Palm Sunday Symbolism

Palm Sunday Pause for Thought on BBC RADIO DEVON 28 March 2021 (begins at 1:54:05)

Palm Sunday is about Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem.

The Donkey is representative of a peaceable kingly power.

The whole act is a deeply symbolic action.

And as the hooves clickety-clacked on the ground – ancient prophesy was being fulfilled.

Most of us have looked at an optical illusion.

We see one thing for a long time;

And as we stare, we see another thing altogether.

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Pity Me

I recently finished reading the superb little book(let) by Leo Tolstoy called ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’, and had several really interesting moments of pause.

I may write more about the story, not least so that others who like short stories will pick it up and use their Christian imagination to think upon the issues raised.

About two thirds through, with Ivan dying, in his 40’s, following an accident putting up some fancy curtains in his posh house, and in apparent great unfathomable pain, we come to his inner thoughts about deception, what he called ‘The Lie’:

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The Ideal Ministry 4/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

4. The Ideal Ministry: MISSIONARY

“The ideal ministry must be missionary. It must be in the apostolic succession. Here again it is the organ of the Church. The Church is nothing if not apostolic. But apostolic in the true sense of the word – missionary and evangelical. We are gaining clearer views of what the Apostles really were. They were not Bishops. They were missionaries. evangelists on the great scale. They were not organisers, administrators, hierarchs. They were heralds, preachers. They were not there to regulate enthusiasm, but rather to rouse and spread it.

They were firebrands much more than fire brigades. They stirred the spirit, they did not quench it. The ideal ministry must be missionary at home or abroad. It must have the propagandist passion, the contagious secret, the universal dream, the pity, the love, the power of faith, the pity for mankind.

But I will not dwell on that here. We are all convinced, of the missionary nature of the Church and ministry.

99 and out!

My grandmother has just died: Peggy, aged 99. Not from Covid or anything like that, but old age and failed heart. It is strangely cathartic writing this, because she’s been there throughout my life, which is no surprise at 49. That sounds way too sarcastic, but it’s not meant to be. I remember standing on her front doorstep in Coventry in the late 1970’s and hearing the fans cheering and chanting from the football stadium: Coventry v Liverpool. Although I was born in Coventry myself, I decided then, after hearing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” swell the air with passionate meaning, to support … Liverpool. I’ve supported them ever since, although Coventry FC have been a weird second hand hobby of mine – which I don’t think is out of duty or guilt, but, well, loyalty – I was born there after all – it’s the least I could do.

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The Ideal Ministry 3/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

3. The Ideal Ministry: PRIESTLY

“We must go further and say that the ideal ministry must be a priestly ministry. That would follow from the nature of the Church whose organ the ministry is. One chief function of the Church in the world is the sacerdotal. Conceive it truly and this is as real as the Church’s missionary function. If the Church confesses it, it confesses not its own sin only but the sin of the world. It carries that sin to the presence of God.

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The Ideal Ministry 2/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

2. The Ideal Ministry: MINISTRY

“The ideal ministry must be an office in a Church quite as much as a vocation in an individual. That is to say, if we have a Church. If we have no Church, nothing which essentially distinguishes our Christian gatherings from any religious company, humane fraternity, or social group, the question falls to the ground. But then so will Christianity. The question of ministry is the crucial question of the Church. The greatest division among Churches, between Catholic and non-Catholic, turns on the position of ministry.

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The Ideal Ministry 1/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth, I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

  1. The Ideal Ministry: GOSPEL CENTRALITY

“An ideal ministry is one which is ideal to the Gospel not to humanity. The ministry is not the minister of the human ideal, but of the Gospel ideal in the New Testament. The ideal minister is first a servant of the Word, then to people. It is the Gospel revelation that sets up the ideal; it is not the needs, aspirations, or possibilities of human nature.

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Psalm 23 – With A Vicious Twist of Irony

The Final post of 2020. Suitably ironic.

It is a guest post by my brother David, who has written this present post, and two others ‘The Covid Creed’ here and ‘If Shakespeare Did Covid’ here, on the excellent website ‘Conservative Woman‘ – I encourage you to go here for other high quality articles and cultural commentary.

Here’s the Revised Version of Psalm 23 – Parody? Possibly. Prophetic? Certainly. Accurate? Definately.

THE Government is my Shepherd,

I shall not cough;

They lead me beside one-way systems

They restore lockdown.

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Hello China – I’ve Noticed!

Hello China, and welcome to my humble blog!

I’m afraid I’ve never visited your incredible country, but I do love your people, your food and much of your history.

I’m only writing to say I’ve noticed that everyday for two months, “China” has visited my blog, and I am very grateful. I apologise I do not know how to write Chinese and dialects thereof, I wish I did, because then it might be better for you. I suggest though, that your ability at English is probably better than mine!! Sigh.

I don’t know why there has been a China spike in blog hits. I’m very grateful though and want to say once again, you are very welcome.

I don’t think I’ve criticised the Communist State on this blog, but I do support and highlight the Persecuted Church. Maybe it is fellow Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ and if it is, you are welcome and hope you find nourishment and encouragement. And I and many others continue to pray for you.

If it’s not my brothers and sisters in Christ, then who could it be and why? I won’t write anything here that may endanger anyone, because we know the Communist State is quite cross about churches a Christians. But it must understand, when any authoritarian state is quite cross at the church, it never ends well for the state.

G. K. Chesterton, an eccentric English Journalist from the 20th century said, “Five times it looked as though the Church had gone to the dogs; and every time it was the dog that died.” Leave the Church to flourish, and You, Dear China, will flourish too.

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