Monday, 22 October 2012


Do you ever cringe at a word or phrase in church? I know I do; I cringe at the start of the Lord’s Prayer when we say “Our Father.”

I seriously wish Jesus had said something like “our eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent Godhead” because that removes God from a messy family relationship.  Not all Christians have an easy relationship with their earthly fathers and within the church universal there are Christians who have been abused by their fathers, abandoned by their fathers or rejected by their fathers.  How do those, my brothers and sisters in Christ, feel about saying “Our Father.”? What picture does it bring up for them?

If we want to understand what Jesus meant we must understand what being a father meant in first centaury Palestine; in particular what they thought the biological relationship between a father and child.  While they would have expected a father to provide and care for his children (although, as I pointed out above, this doesn’t always happen) they would also have regarded the children as a continuation of the father.  They believed the father placed the seed in his wife and the child grew from that with no biological input from the mother!  Now this seems crazy to us today with our understanding of biology and genetics but it is part of the picture of fatherhood that would have been in the minds of Jesus’ listeners (and probably Jesus himself.)

When we look at it this way we find “Our Father” not only confirming a God who cares and provides for us but also a God who loves us so much He made us in His image!  Made us to be creative as He is creative and to be loving as He is Love.

So next time you say the Lord’s Prayer take a quick moment to reflect on the God who loves you so much He made you in His image.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Suffering 2

For a while I have been completely without an idea to write a poem (prayer/mediation may be more accurate) so when an idea popped into my head at the weekend I was pleased until I realised that I had already written that poem and even blogged it! (

However after a while I realised I had moved on and although the initial idea was the same there was more to say.  In this I have started with my complaint to God but moved on to the things I have learnt over the last year - I'm not saying God "spoke these words" to me but this is what I now understand; next year it could be different again.


Why does it still hurt?
Over a year has past,
Life has gone on,
Things have got better.
So why does it still hurt?

Time has taken the edge,
Dulled the blow
That Breaks the heart.
So why does it still hurt?

Why, below the ebb and flow of life
Does pain still lurk?
Waiting to catch you off guard?
A photo
A person
A memory
That opens the depths
And lets the pain flood out.

With the Psalmist I cry
“How Long.”
How long must I carry this pain?
How often must I fight my anger?
How long will I wait to find peace?

“My child, You will carry this pain
Until the world finds peace.
Not an absence of war
But a peace between all people.
My Peace
That passes understanding.
Until that great and glorious day
You will carry that pain.
And it will give you wisdom.
Wisdom not to hurt others.
Wisdom to protect others from pain.
Wisdom to stand with the hurt and downtrodden.

Do not despair
For you are not on your own.
I have already carried your pain
And hung it on a cross
So that I can be with you
Each painful step of the way.”

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I have been very lucky as the one time I have met and talked to one of my sporting heroes I found a charming modest man; Gareth Edwards.  The Welsh and British Lions scrum-half was probably the greatest rugby player of all time but he told me he was lucky to get in the Welsh team as he was only called up for Wales when his predecessor was injured.

Today some fairly damming evidence has been made public that Lance Armstrong, the 7 times Tour de France winner, was using illegal drugs to enhance not only his performance but also that of his team mates.  He is likely to be stripped of his titles and the inspiring story of the man who came back from cancer to be the greatest ever Tour de France cyclist becomes one of a common cheat.   However life isn’t that simple because this is the same Lance Armstrong who founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation which has raised more than $470 million to support, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.  On the one hand he is a man so driven to win that he will risk his and others’ health to achieve his goals and on the other we have a man who is responsible for raising hundreds of millions of dollars to help other cancer suffers.

As I write this the story all over the media here in the UK is about the late Sir Jimmy Savile being a serial sex predator; an article on the BBC News site ends: “It said the alleged victims were mainly girls who were aged between 13 and 16 at the time, and the allegations spanned four decades.”  What the truth of this may never fully be known as he isn’t alive to defend himself (unlike Lance Armstrong who has decided to not defend himself) and so only one side of the story is being told.  However, this is the same Jimmy Savile who was knighted "for charitable services" – the small matter of raising some £40 million for charity and giving his time to work as a volunteer hospital porter.

Should this surprise us that men and women who are capable of so much good are also capable of falling for temptation in such a big way?  It doesn’t surprise me because, as a Christian, I believe we are all this jumble of good and bad.  On the one hand we are made in the image of God and capable of much good but on the other we are fallen people living in a fallen world who can easily fall into temptation.  It is said the higher you climb, the harder you fall so perhaps those who push themselves to the top face greater temptation than those of us who don’t.

For me the Christian response is to say “there but for the grace of God go I” and to not join in the public demonisation of those who don’t live up to our expectations.  That in no way means I am condoning the alleged actions of Lance Armstrong and Jimmy Savile but I would like to balance that with the great works which they have done.