Gen 9: 8-17 and Mark 1: 9-15. Lent 1B 2021
This is the first Sunday of Lent – we’re at the beginning of a journey. Well, not quite the beginning. Lent began on Ash Wednesday, and in one of the readings set down for that day, Paul wrote to the divided Corinthian congregations: ‘So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making God’s appeal through us’, and: ‘We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry.’ If we’re looking for a mission statement for the Body of Christ, then surely that’s a good place to start. Our job is to be Christ’s representatives for anyone we happen to meet – and not to make it hard for others to come to that meeting. It’s a bit like the first principle of medicine. Do no harm. And it makes no difference whether we’re first century Corinthians or twenty-first century Cantabrians, Continue reading Journeying through Lent
2 Kings 2:1-12
Today’s reading is about Elisha succeeding Elijah and we should note that Elijah has to cross over the Jordan to fulfil his promise of succession to Elisha then in the passage immediately following today’s reading Elisha crosses back to fulfil that promised ministry.
Moses led the people across the Red Sea to leave Egypt and Joshua leads them across the Jordan to enter the Promised Land.
As we listen to the crossing of the Jordan bringing new promise in today’s reading remember that John the Baptizer appeared as the new Elijah by the banks of the Jordan and when Jesus comes up out of the Jordan instead of the waters parting the heavens parted, a truly new beginning.
All biblical religion depends on succession and that not only helps us cope with our world but helps us understand the message the Gospel writers bring us as they explain Jesus as a continuation of their religious tradition. Continue reading What Comes feeds on the Past… What is past leads to what comes
A sermon on Mark 1:29-39 and Isaiah 40: 21-31.
Isaiah reminded Israel in exile that no-one can go it alone. We try hard enough. Our culture says individuals can build themselves up. –We hear statements like: pull yourself up by your own bootstraps; anyone can make it if they try hard; you don’t need handouts from Government or charity or anyone else, and certainly not from a God out there somewhere. But if we’re honest, we’ll acknowledge that life doesn’t work like that. Relationships fail and hopes crumble. Women and men can be incredibly loving, and intolerably cruel. Mountainsides fall, and rivers flood, and fires destroy, new pandemics appear from nowhere. Untimely deaths haunt our ways. ‘Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted.’ Continue reading Disciple – or Servant?