Hanging around like a bad smell

My dad and I agree on a great many things but one thing we can’t see eye to eye on is kippers. They are one of his favourite things to have for breakfast, I cannot stand them.

It’s the smell that I can’t stand. It gets into everything. It’s unshakeable. Whenever Dad had kippers the house would smell and so would we. It would get into our clothes and hair, it would follow us around all day. Windows would be opened, candles lit, washing done, but still the smell would remain.

I think sin can feel a little bit like the smell of kippers. I suspect that the smell didn’t linger as long as I thought, likely my paranoia about smelling like kippers was worse than the reality. Even after we have dealt with sin, even after we have been forgiven, the guilt and worry can cling to us like a stench. We need to wash properly to get rid of it.

That’s part of the beauty of baptism. It’s proper washing. When we ask God to forgive us he does. Not partially, temporarily, or with caveats. We are fully forgiven and our sin is gone. God wants us to be free from sin and from the lingering of guilt too. If the guilt hangs around it stops us from being free and whole. Baptism is a reminder that we are truly clean.

This week as we remember Jesus’ baptism we remember that because of him we are clean and free. Our sin is gone and so is the guilt. The bad smell has been washed away.


On Wednesday 9th January at 8pm we are starting a new course called Reason for God. This course is an ideal first exploration of the Christian faith… and also ideal for those who did the ‘Talking Jesus’ course and would like to take it further. The course uses literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and reasoning to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth. Follow the link below to book your place 

This Sunday’s Services – 13th January

8.00am Holy Communion, All Saints’ Church
9.30am Contemporary Service, St Peter’s Parish Church
11.00am Sung Eucharist, St Peter’s Parish Church
3.00pm Tea & Hymns, St Peter’s Church Hall
4.00pm Evensong, St Paul’s Church

Reason for God

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