Radical Lives

There is a scripture which has always bothered me. Sometimes it bothers me so much that I almost daren't read it, or else, when I do, I am apt to sort of skim over it, and try to ignore its implications...

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honour your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbour as yourself.'" "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Matthew 19:16-22

I am well aware that I am very rich (at least by 'global' standards). But there is also the question of if I were to take this passage literally and go and sell my possessions, how would I live? One question which springs to mind on that note is 'does my house count as a possession?' I have the feeling (which may well not be from God), that to interpret this passage any way other than literally is to risk diluting it, and not be taking it seriously. But if I take it literally, it would seem that I am condemned - unable truly to follow Christ. Nevertheless, let us see if we can legitimately re-interpret the passage, without diluting its intent.

A good Boat to Fish From?

This past week saw the Archdeacon's visitation. Its purpose is to 'admit' the deanery's churchwardens to their office. It's actually full of good, solid, stuff, and our Archdeacon, Michael, is a 'no-nonsense' character- well-seasoned with good humour - who likes to 'get on with it'. He is keen to stress that, although things like building maintenance (in some ways the traditional churchwarden's stock-in-trade) are important, they are not the true mission of the church, which is to

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

The 'good, solid, stuff' is along these lines:


"Churchwardens are called to represent the people of God; to work with the leadership of the parish, ordained and lay; to be an example and encouragement to their fellow Christians; and to promote unity and peace.

As you come to be admitted, I ask you to affirm your commitment to this calling, and to seek God's grace and the power of His Holy Spirit to fulfil it.

Will you, as Churchwarden, seek to work with the Bishop, the Parish Priest, the Parochial Church Council, and all those who exercise leadership in your parish, to further the mission of God and His purposes in the world?"

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2022