Messages

Follow

First published: June 28, 2022

If someone approaches you and asks you to follow them then how do you decide if you are going to agree and go with them? Well, I suggest it depends on two things. Firstly, it depends on who they are. For example, are they trustworthy? Do they have a track record of dependability? Have they ever let you down in the past? And secondly, it depends on where they are going. Are they leading you somewhere you would like to go? Have they been there before? Do they know the way?

Read more...

Law

First published: June 19, 2022

Imagine if it was your job to make rules for humanity by which to live. The whole of humanity depends on you to come up with a set of rules to ensure that humanity prospers, stays safe, and protects the environment. Where would you start?

Read more...

Trinity

First published: June 8, 2022

I put the cat among the pigeons last week, when writing in our local paper, by referring to the Holy Spirit as a she. I enjoy receiving correspondence from readers, and on this occasion, I received two letters: one from a woman who felt insulted, and another from a woman that felt affirmed by my use of the feminine pronoun. I was rather excited as it meant I had at least two readers, although perhaps afterwards only one! At the time of writing this it is Trinity Sunday — the Sunday when we celebrate God as three-in-one; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — so today I am going to put my case for affirming the femininity of God. If you are likely to be offended, please do read on!

Read more...

Spirit

First published: June 2, 2022

Throughout the Bible, the Spirit of God filled people at specific times and places to anoint them for a special mission or purpose. For example, in the Hebrew Bible, Joshua was filled with the Spirit to lead the tribe of Israel into the promised land, and in the Gospels, John the Baptiser was filled with the Spirit as he heralded the arrival of Jesus Christ. As I have mentioned before, the Spirit of God is always outward looking and always looking to the interest of others, therefore the infilling of the Holy Spirit of God is not, primarily to benefit ourselves, but to bless and benefit others.

Read more...

Ascension

First published: May 24, 2022

In the church calendar, The Festival of Ascension and it sits between the two festivals of Easter and Pentecost. Easter is when we celebrate the resurrected Jesus, and Pentecost is when we celebrate God’s Spirit coming to live in all believers. Ascension sits between the very physical, real, present and living resurrected Jesus, and the very spiritual, real, presence of the Holy Spirit. So what happens in-between? What is Ascension? And how can we make sense of it and understand it?

Read more...

Listen

First published: May 18, 2022

President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling and saying the same things over-and-over at White House receptions, and so one evening, he decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention to what he said. As each person approached him to shake hands, he gave them a big smile and declared, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

Read more...

Between

First published: May 11, 2022

This week we celebrated the installation and collation of Jerry, the new Canon Residentiary at the cathedral. Us Anglicans like to use long words do we not! To put it another way, we welcomed a new pastor to the church in the town centre! After the uplifting ceremony there was fried chicken, and chocolate cake, and wine, and it was a fun party. One of the cathedral members, seeing the wonderful and abundant spread of food, turned to me and asked, “Perhaps we should go into the streets and invite people to this banquet?”

Read more...

Knowing

First published: May 3, 2022

Do we really know each other? Because there is a difference between knowing someone and knowing about someone. We often know a lot of things about each other. For example, we can know someone’s name, their age, where they live, what they do for a living, and whether they like Marmite or not — but that is not the same thing as knowing them. Knowing is somehow deeper, and it is not just about collecting and retaining information or data about a person.

Read more...

Breakfast

First published: April 27, 2022

Breakfast. I love it. It’s my favourite meal of the day. Whether tucking in to a ‘full-English’ at a roadside greasy spoon, picking apart a pair of smoky kippers in a posh Edinburgh hotel, slicing open a warm, succulent cantaloupe on a country lane in Northern Australia, allowing the scent fragrant Nasi Lemak to fill my nostrils in Malaysian hawker stall, or a indulging in a hearty bowl of  biscuits and gravy in a diner in Utah, you cannot beat a good breakfast. I’m sure you can think of your own favourites, and yes, I confess, I have yet to try codfish and potatoes (don’t tell anyone).

Read more...

Doubt

First published: April 23, 2022

Christianity asserts that we are holistic beings — that our bodies, minds, and spirits are interlocked and interwoven and cannot be separated.

Read more...

Cross

First published: April 14, 2022

When I was about eight years old, I was sitting with my friend Matthew on the back seat of our school bus, staring out of the rear window. In the car that followed behind the bus, two punks started sticking two fingers up at us, and so, giggling, we returned the favour. Little did we know that the deputy headteacher had heard about what we had done, and when we arrived back at the school, he asked both Matthew and I if we had done the dastardly deed. I confessed, and so the next morning, in the school assembly, I was made to stand and be publicly shamed in front of everyone. As a punishment, the head teacher asked all my fellow pupils to ignore me and not to speak to me for a whole day. It hurt deeply, however, I was, after all, guilty.

Read more...

Resurrection

First published: April 7, 2022

What happens when we die? Where do we go? And what form will we have? These are questions asked by every human being that has ever lived, and throughout the millennia there have been many different answers. As a Christian minister who regularly takes funerals — for both young and old — the subject of life after death is never far away from my own consciousness, and as Christians, we also retell the story of Jesus on a weekly and annual basis, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus every Sunday and also at Easter.

Read more...

Church

First published: April 7, 2022

When I write the word ‘church’, what is the first thing that pops into your head? I expect you imagine a building or a service (taking place inside a building). Well, these are expressions of church but not church. If you have been reading my articles for a few weeks then you will know that church is not something you go to, but a community of people glued together by the love of God expressed through the person of Jesus Christ.

Read more...

Mission

First published: March 20, 2022

In the iconic 1980s film, The Blues Brothers, the two protagonists Jake and Elwood set off on a quest to save the Catholic orphanage in which they were raised. They do this by getting their R&B band back together and staging a gig to raise $5000. The classic phrase that everyone remembers from the movie is, “We’re on a mission from God.”

Read more...

Boldness

First published: March 11, 2022

This week, amongst the deluge of harrowing news emerging from Ukraine, I heard the story of two Scottish men who, at the very start of the conflict, drove to Poland to begin helping Ukrainians move across the border. On one occasion, passing a Russian convoy, they were held at gunpoint, had their vehicle ransacked, their possessions stolen, and two of their tyres shot out. They limped on for a further fifteen miles until locals found them two spare tyres, then they continued to the town of Sumy to help evacuate a student and six other people before the bombing there began. During their return journey to the Polish border, one of the men, on his wife’s birthday, called her from the road. Through tears she encouraged him, “Just go for it!”

Read more...

Temptation

First published: March 7, 2022

The season of Lent, traditionally, it is a time when we reflect on our own shortcomings and focus on spiritual growth. Around the tenth century, Lent became linked with Jesus spending forty days in the wilderness where he was tempted by the Devil.

Read more...

Humility

First published: February 27, 2022

Has anyone ever deliberately done something that makes you feel inferior or look bad in the eyes of others? For example, have you ever been physically bullied, has someone ever made a belittling remark about you, or spread bad rumours about you behind your back? They may have used phrases about you such as, “That brought her down a peg or two” or “That made him eat humble pie.” Let me make it clear, you were not humbled, but humiliated. There is a difference.

Read more...

Relationship

First published: February 27, 2022

I had a few experiences of church when I was growing up. When I was about seven or eight years old, my family were regular attendees until I was expelled from Sunday School (no idea why, ask my mum), and soon after that, our church-going dropped off to occasional visits at Christmas and Easter. However, it was not until I was nineteen years old that I took the plunge (literally) and became a Christian.

Read more...

Blessed

First published: February 19, 2022

My family and I were very blessed to be able to afford a short vacation, and I excitedly booked return flights to Miami with American Airlines. It was only when I received a confirmation email from the airline that I discovered that I had accidentally booked the return flight for the following month. I had made the booking when I was tired and I guess I simply clicked on the wrong box at some point and misread the dates when I hit the button to confirm. It was an honest mistake and therefore I figured the airline would understand and I would be able to change the flight. How wrong could I be?

Read more...

Fish

First published: February 11, 2022

I have a confession to make, and that is that I am a mad-keen angler. I love fishing. Whether float-tubing down the Green River in Utah for cutthroat trout, wending my way up a Scottish river casting silver-blue-and-teal flies for wild salmon, hooking into 100lb tuna from the rocks off Ascension Island, popping for Tarpon in the Everglades, or winkling out an elusive hogfish from Great Sound, fishing is my thing.

Read more...

Love

First published: January 29, 2022

​​”Love is patient; love is kind; love is not jealous or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

Read more...

Pieces

First published: January 29, 2022

The church is a group of people, called by God, to join in with God’s ongoing mission in the world; to announce the kingship of Jesus, and to be witnesses of his infinite love. We do not exist, simply to claim ‘souls’ for a disembodied future existence in heaven, but we exist to be physical bringers of the redemption, restoration, and renewal of creation, working towards that time when God’s kingdom will fully come and heaven and earth will one day be perfectly reconciled. It is a big task, and a vital one too, and importantly, each one of us has a role to play.

Read more...

Superabundance

First published: January 29, 2022

If there is one miracle of Jesus that, today, almost everyone seems able to recall, it is Jesus turning water into wine. Perhaps it is because this is the first miracle encountered in John’s account, or perhaps it is because it is rich in symbolism, however, I have a hunch it is because this miracle contains several ingredients with which we are all familiar — a full on party, a bunch of tipsy guests, and an abundance of delicious red wine.

Read more...

Epiphany

First published: January 10, 2022

When you have an epiphany — under a flash of popping light bulbs — you suddenly grasp the reality or truth of something. And from that moment on, you see things differently and look at the world with new eyes. This week, the church entered the season called Epiphany, and collectively, we remember those Eastern astrologers that visited Jesus some time after his birth. Despite being outsiders from a different culture, they had an epiphany, and recognised the reality of who Jesus was.

Read more...

Grace

First published: January 10, 2022

This Christmas season, as you bridge into a new year, perhaps you can make it your new year’s resolution to turn to God and receive his free gift of grace, because there is nothing you can do to make God to love you more, and nothing you can do to make God love you less. God loves you, because he loves you, because he loves you.

Read more...

Emmanuel

First published: December 28, 2021

To be human is to experience the fragility of life, and none of us go through life without enduring hardship and pain. Add to it the extra pressures of a global pandemic, and it is no wonder that we find ourselves under immense strain. Bodies have been strained, emotions have been strained, minds have been strained, relationships have been strained. Is there a single aspect of our lives that has not been affected? What is the answer? Rev Gav explores…

Read more...

Ordinary

First published: December 20, 2021

This week was the last week of Advent, the season in which we look forward to the coming of the Saviour of the World on Christmas Day, and traditionally, during this week, we think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had an encounter with an angel who told her she was ‘highly favoured’ —  selected and singled out; hand-picked by God to be the bearer of his Son. But get this, she was not chosen because she was special. She had not done anything to deserve God’s favour. She did not come from a remarkable family line. She was not wealthy or important (in a worldly sense). Mary was an ordinary girl, doing ordinary things.

Read more...

Expectation

First published: December 13, 2021

Have you ever taken part in a ‘Secret Santa’, where you anonymously purchase and wrap a Christmas gift for a friend or a work colleague? Well, Secret Santas are perhaps closer to the original idea behind gift-giving than our modern-day practice of adding gift tags to let the person know the identity of the giver. Let me explain…

Read more...

Voice

First published: December 6, 2021

Have you ever listened to a radio station when everything suddenly goes silent; where the record ends and the presenter forgets to play the next tune, or there has been some kind of technical difficulty, and the microphone goes completely quiet? Because those few seconds of silence from your speakers feel like an eternity, it is not called ‘silent’ air, or ‘quiet’ air but it is called ‘dead’ air.

Read more...

Anticipation

First published: November 30, 2021

Christians, throughout history, have been concerned with both the afterlife and the end times. What happens when we die? When will we be resurrected? When will Jesus come again? What will it be like when that happens?

Read more...

Food

First published: August 21, 2021

We all like to be fed don’t we?

Read more...

Grace

First published: September 22, 2020

Jesus came to inaugurate, declare, and establish God’s Kingdom. He came as the King. And as he did so, he wanted, through his words and his actions, to both proclaim and demonstrate what that Kingdom is like. To do this he used parables, multi-layered stories that were designed to shock or jar with the listener. “If you want to know what the Kingdom of God is like? Well, let me tell you a story…” Each parable is like a window onto the nature of God’s Kingdom. Each parable lets us see something about the Kingdom of God. And so we come to this parable found in Matthew 20:1-16, The parable of the vineyard workers, and it is a parable about God’s Kingdom Values versus Human Kingdom Values.

Read more...