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Love Each Other

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John 13:31-35 & Acts 11:1-18
5th Sunday of Easter (10.30am service)

How would people describe us? What one word would people use to characterise Christians?

I don't know the answer to these questions but I do know what Jesus would say it should be - and that is loving. In today's reading he says, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." So we could say that loving should be the distinguishing mark of the Christian. By this our neighbours will know that we follow Christ, by this our non-Christian family will know we follow Christ, by this our work colleagues will know we follow Christ, by this Willingham will know we follow Christ - if we love one another.


Love one another

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John 13:31-35 & Acts 11:1-18
5th Sunday of Easter (9am service)

Jesus commands His disciples to love one another. This is all the more pertinent when we realise this reading is set at the last supper just after Judas has left to betray Him. It kind of takes away all of our excuses we might make about finding people difficult doesn’t it?

Judas goes off to set Jesus’ crucifixion in motion and there Jesus is, fully aware of what is happening explaining how we must love one another. Just as he would have been aware when he had knelt down to wash Judas’ feet.


My sheep hear My voice

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John 10:22-30 & Acts 9:36-43
4th Sunday in Easter

Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice’. Not CAN hear my voice. Not SHOULD hear my voice. Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice’.

You may well be thinking: sometimes I do, I never do, sometimes I THINK I do but not sure it is His voice. Some of you might think this is a nice idea, but really Linda, get real it just doesn’t happen nowadays.

But, for a moment forget about hearing the Shepherd’s voice, are you a sheep in the first place? Jesus didn’t say intelligent, articulate, good, kind people hear my voice. He said ‘My sheep hear My voice’. Perhaps we need to get back to the basics of asking if we are a sheep?


Doubting Thomas

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John 20:19-31
2nd Sunday of Easter 2013

The Bible never tells us that Thomas doubted, but that he did not believe. Earlier translations use the word ‘faithless’. Yet doubting is normally attributed to this apostle. If ever there was a man who has been misunderstood it is the apostle Thomas.

Story about a misunderstanding:

A dustman was on his rounds and he was outside a house and just couldn’t find the bin. So he stood at the door and rang the bell. ‘Where’s yer bin, mate?’ he said. ‘Oh, I bin to Hong Kong,’ came the reply. ‘No, where’s yer bin?’ said the dustman. ‘I bin to Hong Kong.’ ‘Where’s yer wheely bin, mate?’said the dustman. ‘I weely, weely bin to Hong Kong!’

Poor old Thomas - always known as 'Doubting Thomas' and yet the last words we hear him say to Jesus are ‘My Lord and my God.’ Words of faith! We don’t refer to the apostle Paul as ‘Persecuting Paul’, despite the fact that he did persecute the first Christians. We don’t call the apostle Matthew ‘Thieving Matthew’, who, before he was a believer was a crooked tax collector.


Mary anoints Jesus’ feet

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John 12:1-8
5th Sunday in Lent 10.30am Service

I don’t know whether you have ever been to one of these super-high energy churches where everyone is waving their arms in the air enthusiastically, dancing around in the aisles, and generally getting rather carried away.

I have been to some churches which have been a bit like this and, nowadays, I am OK with it: I like a lot of the modern worship songs and, occasionally, I sometimes enjoy expressing my feelings with the occasional hand in the air.

But it was not always like this. In fact, a few years ago, I would have felt very uncomfortable in this kind of situation. The waving of hands in the air would have seemed to me a bit unnecessary and, being terribly self-conscious, any kind of moving of the body in front of other people was just going to be embarrassing.


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