Thursday, November 29, 2018

Christingle Talk

The gospel / Christmas / Bible message through fruit.

Look away now if you are planning on coming to my Christingle services this year!

Some jottings:

The Christingle

Explain meaning

ORANGE – world

Oranges are not the only fruit! (FRUIT SLIDE)

The Bible actually has quite a lot to say about fruit

Galatians 5:22-26
Matthew 7:15-23

What if you tried to re-tell the gospel / Christmas story through fruit?


Topical and tropical!

* * *

ORANGE – God made the world

And he made the first human PEAR / PAIR – Adam and Eve

Everything was PEACHY – it was a perfect world

Men and women were the APPLE of God’s eye – he loved them

But MANGOS – Man goes – wrong

DRAGON FRUIT – Devil / serpent / snake / dragon deceived Adam and Eve

Human being acted like LEMONS

They went BANANAS – crazy to sin!

Everything went PEAR shaped

God would send his son to put the world right

It would be a MIRACLE birth

Born in Bethlehem – a real SQUASH

A STAR would guide the wise men to him

Eventually Jesus would die on his cross – his PASSION / suffering

Jesus PLUMed the depths of human sin on the cross

Died and was BERRIED / BURRIED

Rose again

This good news of the Lord Jesus isn’t a FIGment of the imagination

Jesus is alive today – his love is always CURRANT

We can trust in him KUMQUAT may

* * *

Ones that didn't quite make the cut:

GRAPE vine


JAMBUL / Jumble

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Advent as sacrament

I have been interested in the idea that maybe things in addition to The (dominical) Sacraments (of the gospel) might be thought of as sacramental so I thought I might jot down this quote from J Neil Alexander:

Is Advent a preparatory fast in preparation for the liturgical commemoration of the historical birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, or is Advent a season unto itself, a sacrament of the end of time begun in the incarnation and still waiting on its final consummation at the close of the present age?

"A Sacred Time in Tension" in Liturgy vol. 13, no. 3, quoted in Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once & Future Coming of Jesus Christ (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2018) p. xi

Lost? Where are you in Luke 15:1-10?

Below are some jottings to go with this sermon:

Luke 15:1-10 (page 1048)


Where are you?

Where will you see yourself in this passage?

Where do you see God / Jesus / yourself in relation to them?!

V1? Eager to hear Jesus? Tax collectors and sinners?

V2? The muttering religious?

Cf. Luke 5:27-32

V7? The righteous person who does not need to repent?

Will you admit that left to yourself you would be lost, and lost eternally?

Cf. Genesis 3:6-13

Has God found you and brought you home? Thank him!

Have you wandered off from God? Do you need to be brought back home?

Will we join God’s search party?

How would the priority of evangelism change your life and our church life?

Will we join God’s party party over every sinner who repents?

Sinner, will you listen to Jesus and come and eat and drink with him rejoicing?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Church Society Podcast

In which I chat off the top of my head about multi-parish rural ministry:

On Reading

We may have been trained, or have trained ourselves, perhaps, to read critically.

We can almost always say that this in not what we would have written.

Certainly there will be things the author does not say.

Maybe he gets X, Y and Z wrong.

Arguably the whole thing is fatally flawed.

But try, first, to read as sympathetically as you can. What is he trying to say and why?

Even if his solutions are wrong, is he perhaps asking a good question?

What is there to learn here, or to admire?

Is there anything in this?

Then, by all means, lay into it.

Values for Education / Community Primary Schools

What are the most important values for children / primary schools?

Is there any good research on this?

Openness / Curiosity / Asking good questions / Creativity

Positivity / Hope

Perseverance / Resilience / Determination


Diligence / Perseverance / Not giving up / Trying hard / Hard work / Effort

Excellence / Doing our best / Celebrating effort and achievement

Inclusion / Inclusivity / Hospitality / Welcome / Friendship / Friendliness

Unity in diversity


Mutual Respect / Treat others right / Do to others what you would want them to do to you


Working together / Helping one another / Asking for and giving help / Learning in partnership

Enjoying learning / fun / happiness / joy



Growth mindset

Learning Powers



Rule of law

Free speech

Make smart decisions

Maximise potential

Truthfulness / Honesty  

Sense of right and wrong / moral compass / purpose


Headings / points?

Do you think that evangelical preaching in the UK is currently too addicted to headings and points?

I don't find these in the Bible.

And they aren't normal in newspapers or magazines or radio talks, are they?

Luke 15

In a way we have very little of Jesus' teaching recorded.

If you had a harmony of the gospels and you wanted to read out Our Lord's teaching, I wonder how long it would take. I might Google that.

Given that, it is remarkable that in Luke 15 we have three rather similar parables, each making essentially the same main point: v7, v10, v32.

Jesus rightly welcomes sinners and eats with them. He has come to seek and save the lost. You should get on board with that mission and rejoice over every sinner who repents.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Luke 14vv25-end

Some material from today's sermon:

Pig and hen discussing breakfast

The hen only has to make a contribution

The pig has to be totally committed

Shackleton Advert

You may have heard the famous advertisement which, as the story goes, the explorer Ernest Shackleton ran in the newspaper to try to recruit men for his Endurance expedition to Antarctica in 1914:

Men wanted for hazardous journey.

Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness.

Safe return doubtful.

Honour and recognition in event of success.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran Pastor who plotted to kill Hitler – hanged by the Nazis 9 April 1945, just weeks before the end of the war

“When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die”

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George once said:

"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.

His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history."

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Luke 14vv25-35

Draft handout. Snappy as ever!

Luke 14:25-35 (p1048)

If you are interested in Jesus

or you want to do what God wants,

listen to this! (v25, v35b)

If you are thinking about following Jesus:

(1) You must put Jesus first, even above your family and your own life (vv25-26)

(2) You must be willing for the shame and death of following Jesus (v27)

(3) You must count the cost of following Jesus to the end before you begin

Compare it to a building project… (vv28-30)

Or to a war… (vv31-32)

(4) You must (in principle) give up everything you have to be Jesus’ disciple (v33)

(5) You must be a real disciple, not a useless one (vv34-35)


From The Rectory

What do you desire for 2019?

This parish magazine item is all about desire. But don’t worry: it’s not as pacey as it might sound!

The Church of England is very keen on what it calls Spiritual Directors or Soul Friends for the clergy. It is a kind of cheap therapy: a chap you go and talk to about your walk with the Lord and anything else that is bugging you. You can safely sound off about the parishioners, for example, theoretically!

Anyway, my “Spiritual Director” has asked me to reflect on “What do you really want?” And it occurs to me that it is not a simple business. Sometimes we do not really know ourselves. We can surprise ourselves or be mysterious even to ourselves. Your reactions, or thoughts, or things you say might reveal desires you didn’t really know you had. Or which you didn’t want to admit, even to yourself. Or which you did not realise were so strong, or so unmet or….  

In this New Year season, you might like to give yourself a spiritual health check, a mini MOT of the soul. And I think this question, “What do you desire?” would not be a bad one to ponder.

Perhaps I could make three general points about desire:

(1) Desires are good

Christians have sometimes been worried by desires, especially the more bodily desires, like the drive for food or sex. Eastern religions tend to seek detachment both from suffering and desire. But according to the Bible God made us good with good desires.

(2) Desires are disordered

Yet we all know that we and our world are far from perfect. Sometimes we desire the wrong things. Often we desire good things too much, or for the wrong reasons, or by the wrong means. It is not that we need to be free from all desire. Rather, we need our desires re-ordered. When we make things our ultimate desire, they become our god, a false god, an idol.

(3) All desires are designed ultimately to terminate in the love of God

If you are a regular at church you are probably bored of hearing me quote St Augustine of Hippo. He wrote in his spiritual autobiography, The Confessions: “O Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” Whether we realise it or not, God is our highest desire. We were made to love him and be loved by him. All legitimate desires flourish only in relation to God who is the source and goal of all things. Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. If we do, we will find that is what we really want.

So what?

Once you’ve worked out what you want, I’m not sure what the next step is. Or quite how our desires are to be reordered, except by the miraculous intervention of the grace of God. Maybe my next session with therapy man will reveal the answer, and I can report back in these pages. I reckon there will be some things of which to repent. And some things to seek, under God, as far as circumstances and other duties allow. That, I think, would give you enough to be working on, and perhaps the Holy Spirit would do the rest as your read your Bible, pray and attend church – if that’s what you want.

Enjoy your 2019! But mind what you seek. Above all, pray that you might enjoy God by glorifying him. Perhaps in 2020 we might be able to say that our desires are somewhat different and are somewhat more fulfilled, even as we groan for their full flowering in the New Creation.

The Revd Marc Lloyd

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Come Dine With Jesus (Luke 14:1-24)

A handout:

Philippians 2:1-11 (p1179) / Luke 14:1-24 (p1047)



(1) SEATING PLANS: Be Humble

Be humble, and God will exalt you (vv7-11)

Luke 1:46-53

What Jesus himself did…

-        Glory, Manger, Cross, Resurrection, Ascension

-        Washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17)

Luke 22:24-27

(2) GUEST LISTS: Receive God’s Grace and Be Generous

Jesus has compassion on a man who needs mercy and help (vv2-6)

Luke 5:29-32

Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind (v13)

Luke 6:32-36

God invites the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame (v21)

You’ve been invited – come! (v17)