Ash Wednesday

I don’t usually feel challenged by Ash Wednesday. Some years, I think I’ve let it go by with no more than a fifteen minute stop in at church and intense cravings for whatever I’ve given up for Lent!

This year has been somewhat different. It is probably partly the environment we’re in here, constantly focussed on the church calendar and the rhythm of community. Whatever it is, I am beginning to realise that I have in my life oversimplified the idea of preparation for festivals, and seasons like Lent and Advent.

If I do one thing differently this year, it will be to listen to the wisdom around me and to try and intentionally experience Lent. I am also intending to run before Mass at least three times a week and to be in touch with my body as with as my spiritual needs.

I hope your Lenten journey is a fulfilling one.


Why vote?

I am usually pretty evangelical about elections. I do, firmly, believe that everyone in the country has a duty to vote and my friends know I’m not afraid to say so. In my mind, it is not only a civil responsibility; a general election does, after all, affect the lives of everyone in this country, so it is an important part of caring for others to engage with the process.

For me, deciding who to vote for is very much a process of discernment and prayer. If you believe, as I do, that it is our responsibility to care for one another and to provide to the best of our abilities, then who to vote for is of the utmost importance. What matters more, taxing higher earners to pay for the NHS or cutting NHS funding in an attempt to restore the economy? Who would you protect, corporations or small businesses? Is being green more important than being wealthy? None of these questions can be taken out of the context of a faith in Christ, which is our compass and guide through the world of politics.

That is not to say that all Christians will vote the same way; far from it, and I hardly expect any of the Christians I know to vote for the Christian Party, because even they do not espouse my values. Nor do I believe that it is important for the leader of the country to be Christian; belief in the right of each human being to have a fair chance in life is not exclusive to Christianity. We cannot, and must not, claim to be the only people who can speak and act the word of God.

So however you vote on May 6th, do vote. And vote prayerfully and thoughtfully. People’s futures are in your hands.

It shouldn’t influence your vote, of course, but in case anyone wondered…

Life in General

Just an update on how I’ve been recently.

I’m leaving my job on May 22nd (eek!); it was a fixed-term position so I did know it was coming, but nonetheless I’m quite worried about finding another one.

I’ve been a little bit ill lately, as well, so I’m worried about what my absence record will look like.

At the moment, I suppose I’m mostly just lucky to have awesome friends who have stuck by me. Long may it last; I hope they (you, if you’re reading this) understand that there are times when I’m not sure I’d cope without them. That’s not additional pressure, it’s a statement of fact. Just knowing they’re there and that they give a crap is enough.

*cheesy American accent* I love you guys

How to Walk Through Walls – 2 sermons

Le Passe-Muraille – The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls – Montmartre, Paris

Two sermons for the price of 1! Both preached on the same day, from the same notes, but it’s interesting to me that they’re quite different. 

Preached at Trinity United Reform Church, Camden Town, on Sunday 11th April 2010, Second Sunday of Easter.

How to Walk Through Walls - URC 110410 sound bite

Preached at MCC North London, Camden Town, on Sunday 11th April 2010, Second Sunday of Easter.
John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Acts 5:27-32
When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.”

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”