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The compassion of God in John 11

The new edition of Scripture Union’s Encounter with God has just been published, and this is the first part of my contribution reflection on John 11–13. Even to the casual reader, John’s gospel seems to be in two halves. In the first, we have a series of seven ‘signs’ performed by Jesus (including the water into […]

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What are people ‘really’ celebrating at Christmas?

Around this time of year, there comes a recurrent debate about what people are ‘really’ doing when they celebrate Christmas. A while ago, there was a programme on Radio 4 exploring the origins of the tunes of carols. For example, the tune for Good King Wenceslas was originally a spring carol celebrating the fertility of nature. It is […]

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Hope and fulfilment in the gospels

Biblical eschatology is founded on three key assumptions. The first is that the God of Israel is the rightful ruler of the world (and not just of Israel alone), often described in terms of his kingship over the creation. The second is that, even though this is the situation in theory, in practice the world […]

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What does ‘abundant life’ look like?

I’ve recently noticed how often people quote John 10.10 ‘I have come that they might have life, and life in abundance’, often in the context of ethical debate. (I am not sure whether it is happening more, or just whether I am more alert to it.) When one person is arguing for a more restrictive ethical […]

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Why you need Bible reading notes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Christian in possession of a Bible must be in want of some help in reading it. Bible reading notes were once the staple of any church which believed the Bible to be a vital resource for discipleship and growth, but like many habits, regular Bible reading and […]

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What are people ‘really’ doing at Christmas time?

Around this time of year, there comes a recurrent debate about what people are ‘really’ doing when they celebrate Christmas. A while ago, there was a programme on Radio 4 exploring the origins of the tunes of carols. For example, the tune for Good King Wenceslas was originally a spring carol celebrating the fertility of nature. It is […]

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Preaching on Advent 1

Here are some thoughts on making sense of the lectionary readings for Advent 1: Is 64.1–9; Mark 13.24–37 ‘Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!’ Isaiah’s cry of desperation resonates with the cry of many today. If only God would make everything clear! If only he would remove uncertainty, and bring clarity! […]

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What are people ‘really’ doing at Christmas?

There’s been a lot of nonsense recently on the radio about what people are ‘really’ doing when they celebrate Christmas. There was a programme on Radio 4 exploring the origins of the tunes of carols. For example, the tune for Good King Wenceslas was originally a spring carol celebrating the fertility of nature. It is […]

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