Sunday, January 25, 2009


A Sermon preached at St Luke's on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, 25th January 2008, during a united service to mark the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

I have not had a Damascus Road experience. I have not seen a blinding light. I have not heard the voice of Jesus. I have not had a sudden ‘conversion experience’.

I grew up in a Christian home. I cannot remember a time when I did not believe. There have been moments when my faith has become more real, moments when my faith has become really mine. There have been moments when my understanding of God has changed. I continue to sense I am on the way.

But I have not had a Damascus Road experience.

So the account of what happened to Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus is of interest historically, but it doesn’t have much to do with me.

Or does it?

One book I have just finished and one historic event this week prompted me to think differently.

Look more closely at Acts 9. It is not the story of a conversion of an unbelieving atheist to one who believes in God. Before his experience on the Damascus Road Saul believed in the LORD God. After that experience he still believed in the same LORD God.

It is not the story of a conversion from one religion to another. Jesus and indeed at this time practically all his followers were fully Jewish.

At this time there were very different ways of being Jewish. Judea and Galilee were on the Eastern frontier of the Roman Empire. The Herodians were quite happy to collaborate with the Roman power – Herod the Great and the dynasty that followed him thought nothing of playing Rome off against Judaism. The High Priests in Jerusalem had to work in collaboration with the Roman power. Drawn from the elite, ruling classes their power base was supported by the Sadducees who had not time for the radical writings of the prophets and considered only the first five books of the Bible as truly the Bible.

The Pharisees considered strict adherence to the Law and to the Prophets and all the Hebrew Scriptures was key – but even among those there were different schools of thought. The school of Hillel was inclined towards a generous open hearted reading of the Law, while the school of Shammei was very much more exclusive, hard line and extreme.

There were then the militant tendency who wanted to take the sword against Rome – revolutionaries who wanted to rise up against the might of Rome.
There were those who said a plague on all your houses we will retreat into a monastic life in the Judaean wilderness and down to the Dead Sea – the Qumran community whose ancient scrolls were discovered just sixty years ago.

And then into this mix came John the Baptist, an Elijah lookalike who seemed like one of the prophets of old holding the powers that be, not least Herod the Great’s son, Herod Antipas to account. It was Herod who had him beheaded. He had come to prepare a way for the Lord through the wilderness. And then Jesus had come with a powerful prophetic message of love for God, love for neighbour and love for enemy too. He was the way. Perceiving him to be a threat to the power base they had built up it was the High Priests in collaboration with the Romans who had him arrested and executed. But his followers were convinced. He had risen from the dead. And they followed him. John had prepared the Way. Jesus was the Way. And his followers came to be know as the Way.

Saul tells us later in his letters that he was a strict Pharisee. He studied under Gamaliel a generous hearted Pharisee but had strict tendencies himself as well. When he first comes on the scene he is supportive of the Sanhedrin, the Council in Jerusalem and here he is working under the High Priest and therefore with those who are ready to work in collaboration with Rome. It is within his understanding of God that those who pose a threat to the power base of the Council, the High Priests and the Romans in Jerusalem should be hunted down, threatened and if needs be executed. Those who had studied under John and even more so under Jesus posed such a threat.

So it was that Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Two things then happen. On the road to Damascus he encounters the risen Christ. And,
he is on the receiving end of the, albeit reluctant, healing ministry of Ananias one of those very disciples in Damascus.

The change that results in Saul keeps him in the synagogues of Damascus, but now he has moved to Jesus’s way of seeing God and so he proclaims Jesus in the synagogues, saying “He is the Son of God”. The text tells us that he proceeded to argue a very strong case that Jesus was indeed Son of God, the anointed one of God, the Messiah and that God’s rule had broken into the world through him.

It is telling that from that point on … Paul as he came to be known no longer has any room for vengeance, threatening language for less for execution within his understanding of God. He echoes the teaching of Jesus in the sermon on the mount and follows the Way opened up by Jesus

Let love be genuine; bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not be overcome by evil. But overcome evil with good.

What happened to Saul on that Road to Damascus and in Damascus was NOT a conversion from atheism to faith.

What happened to Saul on the Road to Damascus and in Damascus was NOT a conversion from one religion to another.

What happened to Saul on the Road to Damascus and in Damascus was more a TRANSFORMATION not only of his whole knowledge and understanding of God but in the Way that one God would have him live his life. And that transformation came about in an encounter with Jesus and through the healing ministry of one of Jesus’ followers on The Way.

What of us? This story is not just for those who have had or who hanker after a conversion experience. It is for all of us. We all need our whole understanding and knowledge of God, our whole relationship with God, to be transformed by the Jesus who taught the love of God, the love of neighbour, the love of enemy too. We need our picture of God to be transformed by the Jesus who brought healing into a hurting world, the Jesus who died and is risen and is alive.

At the same time we need to be open to the ministry of an Ananias who seeks to open our eyes to the realities of the God we believe in.

And that brings me to the novel and to the historic event of this week and two ‘Ananiases’ who have opened my eyes this last week.

‘Have you read The Shack?’ Howard Bartlett asked me on our New Year’s Day Walk. ‘No, I hadn’t.’ I have now. And it is a wonderful, thought-provoking read. Mack’s life has fallen apart in unimaginable tragedy. He has a clear enough picture of God. And the God he believes in has totally let him down. And then something happens. And he finds himself in the Shack in the company of a wonderfully loving threesome who turn out to be in a way I won’t spoil for you God. As the story unfolds you are drawn in a way I won’t spoil for you if you get hold of the book to the sheer love of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of love, a lot of joy, a lot of fun, and wonderful depths of feeling in Jesus and the other two Mack meets in The Shack.

But that love is too much for Mack. When ‘Papa’ – maybe not quite as you instinctively may imagine, says “I love the ones I am angry with just as much as those I’m not.” It is too much for Mack.

“What about your wrath? It seems to me that if you’re going to pretend to be God Almighty, you need to be a lot angrier.

“… if you are God, aren’t you the one spilling out great bowls of wrath and throwing people into a burning lake of fire?”

At that, Papa stopped preparations for the meal and turned toward Mack. Mack could see a deep sadness in those eyes.

“I am not who you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”

[See Wm Paul Young, The Shack – where tragedy confronts eternity (Hodder & Stoughton, 2008) 119f See

Speaking as it were for all three Papa says ‘with an intensity that caused [Mack] to listen very carefully, “we want to share with you the love and joy and freedom and light that we already know within ourself. We created you, the human, to be in face-to-face relationship, with us, to join our circle of love.”

[The Shack 124]

If there is any vestige of a sense of a God who would have space the kind of vengeance that includes threats and murder, a wrathful God, consider the Jesus Paul met with on this occasion, hear his voice, sense his light in the darkness of the world, discover the love of that community he brought into being, and discover a God who is very different, and a Way of life that can transform even the deepest darkness.

We need to have our eyes opened by a latter day Ananias in the form of William Paul Young. Try getting hold of the Shack and be surprised by the sheer love of God.

And another Ananias opened my eyes this last week. Her name was Sharon. And that takes me to the historic events of this last week.

The Inauguration Ceremony began with prayer. It ended with prayer. The ensuing lunch began with prayer. And as if that was not enough on his first day in office, President Obama, sat in church at The National Prayer Service and listened to the Rev Dr Sharon E.Watkins preach on a text from Isaiah 58:6-12

[Rev Dr Sharon E.Watkins, Harmonies of Liberty a sermon preached in the presence of President Obama at the National Prayer Service on 21st January 2009, with readings from Isaiah 58:6-12 and Matthew 22:6-40. Read the full text of the sermon at ]

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke,to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house;

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

This is what she shared with the new President on Wednesday morning.

In times, such as these, we the people need you, the leaders of this nation, to be guided by the counsel that Isaiah gave so long ago, to work for the common good, for the public happiness, the wellbeing of the nation and the world, knowing that our individual wellbeing depends upon a world in which liberty and justice prevail.

This is the biblical way

This is the Way Paul discovered in that Damascus experience.

It was a transformation in his understanding and knowledge of the very nature of God. It was a transformation in his relationship with God. Where once there was space to breathe threats and execution, vengeance and wrath, now love is The Way. It is the Way that demands that evil be not overcome by evil but overcome only by good.

Whether or not we ever have a Damascus Road experience, our understanding of God needs the transformation Paul experienced. It will come about as we meet with this Jesus and those who have discovered the wonderful Way he has opened up for us to follow.

Sharon Watkins told a story attributed to Cherokee wisdom.

One evening a grandfather was teaching his young grandson about the internal battle that each person faces.

"There are two wolves struggling inside each of us," the old man said.

"One wolf is vengefulness, anger, resentment, self‐pity, fear . . .

"The other wolf is compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth, love . . ."

The grandson sat, thinking, then asked: "Which wolf wins, Grandfather?"

His grandfather replied, "The one you feed."

She looked at the new President of the USA and said this …

There are crises banging on the door right now, pawing at us, trying to draw us off our ethical center – crises that tempt us to feed the wolf of vengefulness and fear.

We need you, Mr. President, to hold your ground. We need you, leaders of this nation, to stay centered on the values that have guided us in the past; values that empowered to move us through the perils of earlier times and can guide us now into a future of renewed promise.

We need you to feed the good wolf within you, to listen to the better angels of your nature, and by your example encourage us to do the same.

Do that and we shall be well on the Way to that transformation Paul experienced not only on the Road to Damascus in his encounter with Jesus but in Damascus as he received from Ananaias.

For further reading ...

Wm Paul Young, The Shack – where tragedy confronts eternity(Hodder & Stoughton, 2008) 119f See

Rev Dr Sharon E.Watkins, Harmonies of Liberty a sermon preached in the presence of President Obama at the National Prayer Service on 21st January 2009, with readings from Isaiah 58:6-12 and Matthew 22:6-40. Read the full text of the sermon at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Drawing on the Power of God

What is it about our Christian faith that is of great practical help to us as face such a troubled and deeply troubling world? That’s the question I am prompted to ask as 2009 begins with such devastating tragedy unfolding in Gaza, in Israel and in Palestine, and with the immensity of the financial situation beginning to take a hold.

Last week I suggested there are two things about God that seem to me to be so crucial for us to hold on to.

First, our God is a great big God: that than which nothing greater can be conceived. As 2009 begins we mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of species; and we mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of a telescope with the International Year of Astronomy. Such scientific discoveries and insight do not phase me. Far from it, as I reflect on the immensity of the time scales of life on earth, and the infinitely greater immensity of the time scales of astronomy and the universe it prompts me to think that the God I believe in is greater still. It somehow keeps things in a proper perspective.

While the God I believe in is a great big God, this God is also a God who comes alongside us in the ordinary everyday mess of this world. Born a babe, he grew to be a man who brought healing into the lives of hurting people and mapped out a way of life for all to follow. He went to the cross and died the cruellest of deaths. But on the third day he rose again and as we meet in his name his presence is with us. He shows us that the smallest of things we do matter the world – this Great big God who comes in the smallest way as one of us asks us to do the smallest of things to real-ise the love of God.

Two sculptures come together in the Lido car park entrance to the hospital – Spa Ammonites is a reminder of the immensity of the God I believe in, and the Good Samaritan is a reminder that the smallest of deeds can make a world of difference as they make real, real-ise the love of God in this world.

The life on earth we are in awe of as Darwin’s story is told is closely related to the life forces of the planet we live on. Stand on Cleeve Hill not only can in the quarries the wonderful shell fish that once swam in a tropical sea, but look Westwards and you see in the Malvern Hills what is left of volcanoes that 600 million years ago let loose the energies within the planet in an awesome scale. Go 80 miles north and you reach a fault line that ran through the village we lived in in Shropshire – and it is still active as we found when we experienced one of the country’s biggest earthquakes as the children were evacuated from their school and chimneys came tumbling down in Shrewsbury. Tiny in scale to the much more active planet on the other side of the world. Such energy within.

I caught one of the programmes to mark the International Year of Astronomy on BBC 4 this week – all about the discoveries made by the Hubble Telescope time and again it came to the sheer energy there is in our sun, in every sun in the universe in the galaxies in the universe itself. Remarkable, awesome energy.

With the children not so long ago we took a look at Orion.

And then we traced the outline of the hunter. Just before Christmas we looked at the right hand star of his belt and one of my Astronomy books suggested it was 2,000 light years away. What a remarkable thought to think that we are witnessing energy generated in that light at the time Christ was born!

This time look at the sword that hangs from Orion's belt: with the naked eye on one of these crystal clear nights it's a fuzzy patch of light. Through binoculars it begins to look quite a spectacular haze.
Come indoors and access the public domain Hubble Telescope images and you can actually see stars in the making. The hymn, the Servant King speaks of 'hands that flung stars into space'. Here are stars being created. What a wonderful sight!

At the heart of the universe, is energy - the energy that raises the sea bed to the mountain top, the energy unleashed in volcanic ranges, as the tectonic plates move along their fault lines, the energy that brings stars into being.

Energy, power, strength is of the essence of the God I believe in. The faith that is important to me is not simply a faith in a great big God that gives me a better understanding of things; it is not simply a faith in a God who comes alongside us and asks to us to the tiny little things that real-ise God’s love in our world; the faith that is important to me is faith in a God of energy, a God of power, a God of strength who comes within me to give me the strength, the energy the power to do things that on my own I am not capable of doing.

Jesus had come to the end of his ministry. It was the night before he would be taken out to the place of the skull, to be crucified. He had gathered all his friends together. One by one he washed their feet. They had shared so much, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. After all, that’s what he he had taught so much about – serving one another, serving others. And he had lived out that life of service making such a difference to so many people. And here they were on the night that unknown to them at that moment was to lead to their arrest.

He had talked about more and more as they had approached Jerusalem. The imminence of his death. He spoke of it once more. More graphically than ever. He broke bread, he shared a cup – he spoke of his body broken for them, his blood shed for them.

It was un-nerving. Somehow they felt he would always be with them. And now it seemed he wouldn’t. He kept on coming back to something that would mean more and more to them.

I will not leave you all on your own, he said. I will not leave you orphaned.

I will ask the Father, and he wil give you another Advoc ate, another Helper, another source of strength alongside you, another Comforter to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth.

The Spirit. A power, a strength, an energy that would be around them, within them. A power, a strength an energy that would keep them going.

On the eve of his final departure the promise was even more explicit:

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.

And on the fiftieth day after his resurrection, the Day of Pentecost all of them were filled with this power, this strength, this energy of God, as the Holy Spirit came upon them.

There is an energy within God that is let loose into our lives as we share this faith together.

How often do people say, I was given strength I didn’t think I would ever have. This is the energy of God within and around us.

We are not alone there is a strength and a power of God around us and within.

Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I together can’t handle.

And the presence of God in his energy and his strength is present with us day by day.

Believing in a great big God does not just give us a better perspective. That Great Big God we believe in is the God whose energy is let loose into our lives. This Great Big God offers us a strength for the living of our lives.

That’s the first part of the prayer that Paul shares in Ephesians 3.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,* 15from whom every family* in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit

The immensity of God the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth takes its name, the riches of his glory are immense and only glimpsed in the wonderful world of God’s creation.

It is this God to whom Paul prays, and it is this God who strengthens us in our inner being with power through his Spirit.

Paul puts his finger on a very real need we each have. It is in our inner being that we need strength. Our intellect may be drawn to this great big God, our instinct may be to follow the teaching of Jesus and to do likewise, doing little things to real-ise God’s love.

But what’s going on in our inner being. The bits that other people don’t see. That’s where the doubts can gnaw away. That’s when the sense of inadequacy can get the better of you. That’s where the will to go on is lost. The inner being is all important. That’s precisely the prayer Paul prays – that from the riches of his glory this Father God who is immense will strengthen each one of us in that inner being with power through his Spirit.

But it is not only the power and strength from the immensity of God that we can draw on. We can also draw on a power and a strength from the God who is one with us, the God who in Christ lived out that life of service, experienced suffering and death at its worst, the Christ who rose again from the dead.

Paul’s prayer is that we may have the strength of the immensity of God in our innermost being

17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love

The Great God becomes one of us and asks us to follow him … but this risen Christ can then dwell in our hearts through faith, as we are rooted and grounded in love.

The Spirit is that unseen yet very real force of God that brings alive today in our hearts the living Christ whose life, death and resurrection we celebrate as we now move on from Christmas towards Holy Week and Easter.

As this Spirit of God, this power, this strength, this energy is at work within us we may know on the one hand the immensity of God,

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth

On the other hand, we may know the strength, the power and the energy of the presence of the living Christ with us too …

to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge

That love of Christ is not just something from the past we read about and learn at a distance and then follow. It is something let loose into our lives by the unseen power of God’s spirit in such a way that the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge is real within our hearts.

Here we reach the essence of a faith that can really equip us to face a troubled world that is so troubling.

But the important thing is that we then are empowered, strengthened to do what God calls us to do.

The little things are important.

What about a letter to our MP in response to the situation in Gaza? What about doing something, however little, to express that horror.

What about things we might do in response to a world of need closer to home. We came up with some thoughts and reflections at our church meeting – things we are responding to with other churches with regard to chaplaincy in our town, needs of our town, day and night time, the possibilities of Street Pastors. Support for families and children – the possibility of bringing together sources of support rather like the health and well-being event for older people, but for families and children. Interesting links with Gloucestershire College – and most important of all. Sharing our faith, a faith that can make such a difference – an Alpha Course again in the Autumn.

Not in our own strength … but by his power we can do things we didn’t think we could do!

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Faith in God for 2009

The start of a New Year has an air of expectation, an air of excitement to it. My new diary has a nice clean feel to it. It is a time for making resolutions, as the children have been exploring in their Sunday Special, it is a time for new beginnings.

But this year there’s something else in the air as well.

Concern, Anxiety, Apprehension.

The scale of the collapse of the global economy is something my generation has not witnessed before. It’s the uncertainty of the future that gives rise to levels of concern, anxiety and apprehension that perversely become part of the problem.

Having visited Palestine and Israel last April, and planning to take a group this April, I somehow find myself feeling for the people of Gaza so much more. Over Christmas we have been thinking of Bethlehem, a city walled in. To bomb a population of 1,500,000 in a small confined area, that’s completely walled in with no means of escape for anyone is beyond belief. Far from countering the terrorism that has to be condemned it fuels it for another generation. Where will it end?

What a way to start a New Year!

I want to suggest two things about God that speak directly to us at the start of this New Year, two things that address all those mixed up feelings that are in the air at the moment.

First, in the words of the song we sing with the children, our God is a great big God.

That’s something I want to come back to over and over again throughout 2009. I want to come back to that conviction about God in the context of two very specific things that are being celebrated this year.

For some of Christian faith, the celebration of the bi-centenary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species will be seen as a threat. It will be taken as the opportunity for others to celebrate their a-theism.

I see it differently. It fills me with awe and wonder to witness the different stages of evolution and find brachiopods and oystershells in the quarries of Cleeve Hill, Ammonites on the beaches around Lyme Regis, Trilobites on the West Coast of Wales and those wonderful dinosaur footprints from a quarry in Oxfordshire that have been moved to the wonderful Oxford University Museum of Science. The God I believe in is greater than anything we can ever see in the wonderful world of nature – our God is a great big God is the way the song puts it. Another way of putting it is to use a phrase coined by St Anselm … God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived. Think of the immensity of geological time and the shifting of the plates of the planet, the origin of species and God is greater than all of this.

How tragic that people of faith have felt threatened by the discoveries of science. This year also sees the 400th anniversary of the occasion when Galileo first used a telescope. At the time there were those who felt their faith threatened. I find it the other way round … I like at Venus in all its glory dominating the western sky in the early evening, and then Orion standing majestically in the late evening sky. And I marvel at the immensity of the universe. UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union has designated 2009 an International Year of Astronomy. I hope to be doing another astronomy evening with the cubs – who knows we may even have clear skies! An I'll be refreshing the Astronomy Page on the Church Web Site.

All over the world the aim will be to “help citizens of the world rediscover their place in the universe through the day and night time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.”

The awe and wonder of the night sky, of the universe. And the God we believe in is greater.

That’s not just theory. It does you good – to see things from the wider perspective. Get up on to Cleeve Hill sense the immensity of this age old planet of ours, and see how small we are .. and sense the greatness of God.

Look up into the night sky and sense the wonder and awe of God – this is the God we believe in – this is the scale of things to remember.

It puts things into perspective.
I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? 2My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber
Psalm 104:
1Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great.You are clothed with honour and majesty, 2 wrapped in light as with a garment.You stretch out the heavens like a tent, 3 you set the beams of your* chambers on the waters,you make the clouds your* chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, 4you make the winds your* messengers, fire and flame your* ministers.
5You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken. 6You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight. 8They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them. 9You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.
10You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, 11giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst. 12By the streams* the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. 13From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
24O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

But there is another dimension to the God I believe in and that is just as important as 2009 unfolds.

This ‘great big God’ that I believe in came to be alongside us, with us in the messiness of the world, born a babe, he grew to be a man who took time to be with the humblest of people in the messiness of their lives. He had time for the woman who had been caught in adultery. He had time for little Zacchaeus. He had time for the man suffering from leprosy. Where he saw need he met that need and brought healing to people’s lives.

He mapped out a way of love that he saw would transform the lives of individuals, the lives of families and the wider world too. He extended love across the boundaries that divided his world. He humbled himself to serve others without counting the cost. And it cost him his life in the cruellest of deaths.

But death did not have the last word. On the third day he rose again. His risen presence is here as we meet together in his name. His presence is real wherever people hear his words and act on them. He asks us to do the smallest things to 'real-ise' his presence and his love.

That gives us a responsibility. It is important for us to be practical in the help we can give in the things we can do in response to the fears and uncertainties 2009 brings to us.

At our Church Meeting on Thursday we shall hear of some practical initiatives being taken by churches working together in the town – a response to the needs of businesses in the town through some form of co-ordinated chaplaincy, that extends to the night time life of Cheltenham as well – maybe through Street Pastors serving on the streets of the town. But the need for us as churches to own that initiative.

An initiative to provide emergency accommodation for people who are without a home. Again working with the other churches.

Practical things for us to do and to think of – ready to give mutual support as people face difficulties in employment. In health care too.

My Christian faith brings me face to face with a great big God who fills me with awe, humbles me and puts my concerns and anxiety into perspective.

But this great big God has time for the least important, the most insignificant and he wants me to do the little thing that can make a big difference.

Those two dimensions of God are brought together for me in a surprising place – the Lido entrance to the hospital.

There a new sculpture has appeared. It’s called Ammonite Spa. It’s a pity that we are in the wrong place for finding such wonderful ammonites –but it brings to my mind the great big God I believe in from time immemorial.
That sculpture stands over against the Good Samaritan with the story on two tablets and the inscription on the base, Go and do thou likewise.

The Great Big God who asks us to do the littlest of things to bring his love into our world.

And he does not leave us alone – he equips us with a power and a strength from beyond ourselves that can enable us to see things through come what may.

So much to pass on at Highbury

If you give a little love you can get a little love of your own

A blessing shared at Highbury

Now and the Future at Highbury

Dreaming Dreams Sharing Visions at Highbury

Dreaming Dreams Sharing Visions

Darkness into Light