Three prayers - all written by key figures in the history of theology at the University of Cambridge during its 800 year story - one based on a prayer in springtime by Erasmus of Queens College, a much shorter prayer from a work that Margaret Beaufort translated into English, and a third, shorter again, from Henry Martyn.
In one the language is plural: we pray as a gathered community of fellowship and learning.
In the short prayers the language is singular: we speak personally and individually to God.
Adventures in Seeing the Point
So I love to preach and I relish stories. I delight in scripture. I practice hard to let words work their craft in worship. And in this I think I honour my Reformed inheritance, for words that bring God’s Word to life in preaching, prayer and praise have been the foundation of our tradition’s worship.
But there is more going on here.
Reflections on my First Visit to Wayland PrisonArriving on a grey day I’m immediately aware of scale. A vast and featureless wall, rounded and bulging at its peak, shuts out the world of prison from my world. There’s a neat car park with small trees off an unremarkable country side road, and this great wall. In the gate house I’m warmly welcomed and my passport is checked. They’re expecting me. The strangeness is calmed a little by being expected, my name on a list, my reason for being here understood. But I’m conscious of fidgeting and turning pages without reading the magazines as I wait for the chaplain to see me through the gates. And I think of prison as a place where God is. I recall that role of apostles, and Jesus, heading into the cells. They were captured, or handed themselves over, alive in faithfulness. I think of Daniel. I think of Bonhoeffer. What might it mean for me to bring my faith into prison? What faithfulness will I meet here? How is God busy?
Early (A Sermon for Easter Sunday)
‘Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed..’
Today, I’m going to preach on just one word. The word is ‘early’. With the Fourth Gospel, even more than the others, you sense that every word counts – and that there is meaning to be found in every syllable. Scripture has a way of offering hints that there is more to see than meets the eye – and maybe more than we could ever see if we spent a lifetime looking. The story of the resurrection begins by telling us how early it was – when Mary went to the tomb. It was so early that it wasn’t even yet light – it was still dark. Even the birds had not started singing. And you just know that this means more telling us what time is was. And it wasn’t only that it was early in the day, it was early in the week, the very first day. It was in
A Prayer of Praise
Rippling, bubbling, splashing in playfulness, irrepressible Spirit of God, surging where you will,
we long for your sweet presence,
we adore your deep mystery.
Flowing as life-giver,
drenching as blessing-bearer,
soothing as soul-healer,churning as heart-disturber;
...So whilst an artist like Rembrandt could create hundreds of miracles in paint and pen that brought biblical stories to life in Calvinist Holland, his art hung upon the walls of homes and never in churches...