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  • A Lukan Emphasis

    After two weeks steeping ourselves in a bit of Matthew's gospel - parables from chapters 18 and 13 - we are now jumping gospel to Luke and picking up three stories about 'people' from Luke 15 and 16.  Although we are skipping the linking text, it seems to me fairly clear that Luke has a specific emphasis in mind in ordering and grouping the material as he does.

    If anyone is looking for a bit of homework ahead of Sunday, then maybe they'd like to cast an eye over the Nazareth manifesto (Luke 4) and/or the Lukan (rather than Matthean) version of the beattitudes and solemnitudes (Luke 6).  These serve well as bits of 'scene setting' for what the gospel does, the emphasis the early readers/hearers needed... all of which leads me to speculate what church(es) in Jerusalem for whom Luke-Acts was written might have been like and what challenges they faced (as one of my commentaries notes, Acts 2 and 4 give hints about wealth and attitudes towards it that the writer may have felt a need to address).

    Three different and challenging parables to play with - a fun week in prospect!

  • Just Wondering...

    Arising from a flip comment I made to someone yesterday, and maybe Dave Walker or ASBO Jesus have already done this...

    If you had a remote control for your minister/vicar/rabbi/holy-person, what functions would it have?

    If you had a remote control for your congregation, what functions would it have?

    Obvious ones seems to be:

    • fast forward through boring sermon
    • mute button for people who drone on and on in open prayer times
    • 'gentle shake' function for those who snooze during the sermon
    • 'self-collecting' function for used communion cups (Baptist/URC model)
    • volume control for singing
    • 'make encouraging noises/smile' function for audience congregation


  • Oh My Giddy Aunt...

    ... I happened upon this yesterday which has to be the most cringingly awful parody of worship ever.  I was waiting for the spoof to be delcared, waiting for the punchline, but no, it seems it is actually someone's idea of worship.  What can I say?  'Sorry God' seems to be the only response possible.  (So why am I posting it then?  Maybe as a kind of reminder to self and others of our potential for self delusion)

  • Jogle-ing along on Le Jog

    News today from one of our students about a team of Thornton's employees who are cycling south John O'Groats to Lands End taking in 100 of the company's stores en route - including the one round the corner from church where she works - to raise money for NSPCC.  I for one hope to be there to cheer them on.  Their route - by no means the shortest option - is 1200 miles.

    Starting at the other end of the country, two of my Godsons (apologies to those Bappy ministers who have problems with such roles!) along with a friend of theirs are cycling an 1100 miles route to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust to honour the memories of two of their friends.  Next Sunday evening I hope to catch up with them in Kilmarock - they are choosing to avoid/evade my stamping ground!

    There is a nice little tenuous connection - my Godsons live very near to Alfreton where Thorntons is based and one of them spent a summer holiday working in the factory.

    In amongst all the sad and bad news, it's good to have some that is good, and to remember that there are almost certainly more people doing good in the world than bad.

    All power to their legs - just glad I'm not sitting on a bike for that long!

  • Good Morning

    It's mid-afternoon when I'm typing this - so it clearly isn't a greeting; in fact it is my response to how today's all age worship went.

    There are always, always visitors at the Gathering Place, it is one of the delights of being where we are (and the fact that the most central Baptist church in Glasgow doesn't call itself a Baptist church so we pop up first in Google).  Today we had more than usual, which just happened to coincide with a day two of our African students were on the reader rota.  There were seven Dutch people, two Australians, two Germans and two Devonians that I was aware of.  Is Devon a nation state?  Hmm.  Anyway, they all seeemd to enjoy being with us and the feedback we had was fantastic.

    001.JPGThe instant herb garden took us about 3 minutes to create (so there Persil!) and everyone seemed pleased with their mustard seed fridge magnets (see left; the 'speck' is a cress seed).  I enjoyed playing around with the three plant parables from Matthew 13 with these three angles to ponder...

    • the sower/soils: "bloom where you are planted" - the sower just got on and sowed his seed in some rather unpromising ground, not spending months preparing it first.  Waiting until everything is 'just so' before we start might mean we miss the planting season.
    • the wheat & weeds: the difficulty of distinquishing 'good' and 'bad' and the way that all of us is a mixture of 'good' and 'bad'.  Maybe God is more tolerant than we are about leaving things alone; maybe what we think is a weed is actually wheat and vice versa.
    • the mustard seed: is this a parody of the might cedar of Lebanon?  We used the start of Ezekiel 17 as our opening scirptures today and the image of the cedar as being a mighty Kingdom.  What is it about God's Kingdom that is so subverisve, comical and unexpected?

    Anyway, I had fun, people seemed to enjoy and engage with what was offered, so all in all a good morning.