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Temple builders

The first question that Paul addresses today in I Corinthians 3 is whether he in fact is the founder of Christianity. It had been commonly claimed that Jesus only ever intended to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God by reforming Judaism, not to begin a new...

Spirit Wisdom

Although it may seem that St Paul is having an each-way bet today, he is not. He says that although the Cross is foolishness for the wise and a stumbling block for the Jewish people, there is still a wisdom that is at work here - but it is not a wisdom that is...

Proclaim Christ Crucified

When pondering the nature of God, Paul could have spoken about the various ways that God had been revealed across the centuries, the different qualities of God, the effects of God, or the ways to encounter God, based on philosophy or rhetoric - common in Greek...

Somebody boast

The liturgy presents us with the final section (26-31) of chapter one of First Corinthians today, which means we have jumped over verses 18-25 which provides the essential context of the passage. Paul speaks in a powerful rhetoric about the cross - ironically telling...

Preaching Jesus united

Corinth was located at the end of a neck of land attaching the Peloponnese peninsula to mainland Greece and having a port facing east (Cenchreae) and another with access to the west (Lechaion), Corinth was geographically predestined to be a corridor of commerce and a...

Grace and Peace in Corinth

Each liturgical year, the second readings for the first eight weeks of the Season of the Year are taken from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians. In Year A we read sections from chapters 1-4; in Year B from chapters 6-10; and in Year C from chapters...

Strangers of Epiphany

Although there is nothing in the Gospel of Matthew about camels, kings or even how many of the strange magi visited the child Jesus and his mother Mary - there are enough details to provide much pondering. The first chapter of Matthew's gospel - although we are given...

How is this woman mother of God?

The understanding that Mary - a seemingly ordinary teenager growing up in Judea or Galilee who happened to be visited by the archangel Gabriel to hear the announcement that she would become the virgin mother of the saviour, who would be called Jesus - thereby becoming...

The child in whom we live and move

So many of our Christmas traditions are based on the barest threads of details. For example, in the gospel of Luke, although we are given very complete information about the announcement of the birth of first John and then Jesus, and the details of their parents and...

Four Transcendentals: Beauty

We come to the final transcendental this week as we encounter Beauty. Over the weeks of Advent we have journeyed through these ideas that are present in every single thing, indeed in being itself - 'Omni ens est unum, bonum, verum et pulchrum' - that all being is one,...

Four Transcendentals: True

When John the precursor asks the question of Jesus - are you the long-anticipated Messiah - or are we to wait for someone else? - he taps into the long tradition of the prophets and holy people of Israel who had longed for a new David to set them free from all of...

Four Transcendentals: Good

All being is one, good, true and beautiful (Omne ens est unum, bonum, verum et pulchrum) The word Good is very commonly used in the scriptures (more than 500 times), but it can mean one of ten things: useful; pleasing / agreeable; advantageous / profitable; fitting /...

Four Transcendentals: One

One small piece of wisdom that has come down from the ages (it was first stated in Greek philosophy, and then offered into the Christian tradition through the writings of the Eastern fathers, St Augustine, and then codified in scholastic philosophy through the...

Christ the King of mercy

Many of the parishes around our Diocese celebrate First Holy Communion on this day - which seems like a lovely idea, given the name of the Solemnity with which we conclude the liturgical year. But I am intrigued about the disjuncture between the apparent theme of the...

Sun and temple and Alpha

As we come to the end of the liturgical year, the darker tone of the readings this week match well the international mood after the results of the presidential election in the US. The images are rich and evocative, and require us to unpack them a little. We begin with...