Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Day at our church 2013

The Easter Cross:
(for a picture of the building from the outside, go to

A Rough Version today's Sermon on Evidence for Resurrection;

This is based on the notes I made for myself, and what I understood/took from the sermon. So it may not necessarily by totally accurate, or indeed exactly what was intended by the preacher!

Rolled a "Stone" - actually a circular plastic garden tabletop - up the aisle, pretending it was a one-and-a-half ton stone of the sort used to seal a grave
This website has a discussion about the size and weight of the stone.

Four legs for the "table" to stand on:
1. The Empty Tomb - Would you stand and preach in Jerusalem, where it all happened, if you hadn't actually seen the empty tomb with your own eyes? Everyone in Jerusalem would have known everything. (check out the book "Who Moved the Stone by Frank Morison)

Historians of the period eg Gamaliel (next bit copied and pasted from Wikipedia)

According to Acts, his authority with his contemporaries was so great that they accepted his advice, regardless of how unwelcome it was. Gamaliel's concluding argument to them had been:
"if it be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it; lest perhaps ye be found even to fight against God".
The Book of Acts later goes on to describe Paul of Tarsus recounting that he was "educated at the feet of Gamaliel" about Jewish law, although no details are given about which teachings Paul adopted from Gamaliel, and hence how much Gamaliel influenced aspects of Christianity.

2. The Sleeping Roman Guards. - There would normally have been 16 guards. The penalty for sleeping on duty was so severe (unpleasant death) that they would have kept each other awake.

3. Witnesses- Jesus appeared to about 500 people, singly or in groups, after the Resurrection, and was touched, or ate food on more than one occasion.

4. Jesus Changed Lives then, and Changes Lives now - horrendous things are done in the name of religion, which is a system - but Jesus is about a personal relationship - you and Him. Religion has been constructed by people around Him.  

Easter Address - copied from Simon Cutmore's blog


I've copied and pasted this post from  Rectory Musings  - A Vicar's journal - by Simon Cutmore, because of the C S Lewis quotation, and also because of the 6-words idea. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013 

The Easter Address that never was...

As many of you know I am a user of what some people call new media - in other words I use Twitter (@SimonGCutmore) and Facebook ( to connect with people in different ways and different places.

My favorite of the new media set has to be Twitter which is a microblog. It’s a bit like writing a journal of thoughts and happenings but really value Twitter’s challenge of saying what I want to in 140 characters or less.

I discovered a website this week that encourages you to write an autobiography in six words or less. It’s full of people both famous and ordinary trying to distill their lives down to six words about what is most important or distinguished or interesting about them.

The site has also spawned several books, which collect the best of the stories; the first was called “Not Quite What I Was Planning,” and the most recent is titled “It All Changed in an Instant.” I find it fascinating, both how popular the site is and also what a challenge it is to try to fit something about our essence into such a narrow form.

Some six-word stories are poignant: “I still make coffee for two,” writes someone recovering from a breakup. Some are clever: “Well, I thought it was funny,” is the offering of comedian Stephen Colbert.  Some are tragic: the inspiration for the project was an old tale about Ernest Hemingway, who, challenged to write a story in six words, is said to have come up with this: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

It made me think that for all the joy and fanfare of the Easter celebrations, for all the mystery of faith in God, for all the billions of words used over centuries to explain it all, Christianity itself has a 6 word autobiography: Jesus is risen from the dead.

There are thousands of words in the Bible and none of them make any sense without these 6 words.

These are the words that the breathless women carried from the empty tomb back to the other disciples. These are the words that have been passed from person to person, from community to community, every day since then -- in secret, in triumph, in darkness, in celebration.

These six words that have taken us from scattered, broken people who are lost to the largest religion in the world. It is these six words that have found countless individuals whose lives were already dead -- broken by pain and suffering, by sin and darkness -- and given them new life.

These are the words that are whispered at bedsides and shouted from rooftops and shared at dinner tables and workplaces and in neighborhoods. These are the words that have been forbidden by governments both ancient and modern, and yet somehow they have still been spoken, still been shared.  Millions of lives have been transformed by these six words beginning with Mary Magdelene at the empty tomb.

C.S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

This is the story of our lives, the story of the life of the world, the story of life itself. It is the story of how life is stronger than death, how God’s love for us is stronger than death. It is, in the end, the only story that there is.
And so, in Easter, we hear these six words again: Jesus is risen from the dead.

How will these words change your story? Where do you hear the call to new life -- to come out of the tomb you’ve been sealed in, the tomb of fear or the tomb of hopelessness or the tomb of dreams that have been lost or delayed?  How will you receive this news that is now handed again to you?

And how will these words change the world? What does our story still have to say to a world at war, a culture at odds, a people in pain? How will we be sure that they will hear our story of hope?

Every day we write our story again, and we say that it is no less true today than it was on the first day; it is no less miraculous today than it was on the first day -- no less shocking, no less joyful, no less important, no less life-changing and meaningful.

Jesus is risen from the dead.  Run and tell the others what you’ve heard.


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Maundy Thursday 2013

Found this on twitter at the link below.

" Robert Miller 28 Mar
Wonderful, intimate feel to these Maundy Thursday scenes: Mandatum and Gethsemane. Arundel 157 f. 9 "
Elsewhere, someone who attended a "Last Supper/Passover" at their church posted:

"As the conversations slowly came to an end, it slowly dawned on some of those who had been at the Seder tonight, as they were beginning to leave, that Jesus and the others must also have been mellow as they left for Gethsemane!

The third cup of blessing and the words of 1 Corinthians 11.23b - 26:

'On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.'

Having eaten the bread and drunk the third cup of blessing and sung, the 'communion' instituted, celebrated (and hopefully consigned to memory), we moved to  fourth and final cup - the meal completed.

That was it - the meal was done. We were leaving.

Not for Gethsemane but home.

Then came a voice asking: 'is this how the disciples were? I feel a little 'jolly' .'

'I reckon so,' said I.

'no wonder they fell asleep while He was praying,' came the reply!!

Tonight we were family as we shared the Passover with Christ and His Disciples. Tonight anamnesis  (active remembrance) was ours - hallelujah!!"

Easter 2013 - Risen Christ - Piera

Christ, risen, before anyone else is awake. The soldiers are asleep, on the left it is winter, on the right, summer. From a blogpost by Fr Stephen Heard.

Easter Saturday 2013 - Unconditional Love - Vanstone book

‘I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ says Jesus in St John. It’s a question of how we understand love. If we see it in punitive terms, God exacting a penalty in his own Son for the sins of the world, we miss the fundamental point about the nature of love. Its categories are not legal or ceremonial but personal.  It is self-forgetting, self-giving, self-emptying. There is no higher category with which to define it.
Love is simply what it is. 
He loves us because he loves us. 
It costs everything and gives everything.

William Vanstone puts it like this in words we also sang, drawn from his profound book Love’s Endeavour, Love’s Expense:
Love that gives, gives ever more,
Gives with zeal, with eager hands,
Spares not, keeps not, all outpours,
Ventures all, its all expends.


Product Details

William H. Vanstone
Morning glory, starlit sky,
Leaves in springtime, swallows' flight,
Autumn gales, tremendous seas,
Sounds and scents of summer night;

Soaring music, tow'ring words,
Art's perfection, scholar's truth,
Joy supreme of human love,
Memory's treasure, grace of youth;

Open, Lord, are these, Thy gifts,
Gifts of love to mind and sense;
Hidden is love's agony,
Love's endeavour, love's expense.

Love that gives gives ever more,
Gives with zeal, with eager hands,
Spares not, keeps not, all outpours,
Ventures all, its all expends.

Drained is love in making full;
Bound in setting others free;
Poor in making many rich;
Weak in giving power to be.

Therefore He Who Thee reveals
Hangs, O Father, on that Tree
Helpless; and the nails and thorns
Tell of what Thy love must be.

Thou are God; no monarch Thou
Thron'd in easy state to reign;
Thou art God, Whose arms of love
Aching, spent, the world sustain.
this hymn comes at the end of the book - memo to self - book has rave reviews - add to list of books to read! 

Easter Saturday 2013 - Watching and Waiting

Monday, 18 March 2013

How the Holy Trinity Works - is it as easy as ABC?


I was listening to ABC Justin Welby being interviewed by a reporter on Radio 4 on Sunday morning. I have no idea who the reporter is, and I apologise if I misquote anyone;

this is what I took away from their conversation:

Reporter "In view of (the usual load of problems and issues about women priests and gay marriage and church disunity and falling membership etc etc - I don't mean to dismiss these as not important but it comes up EVERY TIME), don't you feel daunted by the task ahead?"

ABC (something along the lines of) "I would be daunted if I thought I had to do it all on my own. But I will be doing this with the Grace of God, in the Power of the Holy Spirit, and under the Authority of Jesus Christ."

Well, that's it in a nutshell.

Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, I will ponder this in my heart. Thanks, Arch Bishop

Interlaced triquetra which is a trefoil knot.
from wikipedia

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mothering Sunday 10th March 2013

Handprint heart

As usual, my Sunday School planning has been sketchy, last minute, put together on the fly.

It worked out OK though. What a great bunch of children!

On the assumption that there would only be about half a dozen (based on the last time I was on the rota, back in January) I thought I would risk doing handprints as the activity.

I loved these hearts from |With a bit of planning (large bowl of water, dishcloth and pile of paper towels, protective surface, plates of paint all ready at one end of the table) and a second activity from the same site set up with my helpers at the other end of the table that was the "cutting and sticking" part done. Now, how about the "churchy" stuff?

On another site of Mother's Day activities, some Bible verses were suggested: 2 Corinthians 3-7:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

That fitted nicely with the handprint coupons. Instead of promising to do jobs around the house, they could offer their mothers a cuddle in exchange for a coupon, because sometimes a Mummy needs a cuddle or a hug.

James, bless him, twigged immediately that their cuddle could come from Jesus, because we are all made in the image of Jesus/God.

The other children were very intrigued, and loved the idea that they could pass on a Jesus-hug to their Mummy.

Now for the prayer bit. They were a little dubious when I suggested that we would all think about Jesus and love for 15 whole seconds, but gave it a go. Then we tried thinking about people who didn't know Jesus for another 15 seconds. Finally we thought about our mothers for 15 seconds.

Finally, with still some time to fill, I sang the song Kumala Vista to them - it's a simple "listen and copy song" which some of them knew already, and then again with "churchy" words to make it into a prayer song.

Phew. And the paint was just about dry by the end of the service.

Sunday 10th March The past, the present, the future

I was sitting having a coffee with my father today.

He reminded me of someone. He's lost weight, and the lines of his face and jaw are more clearly defined. He had a trick of moving his jaw that I hadn't really noticed before. We've always joked about his bushy eyebrows; they are a more extravagant version of his mother's. Mine are going the same way!

And then, through the strong lines of his face, the shape of his head, the movement of his jaw, a slow blink of his eyes in acknowledgement of an idea, I saw my grandmother's, his mother's, face. The impression became stronger as we reminisced about her.

Thinking about it, I'm not sure that I really knew what my grandparents, or even my parents, looked like, until I was about 10 years old. Before then they definitely exist as a constant part of my life, but as impressions, not as images.

So that means that my mental pictures of my grandmother date from when she was about 75 to 85. Well, my father is an octogenarian these days, and so slap in the middle of my strongest recollections of my grandmother. (Grandfather died when I was about 5 or 6, and although I have a few "impressions" of him, nearly all my memories are derived from stories and photographs).

My children are in their mid twenties. So does that mean that their mental images of me, and their father, are based on what we look like from when I was gone 40, and he was nearer 50?

I came across some photographs of us from the 1980's, before the children were born. My hair was mid-brown, his closer to red, and his beard a rich chestnut colour. We were young - I was the same age as my daughter!

Now that last sentence has made me feel very weird!