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Matthew 14: 13-21; St. Philip’s with St. Stephen, Salford

In today’s reading, Jesus suffers from that “I know it’s your day off, Vicar, but…” syndrome – he retires to a deserted place to come to terms with the death of his cousin, to rest and be refreshed, but ‘has compassion’ on the crowd who had come to him and gave up his ‘me time’ to healing all day, until evening fell and people were hungry.

At this point, it is only Jesus who is healing. Although it may not feel too long since we were hearing the Acts readings about equipping the Church, here we are back in Jesus’ earthly ministry, he is still alive and building up his ministry. He hasn’t yet given his disciples power to act and heal in his name, so with such a large crowd there was probably plenty to keep him busy all day until evening.

There are a number of sermons that could be preached on this reading, on more…

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Matthew 13.31-33,44-52; 1 Kings 3, 5-12; Sacred Trinity, Salford.

You must have heard – or even used – that phrase “good things come in small packages”? It’s not always used in a positive sense, more in a sort of jokily-negative, or apologetic way. Big often seems to equal good in our materialistic culture today, unless you’re really into swapping one of those Chelsea tractors or a Volvo estate for one of those little Smart cars you can park sideways. And when you do go for small, it’s because less is very definitely more, especially in technology – choosing an iPod or iPad or a smartphone. The packaging may be smaller, but the punch it packs, ever bigger. Bigger must be better.

And today’s society tries to persuade us that more…

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I remember
the opulence
of the place;
the fountains,
the slots,
the extravagance,
the dull addiction.

This time more…

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…these seem to constitute the majority of my bookshelf here (only the tiniest fraction brought, honest), along with 2 books on bereavement and ‘The Deafening Sound of Silent Tears’ plus John Pritchard’s new book ‘God Lost & Found’ that I picked up en route here. There are no prizes whatsoever for what this may say about me (and I may need to emphasise that the adjoining shelf does have DP, BCP, Lectionary and a Bible) but it does say something about the things I’m probably going to be writing over the summer. more…

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I’m glad it’s me asking this, now, not my friends all resplendent in new facebook photos beautifully collared. (tonsure-collared, in all but about 3 cases) As I read fb updates that say Monday morning, first day of new job: school worship, diary meeting, home visit, funeral, setting up for a play and then see a stream of comments along the lines of gosh, hard work to start off with, I can’t help but think more…

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