sermon ralph mallinson

St Bartholomew and the PoW

In a book written some 50 years ago, the Editor quotes a poem written on the wall of a prison cell by an English Prisoner of War. It was written before his execution. In it he unites himself to his suffering Redeemer and prays for his murderers.

This poem is all we know of that heroic martyr. We have no idea of his name or anything else about him. This is a bit like St Bartholomew. We know his name, for he is mentioned in the list of apostles in the first three gospels, but that is absolutely all we know.

sermon ralph mallinson

Heaven

For the Vicar of Dibley, heaven meant being surrounded by mountains of chocolate. And many think of heaven in terms of food and drink: heavenly food, heavenly wine.

For others heaven equals being physically pampered. Perhaps soaking in a hot bath with plenty of foam and unguents, surrounded by aromatic candles.

For yet others, heaven is being in a beautiful countryside with lovely views or lying on a beach soaking up the sun or listening to the music of J S Bach.

sermon ralph mallinson

Journeys – Epiphany 2019

In the words of our Bishop in the January issue of the CRUX magazine, I’d like to challenge us at this Epiphany-tide, and the start of a New Year, to take the story of the Magi as a metaphor for our own journey with God. 

We may feel that we have arrived with our faith exactly where we planned it to be.  But I suspect that, for the vast majority of us, God has some further steps he would urge us to take.

sermon ralph mallinson

May he keep you from falling

From the little bit we know about the lives of Simon and Jude we can find an example of what it means to love one another. They stuck it out, even when times got tough.  They might have hesitated a bit on Good Friday, perhaps even like the others they ran away.

But Simon and Jude went on to be faithful witnesses of the saving power of Jesus. This was due to the support and love they received from their fellow Apostles, the wider community of disciples. And, if we believe that they travelled together for 30 years, the love they most certainly had for one another.

sermon ralph mallinson

Immortality and Eternal Life

Immortality & eternal life might seem to mean the same thing, but they don’t – even tho’ they both describe something that won’t ever end.  What matters is to look at the start of what they describe rather than the end.  An immortal person – Elvis Presley, Winston Churchill, Cilla Black – didn’t always exist; they had a beginning. At the end of their life they died, but they live on – are immortal – in the hearts and minds of those who love & remember them.

But an eternal person always existed – there never was a time when God didn’t exist, there never will be a time when God won’t exist. God is the eternal I am.