Showing posts from April, 2024

Ramble for Good Shepherd Sunday 21st April 2024

 Sheep are popularly imagined to be dumb creatures, easily led, easily picked off one by one by predators because (it is wrongly thought) they scatter in all directions at any alarm. The image isn’t helped by Monty Python skits like this: (You will carry on reading after the clip, won’t you?) Of course, this picture of a solitary, scattered, sheep is what Christians fasten on to. Like today’s Psalm 23, The Lord is *my* Shepherd. Or Luke 17, we cast ourselves as the lone lost sheep, sought out at great cost by the Great Shepherd. And yes, praise God, it has been a most wonderfully comforting picture, held in front of countless believers as they navigate their own Valley of the Shadow of Death. We have a unique, personal relationship with the Shepherd. If we consider at all that sheep are in a communal flock, the Shepherd cares for the whole fold, it is only in the context of all going astray. But it turns out that sheep aren’t that stupid after all. It’s not only “'Arold, that m

Ramble for its own sake, but sort-of for the lectionary gospel 14th April 2024.

 So, the post-Easter morning lectionary ramble from the empty tomb, to the locked room where frightened disciples were hiding, via the Emmaus Road, zig zags back to the locked room (Luke 24 and John 20). Risen Jesus pops in, reminds the forgetful (and uncomprehending at the time) disciples what he had told them about his death and resurrection, and signs off “You *are* witnesses of these things”. Note: not, you *were* witnesses, as if mere observers, but reporters, evangelists, ongoing bearers of the good news for everyone which Christ’s death and resurrection brings. It is an awesome and fraught commission. Why fraught? Let me tell you a story. At a lovely (I have been blessed, all of my placements, parish or chaplaincy, have been with and among the most amazing colleagues, parishioners, patients, residents, call them what you will) country parish, my predecessor left me a couple of magnetic signs for my car, advertising the church, its activities and service times. As an aside: He s

Ramble, just for its own sake, I'm retired! Ps 133 if you insist on a topic.

  Now that I don’t need to ramble for a particular congregation’s  pew sheet, I can just ramble. Which is more rambleable anyway, than meeting a pew sheet deadline or even a topic. I’ll sort-of try to map to a lectionary reading for that week - or even readings - but who knows how the mystical muse will muse? However … I was put in mind by this Sunday’s Psalm of the hairy oily substances (as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore might have put it had they turned their attention to the oleaginous goo) of my teens. I post, of course, for contemporaries, of Brylcreem. Like Rudy Giuliani’s leaking hair dye, Brylcreem would ooze down your acne-scarred face onto the collar of the trendy shirt with which you hoped to impress your sweetheart-du-jour. On the other hand, you weren’t being anointed High Priest in a ritual millennia old. How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s