Archive for the ‘On the Pilgrim’s Road’ Category

Glad to be in prison

Posted: 22 November 2017 in On the Pilgrim's Road, Prisons
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PH-Prison-Service.jpgBarry* stood up in the Chapel service. “I’m glad to be in prison”. General muttering from the other men. “No, I am. I would be dead by Christmas if not.  I’m a long term drug addict and I’ve been told that my heart won’t last this way.  I’ve now got a chance to get sorted.”  The Chaplain had just asked if anyone had anything they’d like to thank God for during the week, at which Barry was up immediately.

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prisoners eyesWhen I led the prayers last Sunday in a prison, several of the guys just stared at me, a bit surprised at what was being prayed.  Not hostile.  Just thinking something new.

The theme of the service was getting believers to hear the call of God to play a special part.  And why not for Christian prisoners too?  Does God’s calling get shut out be the high walls and barbed wire??  Cannot Christian convicts, who are repentant of past crimes, but still have to do the sentence, have a calling here?  Perhaps a specific one for a specific period?  But calling all the same. When inside. For inside.

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Sunrise.jpgThey found the body.  Which one?  The day after the beautiful sunrise picture, in Lake Gahini, Rwanda, I was in Kigali in the genocide centre. Freshly found bodies, ready to be interred (see picture below). With prayers and respect.  What is Easter Day to them and their families?  Of for the wounded and maimed in Brussels.  Of for that matter, all struggling  with unloving relationships, unkind bosses, bullies at work and school? (more…)

Pilate+JesusShe turned and looked right in my face. “You want the truth, don’t you?  You want me to be honest, surely?” This week, in Holy Week.  The issue was trivial, but the question echoes, especially on Good Friday.  Not easy to find a polite answer to the question.

And yet, within three hours I was on a long distance phone conference to Haiti saying “let’s be honest her, is the engineer (more…)

40I’m giving up alcohol.  No – the doctors have not told me too.  I’ve not been done for drink-driving.  The liver is fine thanks,   I’m dinking well under the recommended limit.  I’m giving it up for Lent.  That 40+ day run up to Good Friday and Easter.  That traditional time when Christian people either give up something, or do something extra. Or both.  To enter into this period of drama more personally.  Now there are 40 days to go to Cross.

There are several layers to Lent.

Firstly, the chance to identify with the murder of God.  God comes to Earth to show himself in a more accessible form. Earthlings are largely deeply disturbed by what they see, and he is killed.  Judicial murder, on a cross.  (more…)

John Lewis wellbeing

New Year – new me. Well the Church calendar of set readings had me preaching last Sunday on Good News to the Poor.  Jesus opens his work with “Good News to the Poor. Liberty to the Captives. Sight to the Blind. Freedom to the Oppressed.” Goodness, that’s strong stuff.  Meanwhile, on the same day John Lewis sends me a booklet with another vision, and not a bad one either.  RE:NEW.ALL.  with the message “Time for renewal – feel healthier in your mind, body and spirit”.  Well – I’ll say yes to that too.

It is an odd choice.  Just compare (more…)

How do we express God’s special expedition that is Christmas for a new babe (not a relative)generation? Something that captures the less-is-more to the point of complete self offering.  In a way that makes sense to the 21st century. Often we trot out the familiar words that are closer to James Stewart (“It’s a Wonderful Life”) or Charles Dickens (“A Christmas carol”), than the original vision.

This poem (below), used in Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols”, expresses the bizarre ironies of God-coming-in-might as a baby, in terms of a renaissance army with all it’s force. The poet made the contrasts so vivid, striking. Read on:

Poem: New Heaven, New War

This little babe, so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan’s fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake.
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