Review: ‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks

Published to international critical and popular acclaim, this intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic novel spans three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the…

Source: Review: ‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks

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The Easter Story – is there blood on your hands?

Rehearsing the Easter story through three powerful pairs of images – two gardens, two trees, two disciples.

Two Gardens

GardenTomb

Celebrations around the world on Easter Sunday centre around a garden, a garden tomb to be precise. The garden tomb is the pinnacle of the gospel story. The empty tomb in the garden is a powerful symbol of hope, resurrection, and life renewed. It is not just a picture relevant to our relationship with God, certainly it starts there, but the implications reverberate through all of humanity. Continue reading

Holiday or Holy Day?

In South African, the Easter Weekend is traditionally the busiest and bloodiest time on our nation’s roads. A four day weekend is the perfect time to escape to the Berg, or even get in a few good swims on our sandy beaches. With the temperatures beginning to abate it’s a reminder that winter is just around the corner. Yet in the frenzy to relax or escape the city for a few days, fatalities will be out of all proportion with the rest of the year, or in fact the rest of the world.

So why this long weekend? What is this day all about? Continue reading

Busting His gut on our behalf

 

The greatest love story in history is not Romeo and Juliet. The most romantic city in the world is not Paris. Bethlehem is the home of the greatest love story ever told and last week we remembered and celebrated this story.

In my last post that anticipated Christmas (God Is About To Act) I looked at Zachariah’s Song in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1:67-80). This passage has been lingering with me as the year draws to a close, and is pregnant with the real meaning of Christmas. Continue reading

God is about to act

Mary is pregnant, Elizabeth is pregnant, history is pregnant.

Advent is traditionally a time of hope, a season of expectation and anticipation.

We are preparing ourselves for the commotion that is Christmas – shrieks of excitement as young children tear open gifts, young and old elbowing for space at the table covered in decorations, burgeoning with food. Advent is meant to be a time to pause. An opportunity to prepare, to reflect on the story behind the celebration.

The Song of Zachariah is an appropriate reading for Advent, as in fact is Luke’s whole Gospel.

Zachariah is a priest in the service of Israel’s temple. His wife Elizabeth is a relative of Mary, the soon to be mother of Jesus. After a lifetime of infertility Elizabeth is now expecting a child.

Continue reading

The antidote that is Advent

What is it with this time of the year? If your diary looks anything like mine it has been marked with year-end parties, lunches, or any host of functions that seem to be a prerequisite to this season. If you are still fortunate to have a child in school, then the craziness just ratchets up a notch. Whether they swing a bat or sing in the choir; if they got straight A’s or just showed up – there is an assembly, a prize giving, or a concert to attend.

Far be it from me to decry an opportunity to celebrate our little darlings’  achievements, but why does it all have to be in the same few weeks, sometimes even days? It’s no wonder we often refer to this time as the ‘silly season’. Yet some years, ‘silly’ doesn’t even come close to describing it – organised chaos would more apt. As the end of the year approached, my family’s nerves are shot and tempers are frayed. Someone singing ‘Jingle Bells’, or trying to spread a little Christmas cheer is likely to be assaulted in our house. Do not even mention the hordes that come out of the woodwork demanding Christmas bonuses. So is there an antidote to all of this? Is there somewhere that we can turn to for a bit of sanity in this season? Continue reading

Look up!

Jesus looked up.

“After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said…” (John 17:1).

It wasn’t the first time John noticed that He did this. There was the time when a multitude of people were gathered on the grassy slopes around Him. They had been mesmerized by his teaching, listening intently, hanging on his every word. So enthralled, they had not noticed the sun slipping through the sky, and mealtime missed. Now they were tired and hungry and Jesus’s disciples were anxious about a large agitated crowd. Jesus had a handful of loaves and a few fish – small boy’s lunch. He took the bread and looked toward heaven…  Continue reading