Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thought for the week Advent 4

Christmas coming.

This Christmas, Lord,
Take a corner of my life and steal in…
Invade the busyness of doing
with the quiet of you coming.
This Christmas, Lord,
take a corner of my mind and steal in…
illuminate the darkness of my thinking
with the brightness of your seeing.
This Christmas, Lord,
take a corner of my heart and steal in…
infuse the coldness of my loving
with the warmth of your Being.
This Christmas, Lord,
as at Bethlehem stable, come and steal in…
take the unprepared places of my life
and make them fit for your dwelling.
Source unknown

Luke 1.39–45, (46–55)

Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry,
‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Advent 3 Study Group More Questions than answers

Sometimes the sermons are good, sometimes they are for our own good, but sometimes they are very helpful and supportive.

I had to take an Advent group because our local vicar was busy involved in some other matter. After the group, I sent her this email.

Her response to this was a wonderful sermon to answer all my questions.

"A few of us gathered together to look at the Advent 3 Study. We read from Isaiah 61 1-11. Assuming from what we had learnt before this was Isaiah 3 and with my vast knowledge from Wikipedia - one of the only 2 anointed prophets. From what we had learnt before this seemed a strange idea of a group of people being the anointed one, but still this session was about questions not answers. We decided that this was another covenant with the promise of a second garden of Eden if the peopled followed the word of the Lord then ... The theme was incarnation for all. We really struggled to see how the passage and these reading fitted together, especially with Tony’s definition of “God in another form”. Even with the notes help of God coming to earth in human flesh we didn't really see this in the passage. Perhaps we just missed the point. We did think the anthem Spirit of the Lord did express some of this passage  better. Confusion reigned.

Thessalonians 5 didn't help us much more. We saw some instructions. We talked about happiness and joy which didn't seem abound on the faces on the congregation very often and perhaps why. We talked about the types of sermons we listened to and the formal structure of the church and perhaps how it really didn’t help matters.

By the time we reached John 1 we were a little confused about John saying that the Messiah was already standing out there in the crowd. We talked about baptism and the idea of full immersion rather than throwing a little water on the forehead. We decided that taking over the local diving pool and after full immersion of the subjects having a pool party to celebrate might have a bit more meaning to the congregation - making a happy fun memorable day rather than a solemn church occasion. We had really lost the point of incarnation around about here and we really struggled with the part “who the other prophet was”. The small p didn't help – so it wasn’t Moses.

A serious lack of old testament knowledge didn’t help us. Perhaps more is needed in sermons during the year rather than just following the lectionary from year to year without learning something new (the basics). Learning some of the basics here really would help.

We were not sure why in answer to the first question “who are you?”  The answer was who he was not??? Why would he say he wasn't the Messiah - was this just Johns peculiar way of writing?? We talked why John 1 was used at Christmas when this is a most difficult piece of text and most of the congregation are one time visitors. No wonder they don't come again!! This also raised questions why in last week’s sermon for the prophets we looked at John the Baptist who said he wasn't he wasn't one.

Confusion set in.

Why was it so important to name the place where John was? We look forward to this week’s sermon on John the Baptist not as a prophet?"

Each point was well addressed aiding not just my understanding and those of the rest of the group but also answering questions that may have not been tackled before about Christmas. Our understanding improved and now I can look on this Christmas with much better understanding.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christingle 2012

For over 40 years The Children’s Society Christingle has been a key part of celebrations within churches and has raised essential funds to support the charity’s work with vulnerable children and young people across the country.

The Christingle is an orange, which represents the world. Around this is a ribbon which represents the blood of Christ shed for all. It is also spread around the world as the spirit of the Lord is all around the Earth. There are 4 sticks in the Christingle which represent the 4 season and the 4 points of the world, North, East, South and West showing how Gods presence is all around the world.

On each of these sticks are some fruits or marshmallows representing the fruits of the world. Around the base of the candle we have a piece of green foil to represent the advent wreath  or sometimes silver foil to represent the light of Christ reflected in us. Finally there is a lighted candle,  which represents the light of the world

The origins are said to come from a Christmas in 1747 in Germany, when Bishop Johannes de Watteville thought about how he could explain the love of Jesus and what Christmas really means to the children in the church. He decided to make a simple symbol to express the message of Christmas in a fresh and lively way. Pastor Johannes de Watteville gave each child a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon, with a prayer that said "Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these dear children's hearts".

Today we had our own Christingle service with many young children coming, collecting a Christingle. We collected money for the Children's Society and collected new toys for giving to the local children's refuge to ensure that all those children had a present to open on Christmas Day.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Thought for the week Advent 3

A prayer for Advent

Lord, fill our hearts with the Advent Spirit Allow us to overflow with the real gifts this season of preparation has to offer. May we take time to enjoy the blessings of Advent. Let us stop the rush and allow the risen Lord Jesus to enter our bring. Let us clear our vision and deepen our concern. May we move from concern for self to a place where we freely give of ourselves and receive with joy the great gift of salvation the Christ Child brings.
Rev Annette Reed, Vicar of Little and Great Paxton with Diddington in Cambridgeshire

Luke 3.7–18

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’

And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Thought for the Week Advent 2

Wilderness is the place of Moses,
a place of no longer captive and yet not free,
of letting go and learning new living.
Wilderness is the place of Elijah,
a place of silence and loneliness,
of awaiting the voice of God and finding clarity.
Wilderness is a place of John,
a place of repenting,
of taking first steps on the path of peace.
Wilderness is the place of Jesus,
a place of preparation,
of getting ready for the reckless life of faith.
We thank you, God, for the wilderness.
Wilderness is our place.
As we wait for the land of promise,
teach us new ways of living,
lead us to where we hear your word most clearly,
renew us and clear out the wastelands of our lives,
prepare us for life in the awareness of Christ's coming
when the desert will sing
and the wilderness blossom as the rose.
Francis Brienen

Luke 3.1–6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,

‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”’

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thought for the week 25th Nov Christ the King

Jesus’ followers are not subjects in a kingdom but persons who hear the truth and respond to it. It is in this and not in a political sense that Jesus can be understood as king and possessing a kingdom. Jesus concludes his comment to Pilate with a veiled challenge: “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” The implicit challenge is clear to Pilate: “Will you listen to me and accept the truth, God’s plan for salvation?” Pilate chooses to evade the challenge: “Truth, eh? What is that?”
John J. Pilch

John 18.33b–38

Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’

Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’ After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Thought for the week 18th Nov The end of the world

The reading from Mark asks us to consider the future of our planet. Written in the shadow of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, Mark 13:1-8 speaks of human violence and natural upheaval as foreshadowing the coming of the Son of Man. Apocalyptic forecasts still intrigue us. People still try to interpret Nostradamus and Revelation as textbooks for the final days of Planet Earth. While taking these texts too seriously may lead to despair and passivity, they remind us of our personal and planetary vulnerability.With the possibility of planetary destruction on the horizon, Mark counsels us to “not be alarmed.” Destruction is not the final word for us or the planet. This is a challenging word, since many of us fear what the future will bring and see ourselves helpless in relationship to forces beyond our control. Although we may not expect a Second Coming or a divine rescue operation when the going gets rough, the gospel affirms that we can trust that God is with us, energizing us and calling us to lifesaving and planetary-transforming action in our own perilous time. We are part of a larger Divine Holy Adventure in which our actions shape the future of the planet and our own futures.
Bruce Epperly

Mark 13.18
As Jesus came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings! Then Jesus asked him, Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.

When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?

Then Jesus began to say to them, Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Thought for the week 11th November Remembrance Sunday

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae

Three Poems for you to remember those who fell and continue to fall in battle so we can be free.

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, 
England mourns for her dead across the sea. 
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, 
There is music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; 
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home; 
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; 
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; 
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!
Rudyard Kipling

Monday, 5 November 2012

Thought for the week 4th November 2012 All Saints and All Souls

Perhaps one of the joys reserved for us hereafter will be to learn what became of our intercessions and to meet the souls they supported in time of need. And for ourselves, there will be the joy of meeting those who have prayed for us and so of realising from a new angle our share in the Communion of Saints. If so, we may learn then how much the Church owes and we ourselves as members of it, to the artless prayers uttered by simple child-like souls, the value of whose intercession we should little have suspected.
Hubert Northcott. CR (1884-1967)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Thought for the week 28th Oct 2012

Lord, for that word,
the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts
and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains,
rebukes us and inspires us:
Lord of the word,
receive your people's praise.
Timothy Dudley-Smith

John.            (5.36–47)

Jesus said to the Jews: ‘I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.

How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Thought for the week 21st Oct 2012

But . . . . . what about the vast majority of Christians today who long to follow Jesus faithfully, but will most probably not (literally) lose their lives for doing so? Borg speaks of this kind of dying as a metaphor with two meanings, both at the core of Christian faith: "a dying of the self as the centre of its own concern" and "a dying to the world as the centre of security and identity." That kind of dying, Borg says, leads to transformation, when we lose our self-absorbed insecurities and are reborn: "the radical re-centering brings about a change so sharp that it can be described as dying to an old life and being born into a new life."
Rev Kate Huey

Mark 10. 35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with?’ They replied, ‘We are able.’

Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptised; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.  So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

Friday, 12 October 2012

Thought for the week 14th Oct Baby Memorial Service

On Sunday Afternoon the Baby Memorial Service takes place in church. Pray for all those who have lost their little ones.

This was a life that had hardly begun
No time to find your place in the Sun
No time to do all you could have done
But we loved you enough for a lifetime
No time to enjoy the world and it's wealth
No time to take life down off the shelf
No time to sing the songs of yourself
Though you had enough love for a lifetime
Those who live long endure sadness and tears
But you'll never suffer the sorrowing years
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears
Just love - Only love - In your lifetime.
Mary Yarnall

Just For Today by Vicki Tushingham
Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours
and not expect to get over my child's death,
but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.
Just for today I will remember my child's life, not just her death,
and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days
and moments we shared.
Just for today I will forgive all the family and friends
who didn't help or comfort me the way I needed them to.
They truly did not know how.
Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside, for maybe if I smile a little,
my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.
Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child,
for they are hurting too, and perhaps we can help each other.
Just for today I will free myself  from my self-inflicted burden of guilt,
for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world
I could have done to save my child from death,
I would have done it.
Just for today I will honour my child's memory by doing something with another child
because I know that would make my own child proud.
Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship
to another bereaved parent for I do know how they feel.
Just for today when my heart feels like breaking,
I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving
and the only reason I hurt is because
I had the privilege of loving so much
Just for today I will not compare myself with others.
I am fortunate to be who I am
and have had my child for as long as I did.
Just for today I will allow myself to be happy,
for I know that I am not deserting her by living on.
Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did,
my life did go on,
and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile  once more.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Thought for the week - Harvest Festival

Journeying with you, Creator God,
is to journey in your world,
full of marvels and such beauty.
To glimpse eternity in sky and sea,
to feel the earth and rock beneath my feet.
Journeying with you, brother Jesus,
is to journey with your friends.
To meet and travel a while together,
then part at the crossroads,
knowing you are with us all.
Journeying with you, Holy Spirit,
is to journey with the wind.
To move to your wild music
then try to sing your song
so others may hear.
Chris Polhill

Matthew 6.2533
Jesus said to his disciples: 
‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?”
or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things;
and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Thought for the week 30th Sept 2012

Skilful religion points to the mystery that is God with awe, instead of trying to explain everything with arrogance. You see in Jesus' day, the certainty principle stated that bad things happened to bad people and good people only received blessing upon blessing. So tragic accidents, massacres and any other suffering had to have a cause that lay in the people who suffered in the event. They must have drawn it to themselves! Jesus suggests that there is more going on in the mysteries of living and dying than a simplistic quest for certainty couched in trite dogmatic pronouncements. All that is certain is the mystery. True faith you see, is not belief, it is TRUST.
 Jesus called the people of his time to trust the God of
 the mystery and not try to play God themselves.
Rev Peter Woods

Mark 9.3850

After Jesus had finished teaching the disciples, John said to him, Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us. But Jesus said, Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thought for the week 23rd September 2012

who is the greatest
who is the first?
You were born in a stable
needing everything,
having nothing.
Your death was on the cross
needing everything,
having nothing.
And yet you are the greatest of all.
What do you ask of us?
Carry our crosses?
Serve all?
Oh Lord,
Give us only your grace.
Anne Osdieck

After Jesus had finished teaching the disciples, John said to him, Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us. But Jesus said, Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Thought for the Week 16th Sept 2012

The “real presence” of Communion is Jesus Christ in his full mystery. He is the sustenance of our lives, the nourishment of our faith. He is our truest food and drink.
John Kavanaugh, S. J.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Thought for the week 9th Sept Patronal Festival

Open to spirit,
gift of new life,
risk set aside,
accept the strife.
Taken in trust,
new family to be,
hands held out open,
love is the key.
Questions to ponder,
challenges to face,
always to wonder,
but strengthened by grace.
Called to a journey
carried alone,
the grief and the sadness
cuts to the bone.
Surprised by the Spirit,
the end is not here;
new life beginning,
surpassing and clear.

(Luke 1.46-55)

Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Friday, 31 August 2012

Thought for the week 2nd Sept 2012

Rhythm of Life

curling round the edge of space
like mist on a summer morning
meets dancing light,
to touch and separate,
to embrace and part,
on that first day
of God's creating.
So in the rhythm
of our lives
must joy and sadness
weave a pattern
of God's purpose:
touch and tinge
our lives
with sorrow
and gladness.
Kate McIlhagga

Mark 7.18, 1415, 2123 When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands? Jesus said to them, Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
“This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.”

You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Thought for the week 26th Aug 2012

The fire is lit,
the table set,
the door stands open.
Come to eat and drink,
come to be part of the community,
come to be part of the worldwide
of those who trust in Jesus.
Come round the table,
saint and sinner,
stranger and friend,
to break bread,
share wine,
prepared and poured for you.
In sharing the symbols
of life blood spilt
and body broken,
become one with Christ
and with all those,
who in pain,
yearn for healing today.
Come, here is food
for your healing,
bread and wine for your journey.
Come to be full-filled,
by God, the Giver and Lover of all.
Kate McIlhagga

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Thought for the week 19th August

be manna
for our journeys,
food that gives us life.
It is infinite love we need
for the source of all our goings,
strength for what comes our way
every moment of every day.
Be our love-source,
our life source.
And we shall
not ever
Anne Osdieck

Friday, 10 August 2012

Thought for the Week 12th August

A fragment of bread
A fragment of bread
cupped in my hand
torn off from the whole
cupped in my hand,
passed to me.
And I too must tear the body
to share with my neighbour
a fragment of bread
to embody me with them
and he with us.
A piece of bread
a bread of peace
scattered, grown
cut down, mown
gathered, ground
mixed pummelled
risen, fired and found.
A piece of bread
a bread of peace
sliced and toasted
broken shared
around a table
to give us life.
Kate McIlhagga

GOSPEL (John 6.35, 41–51)

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord

Jesus said to the crowd, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’

Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.”
Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

Friday, 3 August 2012

Thought for the Week 5th August

Anyone could have seen the first two just behind the fabric of the world. The third is in an unlooked-for ray of brilliance.
Power lifts over us abundantly in sunlight, ocean, lightning; matchless design in a bird’s wing. Only a mind sealed shut could see and not stir to the presence of a creating majesty. Voices speak suddenly with different claritysing in a key nobody taught. For those it touches this empowerment is undeniable as the wild wind. But power given utterly to the task of mending, healing, cleansing, at its own cost; making whole what was broken; pouring itself out endlessly to be a light to the soul lost in the dark rocks; spending itself as salt to fend off decay this is a new song, a gift beyond imagining, and surpassing strange.
Roddie Cowie.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Wedding Andrew and Clare Darby

Saturday 28th April saw the Wedding of Mr Andrew Darby to Miss Clare Debenham. Although it was a miserable day outside inside it was a day of love and warmth. We would like to wish the couple, who both sing in the choir at St Marys, every happiness in their new life together as a married couple.
The wedding was performed by Rev Jenny Hill and our Rural Dean the Rev Canon David Lawson.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Thought for the Week The fourth Week of Easter.

Easter Blessing

How beautiful is the blossom
Spilling from the tree
The hidden primrose
and the bluebell
ringing out the news.
He is risen,
He is alive,
we shall live for evermore.
The dark winter is past
the slow, cold foggy days are over
May the warmth of your resurrection
touch our hearts and minds
as the warmth of the sun
blesses our bodies.
Kate Mcllhagga

John. (10.11–18)

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away – and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.
I have received this command from my Father.’

Monday, 23 April 2012

Thought for the Week Third Week of Easter

The Road to Emmaus

Road to Emmaus

Edward Keyes

Under the paschal skies the weight of dead hopes lay heavy. Only the wan light of rumour flickered fitfully. But who heeds women's tales fashioned of drams, losing the fact in the dream? The stranger was an irritant, dropping questions upon their mournful musings till he spoke again. Old embalmed sayings broke from their cerements. Hints and prophesies thrust quivering into the present with heart-warming life. The past was now. They walked through time on that Easter afternoon, yet somehow time was in the stranger, soon to be no stranger. They knew him in the breaking of the bread.

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Thought for the Week Second week of Easter

Doubt padlocked one door and
Memory put her back to the other.
Still the damp draught seeped in
though Fear filled all the cracks and
Blindness boarded up the window.
In the darkness that was left
Defeat crouched in his cold corner.
Then Jesus came
(all the doors being shut)
and stood among them.
by Luci Shaw in "The Risk of Birth" 1974

The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.          (20.19–31

It was evening on the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
the Risen Christif you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’
Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Monday, 9 April 2012

He is Risen - Thoughts on Easter

Its Easter Monday for me writing this. Holy week, Maunday Thursday and the Last Supper, the stripping of the altar and church, Good Friday and the cross, that long service, The Easter Saturday workshop with the kids, and the building of the Easter garden and setting up the church are all part of Easter.
On Easter morning, getting up at 4am to get down the church and be ready to start the service - The Easter Liturgy at 5am possibly (apart from the time) the best service of the year. This year we had to do a bit more work in the church, which I suppose bought us a bit nearer to the meaning.
I like the part of the service, when we all light the candles and walk into the church bringing the light from outside into the church, lighting candles as we go down.
After the service then we have the cooked Easter breakfast,with as many as can stay, then getting the church ready for the main Easter service at 10:00am - practising a few more anthems.
The Rest of the day is spent recovering. By early afternoon most of my household was asleep, on surfacing for an evening meal with Grand parents, before an Early Night.
Easter is hard word. Nothing like Christmas. A more gentle service and with a much deeper meaning. We celebrate the one man who died and came back to life to say we have nothing to fear. Death is no the end. It is only just the beginning.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Thought for the week 25th March Passion Sunday

Wheat and grainsHuman death
Enfolded darkness
Resting calm
Spark of life
Fresh hope
Lifted up
Glory blazes

A reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah                (31.3134)
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.