Showing posts from September, 2011

Dropping Everything

I love this painting by Len Peralto. It shows the tax-collector Matthew dropping everything to follow Jesus. It captures that instant when, at the call of Jesus, Matthew gets up from his tax desk. He's about to abandon the place where he makes a lot of money on commission, collecting taxes for a puppet king on behalf of an occupying power.

Hated by those oppressed by the system and shunned by respectable religious people, what comfort does he have except the extortionate profit he makes? Even as he lets the coins fall to the ground his eyes can't yet let go of them. He's made a sudden life-changing decision and the body-language in this image seems to say "What have I done?" Will he pick up the coins and count them?

But the light is shining directly on him. And behind his head is a shape that could be a halo - for the Saint Matthew, one of the 12 apostles he is becoming. The 'halo' could be a symbol of the world. It reminds me that Matthew's gospel ends…


Do you know the cartoon character Dennis the Menace? 
Dennis and his friend Joey were going home from Mrs Wilson’s house, their hands full of biscuits. Joey wondered “what did we do to deserve this?” Dennis replied, “Mrs Wilson doesn’t give us biscuits because we’re nice. Mrs Wilson gives us biscuits because she’s nice.”
Dennis knew he didn’t deserve the reward, but he understand Mrs Wilson’s generous nature.
In the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt. 20: 1-16) Jesus paints a picture of a landowner hiring labourers for his vineyard.  Imagine the anxiety of men waiting in the market place hoping for work to provide daily food for their families. Some get hired at day-break, some at 9 o’clock, and some at 3 pm. With all these, the landowner agrees the usual daily wage.  Imagine the desperation of those still without work at 5 pm, too late for any hope of work or pay. For day labourers that could mean no food. Imagine their relief at being hired so late when the landowner returns …

Holy Cross Day

Why does Holy Cross Day come in September, not Good Friday? It goes back to the 4th century. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, after her son and his empire had adopted Christianity, went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to find and preserve sites associated with Jesus. 

Legend has it that Helena discovered part of the cross of Jesus and believed she’d discovered the site of Calvary and the resurrection tomb nearby. Here she built a chapel, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was dedicated on 14th September 335. So 14th September became a day for recognizing the Cross and celebrating what it symbolizes, a symbol of triumph, a sign of Christ's victory over death, and a reminder of His promise,
"When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself." (John 12:32)The gospel reading for Holy Communion today says it all:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. …

9 Silly Ways to Illustrate your Sermon

I've always wanted to know how to get away with a dramatized reading of the beheading of John the Baptist in an 'all-age service'. Now I know, thanks to Dave Walker's latest blog post.

I suppose scizzors are safer than a sword. I think I'll use much larger flowers though, preferably spherical. Any suggestions?

Can you make people worship?

Can you make people worship? And should you even try? In England and Wales the 1944 Education Act and the 1998 Education Act requires state schools to provide a daily act of collective worship of a broadly Christian nature.  (Parents may withdraw their children from this without giving a reason and over 16s may withdrew themselves). Government guidelines suggest just over half the worship should be Christian with the rest about other faiths.

Most (98%) primary schools do hold an act of collective worship within daily school assemblies. In secondary schools the legal requirement for daily collective worship is honoured more in the breach than the observance, with perhaps 80% not complying. The ComRes survey for BBC local radio recently found that 64% of the 500 parents questioned said their child did not attend daily collective worship in school. Of the 1,743 adults asked 60% said the leglislation should not be enforced. It seems that collective daily worship in schools is in decline an…

Friday Fun: a strange collage

This collage was generated as a result of answering 20 multiple choice questions. It's supposed to represent my web. I don't even know what all these objects are.

As a work of art I give it nil points. As representing me, possibly 2 points. I do own a finger puppet like the one here (keep it for the grandchildren) and a blue gadget like the one on the right of the penknife. I attach it to a belt loop (I use it while walking in the mountains to hang things on like sunglasses or a whistle). I also have crayons, dominoes and a safety pin or two - oh and a lipstick or two and some USB sticks.

I blame Autolycus for this time-wasting activity. I have 4 objects in common with his and I don't know what one of them is. Perhaps someone can tell me? It's the one above the safety pin.

If you've nothing better to do for fun on a Friday you can get your own collage here to show you what your web looks like. Beware - it's an advertising ploy. But you don't have to sign up to…