It’s Saturday, the day after Good Friday. Jesus is in the tomb. The women can’t do anything because it is the Sabbath. They are bound by their religious beliefs to keep God’s Law. The disciples are bound by fear, they are terrified and in hiding. They are carrying a weight of shame and guilt. Continue reading
How would you react if the preacher asked you to give everything? This isn’t just a hypothetical question because that’s exactly the point I am going to come to! I suspect that our immediate and natural response will include offence: “How dare he say that!” “He’s acting like those TV preachers.”
Then the honest despair. “I simply cannot give any more time, money, energy. I am exhausted with the busyness of life, I already give so much. There is literally nothing more to give.” Some of us may well even be burdened by this and trying to work out how we can give a bit more. Maybe if we made some sacrifices we will have a little bit more time or money to give if the church needs it. Continue reading
Sandwiched between Mark’s account of Jesus being anointed in Bethany (Mark 14:3-9) and his retelling of the Last Supper (Mark 14:12-31) we hear about Judas deciding to betray Jesus (Mark 14:10-11). He goes to the Chief Priests and offers his services. They are delighted to welcome him on board and offer to pay him. Continue reading
If you are serious about urban gospel ministry, then the best place to get trained for this is in the field, in an urban ministry context by urban ministry practitioners. There are currently three places in England where you can engage in this type of training whilst also working towards a Theological qualification with Union School of Theology Continue reading
My friend Stephen has written a typically robust blog headlined “People are not going to Hell because of a lack of training options.” Stephen argues that there’s a lot of talk about how we train in people for urban ministry but that’s pointless if we don’t have the people to train and if we don’t have the resources to support them. Continue reading
Yesterday our church family were excited and joyful about a few things. First of all, we celebrated the recent birth of a baby girl to one family with a thanksgiving and dedication. Secondly, we congratulated a young couple who have got engaged. Everyone was talking about the wedding, when, where, etc. Thirdly, we are anticipating another couple having a baby in the summer. There will be new parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties.
The other week I sat with a church member by the bedside of a dying relative. Over the past week I’ve been in regular touch with them to see how they were doing. We’ve also been concerned for other families where there is acute ill health, in a couple of cases its related to aging. As well as sharing in joy and excitement, we share in sadness and concern too. Continue reading
I love a good comedy whether it’s a sitcom like Not going Out, stand up provided by Live at the Apollo or a panel show like Mock the Week. However, did you know that the word “Comedy” didn’t used to refer to a performance, routine or story that made you laugh?
When the ancient Greeks or William Shakespeare talked about comedy they were using the word to contrast with Tragedy. It’s fairly obvious what we mean by “Tragedy.” In Romeo and Juliet, the hero and heroine end up dead, taking their own lives. In Hamlet, pretty much every one dies. Tragedies have sad endings where things are worse than at the beginning. Comedies on the other hand finish better than they started. For Shakespeare that mean that they finished with a wedding feast (e.g. Mid-Summer Night’s Dream). A comedy may have it’s ups and downs, there will be plenty of tears as well as laughter. There’ll be danger and death. Yet throughout a comedy there is hope.
The Easter story in that sense fits the “comedy” genre. It’s a story of love and courage as Jesus heads towards Calvary. There’s cowardice, desertion and betrayal. There’s tears, and there’s death. If the story had finished on Good Friday with Jesus’s execution then it would have looked like a Tragedy. But the story did not finish there for two reasons. Continue reading