Twenty-one years

    The young lady, born 16th April 1993 at Downpatrick, Co Down was 21 today. It is hard now to imagine the world of 1993; change has been so rapid that it seems like another age.

    In the United States, Bill Clinton had begun his first presidential term three months previously; anyone who thought the world would be different would be become disillusioned by two terms in which sanctions against Iraq would cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. At a later date, when Secretary of State Albright was challenged about the policy, …

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Sermons

Sermon for Maundy Thursday 2014: Sensing the Passion – Sight (Fifth of Series of Five)

"Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for ...

Sermon for Wednesday in Holy Week 2014: Sensing the Passion – Hearing (Fourth of Series of Five)

"The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is ...

Sermon for Tuesday in Holy Week 2014: Sensing the Passion – Taste (Third of Series of Five)

"Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man ...

Sermon for Monday in Holy Week 2014: Sensing the Passion – Smell (Second of Series of Five)

"Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. ...

Sermon for Palm Sunday 2014: Sensing the Passion – Touch (First of Series of Five)

"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the ...

Lent Series 2014: Singing through Lent – Thine be the glory

"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone ...

Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, 6th April 2014

"Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even ...

Lent Series 2014: Singing Through Lent – Amazing Grace

“His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this ...

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, 30th March 2014

"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:2 Most of us will probably remember ...

Lent Series 2014: Singing through Lent—I heard the voice of Jesus say

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, ...

Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent, 23rd March 2014

“I can see that you are a prophet”. John 4:19 Can you think of anyone now who will give a straight answer ...

Lent Series 2014: Singing through Lent—Man of sorrows

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: ...

Personal Columns

Twenty-one years

The young lady, born 16th April 1993 at Downpatrick, Co Down was 21 today. It is hard now to imagine the world of 1993; change has been so rapid that it seems like another age.

In the United States, Bill Clinton had begun his first presidential term three months previously; anyone who thought the world would be different would be become disillusioned by two terms in which sanctions against Iraq would cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. At a later date, when Secretary of State Albright was challenged about the policy, …

Ireland

An apprentice in McGahern’s Ireland

I would have doubted John McGahern. The doubt would not have been a questioning of the veracity of the accounts in his novels of 1950s Ireland; they are too detailed, too consistent, too alive with emotion, to be anything other than accurate reflections of the realities which he encountered. Doubts would have been more in the nature of wondering whether the scenes, the characters, the stories, he describes were general experiences, or whether they were, instead, cameos of Ireland at its bleakest. Stories told, of realities harsher than lines from …

Spirituality

Time outside of time

A Friday evening and the week has been long. Perceptions of time change: long and boring moments are brief in retrospect; days filled with activity, where not a minute drags, can seem a week long when reviewed. If Einstein is right, our perceptions of linear time, whether it be brief or lengthy, are no more than perceptions, but those perceptions can count for a lot: in perception time comes in different forms.

Forty-odd years ago, Donny Osmond sang “The Twelfth of Never”.  The declaration of undying love wasn’t really rooted

Ministry

A play outside a play

Lent fulfils its name as light lingers in the sky. A dairy herd grazes in a field on a hillside, their night time presence testifying to a sufficiency of grass in the pasture land. Banks of darkening grey cloud will likely prevent the threatened frost.

The play on the radio is about a couple who are told their long awaited baby will be stillborn – it is painful listening. Could such a script have been managed by someone without firsthand experience, but would someone who have been through such grief …

Cross Channel

Watching telly

On BBC2, Penelope Keith presents a retrospective on Morecambe and Wise; a survey of the history and quirkiness of one of television’s best known duos. There are moments of genius, moments of silliness, and moments that are, well, at the risk of speaking heresy, dull. Perhaps it was all about context, perhaps it was about an accumulation of humour that made scenes that might otherwise have been seen as plain and inane as a cause for laughter. Perhaps the skill of the programme was in the realisation that its viewers …

International

Shrinking Europe

The cardiologist warned that stress could cause a recurrence of angina, but not to worry as it would not kill me. “Sure, hearts flutter at rugby matches”. Indeed, they do, and one of the problems of new technology is that it allows more possibilities of flutters. Watching coverage of this evening’s match between Aviron Bayonnais and Stade Francais in San Sebastian, there was much cause for flutters. Bayonne are struggling against relegation and a win was critical – they eventually triumphed against their Parisian opponents by twenty-four point to nineteen, …

Church of Ireland Comment

The traditional and the conservative lead us

Last Sunday afternoon there was one of those occasions that might have come from the pages of a Maeve Binchy novel – a happy moment in the life of a community where, judging by the need for overflow accommodation and the number standing at the back, the whole community must have been present: the re-dedication of a local Catholic Church after a year long closure for refurbishment. The building had been transformed, including new stained glass windows and a copper roof on the spire, and a parish was celebrating.

Go …

Monologues etc

Monologues

Twenty monologues on the life of Jesus.

The Shepherds

The Magi

Mary

Herod

Simeon

Anna

John the Baptist

Andrew

The Woman at the Well

Matthew

Martha

Lazarus

Judas

Pilate

Peter

Claudia Procula

The Centurion

Joseph of Arimathea

Mary Magdalene

John

The monologues were recorded by Commission Christian Radio and broadcast on Downtown Radio in Northern Ireland.

Notice Board

Holy Week & Easter Services

Holy Week Services

Our services begin on Palm Sunday, 13th April and run through until Good Friday, 18th April. This Holy Week our theme is “sensing the story”, we look at how the those momentous events in Jerusalem were experienced through the five senses of those who were there. Our services will be as follows:

Palm Sunday 7 pm Seir Kieran – Touch
Monday 8 pm Roskelton – Smell
Tuesday 8 pm Annatrim – Taste
Wednesday 8 pm Borris in Ossory – Hearing
Maundy Thursday 8 pm Mountrath – Sight…

Pop thinking

Snake-oil and quackery

The Scaffold, the group that included Paul McCartney’s brother, Peter, and Roger McGough, who would become one of England’s leading poets, recorded Lily the Pink, a comedy song which would reach Number One in the charts at Christmas 1968. It captured the imagination of an eight year old listening  to the radio at that distant Christmas time and almost five decades later it seems one of the most sensible songs ever written. The refrain goes:

We’ll drink a drink, a drink ,
To Lily the Pink, the Pink,