Chaplain’s Reflection

Deborah Chapman (2)

December 2017

‘We would like to see Jesus!’
John 12.21b

On 30 November we celebrate St Andrew’s day – always at the end of the rhythm of the Christian year. Many of Jesus’ disciples were from Galilee, including Philip and Andrew, who were both from Bethsaida (John 1.35-44), where the fresh water of the lake yielded Andrew and his brother Simon a good living from its abundance of fish. Andrew became known as the first evangelist because ‘The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.’ (John 1.41-42)

In John 12, Andrew is still taking people along with him to Jesus. Jesus’ reply to the news that some Greeks wanted to ‘see’ him was to say “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (v.23) And then He carries on with the paradox of how death leads to glory:
A grain of wheat dies…it produces many seeds (it is ‘glorified’)
Those who love their lives will lose them…those who hate their lives in this world will keep them for eternal life (i.e. be ‘glorified’)

Moses also asked to ‘see’ God, associating it with glory: ‘“Now show me your glory!”’ Exodus 33.18 ‘And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you…”’ v.19 God’s greatest goodness is dying for us in Christ. His greatest GLORY is that goodness! And our own greatest GLORY is also our goodness – that in our being which most resembles God – His image in us.

The 150 Psalms begin in Psalm 1 with a study in contrasts. First is a description of those who are blessed. They are those who do NOT
Walk in the counsel of the wicked
Stand in the way of sinners
Sit in the seat of mockers
That means that in their whole lives they do NOT associate with those who are opposed to God’s goodness. Then there follows a description of the opposite – the wicked! Yes – the Bible pulls no punches. Wicked people do exist, and they are the ones opposed to God’s goodness – have nothing to do with them, because they are wicked and wickedness is insubstantial, like the ring wraiths in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. ‘They are like chaff that the wind blows away.’ (v.4)

The ‘good’ on the other hand, are blessed! They ‘delight in the law of the Lord’ (v.2) i.e. in the expression of His goodness and His guidance about how to be good themselves. And in their families, of course, they impress the same on their children (see Deuteronomy 6.7). The Deuteronomy passage is part of the great Jewish shema – ‘Hear O Israel…’ that remains an important part of our Anglican liturgy.

As Mothers’ Union, we are very interested in how to help families be strong. Here is a wonderful trinity to bear in mind as we teach our own children and encourage other families in their own lives in Christ. GOODNESS – GLORY – LIFE! A trinity of words we have ‘in Christ’, and that, like Andrew, we need to introduce people to. Pray that as Mothers’ Union members we may aspire to be truly ‘good’, losing our lives to gain them for eternal life – our GLORY NOW! – in obedience to His will and teaching our children to do likewise!!







earlier posts.





  • About Myself

    The Rev Dr Deborah Chapman

    Born in a small town in Massachusetts, the first of 5 children, my parents took me to Argentina when I was a year old. This is how I grew up bilingual, with Spanish as my first spoken language. I feel very much ‘at home’ with the grand mix that is the Mothers’ Union throughout the world. ‘Home’ is not a feeling that is usual with me, having lived in five different countries in Latin America, as well as various places in the U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Papua New Guinea and most recently, in Sharjah (UAE). I am now a cleric with Permission to Officiate in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar, accompanying my husband John who is the Chaplain at St George’s Barcelona.

    John, from Scotland, and I met in 1977, at the London Bible College, after I had moved to London in 1976 to study linguistics and then theology, having been accepted as a Bible translator with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We married in 1980, and thereafter worked together in Christian mission with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (1979-1991), and Latin Link (1991-2002) before both of us became ordained Anglican Deacons then Priests. I have been a Mothers’ Union member since serving my curacy at St Mellitus Hanwell (2005-2008), and served as the Mothers’ Union Chaplain for the Willesden Area of the London Diocese for just one year (2012-2013) before John accepted the calling to be Chaplain of St Martin’s Sharjah, UAE. There was no Mothers’ Union there, but I was very involved with the Women’s Fellowship, and through them with the Vacation Bible School for the children. It is a great joy to be invited to serve as Chaplain for the Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Europe!

    I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour one night when staying in a hotel in Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia – my apologies if you need an atlas to work out where that is! I was 16 at the time. Nothing has brought me more satisfaction in life than allowing my Lord to guide me into that fullness of life that He promises in John 10.10. My husband John and our two married children and their spouses - Matthew (and Belinda) and Kirstin (and Elliot) are a huge part of the full life He has given me, as is the pleasure of serving Him as an ordained minister. I also enjoy walking, swimming, reading, writing, painting, cooking and being an occasional academic.