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2024-02-24 21:41
“‘et them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Mark 8:34 To be a follower of Jesus meant to be sent, to save one’s life meant to serve him, it mean… Read More
2024-02-17 19:28
“He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan” Mark 1:13 With the passing years, Jesus’ experience in the wilderness seems more and more to reflect life. Isolation… Read More
2024-02-10 19:25
“He was transfigured before them”.  Mark 9:2 Today’s Gospel reading, the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, can be thought about in four words: chosen, changed, ch… Read More
2024-02-03 22:46
‘In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.’ Mark 1:35 The smartphone can be a curse.  Everywhere, all th… Read More
2024-01-27 19:57
‘He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him’. Mark 1:27 We read the story of Jesus at Capernaum in 2024 and most people in most churches would tend to think of it as… Read More
2024-01-20 10:07
‘Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.’ Mark 1:14 Teaching a classics lesson on Friday, I made a mistake. I put a medieval way of… Read More
2024-01-13 22:04
‘Come and see.´  John 1:46 In the brief conversation between Philip and Nathanael in today’s Gospel reading there is much about what it means to be a follower of Jesus… Read More
2024-01-08 20:29
‘US Moon Mission runs into technical hitch’ says a BBC headline this evening. To be honest, the entire space exploration enterprise seems to have hit the buffers fifty years ago… Read More
2024-01-06 19:43
“And a voice came from heaven” Mark 1:11 The placenames Saint Mark uses in the story of the baptism of Jesus would have meant much more to the people of his time than they do to… Read More
2024-01-05 22:56
Driving northward on the M5 motorway, the Mendip hills are passed on the right hand side.  Visible to the east, there is a deep cut in the steep ridge of the hills, Cheddar Gorge. … Read More
2024-01-02 22:21
‘Poached.’ I assume it is Hiberno-English, or perhaps just part of the vernacular of farming life in rural Ireland. ‘Poached,’ describes the areas around gateways to… Read More
2023-11-25 23:22
The Gospel reading for today is the familiar story of the sheep and the goats. It is one of the stories that Jesus told during his final days in Jerusalem. I never fully understood the story… Read More
2023-11-18 23:19
“For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” Matthew 25:29 What does… Read More
2023-11-15 20:08
It used to be said that one could judge a man by the company he kept. If that is so then the Prime Minister of Israel is possibly delusional for there is no doubt that the extreme religious… Read More
2023-11-14 21:35
Does one drink tea in the way that one might eat chocolate? As a comfort, as a distraction? Perhaps. Sitting drinking a mug of tea, slow, reflective music played on the radio. It seems that… Read More
2023-11-11 20:57
“Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:13 The Gospel reading for today provides thoughts with which to reflect upon the events that led to… Read More
2023-10-21 17:55
‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s’. Matthew 22:21 What are the things we worship? For what or whom d… Read More
2023-10-14 20:58
‘But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?’ Matthew 22:18 Hearing part of a conversation can be misleading, without knowi… Read More
2023-09-30 22:43
‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you’. Saint Matthew Chapter 21 Verse 32 Jesus’ words would have outrage… Read More
2023-09-16 19:22
‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Matthew 18:21 Forgiving those who have done you wrong is not easy, especially if the… Read More
2023-09-02 19:05
‘Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. ‘ Matthew 16:24 Reading the verse from the King Ja… Read More
2023-08-26 20:51
Teaching religious education to secondary school students is a happy experience. There is a willingness to engage among the students, a preparedness to throw ideas into the discussion. When… Read More
2023-08-19 20:18
‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’ Matthew 15:12 Did you ever think about what makes bad tempered people the way they are? Did you ever… Read More
2023-08-12 20:20
‘Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him.’ Matthew 14:31 A former colleague died on Friday. Memories of him are plentiful but the one that remains strongest does no… Read More
2023-08-05 19:44
‘He directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.’  Matthew 14:19 Bein… Read More
2023-07-31 20:00
Visiting Ypres last month, the list of places to be visited included Artillery Wood cemetery. It is a location that blends into the agricultural land around. Down a side road, it is a place… Read More
2023-07-22 21:49
‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.’ Matthew 13:24 Did you ever try to imagine what the parables meant for those to whom they were… Read More
2023-07-08 19:57
‘You have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants’. Matthew 11:25 Teaching religious education to secondary school students has be… Read More
2023-07-01 19:09
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Saint Matthew Chapter 10 Verse 40 I recently had the privilege of visiting a prominent J… Read More
2023-06-26 19:32
Thirty-four years ago, tonight, an Elisha moment. In the Second Book of Kings in the Hebrew Scriptures, Elijah has been teaching Elisha and the time has come for Elisha to start out on his o… Read More
2023-06-24 21:14
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 Do we believe in Hell? Drawing on the bo… Read More
2023-06-11 19:00
Sitting on a bench in the park at Auvers-sur-Oise yesterday, I pondered the face of the statue of Vincent van Gogh. Walking through Giverny this afternoon, there was a sense of how different… Read More
2023-06-10 20:15
“He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him”. Matthew 9:9 It is odd to think that it is tw… Read More
2023-06-08 19:44
Yesterday, it was the 106th anniversary of the Battle of Messines. Together with the former Irish army officer with whom I am tourin the Western Front, I went to the grave of Major Willie Re… Read More
2023-05-23 19:22
‘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.&rsqu&hell…Read More
2023-05-23 19:07
A friend told me that he had been at the Church of Ireland General Synod. I had forgotten such things even took place. I could no longer name the bishops who sit on the platform, splendid in… Read More
2023-05-20 21:13
‘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 peop… Read More
2023-05-18 19:10
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… Read More
2023-05-12 20:24
It was warm today, perhaps for the first time this year. In the bright evening sunshine, he walked unsteadily towards me. A man who looked as though he would once have been fit, time and sub… Read More
2023-05-10 19:44
BBC Somerset carried pictures of flash flooding in the county. Turning to the Flood Information Service, the area threatened seemed extensive. From Yeovil, which lies on the border with Dors… Read More
2023-05-08 19:07
‘VE Day was not the end of the war,’ led one article today. Indeed, it was not, the war in Asia continued. It was not even the end of the violence in Europe. Across Europe, hundr… Read More
2023-05-06 21:49
‘In my Father’s house,’ John 14:2 In one of the episodes from American writer Garrison Keillor’s News from Lake Wobegon, there is a story of a church service in which… Read More
2023-05-04 20:36
‘Sir, you are looking very bright today.’ ‘It’s summer,’ I said, ‘I have switched to summer uniform.’ Linen jackets have been procured in various ch… Read More
2023-05-01 20:21
The unrest in Paris reported on the evening news is nothing new, it would perhaps be more newsworthy if Paris were to be passive on May Day. It is some seven years since I was last in Paris… Read More
2023-04-29 20:32
‘Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them’. John 10:6 The failure to understand Jesus was a matter of choice. It was not… Read More
2023-04-28 21:20
Sitting in an empty classroom, I took out my lunch. Brown bread, tomatoes, a tin of sardines and an apple. (There is something oddly reassuring in peeling back the lid of the sardine tin and… Read More
2023-04-27 20:13
One of the blinds in my classroom does not fully roll up, it jams about 30 centimetres from the top. It is not a problem. It is a large room with windows on two sides. There are six blinds o… Read More
2023-04-22 19:42
‘Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.’ It always seemed a pity that today’s Gospel reading is left until two weeks after Easter for there is a wonderful hu… Read More
2023-04-19 19:47
On Facebook, my number of ‘friends’ numbers no more than a few dozens, most of whom are family members scattered across various parts of England. However, as well as keeping in c… Read More
2023-04-15 17:24
‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ John 20:25 There is no priest in my hom… Read More
2023-04-12 22:02
it has been unseasonably cold, hard to believe it is the Easter holidays. In the clear coldness of the spring evening, the red lights marking the transmitting station on the Mendips were sha… Read More
2023-04-10 21:14
The April sunshine fades quickly, the shadows stretch long along the road. There are memories come of childhood games of trying stepping on the shadows of others and imagining, Peter Pan-lik… Read More
2023-04-09 20:25
Second Lieutenant Edward Thomas of the Artists’ Rifles died at the Battle of Arras 106 years ago today. The account of his death said that on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917, a shell had… Read More
2023-04-08 21:51
‘And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it’. Matthew 28:2 It is some six years sin… Read More
2023-04-06 21:37
Walking to the church in the village, I found I had arrived on the wrong evening for the Holy Week service. There being no incumbent, a retired priest tries to cover miles of the area. Walki… Read More
2023-04-05 19:57
Spy Wednesday, the day when Judas Iscariot is said to have agreed to betray Jesus of Nazareth. I remember as a child that I couldn’t quite understand this bit of the story. Last week… Read More
2023-04-03 21:57
John McGahern’s letters speak of a different time. A present at the Christmas before last, the collection illuminates the world of his novels. There was a time when I would have doubte… Read More
2023-04-02 21:23
Listening to The Brothers Karamazov, there seem words in Dostoevsky’s novel that capture the spirit of Palm Sunday. A story is told by Ivan Karamazov: “And behold, He deigned to… Read More
2023-03-30 20:16
The voice of Google Maps became too much to bear. Successive mispronunciations of Irish placenames prompted me to turn it to mute. To be fair to Google Maps, pronunciations can be arbitrary… Read More
2023-03-28 20:15
A meme on Facebook about beauty suggesting that Oscar Wilde would not have been impressed by a fancy car prompted me to respond that whilst Wilde might have been sympathetic to the sentiment… Read More
2023-03-26 19:35
An Asian man was behind the counter of the filling station. Smiling, and with a perfect, educated accent, he greeted each customer and thanked them for their custom. It seemed hard to imagin… Read More
2023-03-25 19:47
‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ John 11:39 The story of the raising of Lazarus is strongly sensory; it seems apt to consider the passage… Read More
2023-03-20 20:42
My exploration of the pages of the Ancestry website reveal the family tree to be more a hedgerow than a tree, cousins of varying degree intermarrying so that relationships can be stated in v… Read More
2023-03-18 19:35
‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ John 9:2 There will be many churches today that will say that it is Mothering Sunday and that they will inst… Read More
2023-03-15 20:52
‘The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones’ declares Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  Perhaps in more contemporar… Read More
2023-03-14 21:09
Growing up in 1970s Belfast, my colleague recalls the bleakest days of the Troubles. There had seemed a terrible inexorability in the unfolding of the history through which he lived, as if t… Read More
2023-03-13 18:54
‘SVB shows that there are few libertarians in a financial foxhole,’ says the headline in the Financial Times. A comment piece in the newspaper says that, ‘like banking tita… Read More
2023-03-11 20:34
The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet’. John 4:19 Hopefully, all thirty-eight verses of the Gospel reading will be read in churches today, for only by reading… Read More
2023-03-09 20:46
Of course, the weather warnings last night were a case of a boy crying ‘wolf.’ Perhaps tonight will bring serious problems for tomorrow morning, but for today the snow did not ar… Read More
2023-03-04 22:50
‘The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ John… Read More
2023-03-02 20:29
When does the winter end? 1st February? 1st March? The Vernal Equinox? Maybe it is a state of mind rather than a chronological or a meteorological point. ‘When the winter ends’… Read More
2023-02-28 20:07
Last week, I was asked about returning to parochial ministry. Having been blocked by two bishops when I returned from England two years ago, I think the liklelihood is slim. And if I returne… Read More
2023-02-23 21:14
The penitential ashes were much in evidence in school yesterday, though there was not much sign of abstemiousness at lunch time. Asking students, what they were giving up for Lent, the gener… Read More
2023-02-21 20:26
It is not my task to teach ‘religion,’ it is my task, as set down by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, to teach student about religion and religious views, and… Read More
2023-02-14 21:27
For three years in the late 1980s, I drove a red Austin Metro.  The car was a real Friday afternoon job – rough edges, poorly finished and badly equipped.  Its greatest lack… Read More
2023-02-08 13:48
The mid-term break means a flight to Bristol on Friday and a return to our local community in Somerset where I identify myself as a member of the Crossman family from which my mother came. I… Read More
2023-02-06 20:57
‘Sir, if there is not a Sinn Fein government after the next election, there will be trouble.’ The constituency has a strongly republican electorate, two seats out of the three we… Read More
2023-02-05 21:34
Eschewing the option of driving at 120 km/h on the M8 motorway, I drove the old road from toward Dublin – Horse and Jockey, Littleton, Urlingford,  Johnstown, Cullahill, Durrow, A… Read More
2023-02-02 21:08
A friend talks with enthusiasm about his visit to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, particularly the gallery’s re-creation of the studio of the Francis Bacon. Bacon once commented of hi… Read More
2023-01-31 20:10
Ahead of Morning Ireland and the seven o’clock news on RTE Radio 1, the presenter played The Great Defector by the Irish band Bell X1. Approaching Ballyfermot roundabout, the refrain o… Read More
2023-01-30 20:24
‘Privacy has been extinguished. It is now a zombie,’ says Professor Shoshana Zuboff in an interview in the Financial Times. If privacy has died, how long had it survived? Perhaps… Read More

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