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Why is Ascension Day so important?

What would you identify as the climax and completion of Jesus’ life and ministry? Surprisingly, this is not a trivial question. One of the key differences between John and the synoptic gospels is that, where the synoptics portray the crucifixion as a necessary but incomplete act on the way to the resurrection, John portrays it […]

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Power and the pulpit

Back in June, I wrote about two apparently unconnected topics. The first was around the question of whether preaching should be monologue or dialogue, and how we might make the monologue we were forced into more dialogical. Within that, one of the questions I touched on but did not expand on further was the relation […]

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The sending of the 72 in Luke 10

In case you are still looking for ideas on preaching this passage (or hearing it preached on) here is my sermon for this morning: What is your vocation? What have you been called to? You might not think you have one—after all, isn’t vocation something for people doing worthy jobs that call for self-sacrifice—teachers, doctors, […]

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Does grace despise virtue?

In our mid-size group in our church we are using the Pilgrim Course to study the Lord’s Prayer. This week we were reflecting on ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’, and we were directed to explore the so-called parable of the Prodigal Son (really, the parable of the Forgiving […]

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What is the meaning of the Ascension?

What would you identify as the climax and completion of Jesus’ life and ministry? Surprisingly, this is not a trivial question. One of the key differences between John and the synoptic gospels is that, where the synoptics portray the crucifixion as a necessary but incomplete act on the way to the resurrection, John portrays it […]

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No-Palm Sunday in Luke

I hope you didn’t feel too disappointed on missing out on Palm Sunday this year. The reason is that we are reading from Luke’s gospel, and Luke makes no mention of ‘palms’ during Jesus’ ‘triumphal entry’ in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Instead, we only get mention (Luke 19.37) of people spreading their cloaks, or […]

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There’s something (humble) about Mary

I know Christmas circular letters are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoy writing ours as a review of the year, and catching up with what has been going on in the lives of others. For those who don’t like them, their distaste is summed up in that archetypal circular where everything is going wonderfully […]

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Faith, purity and the virgin birth

I really don’t know what goes through the mind of people who argue that they know much better than the gospel writers what Christianity is all about. Do they think the evangelists were stupid, ignorant, or just a little bit slow on the uptake—or perhaps all three? And how did Christian tradition make such egregious […]

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Preaching the infancy narratives

In my previous post, I argued that we should be preaching at all our Christmas services, even when there are significant numbers of visitors. But can we find something fresh to say about texts that we know so well? The last piece Dick France wrote before his untimely death was a chapter in the volume […]

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