Pewsheet for 26th April 2015

Pewsheets

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The Associate Vicar Writes…

Clergy

If there was one point to make about the Gospel this Sunday then it should be this: The disciples’ unbelief knows no bounds.

  • They are told by the women and don’t believe that someone could be raised from the dead.
  • They didn’t believe the two disciples who running back from Emmaus after their encounter with the risen Christ came to tell them the good news.
  • When Jesus enters the room they believe he is a ghost.
  • Even after Jesus shows him his wounds they still don’t believe it possible that Jesus could have come back from the tomb.

It takes Jesus eating for them to believe that he was alive.  It is not only Thomas who doubts but all eleven disciples are struggling to come to terms with this weird and wonderful news.

David Lose, president of the Lutheran seminary in Philadelphia, and one of my favourite bloggers, writes on this Sunday’s reading “If you don’t have serious doubts about the Easter story, you’re not paying attention.”  That a human being is able to be raised from the dead is so improbable that it demands of us to completely rethink how we believe the world functions.  What looked like total failure suddenly became a victory that changed the world.

And so doubt is inextricably part of our faith.  It is part of the process that enables us to expand our understanding of how God works in our world.  And how God works in and through everyone of us! The disciples’ understanding of the world was changed by meeting the risen Christ.  Our understanding should change too, if we are paying attention.

This also affects how we see ourselves within our Christian community.  What wonderful works is God able to do with us?  We might have to re-imagine how God can use us as God’s Church in our parish.

Pewsheet for 12th April 2015

Pewsheets

Click here to see this week’s pewsheet.

Tip: If this, or any other, PDF document opens at too large a size, here’s what you do:

  1. Open Adobe Reader, for example, by opening a *.pdf document you have on your computer.
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  3. With Page Display selected in the left hand list of Categories, on the right hand side of the window, choose a Page Layout and Zoom level that suits you, for example Single Page and Fit Page as shown here:Preferences
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The Curate writes…

Clergy, Uncategorized

I am writing this, having just got in from a round of golf at Tilgate. I teed off at 6am all alone with the sun just rising and just enough light to see my golf ball.  The next few hours I was alone amongst God’s wonderful creation, with my golf clubs, a small white ball and several deer for company.

I was thinking what I might write in this weeks pew sheet – should I expand upon the need to have healthy doubts, such as Thomas in our Gospel reading, and always be willing to ask ourselves questions so that our faith remains real, open and vibrant. However, as I swung a golf club and then looked for my ball in the woods – my thoughts settled on the enormous challenging picture that our Acts reading offers of the early Church. A place where testimonies were given, there was no envy, there was no need and there was grace upon them all.

What about our Parish? As a family we have found the last year financially challenging as we made the decision that Liz would not seek paid employment in order to support the girls and our ministry in the Parish. This was okay apart from some rather large car bills, but God has blessed us even then – for several anonymous cash gifts arrived that exactly covered the bills. We also received two bags of food goodies at Christmas and a bag of Christmas gifts on our doorstep. This has meant that we have all felt loved, valued and provided for by a loving family – a family that this weekend bids goodbye to Meurig (thank you, Meurig, for all you have done). A family that can at times truly reflect the picture of Church, painted in Acts.

Thank You – the Burstons

The Rector Writes…

Clergy

Alleluia. Christ is risen!

Last night at the Easter Vigil, bells rang out and we brought the church out of darkness into light – the light of Christ.

This morning we celebrate afresh, in the spirit of Mary Magdalene, the glorious Gospel … the Good News that Christ died and on the third day rose again … the Good News that heralds the joyous fact that from that moment on everything was different. Our celebration continues today with the wonderful privilege of baptising, as has been the custom of the Church on this day since the earliest times, three precious young children.

We welcome three children, their families and friends today for baptism. Our celebration today is a far cry from the media’s insistence that Easter, like Christmas, has lost its real meaning; that it has become just another retail season. The BBC writes, “A large, feathery egg stands in the middle of a small street in a shopping area in north London. Beneath it is an Easter message: ‘This egg is to remind people to shop at the independent retailer’”.

Such messages reinforce the importance of our telling, re-telling and telling again the Good News of the Easter Story – just as Peter and Paul do in our readings. It is the re-telling of this story, our story, which has been at the heart of our Holy Week Services. And so we have been reminded that it remains just as much Good News today as it did to the early Christians. Following the risen Christ means life, abundant and joy-filled life. That is what we celebrate today in the renewal of our Baptismal vows together with those being newly baptised.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!