#AdventBookClub: Herod

Matthew 2:3-8 So, under Herod the Great, we’ve already seen how ‘The Slaughter of the Innocents” affected the mothers (and presumably fathers), so let’s have a look inside Herod’s head! Placed against the harrowing story of Rachel and her ‘grief to the bowels’, it’s quite a shock to come to the end of this chapter from Herod, and realise that he killed all the first sons under 2 years old for expediency, to ensure that he Continue Reading →

#AdventBookClub: Rachel & #Advent20: Appreciating the Dark

Luke 2 – 36-38 One of those uncomfortable passages in the Bible “The Slaughter of the Innocents“, which is very uncomfortable to read, and even more so through the voice of Rachel, who graphically watches her 10 month old son’s throat slit in front of here because of Herod’s fear of Jesus as a challenger to his throne. Rachel indicates that she wishes no harm to Jesus, but wishes he hadn’t been born: I stare, Continue Reading →

#AdventBookClub: Anna

Luke 2:36-38 I love the way this first chapter has been written, as a life story (and I’m always a bit of a sucker for those), knowing that ‘today’ she has met the Light of the World. Anna, an old lady, widowed early, who sits in the Temple day and night (seen as a bit of a ‘crazy’), waiting for ‘the light’ to reach her – initially the sunlight, for which she waits, allowing herself to Continue Reading →

Stephen Cottrell ‘Walking Backwards to Christmas’ #adventbookclub

If you’ve never joined an online book club, well, there’s still time. Pam Webster has pulled together material for #adventbookclub, drawing on Stephen Cottrell’s Walking Backwards to Christmas, published by SPCK. I have written in the diary to read a chapter every couple of days, but last night I read the introduction. Recently I went to see Simon Callow in That Man Jesus, a one man play that uses the voices of those associated with Jesus to tell Continue Reading →

#AdventBookClub: Day 37: Endings

So, here it is, the last day of #adventbookclub (for this year at least), – and it’s been great to have a focused time each day (I’ve never been very good at that!) By this time I should be in the air en route to Marrakech – hopefully for a bit of sun, plenty of relaxation/sleep and pottering.. hopefully nothing like the journey that Maggi experienced from Gatwick (where I’m starting from!). Maggi speaks of Continue Reading →

#AdventBookClub: Day 36: Inclusiveness

As we looked at the other day, black/white answers to faith questions can be hard to take… today Maggi takes that even further – drawing on Matthew 2:1-8 – the Magi have often been described as ‘Kings’, but in fact may have been astrologers – something many of us would be uncomfortable with… but a reminder that it’s not up to us to judge who God welcomes, how, and with what questions – we are all Continue Reading →

#AdventBookClub: Day 35: Begin/End

A simple thought from today, which had never occurred to me before today – significant events at the the beginning/end of Jesus’ life took place in borrowed rooms (the stable/the upper room) … Jesus ‘slummed it’ along with us – never making a home of his own. Also totally understanding Maggi’s feeling re decluttering … too much stuff making me feel trapped/weighed down … although it has taken many years to declutter after many years Continue Reading →

#AdventBookClub: Day 34: Redemption

Whilst we are still in a period of thinking about the birth of Jesus, there is also time to think about redemption – and that it’s available to all (and often through the ordinary times of life, which are then made extraordinary). Redemption, however, is not painless: The Christian gospel is not magic, wishing away all ills. It is given in incarnation, the inseparable fusing together of the human and divine, and grows at the Continue Reading →