Monday, 27 February 2012

Thought for the First week of Lent

Desperate Companion
Despair is a desperate companion for facing the unknown. Much rather the funny, dancing loving partner of my journey, the spirit of sparkling hope to lighten my load and wash away my tears. Perhaps I am searching in the wrong place, asking the wrong questions. O God, midwife of my life, deliver me from anxiety, dispel my fear, calm my racing heart, bring hope to birth again.
Kate McIlhagga

Joel 1-2;12-17

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— a day of darkness and gloom, ; a day of clouds and thick darkness!Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes;their like has never been from of; old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;  rend your hearts and not your clothing.Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him,a grain-offering and a drink-offering for the Lord, your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O ; Lord , and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations.Why should it be said among the peoples, “Where is their God?”

What is the meaning of Lent?

What are you giving up for Lent.?  I was asked.

Nothing. I am going to still eat chocolate and other things.

It is what I am taking on for Lent that makes the difference.

What are you going to take on for Lent?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Coming Home

I was returning home from Aylesbury in the car. I haven't done this journey in daylight for a while, with the dark evenings. As I came off the A41 at Bourne End, its a nasty exit, a very tight curve so you need to slow down so you are quite slow, I was greeted by a sign erected in a field.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It was nice - so unexpected. I was driving slow enough that I could read most of the verse., before I was past the sign and negotiating the roundabout.

Sometimes messages appear to us in the most unexpected places. We must not only look out for them , but take notice and act upon them.

St Mary's Church is at the moment thinking about changing their signs, to make the church more visible. Perhaps the signs we put up should be different to the ones saying "Here is St Mary's".

Perhaps the message should be different.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Thought for the week Next before Lent

A moment of blinding perception it
would be good to stay there,
but clutch it and it's gone.
They come unheralded,
those moments of of dazzling clarity,
and leave us as suddenly.
As well try catch the kingfisher
darting though stillness.
Be thankful for its jewelled beauty
and keep awake, alert.
Ann Lewin

The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.         (9.2–9)
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’  Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Trust in God Thought for the Week 2nd before Lent

There was a time when I used to try to get rid of the anxieties and doubts, a time when I used to look for certainty. Then I realised: no, what matters is to trust God.

Trusting God means throwing the whole thing into his hands. It is easy to trust when things go well. It is easy to trust when we see clearly. But it is quite, quite different when we have to walk in the dark and go on trusting.....…

Trusting God when things are not clear is one of the hardest things to do, but one of the greatest marks of our love.

The Mystery of Love- Cardinal Basil Hume

Monday, 6 February 2012

Snow Day

Our first snow fall in 2012 came late on Saturday evening, bring a crisp white Sunday Morning. Cars and the ground were covered in 4-6 inches of snow. Like many people we decided to walk to church. The walk was full of beautiful scenery, and being out early to church our footprints were the first in the snow since the fall.

Many of the choir made it to the church for the service. There was an incentive for some of the trebles as they were receiving medals or for three of them their surplus's.

The service on the Presentation to the temple cover the theme of how could Simeon see in the baby what would happen to the man. We looked at pictures of some of the congregation when they were little, trying to guess who they were. Considering the day and the bad weather  we managed about 60 in church for the morning service.

After the service many of the choir and some of the congregation helped lift the Organists car out of a hole that he had slowly skidded into. With a large number of people this was an easy job. The we had to help the Vicars son out of the drive and up a steep slope so that they could go home, then for the rest of us it was a journey across the snow covered Park to the souunds of many children having fun on their sledges speeding down the hill.

The evening service of choral evensong was less well attended and many of the choir members now managed to get to the church in a car since the main roads were now clear.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Thought for the Week - Presentation of Christ (Candlemas)

A Green Heart
Into a dark world
a snow drop comes,
a benison
of hope and peace,
carrying within it
a green heart,
a symbol of God’s renewing love.
Come to inhabit our darkness
Lord Christ,
for dark and light
are alike to you.
May nature’s white candles of hope
remind us of your birth
and light our journey
through Lent and beyond.

Kate McIlhagga
From the Green heart of the Snowdrop.

 Luke.    (2.22–40)

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;  for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,  a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your  people Israel.’ And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 
Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.  At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.