We have a new Vicar

Holy Trinity Huddersfield have announced who or new Vicar is to be.

Rev Michael Wilkins, who is currently the curate at St Swithin Walcott, Bath. We look forward to welcoming him to the grim north in July.

All that I know about Michael is what is posted on his present church’s website (scroll down a bit),  so good luck to Watford in the play-offs or it could be interesting when Watford play at the John Smith’s Stadium next season.

Welcome Michael, Sofia, Felix and Matilda.

Knocking the NHS

The right wing press love to knock the National Health Service.

Last week it was the turn of Metro, the free newspaper that is available on buses and at train stations all over the country. On Thursday they ran the headline NHS phone system ‘is a chaotic mess’.

Now I love the NHS, it does a fantastic job. Free health care available to everyone in a country of over 60 million people is no mean feat. Yet the press love to knock it.

The story in Metro is about a trial of the new non emergency 111 phone line being tried out in under half a few areas of the country. Yes there re problems, it’s new, it’s on trial.

Look at the actual criticism. Metro say,”However, in west (sic) Yorkshire, patients say they have waited up to 14 hours for a doctor to arrive ” So what? It is a non emergency service, you can still dial 999 in an emergency.  Do you expect a doctor to come out in the middle of the night for something that isn’t an emergency?

If you call the non-emergency service in the evening do not expect someone to do anything until the next morning, after all it isn’t an emergency, there is no need for it.

Poor, shoddy journalism. Metro journalists, go back to school and learn how to report news accurately. I suggest kindergarten.You make me sick, good job we have the wonderful NHS.

 

 

 

Heaven and Hell

Doubting Thomas and the Paris Roubaix cycle race

Heaven.

Sunday morning, and Church.

The sermon started with nicknames: Who is known as Wiggo? Easy, Bradley Wiggins. Who is known as Doubting? Another east one, we’d only just had the reading from John chapter 20, Doubting Thomas.

Sad really when Thomas’s reply on meeting  Jesus, “My Lord and my God,” is one of the best statements of belief in the Bible, up there with those of Martha and Peter. It’s as if there’s two Thomas’s, the doubter and the man of faith.

The mention of Wiggo earlier brings me on to…

Hell.

Today was the day of the Hell of the North, the Paris – Roubaix cycle race. Over 200km of racing through northern France, many of them over cobbled tracks. Not Hell for me though, I spent the afternoon in front of the television. The question of whether Fabian Cancellara could win for a third time was answered with a yes. He now has a third cobblestone to add to his collection, this must be the heaviest trophy in sport.

But in perspective, even winning such a gruelling event as Paris -Roubaix. is only a trophy won for one man, or one team for one year. the victory of Jesus is for all people for all time.

Dead is dead

Dead is dead

Death is pretty final, once dead that’s it, there’s no going back.

Forty blogs of Lent

Day 40

Scriptural Way of the Cross

Station 14

Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. Matthew 27: 57-60

The problem we have here is that death is the end. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Physical resurrection is a posibility, Elijah and Elisha both raised someone from the dead. Jesus himself raised three. But the dead were always raised by someone else, Lasarus did not raise himself from the dead, Jesus raised him.

And now Jesus is dead, God incarnate is dead, and the dead do not rise from the dead. Who can raise him.

Fortunately we have the value of hindsight. The Bible says that God raised him up. The God in heaven, Jesus father, raised him from the dead. How this could happen, How God could be both the God in Heaven and God incarnate on Earth is something I do not understand. I am just grateful it happened. God raised him up.

The writers of the Scriptures say this, they use pasive language: God raised him up, Jesus was raised. Not for them the language we are more familiar with: Jesus rose, as if he somehow had th power to raise himself. He didn’t. Dead men have no power.

But Jesus was raised. God raised him up. Physically. Tomorrow we will be celebrating the fact

‘Tis mystery all…

…The immortal dies

Charles Wesley’s words hit on the significance if the crucifixion, God dies.

God, the immortal God, dies.

God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, dies.

God loves the world so much that he gives himself for it.

Creation itself reacts, the sun goes dark.

How amazing is our God.

Forty blogs of Lent

Day 39

Scriptural Way of the Cross

Station 13

Jesus Dies on the Cross

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. Luke 23: 44-46

The quote above has got it wrong, there was no eclipse. The sun went dark but there was no eclipse, eclipses do not last for three hours, four minutes is a long time for totality in an eclipse. But the sun went dark for three hours.

The original Greek text of Luke’s Gospel, or the other Gospels do not mention an eclipse when the refer to the sun darkening.

And Jesus died at Passover, a full moon festival. At full moon the moon is at the opposite side of the earth to the sun, it could not have been an eclipse. The Old Testament law states that Passover takes place on the fourteenth day of the first month. Jewish months start at new moon which makes Passover a full moon festival.

But the sun still went dark. Creation cries out at the death of its creator.

And the veil in the temple is torn in two. The last barrier between God and man is destroyed.

(The bible passage was copied from Wikipedia, which states that it has a Creative Commons licence, but does not cite the translation.)

Do this…

Holy Communion, Mass, The Lord’s Supper, Divine Liturgy, Eucharist.

Lots of names, but one meaning, a remembering of Jesus’s last meal with his disciples.

…in remembrance of me

Forty blogs of Lent

Day 38

And that’s about all we agree on.

Is it simply a memorial and no more? Does the bread and wine literally become the actual body and blood of Christ? Two extreme positions, with lots of different positions in between, on the surface it looks like we have very little in common.

But I think we have a lot more in common than that. What we have in common is the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the love of Jesus Christ. When we take part in the Lord’s Supper we take part in Jesus sacrifice and realise the extent of his love.

As we eat the broken bread we share the broken body of Christ, broken by nails and a spear. When we drink the wine we share the blood that poured from his wounds. We share in his death, and in his life: we remember also the new life he has in heaven, new life that awaits us.

And as we remember what Christ has done we experience Christ himself in the bread and wine. In the meal he gave us and in the new life he gave us.

Which is why we do not just do the Lord’s supper, we celebrate it.

Care…

…and trust

Forty blogs of Lent

Day 37

Scriptural Way of the Cross

Station 12

Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Beloved Disciple

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 25-27

Even at his darkest hour, and in agony, Jesus cares. And trusts.

He cares for his mother, he gives her into the care of one of his disciples.

And he trusts his disciple to look after his mother.

Love, care and trust. Three of the attributes of our God.

In Paradise

You will be with me

Forty blogs of Lent

Day 36

Scriptural Way of the Cross

Station 11

Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

good thief

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43

Repentance is not part of the Gospel. Repentance is the Gospel.  ”The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15, NIV) That is how Jesus started his time of ministry on Earth, and here he finishes the same way, forgiving someone who believes.

Believes that a Messiah that he can see dying is somehow going to come in his kingdom. Which puts the disciples to shame. The disciples have deserted or denied Jesus: Here is a man who believes that somehow the man he can see dying is somehow going to come into his kingdom.

The good news, then is that Jesus forgives, completely. Through the whole of the Passion story he has been forgiving. He refused to accuse his accusers back, asked his Father to forgive those who were torturing and killing him, then he forgives a criminal dying beside him.

Thank God for this forgiveness.

FaCiNG SouTH

SNoWeD iN iN SPRiNG.

Forty blogs of Lent

Day 35

Holy Trinity Huddersfield, 24th March, 2013

A poor turn out at church today. But then again there was lots of snow, only the main roads were snow free, making driving to church difficult, and pavements full of snoe that has been compressed and turned to ice, making walking even harder.

Which was a shame, as our youth leader, Dan, and his wife Anna had their son dedicated today. A shame there weren’t more here.

The hard work I’d done of setting up microphones for the service was unnecessary. The Church was cold and the congregation few, Just over 40 turned up, so we moved into the narthex, and held the service facing south. If anything this improved things, the musicians were closer together, making that all important silent communication easy. Congegational singing was better too, being closer together has a lot to be said for it.

A good service.