By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

- Page 3

  • James - In Short

    This Sunday is number four of five on the little book of James.  Next Sunday we have a guest preacher whilst I climb Ben Nevis (well, technically, whilst I travel go home from climbing Ben Nevis) so this is my last input.  I have found the series very challenging because James calls a spade a spade (or a shovel, whichever version of the saying you prefer), his letter needs little or no interpretation and it is utterly practical.  This afternoon I will be tidying my sermon, but here, in my words, is what I think James has been talking to me about these last few weeks...

    Faith that is not active in everyday life is futile.

    An attitude of gratitude - the big-hearted God generously supplies all our needs, therefore gratitude should be our prime motivator

    The generosity that results from gratitude should be impartial, not favouring any one 'people group' over any other

    We are responsible for the words we choose, and use; when (not if) we foul up, we need to forgive and be forgiven

    We should practice gentle wisdom, which is totally counter-cultural, seeking neither personal advantage or reward

    Diligence in prayer, sticking at it, and recognising its divers purposes (praise, confession, intercession) as we endeavour to practice what we preach.


    A few years back, over at Living Wittily, Jim Gordon collated a series of haiku summaries of books of the New Testament.  I have a sneaking suspicion I did James, but I cannot find, even with Google, the relevant post (Jim......).  They are worth checking out, if you can find them, and if not the challenge of summarising the message of a book in a few words is a good one.

    James 2:26a - faith without deeds is dead.  QED.

  • Wanted.... Patterns and Prayers

    One for all you Baptist ministers out there... A young minister up here is trying to locate a copy of Patterns and Prayers without success (there is one ludicrously priced second hand copy on Amazon, and I'm not about to part with mine as I use it quite a lot).  So, if you have a spare unawanted one lying around can you let me know and I'll gladly buy it from you and pass it on.

    To be clear it is this one:

    p and p.jpg

  • Another One Just for Laughs

    There has been so much sadness in the news this week, so much tragedy, and I'm still mulling over how I respond prayerfully to any of that in a way that moves beyond trite or knee jerk.  But I don't think it's wrong to inject a little humour; indeed I have a hunch it's actually a positive thing, so long as it is not insensitive in content or delivery .  So here's a cartoon I pinched from the web...


    cat pearly gates.jpg

    Now back to sermon prep after a few minutes of levity!

  • Commentary on James 4 and Prayer...

    "Far from acting as a talisman for personal ends or a pretentiously "holy" way of sanctifying our selfish desires, prayer works only when human aspirations are sublimated to higher purposes.  In short, availing prayer always operates within the ambiance of submission to God's holy will and is tacitly prefaced by the phrase "if it is your will (...).  Hence to those who were querulously asking why their prayers were in vain (v3) James can truthfully reply that they have asked in the wrong spirit because their motives were alien to God's desire for peace and justice in his way.  Prayer is removed from being treated as a magic incarnation (...) or a patriotic slogan - a warning unheeded by "Christian" armies who launched crusades to exterminate infidels; who sang of wider and wider boundaries of their imperial domain; or who went into battle with "God with us" on their soldiers' belts."

    Ralph P Martin, Word Biblical Commentary, James, Waco, Texas, 1988, p. 156


    No additional comment needed.

  • A Hymn of Commitment

    Each week, as I begin to search for hymns and songs for Sunday, I use the various indices on HymnQuest to see what pops up... so, typically, Lectionary, Biblical, Thematic.  Each week I've done this for our current series on James this hymn has popped up somewhere along the line...

    We pledge to one another,
    before the Lord above,
    complete and full and perfect,
    this union of our love -
    a love that will be patient,
    a love that will be wise,
    that will not twist with envy,
    nor lose itself in lies;
    a love that will not falter,
    a love to hold us fast,
    and bind us to each other
    as long as life shall last.

    We pray that God will guide us
    through all the years to be,
    our lives be shaped by courage,
    hope and serenity.
    Through joy and celebration,
    through loneliness and pain,
    may loyalty, compassion
    and tenderness remain,
    that those who share the blessing
    of love that cannot cease
    may walk the paths of gentleness
    into the place of peace.

    Jill Jenkins (born 1937) © Jill Jenkins

    It is, essentially, a wedding hymn, and sung to the lovely tune Thaxted, and yet it speaks volumes in to other relationships too.  I won't be using it any time soon, because I'm not sure it would work in my context, but I think it as a wonderful hymn for an appropriate setting.