The Story and the Methodist quadrilateral

The Story is the paraphrase of Luke and Acts that is being studied at the moment by the Circuit with Jordan, and also through PresenCE, the Portaferry cross-community group. We are now half way through and so far each week has raised questions on interpretation. It is interesting that these issues arise in what are relatively familiar books of the Bible so I thought it might be of interest to remind ourselves of a traditional Methodist approach, the Methodist quadrilateral. […]

If it weren’t so serious

I go for my first Covid jab on Sunday and feel privileged to have this opportunity. What is so disturbing is the extent of the misinformation around the vaccination. Truth is a vital component of a healthy democracy but we also need trust, and for some that has been sadly eroded in recent years, so giving space for the conspiracy theorists. However I wonder how many people really believed this story. My sister works for the Ministry of Defence and […]

Afternoon Tea

As a short forty-something, I don’t make a habit of climbing trees, but today’s an exception. Rumour suggests a celeb’s coming. I’m up here to see him, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. All my life, I’ve so wanted to be tall, not bullied. My grandmother telling me that all the men in my family line had been short was no consolation. I longed to be one of the gang. ‘Go away shorty,’ [that’s the benign version] was […]

Christmas all wrapped up (one last hurrah for Xmas 2020)

This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12 NIVUK) There you go! Christmas all wrapped up. Sadly, today most are content to leave the Christ child all wrapped up. When all wrapped up in cloths the baby Jesus is no threat to them. They can bring Him out each Christmas for a few days, go to the carol service or the school nativity play, they do […]

Salt and Light

I read the following in Encounter with God, reflecting on Matthew 5.13-16. The writer said: Jesus does not envisage his community as a withdrawn, sectarian group, making occasional attempts to preach to outsiders and expecting them to come to Christian gatherings to be converted. Salt must have contact with whatever it is intended to preserve, or it loses its purpose; light only fulfils its function when it exists in the darkness. How many models of the church and its mission […]

Two Penny-Worth

As she jostled her way through the milling, gossipy throng in the Outer Court of the Temple, she felt her slender hand clench on all she had left. So tight her nails dug into her skin. Her knees felt unsteady. How would she get food if she did this? Hesitating, she leaned against the nearest column. Everyone was too busy to notice. The Temple stonework glinted red, yellow, and a stark white in the afternoon sun. As she looked at […]

Armchair travels

Further lockdown finds me longing to travel. It began as a vague restlessness, a need to explore further than the garden and the local park. Thoughts of Portaferry were uppermost, but at this point, my odd feeling of discomfort took shape – the shape of a car ferry or an airplane! But travelling like that is impossible right now, and however much I crave the fun and fellowship of Portaferry, I require a substitute. One of the blessings brought by […]

Putting the Clock Back

My name is Esau. Six successive generations of my family served in the High Priest’s Guard. But I can’t imagine anyone of them had a Passover experience like mine. Miriam, our third child, was due, so when old Caiaphas wanted volunteers to guard the grave, I grabbed the overtime. To be frank, it was a chance to escape from the bedlam in the city for a bit. Truth be told, it was a dark, uneasy watch. Not what I expected. […]

Be Thankful For

The mess to clean up after a party because it means I am surrounded by friends. The taxes I pay because it means I am employed. The clothes that fit a little snug because it means I have food to eat. A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home. All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech. The space […]

Food for Thought

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes” (Matthew 6:25, The Message) When it comes to food, we’re all different, we have different tastes and different food philosophies – all part of life’s rich tapestry. Regardless of our food preferences, at the end of the day it’s the nutrition we obtain from the food that counts. So, whenever we ask Jesus into our lives and […]