Rev. Dr. Scott Peddie

Conjectures of an Eclectic Christian

For many years now I have been very much a fan of the writings of the monk, writer, theologian and mystic, Thomas Merton. His commentaries and insights into ethics, non-violence, social action, the contemplative life, inter-faith dialogue and so much more, have been of great interest, and application, to me on my own very personal …

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A favourite short poem of mine was written during the Victorian era by William Ernest Henley. ‘Invictus’ is a classic blend of Stoicism, cultural and a biblical reference.  With respect to the latter, in the fourth stanza Henley alludes to Matthew 7:14, ‘Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto …

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It was English poet Alfred Tennyson who wrote: “Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’” And so we embrace that hope as we move inexorably towards a new year. For many though, it can be difficult to focus entirely on the future. The year gone by may …

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Nativity Narratives: Realism & Transformation

December 25, 2017

suffering

It may seem somewhat maudlin to reflect on the topic of suffering on Christmas Day – a day of joyful celebration and expressions of togetherness. Christianity presses home the point that yes, suffering is real, but amidst that emotional, mental and  physical turmoil, there is transcendence and an encounter with a broader reality.

The joy of Jesus’ birth is brought into sharp relief by the inevitability, and the horror, of the crucifixion.   For example, in Isaiah 53:3  it was prophesied that Jesus would indeed be treated appallingly: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” One could say with validity that the shadow of the cross accompanied Jesus throughout his earthly ministry.

Jesus embraced suffering; he did not seek it out, nor did he attempt to avoid it. His life was a cogent memorial that we are all presented with myriad challenges, and that joy, and suffering, are often intertwined in the unfolding narrative of our existence. But crucially, God has the last word: suffering is transient, and through the incarnation, brought forth boldly into our consciousness by the nativity story, it is transformed. As we read in John 1:5, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it‘.

 

 

As a Logotherapist and Existential Analyst I’m often asked what my favourite Viktor Frankl quote is. Such a difficult question! There are so many profoundly moving and insightful words contained in his writings and now very firmly ensconced in his legacy. If I had to choose though, it would be a sentence I’ve clung onto …

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Here is the text of my sermon from today’s service at Cliftonville Moravian Church: Grounded in Reality; Transformed by Hope! On Wednesday evening, I was teaching dream analysis in Glengormley to a group of therapists and other interested individuals.  Here, in our church, I have spoken briefly about dreams as they occur in the Biblical …

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Sacrificing ourselves for others, or indeed the greater good, doesn’t seem to have much currency in our modern society where individualism holds sway.  Or is this really the case?  Are there still people around who live out Jesus’ famous injunction written in John 15: 13 that ‘Greater love has no one than this, that one …

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