Having the words

    Ronald Blythe’s “Word from Wormingford” column in the Church Times lightens the greyness of a Monday morning. Reaching English letter boxes on a Friday morning, it is three days later before his words arrive in rural Ireland. Of course, they could be read online, but that would rather spoil the experience of writing that is almost tactile. It seems appropriate that his ponderings should come as black print on white paper, hard copy that reflects the physicality of the Suffolk countryside he so often describes.

    Blythe’s words transport his readers …

    [continue reading...]

Sermons

Sermon for Sunday, 1st March 2015 (Second Sunday in Lent)

"Let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" Mark 8:34 To be a follower of Jesus meant ...

Lent Series 2015: What this bread and wine we bring?

"Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to ...

Sermon for Sunday, 22nd February 2015 (First Sunday in Lent)

"He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the ...

Sermon for Ash Wednesday, 2015 (First of a Lent Series: Who are we?)

"But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in ...

Sermon for Sunday, 15th February 2015 (Sunday before Lent/Transfiguration)

"He was transfigured before them".  Mark 9:2 Today's Gospel reading, the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, can be thought about ...

Sermon for the Second Sunday before Lent, 8th February 2015 (Church of Ireland Lectionary)

"As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to ...

Sermon for Sunday, 8th February 2015 (Epiphany 5)

"In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and ...

Sermon for Sunday, 1st February 2015 (Epiphany 4)

"He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him". Mark 1:27 We read the story of Jesus at Capernaum in ...

Sermon for the Conversion of Saint Paul 2015

"The Lord said to him in a vision, 'Ananias.' He answered, 'Here I am, Lord.' Acts 9:10 When we Scripture, it ...

Sermon for Sunday, 18th January 2015 (Epiphany 2/Ordinary 2)

"Come and see." John 1:46 In the brief conversation between Philip and Nathanael there is much about what it means to ...

Sermon for Sunday, 11th January 2015 (The Baptism of Jesus)

"And a voice came from heaven" Mark 1:11 The placenames Saint Mark uses in the story of the baptism of Jesus ...

Sermon for Sunday, 4th January 2015 (Covenant Service)

"From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace" John 1:16 At the beginning of a new year, as we ...

Personal Columns

Having the words

Ronald Blythe’s “Word from Wormingford” column in the Church Times lightens the greyness of a Monday morning. Reaching English letter boxes on a Friday morning, it is three days later before his words arrive in rural Ireland. Of course, they could be read online, but that would rather spoil the experience of writing that is almost tactile. It seems appropriate that his ponderings should come as black print on white paper, hard copy that reflects the physicality of the Suffolk countryside he so often describes.

Blythe’s words transport his readers …

Ireland

Still writing them out

The county council heritage people have invited submissions on how “1916” might be commemorated in the county. “1916” seems to be shorthand for the Easter Rising and the associated events. There is a temptation to feign ignorance and to send to the council a list of those from the county who died fighting in 1916, on the battlefields of France and Belgium and further afield, a list that would be many, many times longer than the casualties of the Rising, but it would be ignored: what would a Brit know, …

Spirituality

Hearing voices

On the night air there seems to come the sound of a human voice, speaking to someone, although there is no reply and it is not clear from where the voice might have come. Perhaps there was no voice at all, for no words were discernible; perhaps it was just a sound that might have resembled a human voice.

Do people who speak of encounters with the divine hear plain speaking voices? Words articulated in tones and a language they can understand? If they do, why don’t other people also …

Ministry

Only detectives find a vicar

Did you ever watch any of those English television detective series, the ones where one murder leads to another, and then another? Hardly a week passes without the poor vicar of the parish ending up among the victims.

The vicars murdered in the detective programmes seem to be people who spend most of their time in beautiful medieval parish churches, preparing for services. They seem never to have more than one church, and it sitting beside an idyllic village green. The vicarage is a short walk away; it is a …

Cross Channel

Seaside days

A butcher’s shop in Bridport was the focus for a BBC 4 history programme. In childhood days, Bridport would have possessed a great mystique, but not for any of its shops. Bridport meant West Bay and the seaside. In the years of my West Country childhood, the seaside had always a sense of the magical, the exotic; a place where reality was different. Being an obsessive classifier, the seaside in youthful perception fell into four divisions.

The fourth division was the Bristol Channel coast of Somerset; it ran from Weston-Super-Mare down …

International

Missing names

Trying to prepare a short talk for the local history society on local men who died on the Western Front, the thought occurred to look at where they died and where they were commemorated and something struck me I had never realized before. Of the forty-four who died in the Great War, thirty-five died in Belgium or France; thirteen in the former and twenty-two in the latter. Of the thirteen who fell in Belgium, seven have graves and the other six have no known burial place, their names appearing among …

Church of Ireland Comment

Cranmerian futures

It would have been nice to have attended choral evensong this evening, on the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, to hear the Song of Simeon, the Nunc Dimittis, sung by the choir. “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: according to thy word:” a sense of completeness, of purpose, of order. Choral evensong on a weekday would have demanded a journey to Dublin, even on a Sunday its occurrence outside of Dublin is rare

In the North in the 1980s, Sunday evening worship in …

Writing

Waking thoughts

Keeping his eyes closed, he tried to slip back into drowsiness. The day that awaited was uninviting, to drift into sleep seemed much preferable.

The dream had been odd. He was at the gathering of a family unknown to him, a gathering so large that they had moved from their house to be seated in the street outside of their front door. Different family members were performing ‘party pieces’, a song, a piece of music, an Irish dance. He could not remember why he had come to be there and …

Notice Board

Rector’s Letter – March 2015

Matrices came to mind. Matrices were numbers written in grids and we were supposed to be able to do sums by using them. I never understood matrices, or the point of doing them. The school maths teacher used to try to explain them by saying that we should imagine we were milkmen delivering pints of milk to a block of flats -each number was the number of bottles and its position in the matrix was the flat to which the bottles had to be delivered – it still didn’t make …

Pop thinking

War pictures

On grey days when mist and cloud create a semi-darkness even in mid-afternoon, certain music is therapeutic. Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Band have the capacity to change the mood, to bring another world into the confines of a small and battered Peugeot car. It was The Band’s “The Night they drove old Dixie down” that launched a train of thought. “In the winter of ’65, we were hungry, just barely alive”, goes the song.

The winter of ’65? A hundred and fifty years ago. Why had a song about …