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Showing posts from August, 2014

Should Christians obey Mary, Mother of Jesus?

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Should Christians obey Mary, mother of Jesus?  I ask that today because it is the festival of The Blessed Virgin Mary. Some Christians may raise hands in horror at the idea of obeying Mary.
Many years ago I was stopped in my tracks by something I read about Mary. I think it was in a book by John Gunstone, an Anglo-Catholic priest in the Church of England. When asked about his attitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he replied, "I obey her".
I found this shocking, until I understood what he meant. This was a reference to the only instruction Mary gave that is recorded in the gospels. She was at a wedding in Cana with her son Jesus when the wine ran out - a social disaster (See John 2: 1 - 11). Mary instructed the servants, "Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you."And they did. Water became wine as the first John's gospel's signs revealing Jesus' glory.
What Jesus told the servants to do at that wedding was simple - fill up water jars, draw some out and take it to the…

Dentophobia

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What is it about visiting the dentist that is so hard? I can think of a few reasons - but you probably can provide those yourself.

Fear of dentists is common. It would be an exaggeration to say I have full-blown dentophobia. I do see the dentist regularly and for the last few years have been blessed with a dentist in whom I have confidence. I would even go so far as to say I like him. Sadly he is leaving the practice so my recent appointment was the last time he will look in my mouth.

I will remember that last appointment for the comment he made while trying to explore a hard to reach area. He told me (kindly) that my bottom lip has an exceptionally strong defence reflex. Apparently everyone's lips have a defence reflex, but most are not as strong as mine. Mmmm.. add that to the collection, which includes the dentist from my childhood who told my mother and me  that I had 'abnormal tongue behaviour' which he considered to be 'incurable beyond the age of 12'. I was 1…

A Feast of Hope

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Today is the Christian Festival of 'The Transfiguration of our Lord'.

As every Harry Potter fan knows, 'transfiguration' simply means a change of appearance or form. The transfiguration of Jesus we read about in the gospels is not magic, it is miracle - by which I mean something only God can do. This particular miracle is also revelation, an epiphany. Although we cannot see God, God is revealed in many ways - for Christians God's revelation is supremely in Jesus Christ.

The story of the transfiguration of Jesus is recorded in Matthew 17: 1 - 9Mark 9: 2 - 10 and Luke 9: 28 - 36. It is also recollected in 2 Peter 1: 16 - 18.

The event of the Transfiguration is a glimpse of glory, a window into something so wonderful it can only leave us silent. After the event Peter, John and James
"kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen". Luke 9: 36 NRSVThey must have felt completely out of their depth when the appearance of Jesus' face…

Lights Out and Post-Christian Rituals

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The more I learn about World War I the less I understand it and the harder rituals of commemoration become. I have very mixed feelings about marking today 4 August as the centenary of the day Britain declared war on Germany and dragged the British Empire into the conflict whether its individual colonies and dominions wanted to be part of it or not. Yes on one level I know what led up to that and why Britain joined in to support France against German aggression and to attempt to support Belgium neutrality. But the more I read the more complex the European situation of the time seems. 

Certainly the 1914 - 18 war was and continues to be hugely significant. Its affects are still being felt for good and ill. We should remember and we'll be doing a lot of that over the next 4 years. I spent part of this morning watching the televised service from Glasgow Cathedral attended by representatives from all over the Commonwealth. It was emotionally moving. At the same time it felt like an esca…