevent us from at least trying to make peace. I wonder where we are being called to be peace-makers in our own lives?
11 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections : Wednesday 11th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m looking at some of the moral values which might help us live out our Christian faith in our day to day lives. Today I wish to share some reflections on a value which many of us find particularly difficult; and I would add that it is a value which the institutional Church finds exceptionally difficult to put into practice. The value in question is humility. Humility was at the heart of Jesus’ life and ministry, and its importance and value has been recognised by Christians down the centuries- at least in theory. However, it has proved difficult to implement an ethic of humility in practice. Why is this so?
In part it is about human fear : we are frightened that if we are modest and self-effacing, we will be exploited by others and overlooked when it comes to promotion.
But it is also about our misunderstanding of what Christian humility truly is. It is not about being a doormat, and insisting that we must submit to unjust or abusive behaviour. No, humility is perfectly compatible with our standing up for our rights, and our resisting those who would look to do us harm. Nor is humility about pretending to be less knowledgeable or less skilled than we actually are. Honesty about our qualifications and experience is perfectly compatible with a spirit of humility, provided that we are sharing this information in order to be helpful and not simply because we want to blow our own trumpet.
I think a third reason why individuals and organisations find humility difficult is because it involves an acknowledgement that we all make mistakes, and that we’re not always right. This is hard, because at a deep level we want ourselves and our organisations to be perfect; it gives us a sense of security and self-worth. Part of us knows, of course, that we are all flawed; but there is also part of us that does n’t want to admit to this. It can take much courage to be open and honest, especially if it means the prospect of acute embarrassment; and even more so if it means that the consequences of our honesty will be painful and costly to ourselves or others.
So the virtue of humility is probably more honoured in theory than in practice; and sad to say, I think this is particularly true in the Church. I think this is a pity, as humility is about giving and receiving the gift of truth; and the gift of truth allows God to bring fresh beginnings and new hope into our lives.
12 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Thursday 12th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on some of the values which lie at the heart of the Christian life. To date, I’ve looked values such as compassion and humility, which are hardly controversial; although their application in the complexity of any particular situation is not always straightforward.
Today I want to share some reflections about a value which is a little more controversial : not as a value as such, but as a value which should be central to the Christian life.
The value in question is the value of justice. I think most people would agree that seeking justice for ourselves and for others is eminently praiseworthy. It is true that there is no agreed definition of “justice”, and philosophers can argue until the cows come home about whether some particular situation or outcome can be described as “just” or “unjust”. But none the less, I think the language of “justice” can and does serve a useful purpose in helping us to recognise some situations which strike us as profoundly wrong.
Some Christians consider that the bible provides a clear mandate for working to promote justice, especially social justice; they would reference the teachings of the Old Testament prophets, and Jesus’ care for the marginalised in society. One of the Beatitudes reads as follows : “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Some individual Christians have put working for justice at the centre of their lives. We might think, for example, of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Another example would be James Jones , the former Bishop of Liverpool. Last year he published a memoir with the title Justice for Christ’s Sake , in which he reflects on his role on three independent panels into matters of national conscience, including chairing the panel which investigated the Hillsborough Disaster.
Other Christians are less certain about the importance of justice in their Christian lives; they would of course agree that justice is vital to the well-functioning of society and the flourishing of individuals, but they would not see it as central to what it might mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
I wonder where you are on this? Is the pursuit of justice a really significant part of your everyday Christian life, or is it less important to you? Perhaps it’s not something that features in your Christian life at all.
13 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 13th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I have been sharing some reflections on some of the values which might help us to live out our Christian faith in our day to day lives. The value which I want to write about today is Stewardship.
What do I mean by the value of “stewardship”? “Stewardship”, in this context, means that we are accountable for the right use of the wealth, possessions and skills which we have been given. In other words, we can’t just do want we want with what we have : we need to use our resources and skills to benefit others, as well as ourselves.
Now, it is perfectly legitimate to use our resources and skills to ensure that we have a roof over our heads and food on the table; and this would extend to making suitable provision for the years ahead, and for those who depend upon us, for example dependent children and elderly relatives. This is good Christian “stewardship”, because we are spending our resources in a sensible manner, and considering the needs of others.
But there are many challenging questions which we can ask of ourselves. One such question is this : are we making the best use of the resources and skills which we may happen to have? One way of looking at this is to ask ourselves a further question : are we spending our money or using our skills in a way which promotes the welfare of others?
A second question we may ask ourselves is this : are we doing our best to look after the resources we have been given? Are seeking to develop the skills we have been given, and perhaps seeking to learn new skills as well?
Jesus told a well-known parable about a man who entrusted his slaves with three sums of money : 1 talent, 2 talents, and 5 talents. The slaves who received 2 and 5 talents traded with them, and made a handsome return; they were commended by their master. However, the slave who received 1 talent did absolutely nothing- he went and hid the talent in the ground. When the time came for the master to settle accounts, he was angry at the laziness of this slave, and gave orders that he was to be thrown “into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.
I wonder : are we being good stewards of the money and skills God has given to each one of us? Will we receive the Master’s praise, or his condemnation?
14 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 13th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I have been sharing some reflections on some of the values which might help us to live out our Christian faith in our day to day lives. The value which I want to write about today is Stewardship.
What do I mean by the value of “stewardship”? “Stewardship”, in this context, means that we are accountable for the right use of the wealth, possessions and skills which we have been given. In other words, we can’t just do want we want with what we have : we need to use our resources and skills to benefit others, as well as ourselves.
Now, it is perfectly legitimate to use our resources and skills to ensure that we have a roof over our heads and food on the table; and this would extend to making suitable provision for the years ahead, and for those who depend upon us, for example dependent children and elderly relatives. This is good Christian “stewardship”, because we are spending our resources in a sensible manner, and considering the needs of others.
But there are many challenging questions which we can ask of ourselves. One such question is this : are we making the best use of the resources and skills which we may happen to have? One way of looking at this is to ask ourselves a further question : are we spending our money or using our skills in a way which promotes the welfare of others?
A second question we may ask ourselves is this : are we doing our best to look after the resources we have been given? Are seeking to develop the skills we have been given, and perhaps seeking to learn new skills as well?
Jesus told a well-known parable about a man who entrusted his slaves with three sums of money : 1 talent, 2 talents, and 5 talents. The slaves who received 2 and 5 talents traded with them, and made a handsome return; they were commended by their master. However, the slave who received 1 talent did absolutely nothing- he went and hid the talent in the ground. When the time came for the master to settle accounts, he was angry at the laziness of this slave, and gave orders that he was to be thrown “into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.
I wonder : are we being good stewards of the money and skills God has given to each one of us? Will we receive the Master’s praise, or his condemnation?
15 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 13th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I have been sharing some reflections on some of the values which might help us to live out our Christian faith in our day to day lives. The value which I want to write about today is Stewardship.
What do I mean by the value of “stewardship”? “Stewardship”, in this context, means that we are accountable for the right use of the wealth, possessions and skills which we have been given. In other words, we can’t just do want we want with what we have : we need to use our resources and skills to benefit others, as well as ourselves.
Now, it is perfectly legitimate to use our resources and skills to ensure that we have a roof over our heads and food on the table; and this would extend to making suitable provision for the years ahead, and for those who depend upon us, for example dependent children and elderly relatives. This is good Christian “stewardship”, because we are spending our resources in a sensible manner, and considering the needs of others.
But there are many challenging questions which we can ask of ourselves. One such question is this : are we making the best use of the resources and skills which we may happen to have? One way of looking at this is to ask ourselves a further question : are we spending our money or using our skills in a way which promotes the welfare of others?
A second question we may ask ourselves is this : are we doing our best to look after the resources we have been given? Are seeking to develop the skills we have been given, and perhaps seeking to learn new skills as well?
Jesus told a well-known parable about a man who entrusted his slaves with three sums of money : 1 talent, 2 talents, and 5 talents. The slaves who received 2 and 5 talents traded with them, and made a handsome return; they were commended by their master. However, the slave who received 1 talent did absolutely nothing- he went and hid the talent in the ground. When the time came for the master to settle accounts, he was angry at the laziness of this slave, and gave orders that he was to be thrown “into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.
I wonder : are we being good stewards of the money and skills God has given to each one of us? Will we receive the Master’s praise, or his condemnation?
16 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Monday 16th May 2022
Thought for Today
Have there ever been times in your Christian life when you have felt that you needed to be refreshed and renewed in your discipleship? Perhaps you have been a Christian for many years, and you feel that your faith could do with some freshening up. Or perhaps you are only too well aware of the ways in which you have fallen short, and you know you need a sense of God’s forgiveness, and the chance to start again.
Well, in the week ahead I’m going to share some reflections on a passage in John’s gospel, which is a great source of encouragement for us in our day to day discipleship, especially during those times when we feel that we are in need of a bit of a “re-boot”, to use a contemporary phrase.
The passage comes from chapter 21 of John’s gospel. This chapter is the final chapter in the gospel, and it reads as a kind of appendix to the chapters which come before. There is no evidence that John’s gospel ever circulated without chapter 21 , but some scholars suggest that it was added to chapters 1 to 20 at some time before the work was published. It might have been written by the same author who wrote chapters 1 to 20, but added by way of an appendix; or it may have been written by one of his followers. For present purposes, I’m going to regard it simply as part of John’s gospel.
Chapter 21 records various occasions on which Jesus appeared to his disciples following his resurrection. On one of these occasions, Jesus engaged in a searching conversation with Peter, the apparently self-confident disciple who had denied Jesus three times. You can read the conversation in verses 15 to 22 of chapter 21. Yes, Peter had denied Jesus three times; but the risen Jesus wanted to give him the opportunity to re-affirm his allegiance. And so Jesus asked Peter three times whether he loved him; and on each occasion, Peter replied that he did indeed love him. Jesus gave Peter instructions to “feed” and “tend” the Christians under his care. A little later in the conversation, Jesus tells Peter : “Follow me!” And, just to make sure that Peter was listening, he tells him a second time : ”Follow me!”. And this is how the conversation ends.
We can draw much comfort and instruction from this conversation between Peter and the risen Jesus. We will be exploring some of the lessons it teaches in the week ahead.
17 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
18 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
19 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
20 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
21 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
22 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
23 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
24 May 2022Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 17th May 2022
Thought for Today
This week I’m sharing some reflections on a passage from John’s gospel, which I think has much to teach us when it comes to thinking how we might refresh our Christian life. It’s the conversation between Simon Peter and the risen Jesus found in chapter 21 of John’s gospel. The conversation starts with Jesus asking Simon Peter the following question : “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Let us look carefully at this question.
To start with, notice that Jesus asks his question directly of Simon Peter : Simon, son of John, do you love me? Jesus could have kept the question quite general and asked something along the lines of “Simon, son of John, do you think that my disciples love me?” or “Simon, son of John, do you think that people in general love me?” Instead, Jesus focuses on one single individual : Simon Peter himself. At its heart, our Christian faith is about our personal relationship with God in and through his Son Jesus Christ. It’s not about what other people might or might not believe. It’s about ourselves. I wonder : how is your relationship with Jesus ? That’s your relationship; not someone else’s.
The second question arises around the object of our love. I think everyone would agree that love is a good thing, and that it’s good to be loving towards others. Similarly, I think most people would say that loving others is central to the Christian life. But notice that Jesus asks his question of Simon Peter in a very focussed way. He could have asked him something along the lines of, “Simon Peter, do you love your family?”; or, “Simon Peter, do you love your neighbours?”. But instead, Jesus asks Simon Peter : do you love me? Of course we try to show love towards others- to our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps even our enemies. But do we love Jesus?
And this leads into the third question. We might well say something like this : “Yes, Jesus, of course we love you”. And it would be a true statement. But how meaningful a statement is it? Jesus saw that if Simon Peter were to grow as a disciple, he needed to be faced with a more challenging question : not whether he loved Jesus (of course he did), but to what degree did he love him? So Jesus asked Simon Peter whether he loved him “more than these “ – more perhaps than the other disciples, or more than the other things that mattered to him in his life. I wonder : how much do we love Jesus? Might we wish that we loved him more?
25 May 2022
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