Have you ever sat and read through the gospel accounts of Passion Week, and tried to work out chronologically what is happening? And have you done that with the four gospels? (It is easiest to do that latter using a synopsis, either in print or using this one online.) If you do, you might notice several … Continue Reading
When considering the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, we need to separate two issues. First, what are the historical facts that require an explanation? And, second, what is the best, most plausible, explanation for those facts? What are the facts to consider in relation to the resurrection? First, Jesus died on the cross, a victim of … Continue Reading
It is always a relief when we celebrate Palm Sunday from Matthew or Mark’s account. Luke 19.36 in his account talks only the garments, and does not mention palm branches, so in those years we have to call it Garment Sunday (which doesn’t have the same ring about it). In fact it is only John, … Continue Reading
There has been a mighty ruckus about the National Trust and Cadbury’s decision to rename the traditional Easter Egg Hunt on National Trust properties the Cadbury Egg Hunt. Two things are quite striking about this story: first, that it concerns something pretty trivial; and second, that there has been widespread and strong reaction to it.
The National Trust was facing a membership boycott amid a growing backlash over the decision to drop “Easter” from the name of its annual Easter egg hunt. The charity and Cadbury’s faced criticism from all quarters including the Prime Minister, other faith leaders, and members of the Cadbury family over the “frankly ridiculous” decision to rename their annual event. Members said that they were reconsidering their payments to the National Trust as many took to social media to ask the charity how they could cancel their subscriptions.
One of the obvious differences in chronology between John’s gospel and the ‘Synoptics’ (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is that John gives an account of Jesus in Jerusalem on four different occasions, two during a Passover (John 2.13, 12.12), one during an unnamed festival (John 5.1) and one at Hannukah (John 10.22). (The third Passover is … Continue Reading
Ven. Dr Gordon Kuhrt reviews Justin Welby’s Lent book Dethroning Mammon: Mammon is money or possessions when they are enthroned. The author says there is nothing wrong with money in itself, but when it exercises supreme power (is enthroned) it becomes mammon: evil, destructive and dangerous. A Foreword commending the book is from Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche movement which now has nearly 150 … Continue Reading
I don’t really know Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury (he was appointed after I left the diocese), but he appears to have a deep capacity for irony. Apparently he believes that fixing the date of Easter is going to be more complicated than agreeing on the status of same-sex unions: If the Primates of the … Continue Reading
On Good Friday morning, at 9 am, Kate Bottley (known as the Gogglebox vicar) presented a new angle on the Easter story—told from the perspective of Judas. I have to admit to having some misgivings about the approach, mostly because of the Telegraph’s promotional pre-article. There has been a consistent trend in scholarship to prioritise … Continue Reading
Think back to the last time that someone surprised you. What does surprise do to you? Some people love surprises; others like surprises as long as they know exactly what the surprise will be! Our common experience is that surprise is highly disorienting; we don’t know where to turn or what to do next. Even … Continue Reading
On Maundy Thursday, it is traditional to focus on the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John 13—and possibly to re-enact this within a service. But in rushing to the final example, we miss the most important lesson, which comes in the middle, rather than at the end, of the passage. The passage … Continue Reading
The idea of resurrection is central to Christian belief and theology—but it is also the key idea which separates the New Testament from the Old. The Old Testament appears to assume that, after death, people continue in some sort of shadowy existence in a place called Sheol—often translated ‘grave’ or ‘pit’ in English Bibles. There are some examples of resuscitation (see 1 Kings 17:17-24 and 2 Kings 4:18-37)—but these are acts of compassion and never shed any light on life after death.