• Faith and Life,  Scripture

    Angels and Lampstands

    There is a curious text in the Book of Revelation which describes the beginning of the vision of Saint John. He hears a voice telling him to write what he sees and hears; it is the voice of Christ, who stands there among seven golden lamp stands, holding in His hand seven stars, representing the Church in seven particular places. Christ then addresses a message to the angel of each of these churches, beginning with the one at Ephesus. According to one article I had read on this text, the golden lamp stands represent the true faith present originally in those churches, as a result of the work of the…

  • Faith and Life,  Scripture

    The Book of Counter-Culture

    Books have a way of changing things. They can reflect the spirit of a particular age and they can in some inexplicable way capture something of the zeitgeist of an era. They can change us, either by bringing out something already present but dormant within us – or they can play a part in re-shaping us entirely, changing the way we think or see or respond. Books have power. For the most part, books are considered to be cultural;  indeed, we refer to the reading of books as a ‘cultural pursuit’. But it isn’t always like that. In fact, some books are very different – and one book in particular…

  • Faith and Life,  Scripture

    Grace and Peace

    One of the things I have noticed is how many of the Epistles in the New Testament begin with a very brief introduction from the author of that particular letter, followed immediately by an explicit blessing directed to the recipient of the Letter – and these blessings all have a great deal in common. Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians is a good example. There we read – Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ This opening becomes something of a motif in the Pauline epistles; the Second Letter to the Corinthians begin with precisely the same words of blessing, as do…

  • Faith and Life,  Scripture

    When The Wood Is Dry

    There is a line in the Gospel of Saint Luke which I have read a thousand times and which I have considered at some length just as often. Saint Luke is describing the Passion of Christ and he relates the moment at which the Lord, carrying His Cross on the way to Golgotha, turns to the weeping women of Jerusalem, who mourn what is happening to Him. The Lord tells them to mourn not for Him but for themselves, for there will come – He says – a terrible moment in which the living will envy the dead. Jesus ends His words by saying to these women – For if…

  • Faith and Life,  Scripture

    Standing At A Distance From Him

    I was very struck by two lines from the Gospel of Saint Luke. In his text, Luke is describing the encounter of ten lepers who meet Jesus during His travels through Samaria and Galilee. Calling Him ‘Master’, the ten lepers ask Jesus to have mercy on them. He tells them to go show themselves to the priests in the temple and we discover that as they were going, they were cleansed. Realising this, one of the ten – a Samaritan – returns to the Lord and praises Him. Jesus asks where the other nine are, before telling this man that his faith has saved him. The story is nestled gently…