Monday, March 31, 2008

The Difference the Risen Jesus Makes

My Easter Sunday sermon on John 20 can be listened to here.

The headings are:

Mary Magdalene: Bewilderment (vv1-2) and tears (v11, 13, 15) to testimony (v18)

Disciples: Fear (v19) to peace (v19, v21, v26) and joy (v20)

Thomas: Unbelief (v25) to worship (v28)

The Meaning of the Resurrection of the Son of God

In his 800 page The Resurrection of the Son of God (London, SPCK, 2003), N. T. Wright concludes that for the New Testament writers, the resurrection of the Son of God means that he is the Messiah, the Lord of the World and God the Son.

(1) Messiah

“The first level of a ‘son of god’ understanding of Jesus’ resurrection can therefore be summarized as follows. Jesus is Israel’s Messiah. In him, the creator’s covenant plan, to deal with sin and death that has so radically infected his world, has reached its long-awaited and decisive fulfilment.” (p728)

(2) Lord

“This then is the second level of meaning. The resurrection constitutes Jesus as the world’s true sovereign, the ‘son of god’ who claims absolute allegiance from everyone and everything within creation. He is the start of the creator’s new world: its pilot project, indeed its pilot.” (p731)

(3) God

“… the fact that this Jesus had been raised by this god… drew from the early Christians the breathtaking belief that Jesus was the ‘son of god’, the unique ‘Son’ of this God, as opposed to any other… … he was the personal embodiment and revelation of the one true god.” (p731)

“The resurrection … declares that Jesus really is God’s Son… in the sense that he is the one in whom the living God, Israel’s God, has become personally present in the world, has become one of the human creatures that were made from the beginning in the image of the same God.” (p733)

“… this resurrection [of this ‘son of God’] … was the public announcement, by the one true God, that this Jesus really was, and had always been, his son in this full, self-revealing, self-embodying sense.” (p734)

Chewing Over The Meal Jesus Gave Us

At our agape supper on Maundy Thursday I tried to give some reflections on the Lord's Supper considered as a meal. Here are some jottings from my handout:

The Lord’s Supper in the context of a meal (1 Cor 11)

The Last Supper a Passover Feast (Mk 14:12,16; 1 Cor 5:7)

Early Church: “breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42, 46); agape, love feast (Jude 12)

Man as a needy, dependent, hungry creature fed by God

--> receive with humility not a meritorious good work offered to propitiate God

Cf. eating in Eden (Gen 3) and at Lord’s Supper

--> obedience / faith / gratitude (Eucharist = thanksgiving)

Jesus the True Bread of Life (John 6:35, 51) --> satisfaction and eternal life from Him

Communion (sharing / fellowship) with God

God invites us and offers us hospitality (Ps 23:5)

We are at peace with God and enjoy his company

Jesus’ guest list: eats with sinners and outcasts (Lk 15:2)

We are Jesus’ friends (Mt 11:19; John 15:12-15; Rev 3:20)

--> flee idolatry, shun the table of demons (1 Cor 10:14-22)

Communion with one another

We have Jesus in common – we all participate in him (1 Cor 10:16)

“Com-panion”s – lit. one who breaks bread with another

The family meal – table fellowship, Jews and Gentiles (Gal 2:12)

A sign of unity (1 Cor 10:17) --> table manners (1 Cor 11:20-21, 33): love, sharing

Food & drink – complete provision

Bread – basic staple, essential, satisfying nourishment, strengthens us for service; affirms creation; God uses us --> work

Wine – not water, party drink for glad celebrating (Ps 104:15)

--> Looking forward with hope the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Mt 26:29; Rev 19:9; 1 Cor 11:26)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Form for Excommunications

Calvin's Form for celebrating the Lord's Supper includes the following general excommunication:

We have heard, brethren, how our Lord makes his Supper among his disciples, and thereby shows that strangers - in other words, those who are not of the company of the faithful - ought not to be admitted. Wherefore, in accordance with this rule, in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, I excommunicate all idolaters, blasphemers, despisers of God, heretics, and all who form sects apart to break the unity of the Church, all perjurers, all who are rebellious to parents and to their superiors, all who are seditious, mutinous, quarrelsome, injurious, all adulterers, fornicators, thieves, misers, ravishers, drunkards, gluttons, and all who lead a scandalous life; declaring to them that they must abstain from this holy table, for fear of polluting and contaminating the sacred viands which our Lord Jesus Christ gives only to his household and believers.

Calvin's Tracts, vol 2, trans. Beveridge p120

The BCP also directs the curate that "Briefs, Citations and Excommunications" should be read after the Creed and before the Offertory in the Communion service.

Calvin's Grace

I sometimes feel the need for something other than the usual, "Father God, thank you for this food. Amen." so here's Calvin's grace. It's a bit long especially for hot food, perhaps, and I'm not so sure about the "frugal" bit, but...:


All look unto you, O Lord; and thou givest them their meat in due season; that thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, and they are filled with all things in abundence (Ps. civ.27.)

O LORD, in whom is the source and inexhaustible fountain of all good things, pour out thy blessing upon us, and sanctify to our use the meat and drink which are the gifts of thy kindness towards us, that we, using them soberly and frugally as thou enjoinest, may eat with a pure conscience. Grant, also, that we may always both with true heartfelt gratitude acknowledge, and with our lips proclaim thee our Father and the giver of all good, and, while enjoying bodily nourishment, aspire with special longing of heart after the bread of thy doctrine, by which our souls may be nourished in the hope of eternal life, though Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN.

Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth from the mouth of God (Deut. viii.3.)

Calvin's Tracts, Volume 2, trans. Beveridge p.97

Anti-Abortion Petition

You can sign the Alive and Kicking anti-abortion petition at:


Since 1967 there have been almost 7 million abortions, now 200,000 a year, with one in four pregnancies ending in abortion. The 1967 Abortion Act is open to amendment during the passage of the current HFE Bill, so there is now a genuine opportunity to reduce abortion numbers. We must be alert as well to the agenda of the pro-choice activists, abortion providers and some MPs who will push for further liberalisation of the law.


We believe that 200,000 abortions a year in Britain is far too many. We urge Parliament to SUPPORT amendments to the Abortion Act which will reduce substantially the 24 week upper time limit, end discriminatory abortion of the disabled up until birth, and provide balanced evidence-based information, independently of the abortion service, that gives women a properly informed choice, along with the offer of counseling.

We also urge parliament to REJECT proposed amendments seeking to liberalise the abortion law further such as ending the requirement for two doctors' signatures, allowing nurse-led medical abortion in GP surgeries with completion at home, barring pro-life doctors from seeing women with unplanned pregnancies and extending the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Foetal Communion

Revd James B. Jordan argues that "those who believe that children do not belong at Jesus' table should excommunicate all pregnant women during the terms of their pregnancies."

Jordan sees in Judges 13:7, 14 evidence that symbolic or quasi-sacramental food eaten by the mother applies to the unborn child since Monoah is to observe the Nazarite food regulations until Samson is born.

The Sociology of the Church: Essays in Reconstruction (Eugene, Wipf and Stock, 1986) p249

Preaching and Homegroup Plans (May-Aug)

When we finish 1 John in homegroups we're going to study 2 & 3 John in a session each. Then I'm thinking of 4 sessions on Ruth.

Here are my Sunday preaching plans for May - Aug:

Continuing through John's gospel in the evenings.

It has been "famous texts from the BCP" in the morning. Not quite sure what next.

Sun 4th May PM – Water into Wine (John 2:1-11)

Sun 18th May AM – The Trinity (John 17:1-26)
(Trinity Sunday)

Sun 15th June PM – The Cleansing of the Temple (John 2:12-25)

Sun 22nd June AM - BCP Communion using lectionary (Ps 84:8ff; 1 Kings 19:19-21; 1 Peter 3:8-15a; Luke 5:1-11) at St Nicholas, Pevensey

Sun 6th July AM – Let the nations rejoice (Psalm 67)

Sun 20th July AM – Family Service

Sun 10th August PM – You must be born again (John 3:1-21)

Sun 17th August AM – The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15)

I'm thinking of doing a couple of sessions on the Lord's Prayer. I believe there are some sermons by Rev'd Matthew Mason one could plagarise.

After that I'm wondering about a series on the 10 commandments. Would I have plenty to say on each one? And would it be a bit samey?

Bible By The Beach

A new Bible Festival for all ages is being planned by Bishop Wallace Benn for Eastbourne (based at the Congress Theatre), 1st -4th May 2009.

Mrs Lloyd can offer excellent b&b for one lucky couple!

More information is promised soon at: