Sometimes, change seems impossible. We might feel small and powerless in the face of world events, difficulties in relationships may seem unsolvable, perhaps we experience challenges in our faith.
What is Paul treasuring? It’s often said that he is denigrating whatever isn’t overtly Christian. But is he? He explains that, as a Pharisee, he had good reason ‘to be confident in the flesh’; that is, to feel that his human effort was putting him right with God.
One might wonder why I have chosen a passage from Mark to discuss the theme of celebration. Mark is often considered one of the most depressing Gospels, indeed it does not even have a Resurrection narrative.
This is an often overlooked Gospel story but is really quite an extraordinary event. Who is this man Simeon? Why had it been revealed to him that he wouldn’t see death until he had seen the Messiah? What kind of Messiah was he expecting to see?
When I think of the word 'giving' I usually think about giving money to a charity, giving a bit of my time or maybe giving something up. But during Easter this year, I've been struck again by the fact that Jesus gave his ALL for us. Paul says he "made himself nothing".
'For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.'
'Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?'
It is always tempting, especially as we approach elections, to artificially divide the world into tribes. We tend to imagine ourselves as part of one group, and we compare ourselves with another group. In short, we split the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’.
‘Endurance’ (or ‘perseverance’) in the New Testament is a difficult concept. Sometimes, as in Colossians, it is a positive quality – something to be desired, the ability to stand fast, to wait patiently, to survive.