Jesus’ followers are kept, sanctified and sent into the world in John 17

The Sunday lectionary gospel reading for Easter 7 in Year B is John 17.6–19, the central section of Jesus’ so-called ‘High Priestly Prayer’. The reading omits the introduction and opening sentences of the prayer, and stops short before the often-quoted ‘that they might be one’; I have previously commented on the use of this phrase, … Continue Reading

Four prayers for the New Year 2021

I have always had mixed feelings about New Year resolutions. In previous years, January has always been the biggest time for new gym subscriptions—but most don’t continue the habit past the end of the month, and many gyms run on the subscriptions of people who never come. This suggests that January isn’t the best time … Continue Reading

Jesus great prayer in John 17

The lectionary reading for Easter 7, the last Sunday of the Easter Season before Pentecost, is the ‘great prayer’ of Jesus in John 17. The lectionary divides the chapter into three parts over Years A, B and C, which either assumes that preachers and people have a good memory from year to year, or perhaps … Continue Reading

Praying at a spatial distance

Nick Moore writes: With ever stronger advice against social interaction and the prospect of restrictions on personal movement along the lines of those seen in China and other European countries, the concepts of ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ have become everyday talk. Then in the last couple of days, as the Church of England has suspended … Continue Reading

My election prayer and manifesto

The Church of England communications team has released a prayer for the nation at the time of the General Election, and it has not been well received. I offer here a prayer I wrote for Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio, which they recorded and broadcast earlier in the week. There were three main things on … Continue Reading

Does God respond to nagging?

This Sunday’s lectionary reading from Luke’s gospel (Trinity 18, Year C) is the Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Persistent Widow from Luke 18.1–8. A surface reading, confirmed by most online comments on it, is that basically we need to be nagging God before he will answer our prayer! But a more careful reading, … Continue Reading

What does John 17 say about unity?

If I was given sixpence every time I heard someone quoted John 17.21 ‘…that they might be one…’ then I’d have a lot of change that I wouldn’t know what to do with. It is commonly suggested that, in this, Jesus’ ‘high priestly prayer’, we see his last desire expressed to his heavenly Father, and … Continue Reading

How can we pray like Jesus?

The Sunday lectionary readings for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity in Year C continue with its progress through Luke’s gospel, and we reach Luke 11.1–13 and Jesus’ teaching on prayer. In reading this, we need to be alert to the fact that both the lectionary divisions and the chapter divisions in our Bibles (which are … Continue Reading

How often should we be fasting?

As we being the season of Lent, traditionally a period of discipline and denial, the subject of fasting naturally comes up. But before we think about fasting for ourselves, we need to ask: How often did Jesus and the first generation of his followers fast? Was it an occasional thing, focused on specific events or … Continue Reading