Bible Sunday 2015

(White diamonds and blue sapphires laid out in the backs of seats before the service)


Guard the good treasure entrusted to you. — 2 Tim 1:14

There are so many things which each of really treasure in the bible, things which are really valuable to us; and there’s always exciting new treasures to discover.


Today is Bible Sunday. First off, I’d like you to think of something in the bible which comforts or inspires you? I’d like you to write that on your diamond in the next few minutes. We’ll share these at the peace.


Just like the bible isn’t just one book, but loads of books in one book, so the bible is not just one treasure, but it is like a treasure chest.


(Anecdote about my ‘treasure’ chest — which my and my sister kept our videos in as children)


So, let’s have a look in my treasure chest. Who wants to help me?


(Green emeralds — bible shared among the community; red rubies — how did you inherit or how were you introduced to the bible?)


I’ve lost my bibles among all these other things. Can you help me pick them out?

But which of these are bibles?


We can see lots of books here. (Read the names.) Which one is the bible? (Get answers). Perhaps this Greek New Testament, along with the Hebrew Scriptures, has the best claim to be the Real Bible — because they are the original written form — but for many of us that’s just no use. Rather, though none of these are the one and only bible, they all are the bible. They each have something different to bring; they each have a different perspective; and each of us will have one which is most helpful. So if you’re not a lots-of-words sort of person, maybe the comic bible is for you!


But tell you what. We’ve also got a few bibles here which aren’t books.
I know…! (Get them out.)

Phone — audio. BluRay — films. Tablet — online videos, texts & audio. Drama GNB — putting on short plays.

All of these are the bible in some sense — they are ways in which anyone can access the story of G*d and humanity, told through lots of little stories. The Bible is written, spoken or drawn word of G*d which connects us with Jesus the Word and through him with G*d.


These sapphires are for you to take. We’d like you to write any questions you come up with about the bible and anything in it, then bring them back to us. You don’t have to do it right away; you can bring them back another time if you like. We promise to try to help you find some kind of answer, somehow.


Dan Barnes-Davies, 24 October 2015
Given at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Arbury, Bible Sunday 25 October 2015
at 8am in an abridged, less interactive form (lacking the diamonds);
and at 10am All Age in the above form.

Salome intercessions


Today the Church remembers Salome, a disciple of Christ. Salome is one of numerous women found in the Gospels who followed Christ during his earthly ministry, but who have become irrevocably confused in Christian tradition. Whether she was the mother of James and John, or the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus (or both), she was one of the followers “who provided for him in Galilee”. Salome is recorded as a witness to Christ’s crucifixion and one of those who went to anoint his body. Therefore, let us remember today all our siblings throughout history whose faith and dedication we have forgotten, ignored or suppressed.


Loving Mother,
We give thanks to you for all the faithful work of our sisters in Christ in all times and all places. We especially give thanks for all those who have been leaders and teachers of the faith but whose contributions have never been recognised, and even whose names are lost to history. We ask you to continue breathing your spirit into this broken world through your beloved daughters in all their various ministries, but especially through those whom you call as deacons, presbyters and bishops.
In your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Holy Sophia,
Send your comfort, your passion and your love
– upon all those who have prayed in this church and in our chapel;
– upon Oak Hill and Mike Ovey;
– upon Thoothukudi-Nazareth diocese in the Church of South India, and especially their leadership during their vacancy.
In your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Sister Christ,
We confess our complicity in all manner of wilful ignorance. We thank you for those people who challenge our unacknowledged assumptions; and we ask you to cure us of our personal and institutional blindness to your glorious diversity made tangible through all your beloved children.
In your mercy,
Hear our prayer.