Monthly Archives: March 2016

Evils done to Jesus

On Good Friday when we see the image of the Crucified Jesus nailed hands and feet to the cross we meet with every evil done to another. Every aspect of human evils nails Jesus to the cross

His wipped and scourged body from the lashings of the Roman soldiers and their cruel mockery of a crown of thorns upon his head, with blood oozing from his head where the thorns dig into his scalp.

Jesus will never experience all of the evils that people do to each other, but let for us those nails and thorns and the barbarity of what is done be to us the sign of very evil and depravity of human nature that still resorts to barbarism and treats others with indifference and cruellty.

Let those nails and thorns depict for us the rape and abuse of women, the degradation of women’s lives as sex slaves and toys for men’s lust.

Let those nails and thorns be to us the ill and starving children in poverty because of the unjust systems of finance and ecomomics.

Let those nails and thorns depict for us the evil minds of the ideological murderers who put innocents to death for the cause of their foul ideologies.

Let those nails and thorns depict for us those who today will be leaving desolate cities, towns and villages made so by tribal conflicts and ethnic violence.

Let those nails and thorns also be for us the great heaps of indifference and excuses not to be involved in making better the lives of those blighted by such things.

Yet hear also the amazing response to those who inflicted the nails and crown upon Him

“Father, forgive them. They know not what they do”



Holy Week

The most terrible week

As we recall that most basic Christian doctrine, that the Everlasting Word, sent my the Father, the origin of all, is present in the man Jesus of Nazareth, so this week that is called “Holy” is for The Word that most terrible experience of human degradation and of what wayward and backward humanity does to others.  

Sure in the history of Israel, has the Word known abandonment and betrayal by His people, as spoken aloud through the prophets. But in the Man Jesus, this experience of betrayal and abandonment is at its uttermost, and the Everlasting Word knows in human experience more acutely than ever before our sinfulness and failure to be the Intended Being we should possess.

On the Sunday they will rejoice and lay down their palm branches at His feet, in expectation of some mistaken political revolution, and nationalistic expectations, even in the hope of some violence from Him to commit in their desired cause.

He will go into their temple and upset the corruption of the greedy money changers and swindlers of the poor offering animals for sacrifice. He will preach in the vain hope of changed hearts for the priestly elite and warn of terrible things to come if they do not change. Yet His Words fall on deaf self serving ears.

And so in the days that come He will experience betrayal by one of his own and others of his inner shall desert Him for fear of their own lives. He shall know loneliness and fear in the Garden.

He will be placed like many a good prisoner of conscience in front of a corrupt court who have already decided that He must die to serve their interests. Their religious conscience corrupted by their own false ideals and power over the lives of others.

He shall be brought before a self serving foreign civil authority unwilling to withstand the trouble of releasing an innocent man, when faced with the religious mob that wants His blood.

He will be beaten and made fun of by the prison guards, who taunt Him, because He is not one of their own, just some trouble maker to be made and example of. So He will be the  beaten and bruised and tortured prisoner of conscience with no justice done for Him, but misused against Him.

Then they shall put Him to death in one of most barbaric and torturous means of punishment ever devised to serve political power and control.

See then in all these things their barbarity and that of so many other forms of self serving corruption, still known in this modern world.

But as you see that Blessed Word made Flesh experience these things ask yourself, where am I in this story? And what is ma part what He experiences this most terrible week?

Becoming Franciscan

My knowledge of the Anglican Third Order of the Society of St Francis stretches back to my youth. My church had several members of a local group of the Third Order and I attended a few meetings but it never seemed to me at that time that I wanted to join in. Sure, I was attracted to somethings I learned about St Francis of Assisi, not least his renunciation of wealth and joyous devotion to Jesus Christ and wanting others to know that salvation that he had found.

There was also my love of creation as found in my bird watching and sense of wonder and joy I often felt when viewing the natural world, which I was told was also found in the life of Francis. Then as I later came to study the Old Testament prophets and their denunciations of inequalities in society this prophetic message seemed to make me see the inequalities of the world around me and therefore the graced need of more sharing in society and less accumulation of things to please myself. So too Jesus seeming demands to love people rather than things to possess.

I had become a Reader (Lay Minister) in the church, and therefore often preaching. But if I was to preach to whom was I to be accountable for my own spiritual growth? How would I be accountable for my own life of prayer and what I was intending to preach to others? I needed some kind of spiritual direction and accountability to some-one. I had a few people in my church who were helpful spiritual friends, including those Third Order members.

Early on in my Reader ministry I had a period of questioning of my vocation and what I thought Christ was asking of me and I attended a series of workshops called “Seeking the Way”. Did God want me to give my full time job and train for full time ministry?

 The course  was lead interestingly by a Franciscan Brother of the First Order. It was partly an analysis of myself with the tools of the Myers Briggs Personality profile. It helped me to affirm my duel role as a Reader and my normal full time work.

And so it was a few years later that I attended an additional Myers Briggs Spirituality workshop, looking at different aspects of the life of prayer that seem most suitable to one’s MB Personality Profile. What came out of it? Franciscan, Franciscan, Franciscan! That was it. I had no excuses any longer and I made enquires about joining the Society of St Francis as Third Order member and was professed about 3  years later (that was about 10 years ago).

The principles and aims of the Third Order ungird by spiritual walk with Christ and through it I have a spiritual counsellor and other spiritual friends with who I share my commitment to the Franciscan way, and to who I feel accountable for my life of ministry and my working and home life to.

Take a look at the page Third Order. Even if not an Anglican or Catholic I hope the Principles and Aims can also be yours as a way of following Jesus Christ.