This blog is for the use of the whole parish; please let me know if you'd like to contribute.
Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)
The Parable of the Talents15-11-2020, 15:50God's, spirit, work
Proverbs 31:10–13, 19–20, 30–31 • Psalm 127(128):1–5 • 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6 • Matthew 25:14–30
One of the interesting things about the parable, and sometimes overlooked, is that back then, believe it or not, the notion of making loads of money wasn’t as lauded and applauded as it is today. People traded to survive, not to make a killing, and business (in the way we understand it today) was viewed in much the same light as prostitution and exploitation. Nevertheless, the Jews were known as shrewd business people and canny investors.
Now clearly the parable isn’t simply about the benefits of making a return on an investment versus burying your capital and not even making any interest. Nor is it simply about using our God-given natural talents to bless our friends and neighbours, for example – there is no reward (return) in that (Matt. 5:46). No, the talents or gifts are primarily spiritual gifts: the charisms, graces, blessings and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are worth far more than gold (1 Pet. 1:7). We are eagerly (yes, eagerly) to desire the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy (1 Cor. 14:1). We are not to be ignorant about the spiritual gifts (like the servant who buried his talent). There are different kinds of gift (talents) given by the Spirit: the message of wisdom or knowledge, the gift of healing, miraculous powers, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues and the interpretation 0f tongues (1 (Cor. 12:1–11).
Lord, thank you for the gifts of your Spirit. Help us to use our gifts for the building up of the Church to the glory of God.
From Bible Alive
Jesus and the Pharisees26-10-2020, 14:36love, spirit, suffering
Today’s Scripture packs two strikingly different ideas into one reading: healing and hypocrisy. The healing is of a woman who had been crippled for eighieen years, and the hypocrisy is on the part of a synagogue official who cannot see what is happening right before his eyes – a woman being miraculously freed from her terrible pain and suffering. The synagogue ruler had been too crippled by the letter of the law to recognize the true spirit of the law.
The Pharisees allowed animals to be taken care of on the Sabbath (see Luke 14:5), so why should they begrudge a sick woman this extraordinary and wonderful gift of God? Such harsh, legalistic and quite frankly mean behaviour from so-called religious people is staggering, isn’t it? What had happened to their understanding of God and their understanding of the dignity of the human person to make them think like this?
Yet it is perhaps too easy to be judgemental and harsh towards the Pharisees. We can ﬁnd ourselves saying to God, ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like these Pharisees because I would not let myself become so confused and legalistic that I applied the letter and not the spirit of the law.’ To think like this is, of course, to have fallen into the same trap! Make no mistake, Jesus loved the Pharisees – it is obvious from his eagerness to correct their thinking.
To live in the Spirit we need to be very clear about two things: the first is that God loves everybody, and the second is that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and God wants the best for everybody. The Pharisees made the error of assuming they knew how God thought, but they could not have been more wrong. Jesus came to set us all free because we all need to be set free. The Pharisees’ religion had made them narrow-minded and mean-spirited, whereas the Spirit makes us big-hearted and generous. The Pharisees’ religion had made them hypocrites (a very real tension for all religious people), but the Spirit convicts us of our sin and makes us grateful and forgiven sinners in continual need of God’s healing and mercy.
The all-sufficient Physician of humanity, the Saviour, heals both body and soul. (St Clement of Alexandria)
From Bible Alive
Ephesians 4:32-56 • Psalm 1:1–6 • Luke 13:10–17
Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath05-09-2020, 07:18law, Sabbath, spirit
1 Corinthians 4:6–15 • Psalm 144(145): 17–21 • Luke 6:1–5
Jesus didn’t come to challenge the status quo or upset the apple cart only a little — his wasn’t a slowly, slowly approach. He came to turn the world upside down, to usher in a radically new and different way of thinking. Between Jesus and the Pharisees there was a huge gulf about how they understood the Sabbath. The Pharisees, always eagle-eyed, spotted the disciples of Jesus walking through the grain fields and picking ears of grain. Harmless enough, you would imagine — rather like picking blackberries on a country walk! Yet the Pharisees jumped on this human and harmless activity as breaking the Sabbath and not keeping it holy (set apart).
The commandment to keep the Sabbath holy was a revelation of God’s mercy and liberation. The Sabbath was a day to rejoice in God’s gift of creation. The injunction to refrain from work was a protection ensuring that workers were not forced into slavery by being made to work seven days a week. To rest on the Sabbath is an opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the fruit of our labours and to acknowledge it all as God’s gift.
The Sabbath reminds us that in the end we are not self-sufﬁcient: we depend Upon God’s loving goodness and mercy; It is God who gives created things their capacity to grow and multiply. We cannot create anything out of nothing! We have been given the ability to harness to our advantage the natural resources which God has given us and on which we depend.
Jesus refers to an incident in the Old Testament when King David entered the temple and took the consecrated bread to feed his men, even though the law reserved it for the priests alone. The showbread was a symbol of the covenant between God and the people of Israel. Left in the presence of God, the bread revealed God’s desire to commune with his people. Normally consumed by the priests each week, on this one occasion it was used by David and his men at a time of need. By speaking of this incident Jesus is revealing the hidden reality that his own presence among his disciples brought to fulﬁlment what the showbread had symbolized: God communing with his people — making it a time to feast, not fast!
Blessed are thase called to the supper fo the Lamb who feed on the Bread of Life and who live not by the letter but by the Spirit of the law.
Have Mercy on me, O God15-08-2020, 07:04cleanse, mercy, spirit, steadfast, transgressions
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Saviour,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is51:17 Or The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
The Holy Bible, New International Version® (Anglicised), NIV®
Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Christ the King
Churches Together in Biggleswade
In Jesus's Name
Justice and Peace
Year of Faith
death to self
time for God
October 2020 (4)
September 2020 (7)
August 2020 (6)
July 2020 (8)
June 2020 (8)
May 2020 (9)
April 2020 (9)
March 2020 (17)
February 2020 (9)
January 2020 (7)
December 2019 (8)
November 2019 (7)
October 2019 (6)
September 2019 (6)
August 2019 (3)
July 2019 (5)
June 2019 (4)
May 2019 (3)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (5)
February 2019 (2)
January 2019 (5)
November 2018 (1)
October 2018 (1)
September 2016 (1)
August 2016 (5)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (8)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (4)
March 2016 (6)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (3)
December 2015 (5)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (2)
September 2015 (2)
August 2015 (1)
July 2015 (3)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (6)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (5)
January 2015 (2)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (7)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (3)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (5)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (5)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (9)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (5)
April 2012 (1)
March 2012 (3)
February 2012 (2)
January 2012 (8)
November 2011 (1)
October 2011 (1)
September 2011 (1)
August 2011 (1)
May 2011 (1)
April 2011 (1)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (2)
January 2011 (2)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (1)
October 2010 (3)
September 2010 (1)
August 2010 (1)
May 2010 (1)
March 2010 (2)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
November 2009 (2)
October 2009 (1)
July 2009 (1)
May 2009 (1)
April 2009 (2)
March 2009 (1)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (1)
November 2008 (1)
October 2008 (1)
September 2008 (4)
August 2008 (2)