Making Britain great (again?)

Hope and glory

Land of Hope and Glory,
Mother of the free,
How shall we extol thee,
Who are born of thee?
Wider still, and wider,
Shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet!
God, who made thee mighty, Make thee mightier yet!

On Saturday, we missed the “Last night at the Proms” so watched it a few days later on “catchup”. Traditionally, the last part of the last night’s concert is full of patriotism, as they sing, “Land of hope and Glory”, “Rule Britannia”, “Jerusalem” and the national anthem. [Read more…]

Great is your faithfulness

greatisthyfaithfulnessThis morning, at the meeting of our church, we sang an old hymn. “What’s so strange about that?” you may ask. Well, we normally sing more modern worship songs, and rarely sing what would normally be described as a hymn.

We sang these words in response to a moving account from one of our people about difficulties he had to face this past week. But through it all he had a conviction that God is faithful. [Read more…]

Compassion for Refugees

Drowned refugee boy

Drowned refugee boy shocks the world

It’s all about compassion. As I write this, the news media is full of information about the “refugee crisis” or “migrant crisis”. Hot spots are Calais in France, Southern Italy and Libya, Budapest in Hungary, and the island of Cos in Greece and Turkey. Who cannot be moved by the photograph of a young boy’s body, washed up on the beach. Politicians can rationalise and talk about the underlying causes but I sense a change in ordinary people’s attitudes as they feel sympathy, empathy and compassion towards people they see as fellow human beings. [Read more…]

Who should we blame?

No Blacks, no Dogs, no IrishThe other day we watched a film about a Jew, living in America, who had escaped Austria when the Nazis took over. Before she left Austria, the Nazis stole all the family possessions, including a famous  work of art worth millions of dollars. Sixty years later the painting was displayed in an art gallery in Vienna and the film describes her, eventually successful, efforts to restore the painting to its rightful owner.

In a sub-plot there are flashbacks in the film, to the period when Austria was taken over by the Nazis. We see scenes where the population was stirred up in hatred for the Jews. Jewish families were humiliated by ordinary people on the street, and of course they were eventually led away  to their deaths. [Read more…]

Following Jesus in the 21st Century

jesus-follow-meWhat does it mean to be a follower of Jesus in the 21st century? Is there a difference between being a Christian and a follower of Jesus? Do we have to reach a particular standard before we can be a disciple? How can we literally follow him when we can’t actually see him? [Read more…]

It is normal to be generous

Having run a charity for 25 years, I am constantly amazed at the generosity of normal people. When confronted with needs, the normal reaction is to respond to those needs. The only thing which stops us giving is the nature of money itself. We live in an economy which encourages us to be selfish rather than generous, to accumulate wealth rather than circulate our resources through giving to others. [Read more…]

You’ve never had it so good

war deaths

Contrary to common perception, the number of people dying through war and conflict has drastically reduced.

Pessimists and scare-mongerers like to say that the world is getting worse and worse. The opposite is true. Television news and newspapers make us more aware of problems throughout the world but statistics paint a very different picture. As Harold Macmillan said back in 1957,  “Most of our people have never had it so good”. Extreme poverty is reducing, diseases are being eliminated, fewer people are dying because of war and life expectancy is improving. If you want a fuller picture, read on. [Read more…]


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