Holy Week – what can we expect?


We’ve made it until the end of the journey of Lent – have we lived up to expectations?

The aim of the journey of Lent is to focus on three things that can bring us closer to God.

  1. Prayer – a time to reconnect to God
  2. Fasting – giving something up or being able to show sacrifice
  3. Almsgiving – being willing to give to others in some way

If we do any of these things in a very basic way I believe we will have become better people over the last 40 days. Ultimately I hope this has happened and you have grown closer to God by deepening your faith.

As we approach Holy Week we can capture the highs and lows of the final days of Jesus’ life.


Many of you would have watched the moving film The Passion. I remember seeing it when it was first released sitting alongside my Mum as a devout Catholic and other movie-goers (accompanied by the obligatory popcorn) on Easter Saturday when it was first released. In a beautiful, challenging and graphic way we recounted the sacrifice that Jesus made in His final days and ultimately the miracle of the Resurrection. This in essence is the centre of the Christian faith and year.

It is an amazing, and very human, journey from the triumphant entry of the longed-for Messiah into Jerusalem to Jesus’ crucifixion in a horrific and public execution, sometimes sanitised by the crucifixes we have on our walls. A tale of darkness and human cruelty, a death of faith in some way perhaps.

But ultimately this is not the end of the story. In fact the sacrifice and suffering Jesus endured is a lasting symbol of God’s love for us. We long for the resurrection, for the stone to be rolled away. As Christians we need to be people of light and hope, this Easter especially, but ultimately in the world we live in each and every day.

So three challenges this Holy Week…

  1. Take time to stop and reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us and simply give thanks in some simple way.
  2. Reflect on how we can commit to sacrificing something in our lives to benefit or show our love for others.
  3. Let us always know that light overcomes darkness and be a witness to this Good News in our daily lives.

I hope you have a good journey in the week ahead and a very happy and blessed Easter.

God bless.



Life-giving… a joy of living



“If a grain of what falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest”

In the Gospel account this week we hear how Jesus for-tells His sacrifice but also tells us we too can have the best impact and richest harvest when we are willing to make sacrifices for others.

Normally at times I feel very happy in being independent and leading as part of my vocation but at times it is healthy being brought back down to earth by being totally dependent on others. I found this recently having being involved in an accident whilst skiing with friends. Having being knocked out for between 10 and 15 minutes and flown to hospital, with some significant gaps in my memories of events, I suddenly found myself totally dependent on others.

It has given me a new found love and gratitude of the things we take for granted – movement, independence, energy. I have also had to learn to stop to gather strength and rely on others. I am eternally grateful to my loving family, brother and wife who have called me to task in getting me to listen to them and recover too.

Lent is about a journey to put your life in order and maybe this, in an unexpected way, has made me do this. We have to ask what we live for and what we are willing to die for. So many of us, as parents, will say our children and spouse comes at the top of these lists. Jesus gives us a message of life, light and hope and for me this is what Easter is all about.

In the simplest way possible when I saw this video at the weekend celebrating World Downs Syndrome Day this says it all… God has made every one of us special and precious and this in itself is life-giving.  Please do something special to celebrate it this Wednesday.

God bless.


Are you ready for the Son of Man?


A reflection by my good friend James after an unusual week for me!

John 3:14-21

Jesus goes by many names, including “The Son of Man” which focuses us on his human, rather than divine, nature. The fact that Jesus was human as well as God was what enabled him to be put to death on the cross – something which at first seems too awful to contemplate but of course is actually just the prelude to the resurrection which is the cornerstone of the whole Christian faith.


This week’s Gospel passage refers to the Son of Man being lifted up, not only quite literally on the cross but also in the figurative sense as in held up and offered as the source or the way for anyone seeking a deep and everlasting happiness. A bit like a doorway, bridge or perhaps even a ladder, the Son of Man gives us an opportunity to get through, over or up to God. Everyone has a pass, there’s no toll, it’s free access. Even 2018 years later, he’s right there for anyone who wants to engage. What a great opportunity!


As educators we know that people aren’t always very good at taking advantage of great opportunities. Much like in teaching, our job is to be the doorway, bridge or ladder to a better place. We do this by building relationships, educating to the heart and setting a good example. Lent is a time to reflect on how good a job we’re doing of all this. None of us are expected to be perfect but we have been granted a significant responsibility for helping children to become the people God plans for them to be so we need to do it to the best of our ability.


Reflections for the week ahead:

  • What opportunities have I missed to be a better or happier person?
  • What opportunities have I missed to get myself closer to God?
  • Which opportunities will I be making more of moving forward?
  • How can I act as a doorway, bridge or ladder for young people?


God bless,


Sacred space


In the Gospel account this week we hear about Jesus throwing out the traders from the Temple in Jerusalem. How do we find a “sacred space” in our lives to give us an opportunity to encounter God in a real way?

Jesus Goes to the Temple

(Mt 21.12–17; Mk 11.15–19; Jn 2.13–22)

Then Jesus went into the Temple and began to drive out the merchants, saying to them, “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer.’ But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!”

Every day Jesus taught in the Temple. The chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the leaders of the people wanted to kill him, but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people kept listening to him, not wanting to miss a single word.

It should not have been a surprise that there were traders in and around the Temple as people were selling animals for sacrifice to God. What may have been the deeper message was that they were no longer there for religious respect but in essence to serve their own needs – a dishonest motivation.

The verses following this account are some that I have never really noticed before – “the people kept listening to him, not wanting to miss a single word.” We need to be open to God’s word and message for us. In a wider sense I believe we are challenged to think about how we find “sacred space” in our lives. This may be looking to find opportunities to be at peace spirituality or a physical space that is special to you.

The journey of Lent can helps us “drive out” the things that get in the way, the distractions that don’t allow us time and space to live our lives in the right way. I hope you have the opportunity to find some space and time for faith and God in your life in the week ahead and beyond or even just find a sense of inner peace and your own sacred space.

God bless.

An opportunity to be amazed…


Sometimes in life it is worth us being able to step back and appreciate what we have around us. At times we are forced to slow down for a moment and see the big picture. Last week we were forced to do this by unpredictable weather provided by “The Beast from the East”.

In the Gospel reading we hear about the Transfiguration where Jesus was fully revealed to His closest disciples;

The Transfiguration

(Mt 17.1–13; Lk 9.28–36)

 Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, and his clothes became shining white — whiter than anyone in the world could wash them.

Then the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Teacher, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He and the others were so frightened that he did not know what to say.

 Then a cloud appeared and covered them with its shadow, and a voice came from the cloud, “This is my own dear Son — listen to him!” They took a quick look round but did not see anyone else; only Jesus was with them. As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has risen from death.”

Jesus took them to the mountain top and revealed where His life would be heading, ultimately to His sacrifice, death and resurrection. Jesus was linking the past and the future.


If you have ever been blessed by the opportunity to see the world from a top of a mountain you will know that there is a sense of awe and wonder. We also need to find the peace of space to think in our lives. The weather made us do things that we may not normally do – to take a step back from the routine and normality. This might have been the opportunity to walk in the beautiful Sussex countryside at 5am to check the weather, being out in the snow with our children, or just recognising the beauty around us.

Transfiguration may be  about becoming ourselves to “the full” perhaps but also about putting our lives in perspective. My hope and prayer is that all of us have the opportunity this Lent to find the chance to journey closer to God and appreciate the blessings that we have in our lives – by doing this we can be truly amazed each day.

God bless.


Ready for a journey?


Last week we started the journey towards Easter in the season of Lent. It seems like just yesterday we were taking down the Christmas decorations and yet we now have to get ready for getting ready for Easter. It is an opportunity to do three key things;

  • Fasting – an opportunity to put others first and give up some of the luxuries in our lives. This may give us a chance to recognise how truly “blessed” we are by the basic things we have in our lives – food on our plates and a roof over our heads.
  • Almsgiving – making a sacrifice to give something to those less fortunate than we are. This could be close to our homes or supporting international charities.
  • Prayer – finding time to invest in our relationship with God. At times it is challenging to find time to pray or even finding the space to just stop and listen to God’s call and message for us.

A practical way to do this is to commit to 40 Acts.

This is a brilliant way to find practical ways to live our lives to benefit others, taking the challenge to live with generosity towards others. By doing these simple acts I believe not only do we “live more simply” but also will become happier and more fulfilled ourselves.

If we can live in happiness and harmony with others we are truly becoming God’s presence in the world. This is how we can become more Christ-like and bring life and hope into the world.


Last week we were in the USA and later in New York as we heard about the tragic loss of young lives in Florida. We also heard today of a young student locally who was tragically killed in an car accident on a railway track. In these times of darkness, globally or in our own lives, we need to seek out God in some way. People can feel abandoned and without faith – yet when we walk alongside people we can help to carry their cross with them and truly become disciples.

So this Lent – let us live generously with faith, hope and love. Will you take the journey?

The real deal?


Mark 1:21-28

Last week we celebrated the feast to mark the conversion of St Paul, a great message to tell us that we that it is never too late to look for or offer others a fresh start and new beginning. A chance to see life with a new pair of eyes.

We hear in the Gospel account this week how Jesus healed a man who was possessed in the synagogue. What we may have forgotten in this account is this that they had been amazed prior to this miracle being performed. They had been amazed by the teaching of Jesus as he taught with authority. He demanded their attention and respect, not because they were forced to, but because of what He taught and said.

Jesus had authority because He lived in an authentic and real way, He was “the real deal”, God living amongst us on earth. We could finally hear the Word of God… we can only look to earn the authority we have been given by being authentic, true to ourselves and true to God’s plan for us.

This provides plenty of food for thought for us this week:

  • How do I respond to authority?
  • Where do I find authentic authority in my life?
  • For those of us in a position of authority: How authentic am I as a leader?
  • For all of us: How good am I at being true to myself?
  • How well do I live out an authentic Christian life?

So let us take the opportunity this week to seek out truth and “be real” in the way we live our lives as teachers and leaders. Young people are happiest when they are authentic and true to themselves. Equally we are most respected when we can be authentic in how we live and teach ourselves.

Have a good week ahead.

God bless,