the Easter cliffhanger

khoraanasBelow is our Easter message to our community …. based on, Mark 16, one of the possible gospel readings for Easter Day:

I like the easter Sunday gospel reading from Mark.
Matthew gives this account with earthquakes and lightning.
It was amazing!
Luke tells us Jesus appeared and disappeared and went up to heaven.
It was amazing!
John tells us Jesus could walk through locked doors into their meetings.
It was amazing.
In Mark …. nothing happens!
The woman turn up,
they see a young man in white, (Mark doesn’t even tell us he’s an angel!)
he tells them Jesus has risen ….
and they go away too afraid to tell anybody!
No earthquakes, no splendorous beings, no walking through doors,
nothing happens  …

it’s all very ordinary.

So … on this Easter day … which this year corresponds with  April Fools Day …. Mark presents a very ordinary account … no tricks, no gimmicks, no fooling around …. just the plain and simple good news that Jesus has risen from the dead!

There is no embellishment here
No blinging it up
nothing … absolutely nothing other the than the plain facts in front of them
allowing the quality of the occurrence to speak for itself

Jesus was dead
Now Jesus is risen

So why doesn’t Mark tell us more?
Why doesn’t he describe more than he does.
I believe the simple answer is … he can’t.
It’s never happened before ….
No one has ever experienced a resurrection before …
so he doesn’t know how to explain it
He lets the story speak for itself

And why do I think this is  is appropriate today?
I believe Mark is making a bold statement here
And I wonder if the reaction of the women is backing this up
They run away terrified
could this be because they are beginning to realise  the consequences of what is happening

This was Jesus
Son of God
the Messiah
who was dead … they know this … they were there
they thought all had failed

But …. now he is alive
and if that’s true …. they realise that some awesome power has been released into the whole of creation.

Maybe Mark focusses on the ordinary elements of the story so that we don’t freak out
So that we can grasp the true fact that God is in the everyday
And if God is in our everyday, and the everyday of others, then God may not be that difficult to connect with

And as all good story tellers, Mark leaves space for us to imagine, to ask, to wonder.

Maybe it is that Mark realises that it is not really what we hear or are told that impacts us, but it is what we see and what we feel .. in our hearts … in our bones … and that’s as relevant to understand for us as it is for those beyond our walls that we long to reach

It seems to me … and I hazard a guess here

And you need to consider this with your one study … don’t just believe it because the vicar says so …. go check it out …
but it seems to me that Mark has left this gospel account on a  cliffhanger

I don’t think it’s an accident that Mark ends his gospel at v 8. Scholars reliably tell us the other verses, after verse 8,  were added later, but the jury’s out on whether Mark couldn’t finish for some reason or whether this was planned.

I believe it was planned, mainly because I find that for it to accidentally break here, where we can make a case for intent, is quite revealing.

and these final verses …
well they read like the end of the chapter
with that cliffhanger of what will happen next
and I think that is deliberate
because the story is ongoing
Jesus is STILL risen
and I believe we get to write the next chapter
as people before us have…. and as people after us will

that chapter writes as we journey with God
as we notice what God is doing in our community with a desire to join in

This easter morning nothing happens
But everything changes
Because Jesus lives
Jesus lives in our lives
he  lives in the lives of the creation around us
calling us to be ourselves
to journey with him
in the normal, everyday, sometimes mundane, stuff of life

and it is because it’s normal and everyday
that we know we can
because we are created normal and everyday
filled, called and loved by God

And that is AMAZING!


that first early morning …

We had a great morning celebrating the risen Christ on the short of the Thames this morning. A few of us gathered, said some words, sang a song, threw our confessions, via a pebble, into the river, discussed and wondered what it was like that first resurrection morning, shared bread and wine before concluding with barbecued bacon rolls and bubbly to mark the end and start of our resurrection celebration.

i always love this service, not just because it is different and people really enjoy the experience … but because it brings a number of different people together who then share thought and ideas and questions as the sun rises on a cold morning. There were some amazing discussions this morning which I felt it a privilege to be able to play some small part in.

Today we touched a little on how it may have felt for those first disciples and tried to out ourselves in their shows … and in some way that brought Christ risen in our lives afresh.

Thank you people for joining us.

everything is still

closed tomb

Holy Saturday
Everything is still
Everything is lost
Everything we reasoned to be true
Wracked up on that cross
Yesterday …

Yesterday …
Even as he cried out
Right at the end
We hoped
Hoped that he was the one
Hoped for that assurance
Hoped for that miracle

But today
All hope evaporated
All dreams mutilated
For today
Everything has gone
Everything is still.

wash out? ….

So the Great Hot Cross Bun giveaway was a bit of  wash out this morning.
It wasn’t a disaster … there are never really disasters when offering something to the community … and we had some great conversations. It helped raise the profile of HTGP a little …. but much more importantly it brought a smile to many faces on a pretty crappy wet cold day.



But wet weather … meaning less people out … meant we still had around half of our 100 hot cross buns left … after giving some away I wondered what else I could do … bread and butter pudding anyone ….



The Mirror .. a Good Friday poem


I saw this today from Mark Greene on the LICC website … awesome …

The Mirror

Three ‘t’s on the scrubby hill, neatly crossed the Roman way,
The naked ‘i’s, skewered like worms, dotted burgundy with blood,
As clear to the passing eye as three billboards by a roadside:
Death to the thief. Death to the rebel. Death to the author of life,
Not even important enough to murder on his own, he,
Just one in three, the uprooted vine stretched out on a barren tree:

The anointed poured out, the gift scorned
The able disabled, the healer torn,
The way barred, the truth buried,
The life killed, the door bouldered,
The King mocked, the reconciler, reviled,
Grace, beauty, glory in spited spittle defiled,
The light snuffed out… Darkness at noon,
The world dancing to its self-enthroning tune,
The shepherd like a lamb to such slaughter.
The teacher taught his final lesson. In torture.

I know, I know on this Good Friday, that Sunday is but a blink away.
But this Friday is each and every year our ‘why’ day.
I look up from the water eddying out of the bathroom sink,
And see the billboard on the wall in front of me:
Whose rebellion required such grim reparations?
For whom would love submit to such savage butchery?
And the face on the billboard mouths slowly back, “Me”.

Mark Greene
Lent, 2018

Good Friday Hot Cross Bun Giveaway

hot cross 2018Another Easter tradition for Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula.
We believe the reason we are here, as church, is to be good news to people, to bless people, to add flavour to the community ….. so most of the HT people are fairly heavily involved in community events, the residents association, the local schools and so on.

We regularly ask ‘how can we bless this community?’ and one way, on Good Friday, is that we give away Hot Cross buns to people that are around in the GMV.

We will be in the village square tomorrow from 11.30 for an hour if you’d like a Hot Cross Bun …. maybe see you there!

end of term awesomeness

broken-bread-roll-17090065So my Easter chaplaincy duties came to a great conclusion today.

At all of the services I did the classic silk ribbon trick to tell the Easter story. I tied two blue hankies together that represented the disciples feeling ‘blue’ and tying themselves up in knots after the death of Jesus. I then made a red hanky disappear, symbolising Jesus dying, only for the red hanky to appear tied between the two blue ones.

It’s become a bit of a ‘thing’ in my schools to use ‘magic’ tricks … the children love it, Niza-Truco-de-Magia-Props-Magia-Herramientas-Juguetes-Pr-ctica-Cambiar-Color-de-la-Bufanda-desome of the staff do as well …. and at the end of the school day I see that learning has occurred. Children always say they liked the trick as they go home and when I ask what the story is about, what the trick was illustrating, they can immediately tell me.

This morning in our secondary school I combined the trick with our easter Eucharist. Secondary students are a little too cool to appreciate the same way as KS2 but they got the illustration. This morning was, again, awesome.

Previously in this school I have taught about Eucharist. The students have a choice of whether to come forward or not, and when they get to the front we have a code whereby they show whoever (myself or member of staff) is giving bread whether they wish to receive the bread, a simple inclusive blessing (May you have love, joy and peace in your life) or nothing at all. This morning was awesome because the overwhelming majority of our 360 students wished to share in Eucharist.

I find that pretty amazing, pretty awe inspiring, and an incredibly humbling experience to be able to be a part of. Seeing 300 or so teenagers lining up to receive the Body of Christ is incredibly special!

After Eucharist I got to spend some time with a Y3 class talking about Holy Week. I shared one stuff and, was again, bowled over at the knowledge of some of our children. I got asked some pretty tough questions and promised to find out why Easter is called easter … answers on a postcard please!

So a pretty awe inspiring EOT ….. and a great term too ….  thanks Koinonia Federation people for being just who you are!

nothing is different but everything changes

sunrise 2018 jpgWe have developed a kind of tradition at Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula for Easter morning. For the last three years a few of us (sometimes 5, sometimes 20) have gathered just before sunrise around a BBQ on the shore of the Thames on the peninsula.

As we have experienced the sunrise, showing itself through the blurry faces coming into focus, through the welcoming warmth of the sun on our faces, through unfamiliar surroundings becoming familiar again … we have tried to enter into the confusion and awe that made up that first Easter morning.

We chat together after hearing Mary’s account of the empty tomb … we wonder how they felt, we wonder what they thought might be happening … and as we wonder we re-remember how amazing the truth of Easter Day actually is.

We share communion, Eucharist, bread and wine (take your pick!) and again wonder IMG_1645what it may have been like for those disciples sharing this simple ceremony together. As we share, we talk and recognise that in these ordinary everyday items of bread and wine that we hold before us that something different is happening. Nothing is obviously different, but everything has changed.

We end the service with BBQ and bubbly … it’s a celebration after all … and we go home … changed … as we have encountered God once again in the simplicity of life.

So if you are in the area and wish to celebrate the risen Christ in a unique way …. why not consider joining us.

Greenwich Peninsula catch up (gpcu) pt. 1: Resurrection

The blog has been quiet for farrrrrr too long.
And the result of my quietness is that you, my good friends and colleagues that have walked with me over the last decade or even more have been deprived of the exciting and challenging stuff that makes up life and ministry here with Holy Trinity on the Greenwich Peninsula.

So …. readers new and old … I thought it about time I start to write again to bring you up to speed. As ever I would welcome your prayer as we grapple with the challenge of building and growing church in a new location that changes daily and has not yet found it’s own identity as to what sort of community it is. That may seem a strange thing to say … but from my window I can see 17 new apartment block buildings that were not built when I moved here back in September 2015. Most of those are being inhabited. There are nearly as many new other buildings on other parts of the peninsula that I walk past regularly and can’t see from my apartment. Each week people are moving into these new homes. It is ‘never ending’.

This place changes a lot and our response as church needs  to reflect the community  to remain relevant. One example …. as little as four months ago if I observed the bus stop outside my apartment in the morning I saw lots of, mainly young, adults waiting for a bus to take them to work. Now, a few month later, the bus stops are dominated by children and young people in school uniform. So … in just 4/5 months the demographic here has changed significantly …. and it will continue to change as more and more people move into their new homes. AND … we are still a building site as more new buildings are being started! Community starts to develop, the demographic massively changes, so community building re-starts with new ‘rules’ and then the demographic changes again … it’s like choosing ‘repeat song’ in iTunes!

But … that is background … so what have we been trying to do, how have we connected with the fledgling community here, what do we do next …. and what am I going to share now?

IMG_1645Resurrection …..
The first of these updates is a report from experiencing the resurrection on IMG_1641Easter Sunday on the Peninsula. For our Easter Day service this year we at HTGP decided to share Eucharist on the ‘beach’ next to the river as we watched the sun rise.

At 4.45am on Easter Sunday I got up and crawled to the river, a 200m trek from my apartment, and lit a couple of disposable bbq’s and I waited.

That time of the morning its incredibly quiet and it was not long before I could make out exciting anticipatory noises as the congregation of around 20 came and joined with me around the BBQ fire.

We huddled together to say some prayers, those that could stepped down on to the beach by the Thames, those that couldn’t stayed on the slip way.  For our confession time people held a pebble and asked Jesus for forgiveness … I then invited people to throw their pebble into the water as an acknowledgment that Jesus forgives and ‘as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our sins from us’ (Psalm 103:12)

As the darkness faded we heard the words of the Easter morning stories … Mary finding the empty tomb and the disciples seeing Jesus bbq fish on the beach. We tried to hear the stories as  if it was the first time we had heard them … and we chatted in our groups and asked ‘what on earth is going on’. The discussions and the sense of awe were amazing as the sun continued to rise and the beach, and so us, took on different appearances and views.

As the sun rose we shared bread and wine … and as I looked around I was excited by the diversity of the people sharing together, marking resurrection here in the HT bit of the parish. We sang ‘Thine be the Glory’ as the sun appeared over the river before concluding the service and continuing the worship with Bucks Fizz and bacon rolls (which is obviously what Jesus served on that resurrection bbq!)

This was a great celebration … and a great witness to other residents on the Peninsula.
People hung around and we chatted more on the beach as the sun rose more in the sky. One of the more senior ladies grabbed my hand and thanked me … she told me she had never worshipped that early before, she had never worshipped next to the river before, and she had never experienced the resurrection of Jesus in that deep way before …. the morning was incredible anyway … but that last comment … well that was the icing on the cake of an already amazing experience!


I am mainly a …









the resurrection makes the difference  ….