During my years of ministry in the church, today, Trinity Sunday, was the Sunday in the year when preaching a sermon was always a challenge. There seemed no words adequate to the task, and the words there were could leave people as much confused as they were enlightened.
It is good, therefore, that Jesus’ words at the end of Saint Matthew are the Gospel reading for the day. One word within that passage points to a need for Christian people. Jesus tells …
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.’ John 20:22
Telling the story of Jesus many years after the events described had taken place, Saint John sometimes draws upon the insights of retrospect to comment upon what is being said. So it is with lines from Saint John Chapter 7, where John quotes the words of Jesus and then clarifies their meaning for his readers,
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me
‘Where are you from?’ asked the man beside me on the bus.
‘Somerset,’ I said.
‘I thought I could hear it,’ he said. ‘A great cricketing county.’
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but never county champions.’
‘Are you sure?’ he said.
‘Definitely.’ I smiled.
Somerset have never, ever been county champions. Somerset did not win their first trophy until 1979, when the club was 104 years old. Following their fortunes over the years has not been without its advantages, though. It has taught the value of stoicism in the face of setbacks.…
‘So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.’ John 17:5
Saint John’s Gospel is a favourite for people who enjoy Scripture as literature, particularly those who enjoy the Seventeen Century language of the King James Version. For those who try to understand the meaning of scripture for daily life, Saint John is not so accessible.
Why is Saint John so different from the other three Gospels? Perhaps there are words from more recent literature that can …
There is no more cheering sight in springtime than the racks filled with packets of garden seeds that appear in shops. The seedsmen know the value of colour and the seed packets are a bright display amongst much that is mundane in hardware shops. Vegetable pictures are as attractive as those of flowers. Packets for artichokes are as striking as those for azaleas, those for zucchini as pleasing as the packets for zinnia.
When I was a child, the seed packets represented happy times. Dad would plant the back garden …