Saturday 28 January 2023

Anna the Prophet


Quick timeline. Let's assume Anna is 84 years of age when she sees Jesus. It's a slightly tricky passage in the Greek apparently. But we'll go with that.

Jesus was born roughly 6 BC.

So Anna was born in about 90 BC. Due to the weird Roman way of counting backwards. Thank you, Sellar and Yeatman.

Around the time that Anna was a toddler, there was a Jewish Civil War which ended with the King and High Priest, Alexander Jannaeus, having 800 Jewish rebels, mostly Pharisees, crucified - having executed their wives and children first. 

When she was in her 20s, the Roman general, Pompey, took the city of Jerusalem. 12,000 Jews died defending the city - was Anna's husband one of them?

When she was in her 30s, another Roman general, Crassus, took all the treasure out of the temple.

When she was in her 40s, a man called Julius Caesar became Roman dictator.

When she was around 50, Herod became the "King of the Jews".

When she was around  70, Herod started rebuilding the temple that had itself been rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah

When she was 84 - and the Temple was still a building site - Jesus, the Christ, came to the Temple that had been built to hold his name.

And she had been waiting, alongside Simeon, for that moment. Through all those terrible times.

And when Anna - the prophet - saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When anyone claims on the basis of Scripture that women can't preach, can't teach - bear in mind that Anna, in the presence of the One whose Spirit inspired that Scripture - told everyone that was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem about that holy one. 

All who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Men, women, and children.

Anna, the prophet. Who preached the Good News to everyone that was looking for it.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said that Joel's prophecy was being fulfilled:"Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." 

Which would not have come as a surprise to Anna, the prophet. Who told everyone that was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem about Jesus.

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do the job God's called you to. Anna wasn't too old. Anna wasn't too female. She waited her whole life to see God's Son. Waited her whole life to share the good news. And she did.

And so I have no compunction in reproducing a bit of Beaker Gold from a few years ago: "A Song for Anna". 

All the years I have waited
Each day here
As the round of slaughtered beasts
has filled the air
with the smell of blood and flesh.
I have seen nations fall
Emperors rise - not dreaming that their realms will end
their statues will be broken,
their names erased.

Now, there in Simeon's arms - the still point
The axis on which the universe turns.
Ancient of Days, yet six weeks old.
Time for us now, Simeon
Dawn has come
We've waited through some dark nights
We've seen the light,
we can find our way home.

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Sabbath Sickness Blues

It was nice to see Dorney in the chip shop in Woburn Sands earlier.
Most of us haven't seen Dorney since March 2020. He has apparently been terribly ill, and is therefore still very scared of catching Covid.
So I was very pleased to see him, and asked when we might see him at the Moot House again.
However, turns out it's only partial good news and he's still ill and very scared of Covid on Sundays.
We pray for Dorney's continued recovery, to the point where he's well seven days a week.

Friday 13 January 2023

Funeral of a Beaker Person who died Suddenly

Quite a fraught and unnecessary experience at this morning's funeral service for Brandriff.

The Anti-Vax coalition turned up to say his sudden death was down to his recently having had a fifth Covid jab.

While the Aspley Guise branch of the Westboro Baptists came along to say his death was God's punishment for his openly gay lifestyle.

Anyway, the two demonstrations got into a massive punch-up outside the Crem, as they each tried to impose their explanations on the other bunch of weirdos. Apparently there's  bit of a crossover between the two groups. At least that's the only explanation I can find for why one of them was punching himself in the face.

Still, not what we needed when we were just wanting to say goodbye to Brandriff. Who died, aged 104, after crashing his Tesla into the chicken coop, while trying to do donuts around the Moot House. He leaves his widow Cassandra, eight children, and twenty-seven grandchildren. Our thoughts are with them all.

Cassandra invites us all to a commemorative dinner in the Hall tonight. The main course will be Chicken Brandriff. Which is like Coronation Chicken, only flatter.

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Commemoration of 50 Years of "Last of the Summer Wine"


Now half of a century's gone
Since those old Yorkshire chaps came on
They walked the dales, drank Tetley's ales
And dreamed of summer wine.

The bath-tub of time has flown
Down cobbled streets they made their own
They had a laff*in Ivy's Caff
And drained their summer wine.
The memories of the Seventies
Sepia in tone
Of smoke-smeared walls,old dance halls
Now they're all gone.
Those times now seem oh so far
And Holmfirth's got a cocktail bar.
They drink Porn Star Martinis now
Instead of summer wine.

Archdruid: 'Ow do, lads.

All: And lasses.

Clegg: And those that identify neither as lads nor lasses.

Archdruid: Fair do's. T'world's changed.

Blamire: Aye, t'days are gone when you could call a.....

Clegg: Not now, Cyril. We've got past all that.

Compo: Yer'll 'ave ter excuse Cyril. His Mum brought him up as an uptight little...

Clegg: Yer can't say that, either.

Nora Batty: Eey, he's lewd and obscene. 

Compo: Aye. But I can't grab you any more, Mrs Batty.

Archdruid: Not since the restraining order.

All: Aye, times 'ave changed.

Compo: What am I doing in church? I don't want to go to church.


Hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful


The chasing of Ferrets

Reading: "Consider the Lilies of the Field"  (and the Josephines, the Penelopes, etc)

Howard: I think we've really cracked it this time, Marina.

Marina: In a spoof church service in a closed-down Wesleyan Reformed Chapel? Surrounded by the spirits of former barmpots?

Howard: Who's gonna suspect us here? 

Pearl: Howard! 

Howard and Marina may climb under the pew, while Mr Wainwright and Mrs Partridge, Librarians, take their places.

Mrs Partridge: Ooh, I don't think we should be doing this here, Mr Wainwright.

Mr Wainwright: Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the people, Mrs Partridge. But we're here to remember a time when we couldn't organise our love lives through our phones. And lovers called each other by their surnames.

Mrs Partridge: Oooh Mr Wainwright! Have you deleted that Librarian's Dating App?

Mr Wainwright: "Bindr"? Yes, all it ever did was match me with Miss Davenport.

Miss Davenport: I thought he would sweep me away to paradise. And all we ever got to was a disused quarry in Finkle Street.

Hymn: Jerusalem

Foggy: Ah, makes you proud to be English. We'd sing "Jerusalem" in our little slit tents, making tea out of the shoelaces of dead Japanese corporals.

Seymour: We used to sing it at the Utterthwaite Academy. The sound of those little shivering voices, carrying on the frosty air...

Clegg: But those dark, satanic mills have gone now. Turned into car parks, executive apartments, and retail shopping opportunities.

Truly: So many pubs gone as well. Instead of a well-earned pint after a walk, you have to bring your own sports nutrition drink.

Billy Hardcastle: And you lot all gone with them, leaving the hills Robin Hood roamed to the sheep and property speculators.

Glenda: Barry, how come you're in your 70s now and still never made it as an exective?

Barry: I need a sharper suit.

Wesley: What's wrong with overalls?

Edie: Wesleeeey....

Wesley: Why are so talkin' so posh?

Edie: So the vicah can understend meh.

Crusher: Why've I got to wear this frock, Aunt Ivy?

Ivy: It's not a frock. It's a surplice. Now sing the last hymn.

Hymn: Abide With Me

Compo Simmonite will play the Last Post while Wally Batty releases a ceremonal pigeon.

Which will deposit its droppings onto Nora's washing.


Compo (scruffy old bloke, woolly hat) plays bugle while Truly (smart in pin stripe) and Cleggy (downtrodden suit and WW2 medals) stand to attention.

After the service you are invited to Syd's tea at the caff.
It will be terrible.


Last of the Summer Wine: 4/1/1973 - 29/8/2010. Killed by the BBC.

 * Yes, I know, sorry