Thursday, 28 November 2019


We tend to weave together all the Christmas stories and traditions into a richly colourful tapestry... but every now and then its interesting to take just one thread ...  for example, this year we begin looking at the Gospel of Matthew... and when we step inside his nativity stories we soon discover that they are told from the point of view of Joseph, and [probably true to the culture of that era ] Mary has no say at all.

“I see the hands of Joseph. 
Back and forth along bare wood they move.
There is worry in those working hands, 
sorting out confusing thoughts with every stroke.
“How can this be, my beautiful Mary now with child?”  

Rough with deep splinters, these hands, 
small, painful splinters like tiny crosses 
embedded deeply in this choice to stay with her. 

He could have closed his hands to her, 
said, “No” and let her go to stoning.
But, dear Joseph opened both his heart and hands
to this mother and her child.

Preparing in these days before 
with working hands 
and wood pressed tight between them.
It is these rough hands that will open

and be the first to hold the Child...”       from Advent Hands, by Catherine Alder

During Advent this December you might also like...

An Advent Calendar via daily emails from the Middle East :

Poems for Advent :   

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Stir up Sunday

As a child I loved Stir up Sunday...we all got round the kitchen table to stir up the Christmas pudding and make the Christmas cake... and my family continued that tradition, making a really large cake to be stirred by the children at church, mixing in together all kinds of coloured fruit from cherries to dried apricots and raisins, remembering all the countries their parents had come from: all over Africa, the Caribbean, and parts of Europe as well...the symbolism of us all being stirred up together was not lost when everyone enjoyed a small slice of that cake on Christmas Day !

So why am I showing you this painting ?!

Well, this Sunday is now called “Christ the King”...and instead of a King with bejewelled crown & costly robes, the reading today is about the Crucifixion...of Jesus, somehow amidst the pain & mockery being able to look at his persecutors and say “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”... Luke 23 v 33 - 43...

c.Janet Driver: ‘Indigo Crucifixion...”Father forgive”

...stirring up...bringing people together to celebrate their diversity... or seeing people being torn apart...separated by walls...

perhaps we need to be stirred up by the pain & sorrow in the world, and in our own country...
maybe only then, as we begin to heal the divisions and forgive...

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Christmas nativity postage stamps

One of the royal Mail’s six 2019 Christmas special stamps, created by the paper-cut artists Hari & Deepti using layers of intricate paper and light-boxes to depict scenes from the Biblical story of the Nativity.
 click on link to church times, then click on ‘uk’, scroll down and you will see these beautiful stamps now on sale in uk post offices.

Saturday, 9 November 2019


Do click on the link above, which is for the Peace Pledge Union website.  The first person I met when  
we visited Wivenhoe some years go was an elderly lady standing stoically in the icy wind and drizzling November rain selling white peace poppies... I remember her this year, together with many others who have worked for peace & reconciliation around the world...and...
I happened to see this intriguing photo whilst searching for Isaiah 2 v 4... :)

“..they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks....

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Mary Magdalene

This film was indeed “intensely moving”...
Friday 1 November at 7.00pm
Introduction and Q&A by Prof Dr Joan Taylor

Dr Joan Taylor was historical consultant to the film
and is Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London.
Many thanks to Dr Joan Taylor, who faced a very eclectic audience!

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for more on Mary Magdalene please scroll down the labels on the right and click on an earlier blog page on Mary Magdalene [22 July 2018 ]

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