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  • Example or Parable: What then the Mandate?

    This morning I read a Maundy Thursday sermon that employed an argument that the foot washing story in John is to be understood primarily as a parable of the purpose of the incarnation, with the stooping signifying descent/kenosis and the footwashing signifying cleansing from sin.

    I can buy this up to a point, but am left wondering what I then do with the words of Jesus that form the mandate.  The text is explicitly of example (John 13:15), so if I take literally the idea that the act is a parable of kenosis and atonement do I end up with disicples as either mini-Messiahs or some kind of priests who are able to atone for or absolve sins?

    I need to mull this over a lot more as I'm sure I'm missing the point somewhere.  In the meantime I'll stick with my simple reading that it is an example of servant ministry, nothing more complex or less demanding.

  • On Healthy Eating, Yorkshire Style

    Check out here for some entertaining thoughts... and remember chocolate is a vegetable mixed with milk; vegetables are good for you and milk an excellent source of calcium: nuff said.

  • Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

    Yesterday we were involved in two joint services, one purely Baptist, where three (out of four) congregations combined to hear our shared BMS Link Missionary, the other one ecumencial with Anglicans and Methodists where she was also the guest speaker.

    The morning service included the now ubiquitous dreadful hymns: there are some excellent things in the Green Book so why do we have to have the awful ones?  Despite that, we had a PowerPoint presentation (what else would you expect from BMS?) and a very informative talk about work being done by United Mission to Nepal, and more specifically the project in which our misisonary has been working, which has now run its course.

    The afternoon service was a very different feel, lots of participation from all traditions, PowerPoint everything (with sheets for those who prefer), DVD clip, images, organ and music group, old and new hymns/songs (chosen by me!) and the CTBI liturgy as a framework within which to work.

    UMN sees its role as being within the 'universal church' and is non-denominational, so it was an appropriate choice to have our missionary speaking, and her projects - concerning the voiceless and marginalised - in keeping with the theme of the service.

    Interestingly my folk split themselves between the two sevices, though with a good overlap, and some elected not to join us.  The reasons for the choices reflect Baptist diversity, but what struck me more was the way that my folk now see themselves as part of the world church (or at least the Dibley and District church) than they did three years ago, and indeed are becoming quite pioneering by Dibley standards in ecumenical working.

    While I miss the old pulpit exchanges of my previous incarnations (not a very good metaphor!), it is great to be part of a comfortable ecumenism that can see a BMS missionary as of shared interest, and the holism she spoke of - denominationally and missiologically - as pertinent.

    When I first arrived here people were surprised that I was impressed with the Churches Together scene.  I hope that in my two years as chair (which end in June) I will have contributed positively to developing it into something even more helpful in living the gospel. 

  • Of buses and weddings

    You wait ages for one and then two come along at once...

    As of buses, so, it seems, of weddings.  In three days I have conducted one wedding and been asked to conduct another two!  The lack of a building it seems is not a total turn off for people and, all things being equal, I will this year, have three weddings in three different buildings.  One will be legally Anglican, which could make for some fun and games with the priest as we negotiate what the law does actually allow - and what it will say on the marriage certificate about the rite used!  The other two are legally 'according to the rites of the Baptists' so only require borrowed rooms and Authorised Persons.

    The middle of the three promises to be the most fascinating as it is a Hindu-Christian wedding (church legal bit by Baptist rite, Hindu ceremony to follow), and the dates cannot be fixed without checking the way certain festivals fall this year.  I am privileged and excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing with the two families in this unique event.  Please pray for both sets of parents as they share in what for them, as devout people of faith, will be a challenging time as they prepare for the event in August/September.

  • Nice Wedding, Shame about the Best Man's Speech!

    I think that's how I would sum up yesterday's events.  The service went really well, the church we'd borrowed (along with an Authorised Person) was full and atmosphere was happy and warm.

    The two-part reception seemed to owe more to the desires of a younger generation than the happy couple, and since almost all the food was garnished with or contained peppers to, which I have a fairly severe food intolerlance (not technically an allergy as I don't go green and foam at the mouth!), it was great for the waistline.

    The bride's son did a super, short, 'father of the bride' speech noting that today he hadn't lost a mother but gained a big brother, something he'd always secretly wanted!  The groom, a man who has a terror of public speaking, did well too, keeping to the point and thanking relevant parties for their contributions.  Then his eldest son did the best man's speech, which began well, with an anecdote about the couple's first 'date' in a grave yard - something that must have been 'dead interesting' and 'dead romantic' and other suitably groan inducing puns - but then rapidly degenerated.

    Am I old, or old fashioned, in finding it unnecesary, and unhelpful, for the speech to centre on what might - or might not - be happening in the marital bedroom?  The odd innuendo is fair enough, but when various items were produced and people started to comment on the presence of young children (but not too young too ask in loud voices "what's funny about that" questions) it was clear I was not alone.

    Ah well.  Nice wedding, hope it's the start of a good marriage.