"Today is a day for humility; to reflect on the fact that Jesus did not enter Jerusalem riding a fine chariot, or the equivalent of a armoured vehicle or a Rolls Royce: he rode in on a donkey, like a humble peasant on a mission of peace."
"Christians are called to be living sacrifice; to worship God daily in their daily actions and with their every word. This is becoming increasingly difficult in a context of aggressive secularism confronted by a toothless church. But the witness of our extravagant devotion to the Lord is wholly dependent upon the purity and honesty of our lives: and that must be marked by humility and love, not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride. Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws: it is for Christians to cleanse our temple and devote ourselves lavishly to the Lord, and then may be found peace, joy and happiness."
"Religious shows of ostentation and hypocritical piety are antithetical to what the kingdom of heaven is about: by focusing on the letter of the law, we easily forget that the substance is justice, mercy and love; by obsessing about outward adornments, we risk ignoring the spirit, the heart, the purpose of our faith. Indeed, the outward manifestation is hollow when it is more pharisaically obsessed with propriety than with loving one’s neighbour."
"Friends are God’s gift of love: they are there to nurture and support, and also to correct and rebuke. On this Holy Wednesday, let us thank God for them, and reflect on forgiving those who have betrayed us – politically and religiously – even if they have caused to cry a whole river of heartache and hurt."
"There’s a bit of fuss at the moment about the precise day of the Last Supper: apparently, it was yesterday, not today. It is typical that we get bound in technical minutiae and forget the commemoration. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th and Easter Day is determined by the lunar cycle, the solar cycle, the division of each year into 365 days and a 1,700 year old Church ruling. Does it matter?
We must focus on humility, feeding on Him, and praying as he did in the garden of Gethsemane, with grief and tears of anguish, that our hour will come, that the cup of suffering may pass and that all believers may be one. Without our hour and in the absence of our cup, we will never be one. Supper’s ready."
"It is curious how many times this episode in the life of Christ is recorded on YouTube and 'crucifixion' is spelt '-fiction'. It is as though the event were but a fairy tale.
John brings us, through the depiction of the utter serenity of Jesus, to a point of silence. For Mark Jesus is the Son of God, for Matthew the King, for Luke the Saviour; but for John, this is the Lamb of God who goes to the slaughter like the animals in Hebrews, ritually bled so that no drop of blood remains in him but is poured on the ground. This is no fiction."
"Here is not the place to discuss the diverse interpretations of these scriptures and expositions: it is not news that Christians disagree, not least on the soteriological implications of a ‘second chance’ of repentance after death. Whether or not this was the point of salvation for Adam and Eve, Noah, David... cannot be known this side of Glory. What we do know is that the Lord wants all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4): He wants all to see his image, repent of their sin, take on his likeness, be pure, holy, perfect. He wants everyone to know Him and to love more.
On this Holy Saturday, the final day of Lent, let our faith be made stronger; let us be more assured that sin and death are conquered; let us know a little more of the light through the sometimes impenetrable shadows. Whether the Harrowing of Hell is literal or figurative, corporeal or spiritual, it has a message for all of us today: the highest response to evil is to free people from it. Let us rejoice that our Redeemer lives."
"We no longer live in a world where carpenters get resurrected – even those from Nazareth. And so the most seismic preternatural event in the history of mankind and the most crucial celebration of the Christian calendar has become just another day for a lie in, for shopping, football and DIY. Every valley is not so much exalted as made deeper and impassable. The path of faith is harder and the mountains of opposition are getting higher. The United Kingdom is now subject to such an oppressive secularism and militant atheism that freedom of religion is a thing of the past. Not, of course, freedom of worship: that remains. But it is a personal pursuit in the private realm. Christians in the UK are now oppressed to the extent that we may no longer worship Him in spirit and in truth in our daily lives: we may no longer be a living sacrifice; we may no longer run the race and we tread carefully even as we walk it, for fear of offending someone inadvertently with ‘hate speech’ or transgressing some fundamental precept of ‘equality’.
God is dead. It is time to grow up, become enlightened, take responsibility and put aside childish fantasies and superstition. And if He be not dead, He is but one in the state’s emerging pantheon, no more than merely equal to the false prophets and idolatrous gods of the non-believer.
Today is the day to remember that Jesus is not merely equal to Moses, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha or Nanak. Christus Victor: the resurrection split history in two; it divided BC from AD. While the others are still dead and in their tombs, Jesus is alive. Hallelujah!"