Luke 6: 27-49

10th June – David Stout – Luke 6
Today’s Speaker

David Stout


Occasionally, when you’re reading a passage from one of the Gospels you start to think “Oh, I know this one. This is the (insert famous Jesus story here)”. Well this is definitely one of those passages.
Sermon on the Mount. Absolutely nailed on.

Except it’s not.

That one’s in Matthew. This is Luke and Jesus is on “a level place” (verse 17). Now the content of the two sermons are very similar and so cleverer people than I suggest that they’re probably based on the same occurrences, no matter what the terrain was like.
Anyway, with familiarity comes apathy. It’s easy to skim over this passage, jumping from famous verse to famous verse, without the content of the passage sinking in.
What we have here is an outrageous set of teachings. Jesus is tearing up the rulebook of how we as human beings are supposed to interact with one another. The old rules of parity and ‘give and take’ are gone. This is absurd generosity. Generosity that lavishes itself onto the world. Breaking down old divides by destroying those walls with generosity and love. It’s remarkable!
This passage (certainly up to verse 39) can sound a little like a list of instructions:

  • Do the best thing you can do for the worst person you can think of… etc.

But that’s not really what Jesus is trying to do. He’s not writing a new rulebook, but rather painting a picture of how a Christian should act in the world. A new culture, a new format of interacting with others. Not obligation, but generosity.

If this is what Christian faith should look like, I think it’s fair to say we often fall short. If we as Christians lived in such a way that this incredible generosity was the norm, imagine the impact. It would really make the whole of society start to take note. Just as they did with Jesus.
If Christ is our model for a truly generous lifestyle, what step can we make today to become an example of that generosity to our family, friends, and enemies?

Luke 6: 1-26

9th June – +Debbie Sellin – Luke 6 1-26
Today’s Speaker

Debbie Sellin

I wonder if you remember the days before Sunday Trading was allowed – when Sundays were indeed different to all the other days and town centres were closed up and quiet. Sabbath observance as a day of rest was a major part of life for the Jewish people of Jesus’ day, not least because of its mention in the Ten Commandments. And yet, here we have Jesus not only flouting the rules but also proclaiming that his interpretation is the new way for understanding the values of God’s Kingdom.
It’s easy to be hard on the Pharisees, but we need to understand that rules such as Sabbath observance were a sign of distinction for God’s people and formed part of their identity and so any change threatened their whole sense of who they were.
Through Jesus, the Kingdom of God was breaking in and rules that had been appropriate to the old life were now being reshaped and rethought. Just think how radical the Beatitudes, the blessings and woes, would have been to those listening to Jesus speak. And these new ‘rules’ are much harder to keep. No longer is there is a list of do’s and don’ts, but a challenge for our hearts to be aligned with Jesus.
So, what does that mean for generosity?
If we are to follow the example of Jesus, then we need to think about how we see things from God’s perspective and learn to act in a way that fits in with the values of the Kingdom. No longer does our identity belong in the ways of this world but in the ways of heaven and our prayer should be ‘your Kingdom come; your will be done on earth as in heaven’.
And so, our lives need to be shaped by love, action and integrity:

  • The love of Christ shining through us
  • The call of Christ to act in ways of radical generosity, showing the world the values of God’s Kingdom
  • The model of Christ to shape our lives so that every aspect is shaped by him

Luke 5: 12-39

8th June – Sue Collinson – Luke 5

Sue Collinson (Winchester)


I remember reading this story of the paralytic man sitting on a bench in a park near Amsterdam. I was out walking with a tall Dutch friend of mine called Hilda. She and I had been on many walks in that wood over the years and had had many conversations about life and God and her struggles with faith.
But this time was different. I was about to go away; we were moving back to England and I
wouldn’t be able to see her so easily and to talk so freely. We had shared so much and now I was about to leave her. Perhaps that is why I decided to read this story with her. Perhaps I was a little like those friends who wanted to take their friend to Jesus. The men in the story knew their friend was in need and they also knew the One who could help.
This paralysed man, like the one covered in leprosy and like Levi the tax collector, received something from Jesus. Healing, forgiveness, purpose and calling, each received what they
needed the most. These are stories of humble dependence and obedience, of perseverance
and the breaking down of barriers. They are stories of transformation.
But more than this, these stories show us who Jesus is. ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Publicly and decisively, Jesus forgives, heals and restores all who come to him. He is showing us his true identity as the man who is God. I wanted my friend Hilda to get to know Jesus. He is the one who meets our every need, who gives and gives out of his limitless resources of love and grace and forgiveness. Jesus shows us the radically generous heart of God.

Luke 5: 1-11

7th June – +Sophie Jelley – Luke 5 1-11
Today’s Speaker

Sophie Jelley


When things don’t go to plan we often feel discouraged and the last thing we feel we need is another piece of advice, however well intentioned. Jesus tells Simon to put out the nets. Again. ‘But’…you can feel Simon’s reticence, ‘we had a bad night, we got nothing, why would it be different now?’ But, Jesus has been good news so far so…maybe. Maybe it will be different…so Simon does it. He casts the nets. Suddenly it is radically different. The nets are straining under the weight of fish. It is overwhelming. Simon wasn’t ready for this. Immediately he feels the significance of what is happening but struggles to understand it. So Jesus reassures him. This is a picture of abundance. ‘ Only instead of fish you will catch people’. The word for catch here means to ‘catch alive’. Simon’s obedience will lead to life, abundant life, not just for him but for all the people he will ‘catch’ lead, heal, nurture and influence in the future.

This is a huge step of faith for Simon. How he chooses to use his one life. Jesus had been good news in his experience and so he obeys. That act of obedience becomes one step on his journey to becoming the one Jesus would later entrust with ‘the keys of the kingdom’ what greater honour could there be than that?

What about our response? How ready are we to recognise that our obedience could lead to life in abundance not just for ourselves but for others; whether that is our friend or work colleague or hundreds of people in our network. Our response affects everything: all our choices about our one life. How we use our time, our talents, our resources. Choosing obedience to the call of Jesus changes things, and like many others, in my experience this is good news.Very good news indeed. It starts with a single step and can end in all kinds of abundance; peace, generosity, forgiveness, hope and wholeness as we ‘catch alive’ many who long for these things in our world today.

Luke 4:14-44

Today’s Speakers
6th June – Nathan Leigh – Luke 4 14-44

Nathan Leigh


We live in an inconsiderate time. As I write this, I am experiencing with you the unprecedented government lockdown to tackle the Coronavirus: remembering those who have already died, astonished at those who are wilfully disregarding such orders, and becoming anxious over the various myths and rumour that swirl our social media accounts. We live in a time of adversity, where my most natural impulse is to hoard as much as I can so those dearest to me do not go without. We live in an inconsiderate time, and I am a part of it.
In Luke chapter 4:18-19, Jesus recites a famous Old Testament passage from Isaiah 61 and applies its fulfilment directly to himself. The passage uses a term translated as “release” or “freedom” applied for those who are bound or imprisoned. This idea was not new to Isaiah but was written into the festival season of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10) where Israel was to provide liberty to land and its inhabitants. It was a time of releasing social burdens and the collective sin of society, freedom of debt, slavery, poverty and oppression. Everything was to be made anew. This release was written into the social calendar of Israel as a marker of generosity, where all society would reset, releasing those bound or imprisoned. This would be done regardless of what adversity the nation faced. That is what Jesus claimed to do in that Nazarine synagogue.
We need to have a Jubilee and Jesus mindset in this unprecedented and inconsiderate time. We are called to bring good news as Jesus did, releasing the imprisoned with a generous spirit. We need to look to the welfare of our neighbours, whoever they may be and ask, how can I help to release your burdens? To the single parent struggling to hold finances and entertainment for children, or to the refugee and homeless, uncertain about where their next meals are coming from. These are our imprisoned neighbours who are longing to be free. How can you bring Jesus’ claim of generous release to them?

Luke 4: 1- 13

5th June – Debbie Sellin – Luke 4 1-13
Today’s Speaker

Debbie Sellin


Following his baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days, where he is tempted by the devil. Three times, Jesus resists the devil, quoting Scripture and standing firm. Remember the serpent in the Garden of Eden – he whispered plausible lies about God – and here the same thing happens:

  • A challenge to the identity of Jesus: Are you truly the Son of God? Surely, if you are, God would not want you to go hungry?
  • An offer to gain power by compromise: Don’t you want to have all this? It’s yours if you bow down and worship me. Wouldn’t the Son of God want this power?
  • A provocation to put God’s promises to the test: If you are the Son of God, then prove it through spectacular displays.

The devil continues to whisper plausible lies, and this can impact on our desire to be generous with our time, our money and our talents:

  • Surely God loves you already and you don’t need to do any more?
  • If God loves you, would he really want you to sacrifice something for the sake of others?

These lies can feed into our hearts and minds and change our attitudes from giving generously to holding back.

So, what can we do?

Jesus used Scripture to remind the devil of his true identity and the nature of God. We can do the same. There are so many passages that assure us that we are children of God and that he has called us by name. Perhaps you can memorise a couple of verses to have at hand when you’re unsure that he cares for you.

Jesus offers us a model of humble service and so we can remind ourselves of his response to those in need.

Jesus was tested and we too will be tested at every level. Our private life and thoughts are as important as the public face we show to others. Let’s take hope in the fact that Jesus knows what we are facing and will help us remember how to respond.

Luke 3

4th June – Jane Mitchell – Luke 3

Jane Mitchell (Winchester)


The link I want to make today is between baptism and God’s generosity.
Imagine the weather is very hot, you are seriously overheated, and you jump fully clothed into a swimming pool. WHOOSH! AHHH! The difference in temperature is immediate. You come up to air and realise your body is completely soaked, your clothes are saturated, you feel the cool refreshing water right through to your scalp. The experience is unexpectantly invigorating. It brings right to the fore a fresh perspective of life in mind and body. You abandon yourself for a moment by splashing and squealing in the delight. What a great place to be. Thank you Lord!
I think of baptism like that whoosh of water and jumping into the pool – God’s ongoing work of complete renewal and refreshment. A loving Father’s ultimate, sacrificial act of generosity born out of the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus. We now live in him and he lives in us.
The beginning of Luke 3 is all about baptism. John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus – “the one more powerful that I” “Who will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. This announcement reflects still more of the glory and the generosity given by God to us through baptism of the Holy Spirit.
What is our response to this amazing generosity of God?
• We can give thanks for our own faith and baptism.
• We can be encouraged to grow in faith – if we have two tunics let’s share with someone who has none or if we have food let’s do the same (v11)
• We can allow the Holy Spirit to direct our generosity and be confident that God will do the rest as he brings many more to splash and squeal in delight in His glorious presence.

Luke 2: 21-52

3rd June – David Williams – Luke 2 21-52
Today’s Speaker

David Williams


30-32 – “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

I would love to be like Simeon!  He is described as righteous and devout and had also been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  For many years Simeon has been waiting expectantly, giving generously of his attention and his time to this promise.  Then one day, a young couple walk into the temple with their new-born son.  It probably happened every day, a very simple act of gratitude for the gift of the child, an everyday occurrence; yet Simeon sees in this child not only all he has been patiently waiting for, but in his song of praise sees in this child, God’s intervention for the whole world. What starts as a simple act of devotion, in gratitude for the birth of a child, takes on a cosmic and eternal significance.

There is a crescendo of generosity. Mary and Joseph offering a simple gift as an act of devotion and gratitude, Simeon seeing this moment as the fulfilment of his gift of time and attention, but it is of course the unfolding giving of God himself in Jesus that is the life-changing act of generosity.  Here is Jesus the one who gives everything: his glory, his invulnerability and at the end, his life. When we see Jesus’ generosity to us there is no room for a superficial response, our generosity will also become life changing.

Those whose generosity is a reflection of God’s generosity, become people the world needs; a pervasive generosity becomes an incredible force for good.

Luke 2: 1-20

June 2nd – Luke 2- Heather Leppard

Heather Leppard (Winchester)


Luke 2:1-20
‘You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
I remember family and friends flocking to our house after both our children were born. It feels the natural response to come and meet the new child. The smiles across their faces as they met their nephew and niece, grandson and granddaughter, great grandson. I remember taking our children to church for the first time, aged just 8 days and 4 days respectively, and the joy of the church community at meeting them. It’s amazing how much joy a tiny human being can bring to so many people.
Mary’s story that we hear today is quite remarkable. At such a young age, she has been so open to God’s blessing upon her life, and now she cradles in her arms, God, who has come to earth as a vulnerable baby to be with us all.
I can’t quite imagine how it must have been for her; a first-time mother, just given birth, away from her hometown, and now beginning that journey of discovery of how to look after a new-born, when suddenly all these unknown shepherds descend upon her. They’ve heard those words of the angel: “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” and hurried to meet him.
So now Mary joined by strangers around the manger! But rather than closing the door, or letting in family only, she has such a generosity to heart to share this new-born child with all who come to visit. She allows them to share in her joy. She seems, at such a young age, to have grasped the generosity of God, not just for her, but for all people, and it is so wonderfully contagious.

Luke 1

Luke 1, Pete Wilcox
Today’s Speaker

Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield


Luke 1.42: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!’
We call the mother of Jesus ‘the Blessed Virgin Mary’, and rightly so. Three times in the very first chapter of the Gospel of Luke Mary is hailed at ‘Blessed’ by her kinswoman Elizabeth (see also verse 45); and later in the Gospel (Luke 11.27-28) an anonymous voice in the crowd calls out to Jesus, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and breasts that nursed you’ — a clear further reference to Mary, the Blessed. But what makes Mary ‘blessed’? The Lord’s own answer in this latter episode is telling. Hearing that voice in the crowd, the Lord replies, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it’. It’s clear to me that Jesus did not mean to suggest that his mother was not in fact blessed; rather he is stating that her blessedness lay not in the fact that she bore him in her womb and nursed him at her breasts, but in the fact that when the Word of God came to her, she received it and obeyed it. Interestingly, this chimes in perfectly with the third reference to Mary as the Blessed One on the lips of Elizabeth in Luke 1. What she actually says in verse 45 is this: ‘Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord’.
The point is that the Lord calls each one of us to give ourselves in his service. He did not want Mary’s money in and of itself, nor her time, nor her particular gifts or abilities. He wanted her. Mary found herself called to offer her whole self in the service of God. She was called to embrace his word, his summons — and she was blessed because she said ‘Yes!’. The wonderful thing about that is that only one person in all history could have carried Jesus in the womb — and if that was THE route to blessedness, most of us could not follow Mary. But she was blessed because she was open to the Word of God and readily gave herself to the One who made her, loved her and called her — and we are also blessed when we do the same to the One who made us, loves us, and calls us today.