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We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia: Northern Churchman

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia? The Northern Churchman There is a familiar feel to this time of year. The Christmas advertising on television, the darker evenings, the Carol Services – and the inevitable scoffers who call the Christmas story a myth. Not ‘Once in Royal...

Mark Pickles: The Story of Two Trampolines

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Story of the Two Trampolines:  A passage that is frequently referred to during times of great revival is Isaiah 64:1-3:  “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your...

Ten Thousand Bibles for London’s Children

TBS Auxiliary Meets Ten Thousand Bibles For London’s Children The Greater London Auxiliary of the Trinitarian Bible Society was delighted to report at its Annual Meeting held on 15 November that over 10,000 Bibles have been distributed to London schools since the...

Good News for Egypt’s Christians

Barnabas Fund Reports Good News for Egypt’s Christians The government of Egypt licensed 125 churches and church-affiliated buildings on 14 November. It is the 24th batch of approvals made since the government committee overseeing the licensing process started work in...

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw In the aftermath of Desmond Tutu’s daughter being refused permission to preside at a funeral in a Church of England parish, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told The Guardian that the “C of E must move swiftly to welcome lesbian...

Collins: Who’s Your Righteousness?

Who’s Your Righteousness? By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Who’s your righteousness? "The Lord our Righteousness" was the sermon preached March 20, 1757 at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. It offended nearly everyone that day and William Romaine was invited to never preach...

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963 Persons Against Whom Proceedings May be Instituted. Proceedings under this Measure may be instituted against an archbishop, any diocesan bishop or any suffragan bishop commissioned by a diocesan bishop or any other bishop or a...

Editorial: Joy to the World Cup

Editorial Joy to the World Cup The result of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already in. And it appears the Church of England has lost. The latest advice from the Church of England’s Support Hub is for parishes to consider the timing of Christmas Carol Services to avoid...

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership By Chris Sugden Andrew Symes is to stand down as Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream on January 1, 2023, after nearly ten years in post. Rev Symes, 56, who had earlier served with Crosslinks in South...

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension By George Conger The former Bishop of Ramsbury has been suspended for life from the ordained ministry after he admitted to having sexually abused two women. The Daily Mail reported the Rt Rev. Peter Hullah had been the subject of...

It’s All About the Grace of Jesus

In the 7 weeks of the Christianity Explored course, there are two weeks that seem to elicit a negative reaction from at least one person in most classes.  You might ask which biblical topics would cause someone a problem (they are sin and grace) especially, if you come from a practising Christian family…or one that was once upon a time.  

The two topics are simple yet profound.  In my experience, a significant proportion of people from the UK and Ireland struggle with the concept of sin. They just do not believe that sin is something to be concerned about because they do not see themselves as sinners.  The Ten Commandments are a film shown on TV at Easter but rarely recited in worship or school. 

On the other hand, those from the USA can really kick about the matter of grace.   America is a great meritocracy.  Everyone gets what they earn or that for which they’ve worked. It is nothing more and nothing less.  Grace is most foreign.

Biblically speaking, it shouldn’t be an issue because the bible tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Regarding grace, it tells us that it is by grace that we are saved, not of works lest any man should boast.

You see, grace was and is God’s response to sin; our sin, yours and mine not just the other fellow’s.  Grace is the free unmerited favour of God lavished on those who were once his enemies.  It isn’t something we can work for nor earn.  It is the gift of God and what a gift it is!

In the 1950s, my maternal grandmother was quite ill and required a rather lengthy hospitalisation.  She must have  been very close to death because it forever marked her personality.  Hospital bills were just as correspondingly expensive then in the US as today.  My grandfather didn’t know what to do and he was in a fix.  He literally had no means of paying the money.  All his unrelenting work and self-reliance had not left him prepared.

Then grace stepped in…and from a most unlikely source.  Years later, my granddad told me the story and he was still overwhelmed by what had happened.  You see, grace showed in the form of Mr Ed.  There wasn’t a man in our community that people thought less of than him. Many could recount his real or imagined sins and transgressions.

My granddad said it happened this way.  “A truck pulled up and out got Mr Ed.  He came to the door and greeted me and said.  “I heard about your wife’s illness.  You must have a big bill.”  My granddad said, “Yeah, and I don’t have an idea as to how I’ll ever pay it.”  Mr Ed looked him square in the eye and asked, “Herbert, what was it?”  He answered, “It’s $1,100.”  

At that, my granddad’s voice quavered, and he said, “Son, he opened up the bib pocket of his overalls and pulled out a wad of one hundred-dollar bills.  Then he peeled off eleven and handed them to me.  I tried to say no but he wouldn’t hear of it.  He shook my hand and walked back to his truck and went home.”

What Mr Ed did was a true act of grace.  No one really knew where he got his money, but he did for my grandparents what they couldn’t do for themselves.  That is the way God’s grace is given to us.  We don’t earn it, but he lavishes it on us who believe.  We have no way of paying our sin debt apart from that grace, but that grace covers the entire bill.  It’s all about the grace of Jesus.  Have you experienced it?

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