Ministers' Blog

Occasional musings from one of our ministers or worship leaders

From the Past to the future

Posted on 11th January 2021

Thoughts on Luke 2: 21-33

I am held in my mother’s arms in the centre of the photograph. Around us are my father, grandparents and god-parents. I am draped in a christening gown which has been used for generations by my family for such occasions in the little parish church which stands rock-sure in the background. [read the full From the Past to the future post]

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New Year Affirmations

Posted on 2nd January 2021

I used to use these affirmations regularly in my prayers as a member of the Iona Community.

Whilst I no longer am a member they still stir my faith and explain what I am trying to believe.

I offer them to us all at Christchurch as we journey into a fresh year with many uncertainties ahead of us. May they comfort and guide us in 2021.

 

Rev John Rackley

 

With the whole Church

we affirm that we are made in God’s image

Befriended by Christ, empowered by the Spirit.

With people everywhere

we affirm God’s goodness at the heart of humanity,

planted more deeply than all that is wrong.

With all creation

we celebrate the miracle and wonder of life,

and the unfolding purposes of God

for ever at work in ourselves and the world.

 

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In the Midst of Uncertainty

Posted on 3rd December 2020

A sermon from Revd Debra Chidakwa Akue during the coronavirus lockdown, when no-one knows how long we have to endure, or how many more will suffer. [read the full In the Midst of Uncertainty post]

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Creation Time 2

Posted on 22nd September 2020

Continuing the September theme of creation, here is Rev john Rackley’s second sermon, preached on 20th September. [read the full Creation Time 2 post]

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Creation Time

Posted on 15th September 2020

During September our services are focusing on our stewardship of creation. This is Rev John Rackley’s sermon preached on 13th September. [read the full Creation Time post]

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Sunset, Sunrise, a brand new day

Posted on 2nd September 2020

This sermon was given by Rev John Rackley on 30th August at our first service with social distancing regulations and is posted here as many people are still unable or uncertain about coming to church services. [read the full Sunset, Sunrise, a brand new day post]

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Dangerous Prayer

Posted on 24th June 2020

‘Prayer is a marvellous and necessary supplement of our feeble efforts but it is a dangerous substitute’ Martin Luther King.

I do not know the original context of these words. The quotation turned up in the monthly mail-out of Contemplation and Action; a movement based on the ministry of Franciscan Richard Rohr. It was part of a series of comments on Black Lives Matter.

As a Baptist, King would have been brought up in an intense praying culture. In his time Baptist prayer meetings were signature events. They define the pattern of Baptist spirituality. Personal prayer is expected of each member of the congregation. So his comments have a back story.

“Let us pray about this” was a default response to any situation. King knew this could be a powerful force. Prayer has been called primal speech. It is an intrinsic part of human evolution. Whoever you might pray to and whatever you think will happen is not the point. Prayer like Soul describes the intrinsic mystery of our life. We are not alone.

But is prayer a substitute for action? King seems to be suggesting this. He knows action can be deeply influenced by prayer but prayer instead of action is in his words ‘dangerous’. What could he mean by this?

[read the full Dangerous Prayer post]

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Is the Story of the Ascension an Embarrassment?

Posted on 20th May 2020

What do we do about the story of the Ascension of Jesus? Do we really have to believe that if we had been there we would have seen Jesus going up into the sky? Two hymns help us to consider these questions. The first from the 1700s, the other written in the last fifty years. They are both in the hymn book Singing the Faith.

John Rackley explores this story.

[read the full Is the Story of the Ascension an Embarrassment? post]

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Christian Aid Week and the Three Loves

Posted on 12th May 2020

Abraham was charged by God to teach his children ‘the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just’ (Genesis 18:19) and ever since we have wondered what that means.

Jonathan Sacks gives a superb summary of how the Jews have interpreted this instruction in his latest book, Morality.

Love your neighbour.

Love the stranger.

Hear the cry of the otherwise unheard.

Liberate the poor from their poverty.

Care for the dignity of all.

Let those who have more than they need share their blessings with those who have less.

Feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the sick in body and mind.

Fight injustice, whoever it is done by and whoever it is done against.

And do these things because, being human, we are bound by a covenant of human solidarity,

Whatever our colour or culture, class or creed’.

[read the full Christian Aid Week and the Three Loves post]

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Responding to Covid-19

Posted on 24th April 2020

Rev John Weaver is a past-President of the Baptist Union and, subject to the future of our movements, is coming to Christchurch in September to talk about the Climate Emergency.

In conversation with John Rackley he has developed this pattern of reflection to help anyone consider their experience of COVID-19. An expanded version of this is available on the Baptist Times website (link to John Weaver’s Baptist Times post).

[read the full Responding to Covid-19 post]

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