Archive for the “St Ninian’s” Category

John 11:1-44

Lazarus.

Jesus’ friend.

Dying.

And what does Jesus do?  Something else.  There’s no hurry.  No rush to see him or any hint that he might save him.  So many miracles, so many strangers healed, made whole, restored… why not Lazarus?

Again the story is laden with symbolism but there’s some real raw emotion in here too.  Mary and Martha are two of his closest followers and Jesus seems pretty indifferent about their brother’s fate.  I wonder how they felt about Jesus at that point?

 

Of course it all turns out well in the end… or does it?  Lazarus will spend the rest of his life as the man who died.  And not just for a moment.  He was dead for days.  Long enough for decay and stench to set in.

How do you come back from that and live?

How do you come out of the darkness of the tomb back into the light?

But that’s exactly the point… I AM the resurrection says Jesus.

And Lazarus lives again.

(Perhaps The Stone Roses… for the offering?)

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I’m thinking…

That’s what the start of the week is for.

On Monday mornings at Morning Prayers we explore the scripture passage from the day before and shed more light on it having had time to reflect and digest.  When I get home I read the passage for this week and the process of thinking starts again.

I’m going to start sharing some of these initial thoughts, just in case you want to do some thinking too!

It’s Transfiguration Sunday.  Usually we would read the story of Jesus on the mountaintop where he changes and is joined by Elijah and Moses.  Instead we’re exploring a different kind of transfiguration…

John 9:1-41 – A man born blind receives sight

We take a big jump this week from chapter 4 to chapter 9 (you should read the bit in between!).

On Sunday our story of the Samaritan woman happened at midday, in contrast to Nicodemus’ nighttime visit.  Now we are plunged back into darkness and light in this story of a blind man.  There is loads going on and much of it reflects where John’s community find themselves;  Thrown out of the synagogue, at odds with the religious authorities because they can see while others are blind.

As always, John is writing in several levels at once.  There are some issues that jump out:

  • Sin and questions about who is to blame.
  • A healing that echoes back to the Genesis 2 creation story involving both seeing/light and water.
  • Religious rules that hinder rather than help.  Is healing on the Sabbath ‘work’?

I like that the man can see but doesn’t know who did it, or at least what Jesus looks like, and that his friends don’t recognise him now that he can see!  It’s like partial illumination… something that for the man is completed in his second encounter with Jesus.

Lots to think about.  What do you see???

 

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I love when someone asks,”Can we do ….?”.  Mostly the answer is easy… YES!!!  (And why are you asking me? It’s YOUR church!)

A Burns Supper… a family meal with poems, dancing, song and speeches.  And this is what it looked like.  150 people of all ages enjoying haggis, neeps and tatties, the talents of children and adults and, most importantly, being together in community.

And it was brilliant.

But, so what?

Look at the picture.  Do you see what’s happening?

Talking.

Listening.

Conversation.

We could have had separate tables but the long tables meant people were sitting next to other people they might not know, that older people were sitting next to young children, that people made new friends.

I used to have a colleague that talked about planning moments of spontaneity.  I love the idea that what we do is to create the space and the opportunity for stuff to happen… and then get out of the road.  One of the biggest temptations in ministry is to fill the space, to programme every moment and to make sure there is no opportunity to go off course.

When we do that we completely miss the point.

The space is the purpose.

The conversations are the point.

The relationships are what matter.

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