Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Bojana Nikolic

Half an hour of Serbian folk music featuring the excellent Bojana Nikolic and a man blowing into what I would guess is a dead goat. Great stuff. Check out Bojana's album from last year, "Oj, Gore" for more of this sort of thing.

Brother ( Or Sister ) Can You Spare A Dime?

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Financially, things are a bit hard for me at the moment. They won't be so bad in a few days but at this precise moment I do not even have enough cash to buy a jar of instant coffee and the lack of caffeine in my system is making me just a little bit tetchy. Therefore, if you are thinking about making a small donation to keep me going this month then now would be a very good time to do it. I would be ever so grateful.





Holy Communion For The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
( The Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity )

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God came down to earth to mend that which was broken and to free us from the chains of our own making that were keeping us from becoming citizens of the kingdom of God. When we come together, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as a new humanity, to enjoy the sacrament of holy communion, we are celebrating our emancipation in the very presence of the God who set us free.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

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A Brexit Future

There are archetypes in the Old Testament about exile and restoration, the tearing down of the corrupt temple and its rebuilding in a more Godly way, about towers of human hubris being torn down by God and of purging by flood or fire. It is my belief that British society and all its institutions (including the Church of England) are so unfair and unjust that the only route to redemption is for all to be raised to the ground and for us to start again. This will not happen under a Tory government or either of the two possible Labour governments. But pragmatism is an anathema to the optimistic spirit.

Worshipping Basketbaal And Other Olympian Gods Of Sport

Much as I applaud the aims of the Olympic movement ( world harmony and stuff like that ), I have to admit that, as a Christian minister fully versed in all things Old Testament, I am concerned about the blatant paganism that is embraced by so many of the competitors. Every time one of the sports reporters in Rio interviews a member of Team GB who has won a medal we are told that the medal winner had to make great sacrifices before going to the Games. In fact, it is apparent that they believe that they would not be allowed by whatever gods they worship to win anything if they do not make these sacrifices. We are not told what these sacrifices entail. It is assumed that we know already. But never having had any serious interest in sporting activities accept for the odd flutter on the horses when I was younger, I actually have no idea how to appease the gods of sport. I just hope that the rituals are nothing like those insisted on by my God back in the days before he became a vegetarian.

Still Banging On About Brexit

What worries me is that the liberal left is totally fixated with money. They appear to be prepared to accept anything in order not to be worse off financially. They are not only incapable of considering that non-monetary gains may be worth paying for they consider anybody who does to be less intelligent than themselves and self-harming. If the liberal left was worried about the financial welfare of the already poor in Britain their concern might be laudable but they are not. They had plenty of time to do something for the poor before the Brexit vote and all they could be bothered to do was write about it in newspapers the poor could never afford to buy.

Maybe, when we are all as poor as each other we might be in a position to start building a more just society together.

Pure Theatre

Every church is a stage and their congregations are the actors thereupon; the liturgist is the playwright, the priest the director and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the production team. If music be the food of love you will require a hymn writer or two. Play on!

The End Is Always Nigh

Jesus said to his disciples, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?

No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.

"You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"

( Luke 12:49-56 )

The end is nigh.

The end is always nigh.

I expect that ever since human beings became intellectually aware of their own mortality they have lived with the gnawing dread that the end of the world is just around the corner. This is not magical thinking. It is not delusion. It is a logical conclusion to come to when faced with first hand experience of the fragility of our planet and the lives of those creatures who inhabit it.

In both the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, Jesus is reported as claiming that just before the end of the age, there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. I always think that is the most pathetic of prophesies, firstly because of its complete lack of specific locations and secondly because there are obviously going to be famines and earthquakes in various places because there always are famines and earthquakes in various places. There were in Christ's time and they are today. If we, living in the scientifically advanced twenty first century cannot come up with the will to stop famine and cannot stop earthquakes whether we want to or not, I think it's a pretty certain bet that at all times, somewhere in the world, there will be famine and that the crust of the earth will regularly tear itself apart as the continents drift around on the magma that is largely responsible for their being advanced life on our planet. As long as there is life there will be death. As long as there are beginnings there will be endings.

The man standing in the street holding a placard claiming that the end is nigh may well be a madman. But he is a madman who has his finger on the pulse of the universe's entropic existence. In the end, and there is always an end, he will be proved right.

There can also be found within the doctrines of the Christian religion a metaphysical logic to the suggestion that the world is always just about to end. We have been promised that after the end of this world God will bring into being a new world, that which we refer to as the Kingdom of God. This will be a good place to be and it will be where the resurrection of our bodies will take place. But, and this is where it gets complicated, we also believe that the Kingdom of God has already broken into the universe of the world we live in now. It came into our existence when the divine, otherworldly Word, became flesh and worldly. It continues to exist in our world because that which has been done, namely the resurrection of Christ, cannot be undone and, furthermore, because we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we are in the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God is in us.

Therefore, if the Kingdom of God is both in the future and in the present then the end of the present time is in the future and also in the present.

That we live at all times within the end times is both good news and worrying news for those whose faith is Christ centred. It is good news because the forever Kingdom of God is imminent and it's a done deal. It is worrying news because its imminency means that we should really be living our lives on the basis that there isn't much time left.

Jesus and the early Christians believed that the Kingdom of God was not going to become a complete reality in an instance without any warning. They did warn that there would be pain involved in the birth of the new Kingdom. But, more importantly, they made it clear that the bringing in of the Kingdom would not be just something that God did to the people of God, it would be something that the people of God were deliberately included in. What is more and what is in keeping with the ways of God is that people will not be coerced into being part of the transition, everyone will have a choice, everyone has a choice, and must choose, now.

We are talking about choosing between good and evil, between the status quo and the new, between earth and heaven, between the treasures of earth and the treasures of heaven.

Unfortunately, although we would prefer everything in our religion to be all amicable and inclusive, the truth is that according to Jesus Christ the coming in of the Kingdom of God will be divisive and there will be no way to avoid this fact. That is what Jesus is talking about when he warns that households will be divided against themselves. He is saying that some people will choose the Kingdom and some people will cling to the present earth.

We know much about the ways of the Kingdom of God because Jesus told us of the ways. We know that these ways should be part of our lives now as we live as people of the Kingdom that is already here with us now. And we know that how we live now will effect our lives, not only in this present life but also in the life to come. And what is more, the way we live our lives now will effect the very nature of the Kingdom of God. That is why it is so important that we make a definite choice to be bringers in of the Kingdom and that we make that choice now before it is too late.

The end is nigh.

The end is always nigh.

Church of England Embroiled In Modern Day Slavery Scandal

The fee a retired or unemployed priest receives for presiding at a service in my diocese is £24.50 ($32.20). When you take into account the amount of time it takes to prepare a service properly, study the texts and write a sermon, this results in payment so below the national minimum wage that it should be categorised as slavery.

So, once again Jesus is proved right about religious institutions and hypocrisy. The important people in the Church of England clamour to get their condemnation of the underpayment of immigrants by unscrupulous gangmasters quoted in the media whilst, simultaneously, screwing the wages of their own people down to as little as they can get away with in the knowledge that fools for Christ like me would do it for nothing.

LHC Breakthrough

Exciting news from CERN.

Physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider have just announced that they have, at last, discovered the elusive cuton, the particle responsible for all the adorableness in the universe. The breakthrough occurred when they collided a kitton particle with a puppion particle and observed a spike at a frequency of exactly one hundred and one dalmatians.

The full findings of the experiment are to be uploaded to the "Sub-Atomic Particles do the Cutest Things" channel at YouTube.

Not Flying Down To Rio

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointing day in Rio. We didn't win most of the medals.

When they were deciding who to send to the Games I did put my name forward as I like to do my bit for my country when I can. I told them that I had done some swimming when I was a kid and that I know how to ride a bike. Surprisingly, they turned me down. It turns out that you need to be the best at your sport to qualify which strikes me as being terribly elitist. I shall not offer again.

Anna Calvi

This spine-tingling performance of "Lady Grinning Soul" was possibly the highest of the many high points of the recent Bowie Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Fans of the same ole same ole would have found the evening a major disappointment but for the new disciples of post-denominationalism it was a crazy, mixed-up treat for the ears.

Holy Communion For The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
( The Twelfth Sunday After Trinity )

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If you are thirsty, drink the fount of life.
If you are hungry, eat the bread of life.
Blessed are all who hunger for this bread and thirst for this fount.
We meet the risen Christ here today.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

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Be Not Afraid! Be Very Not Afraid!

My sermon for last Sunday,
the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost,
( the eleventh Sunday after Trinity ):

Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

"Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

"But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

( Luke 12:32-40 )

Our reading today from the "Gospel of Luke," is about judgement. Jesus Christ's judgement of our lives when he returns to the world to herald in the kingdom of God. It is about the criteria that Jesus will use when he judges us.

By the way a lot of Christians have gone on, and still go on, about what people should be allowed to do and what they should not be allowed to do, about what God likes and what God hates, about who are real Christians and who are revisionist antichrists, you would be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that Jesus, during his ministry on earth, gave us a long list of clearly defined dos and don'ts concerning how we should live our lives or, rather, how other people should live their lives. But I have read the Gospels, not just books about the Gospels, quite a few times and as far as I can work out, during his ministry on earth, Jesus preached just two messages.

Message one - God is near to us and loves us.

Message two - sell everything you don’t actually need and give the money to the poor.

The early believers believed this. Many of the early Christians died for the first message, and most of them put the second message into practice. In the "Book of the Acts of the Apostles" we are told that those who didn’t, came to a sticky end, although I would take that with a pinch of salt. It was probably a parable of the Church emphasising how seriously the concept of owning all things in common was taken. Poverty for the sake of others, was a central foundation of Christ’s teaching and was, most definitely, the practice of the early Church.

We just cannot hide from the fact that Christ’s message was that radical. It is about a complete change of life for those who decide to follow Christ’s teachings. And it is not just about giving away our money. What Christ demands from us is a radical change of emphasis in our lives, a radical change in the way we live our lives.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find this very frightening because I know that if a thief, to use Christ's own metaphor, was to come and burgle my house tonight, that thief would find all the doors and windows wide open and be greeted by a big sign saying "Come on in and help yourself!"

It's not that I don't know what I should do and, intellectually,  I do want to do it. But I keep putting it off. I keep putting off making the commitment to the Gospel that I know I should make. I am half-hearted about my commitment to Christ's teaching. At best, I am a part time Christian, a bit of Jekyll and Hyde, and,  knowing my luck Jesus is going to return as I am shouting at a fellow motorist who has just cut me up rather than when I am putting loose change into a beggar's cap.

The bad news for me and, let's be honest, for most Christians, is that Christianity is not an occupation for part timers. The love that God has for us, what God has done for us, "demands our souls, our lives, our all." It demands commitment, full time commitment. Are we prepared to commit ourselves to God's great project? Are we prepared to stop chasing after the baubles and bling of this world so that we can prepare ourselves to receive the eternal treasures of the kingdom of God?

We should not be afraid. At least, we should not be too afraid. Christ's teaching about the self-sacrifice that the kingdom life demands of us, a level of righteousness that most of us will never achieve, is tempered by his first, and far more important teaching, that God is near to us and that God loves us. Christ will, therefore, be a merciful judge who we know will do everything he possibly can to secure for us our freedom. However, although the grace of God is infinite, it is not, according to Jesus Christ, unconditional. At the very least we have to want to receive God's grace and this desire must be reflected in the way we try to live our lives. God will not be fooled by fools. If they think he can be then those fools are only fooling themselves.

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

In the early part of the nineteenth century the number of slaves in the United States never exceeded five percent of the population. At the same time fifteen percent of the population of the native tribes of the north western coastal region of North America were captured slaves.

Sometimes we can be very selective in our condemnation of evil.

Olympic Mistake

I don't think that the Olympic Games should be restricted to only those events that were part of the original Greek Olympics. However, I do think that perhaps they should be restricted to events that the ancient Greeks would not piss themselves laughing at.

Golf is silly.

Golfers themselves know this, at least subconsciously, which is why, no doubt, so many of them pulled out of this year's Olympic Games.

Spaces Now Available

The liberal left continues to insist that all those who voted to leave the EU are racists or, if they are feeling charitable, xenophobes. One of the ways that they pile opprobrium onto those working class people who do not like being submerged in the liberal left's multicultural experiment that was foisted upon them without their permission, is to never allow economic migration and the looking for a place of safety as two different things. This conflation of the immigrant and the refugee serves the liberal left agenda well but it is as much a lie as the £350 million a week claim of the Brexit campaigners. Those who oppose unrestricted immigration, for whatever reason (and I personally think it is usually to do with fears of culture change and not economic fears) are rarely opposed to giving refugees from persecution the sanctuary they are seeking.

Those who care and campaign for the welfare of refugees should use the Brexit vote to their advantage. If we stopped economic migration into the UK we would be in a position to offer far more places to refugees. Cameron's pitiful offer of two thousand places for Syrian refugees could be increased ten fold and it would still be less than ten percent of the number of economic migrants currently entering our country each year.

Holy Communion For The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
( The Eleventh Sunday After Trinity )

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Our daily lives are full of frightening things. There are people who would bring terror into our lives; people who use fear to control us, bullies and the spiteful. Illness and death are unpredictable certainties for all of us. On top of our fear for ourselves we fear for the welfare of those we love. We can become consumed with worries and fearful of everything. This is not how God would have us live our lives. God tells us not to be frightened by the chaotic events of our earthly lives because they are only temporary. God's children will be released from all their fears when Christ returns to lead them into the kingdom of his Father. In the meantime we may glimpse the eternal peacefulness that awaits us in the sacrament of holy communion in which, together as one, we are in the presence of Jesus Christ who gives us peace.

At Saint Laika's everyone is welcome to take communion and be in communion, with each other and with God. There are no exceptions. So, come, join us.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

CLICK HERE to access the podcast via iTunes.

To stream the service direct from this page without having to use the iTunes' facility, click on the arrow on the left of the player below.

Join in with us as we worship God by CLICKING HERE for the order of service, credits and details of the music featured. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

It would be far less stressful for us creatures of habit if the Olympic Games could be an extra thing, a matter of personal choice, rather than a thing that comes along every four years and pushes everything else out of the way.

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