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Showing posts from February, 2016

Lent 2: Take up your mop

"Wax on, wax off!"

Of course, nobody reading is old enough to remember the 1980s and the dubious joys of Karate Kid, with those famous words from the Sensei, Mr Miyagi, so I'd better explain. Miyagi has taken young Daniel under his wing and promised to teach him the secrets of Karate, but so far, all he's taught Daniel is how to wash his car - "Wax on, wax off" - and Daniel, true to the Hollywood trope of hotheaded youthful protagonist, is getting a bit miffed. Then, I think, Mr Miyagi punches him and voila! - Daniel's hand automatically does the "wax on" motion, blocking the blow. By repetition and routine, even though it seemed pointless to him at the time, he has integrated that physical response: it has become second nature.

All this is particularly relevant to the second Sunday of Lent and the Gospel of the Transfiguration, because today, Mr Miyagi-style, I am going to talk about MOPping. If you don't see the relevance now, like Dani…

Lent 1: Are you afraid?

"Are you afraid?" the ad men shout from every screen and billboard. Afraid you can't afford to put the finest and freshest food on the table? Afraid you can't keep the house nice and warm? Afraid you won't be able to get the kids the bigger Easter Egg, the best birthday present they've ever had? Afraid you can't send them to the nice nursery the neighbours daughter goes to? "Maybe you're not doing enough. Maybe you're not good enough. Maybe you're not praying enough," say other voices. "But don't worry," they say. "We can make it all better. Just one little loan won't make a difference, just one little bet on the horses, and we can make your little go a much longer way. Trust us: won't do any harm. Just say the word, and we'll turn your stones into bread" -

- the first Temptation.

"Are you afraid," the politicos shout, and all their media darlings, "of the immigrant? Afraid of the p…

First sermon at St Michael's, Camden Town - In returning and rest you shall be saved

Christian Egypt, early in the life of the Church: three brothers from the same village want to give their lives in service of Christ. The first, inspired by Christ's healing ministry, goes into medicine. The second, following Christ's proclamation 'blessed are the peacemakers,' goes out among the various warlords suing for peace. But the third is inspired by Christ's frequent retreats into prayer alone. He takes himself deep into the desert to live as a hermit.
Some years pass. The first brother, who has worked tirelessly among the sick, finds that the sick keep coming, and he cannot heal them all; the second finds that however much he brokers peace, the wars around him continue. Exhausted, drained, they go to find their brother in the desert.
They tell him their troubles. Saying nothing, he takes a flask of water from its hanging, and pours it into a bowl. "What can you see?" he asks. But they can see nothing through the murk of the swilling water. Thei…