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The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity – 26th September 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

Our sermon today, from The Revd. Sue Auckland

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

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Sermon Text

Mark 9.38-end

38 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.’ 39But 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. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For 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.

42 ‘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. 43If 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. 45And 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., 47And 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, 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt 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.’

Jesus says:

We all know what salt is although perhaps we don’t sprinkle it as liberally on our meals as we used to when I was younger. We use it for taste, for preserving things and for bathing wounds; in Old Testament times it was a symbol of preservation or purity and also used extensively in making covenants and treaties between individuals or groups.

But what is Jesus talking about here when he says

Everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other” (Mark 9:49-50).

Bible commentators come up with various suggestions but I’m going to focus on two ideas that ring true for me.

You and I are modern day disciples in a very different world to first century Israel. As followers of Jesus we have a passion for living the Gospel and honouring God in the way we live our lives. The Gospel is based on God’s love when he sent Jesus to fulfil his ‘salvation plan’ for us and the world; Jesus died on a cross to set us free from all that separates us from a relationship with the living God. So just as salt purifies and cleans and adds flavour to things, we too are called to be salt in our world; called to be people who can make a difference in our world. Purified through Jesus, we need to show that gospel way of living to the world – a way of living based on love, truth and justice. It’s not enough to honour God with our lips but it has to be with our hearts, minds, and our very being as well. And that means sharing that love and showing that love, truth and justice in our relationships and actions other people and everywhere we go. And when we don’t – perhaps that’s when we lose ‘our saltiness’? !

But the other part that jumped out at me wasHave salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other’. One of my great sadnesses is how, throughout history, Christians, have been in dispute with each other. It hasn’t only done great harm at the time but that example has put an awful lot of people off Christianity. Several of my non-Christian friends use ‘the Inquisition’, the treatment of Catholics by Protestants and visa versa in Tudor times and the disputes in Northern Ireland as reasons for not wanting to embrace Christianity!

Us Christians are not all the same! We like to worship in different ways, and some of our beliefs may not gel with all but at the centre of the Gospel is the cross of Jesus, showing God’s love for us and all that that means and what it did for us ! And that is the same whatever Christian denomination belong to. So why do our other differences take over sometimes, allowing division to flourish?

Jesus tells us to ‘Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other’. To me that means – live your life as Jesus did, show the love of God in every thing you do, have positive relationships with fellow Christians, and others – use the idea of the symbolic salt of the Judaean covenant relationship – to be a covenant of peace with each other.

The gospel is the saltiness of the Christian life, it is the gospel which unites one Christian with another. It is selfish preoccupations with things that are unrelated to the gospel which make Christians fight with one another. And when Christians fight with one another, we lose the opportunity to be salt in a world that is consumed with fighting and we lose the opportunity to fulfil what Jesus says elsewhere: “By this will all men know that youre my disciples, that you love one another. So let’s make sure that we don’t lose our saltiness, in fact, the saltier the better!

Amen,

Compline for Wednesday 22nd September 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity – 12th September 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our sermon today, from Jamie Worthington

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

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Prayerful

Compline for Wednesday 8th September 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Elllis

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity – 12th September 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Our sermon today, from The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

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Prayerful

Sermon Text

Trinity 15 – 2021 Mark 8: 27 – end


Mark has told us earlier on in this chapter of his gospel that Jesus traveled about from town to town
– proclaiming the Kingdom of God by teaching and doing many healings and miracles including the
feeding of over 4000 people with 7 loaves and a few small fish – and healing a blind man – and
now – as they journey on – Jesus asks His disciples – “Who do the crowds say I am?” – what are
people saying about me?
Well – “some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others say one of the prophets.” The
people who had seen or heard about Jesus, talked about Him, speculated about Him and who He
was – or could be – according to the scriptures – (O T) – that they’d been brought up with – without
really coming to any conclusion. I find it interesting to note that Jesus passes no comment or
judgment either on those “some people” or on their opinion of His identity – He moves straight on
and addresses His question to His Disciples – “What about you, who do you say I am?” Peter
answers – “ You are The Christ.”
Messiah – the anointed One of God – the One we have been waiting for – all these things are
implicit in Peter’s answer, and Jesus accepts his answer – tacitly affirming it’s truth by telling them
not to talk about it – it wasn’t the right time to do that. He then begins to reveal to them what the
future held – for Him – and for them.
Peter’s declaration marked a crucial point – a turning point – in Jesus’ ministry. He now knew that
some of His followers were beginning to realise who He was. Yet He also knew – that their present
level of realisation was insufficient – incomplete – that it didn’t automatically give them an
understanding of Who He was and why He’d come, and that He now had to help them unlearn their
own perception of God’s Messiah and the purpose of His coming, and teach them that – in reality –
Messiah had come to suffer and die – then rise again – not take over the throne of Israel and liberate
them from Rome!
Jesus knew that His appointment with a cross in Jerusalem was inevitable and not too far in the
future – and He gets right to the point. Verse 31. “ He then began to teach them that the Son of Man
must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priest and teachers of the law, and that
He must be killed and after 3 days rise again…” Not the good news they wanted to hear – and
Peter is quick to respond by saying that that wouldn’t / couldn’t happen – and Jesus is just as quick
to put him right, by saying that Peter was thinking purely in human terms – that God did things
differently – and He goes on to teach the crowd as well as the disciples about what to expect if they
decided to follow Him. It wouldn’t have taken too long for those hearing what Jesus had to say to
understand that He was calling them to a life of self denial; for a voluntary commitment to a way of
life that would be different in all kinds of ways from what they had previously known.
“Who do people say I am?” – Jesus still asks today. Well – who do they say He is? Some say He
was a good man, a brilliant teacher – sometimes acknowledging that His teaching had merit – some
might even speculate about Him; others have little or no opinion – having never really considered
Jesus as a real Person, and apart from using His name as an expletive or curse – never mention or
think about Him at all. There are others who go to church, get baptised / confirmed, do and say the
right things, but haven’t decided to follow Jesus as a way of life. They are still doing their own
thing, going their own sweet – or not so sweet way – and wondering why this “Christian life”
doesn’t really work for them. I know – I was there for many years. I was in my early 20’s, having
drifted away from the church that I had attended regularly from the time when I was a little girl
until I my late teens. I was very busy with my own life and not doing too good a job with it – when
it was explained to me that knowing about Jesus wasn’t enough – I had to know Him – have a
relationship with Him. That changed everything – and still does; I’m still learning – still discovering
what knowing Jesus is all about – and I hope I never stop learning and growing in my
understanding of Him. One thing I do know – is that I could never go back to the time when I only
knew about Him.
“Who do you say I am?”
Not – ‘who do you think I was’ – (way back then ) Not ‘who do you think I am’ – the question is
“Who do you say I am?” – the question is personal and it’s present tense – “Who do you say I am?”
Jesus still asks this question today, of each of us. It is not enough to know what and how “the
crowds” – or other people are thinking and saying – we have to make up our own minds and give
Him an answer – that’s the very least He deserves.
The Christian author C S Lewis said – “for Christ to have talked as He talked, lived as He lived,
died as He died, He was either God or a raving lunatic.” And that’s our choice – He is either as Peter
declared “The Christ,” – or a lunatic. Either way – He demands a response from us – we cannot sit
on a fence somewhere in the middle of that choice!
Who do you say He is?

Compline for Wednesday 8th September 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Elllis

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Fourteen Sunday after Trinity – Climate Sunday – 5th September 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our sermon today, from Ann Cork

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

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More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

Compline for Wednesday 1st September 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity – 29th August 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Our sermon today, from The Revd. Sue Auckland

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

O Jesus, I Have Promised

O for a heart to praise my God

More Modern:

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

Here’s my heart lord

Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

Sermon on Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 13th Sunday after Trinity.

As we get older, there is a temptation to look back on the past and think of how good things used to be, but sadly, we are often remembering through rose tinted spectacles! Life was simpler – there was no social media, litter or graffiti; there was less crime, more police; marriages lasted and abuse didn’t exist, or at least not in the public eye! More people went to church and believed in God and in church everyone dressed smartly, hats were worn by both the men and the women and children were seen but not heard!! 

But actually, although those may be some of our perceived memories  and perceived  traditions of the time, which some folk may wish they were still a reality  today, actually  – they often weren’t as they seemed. In some cases they were good and served a useful and timely purpose, but some had no purpose and some just weren’t true.  – hiding the truth  or retaining something ‘because that’s the way it’s always been done’ is not necessarily good, essential or helpful. Tradition is important – it can create a sense of community but sometimes tradition becomes distorted, practices are more important than people and the valid reason for doing something is lost. And when that’s to do with faith practices, it can distract us from the things that are really important, like our worship, our relationship with God  and our service to others. You may not agree but I don’t believe God minds if we forget to light the candles or come to church in jeans, but he might if we made someone feel unwelcome  or didn’t honour him as we engaged with worship.  To God it’s what’s in our heart and minds that is important and makes us his followers.

Jesus criticised in his fellow Jews for something similar “ You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition” he told them, as they criticised his disciples for not traditionally washing their hands before they ate! To Jesus the Jews were caring more about tradition than spiritual things or people’s welfare!  He quotes God’s message through Isaiah to them –  “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.” Jesus advocates a religion that is a religion of the heart. He’s not interested in outdated or irrelevant traditions – doing them doesn’t earn us brownie points with God and not doing them doesn’t make us less close to God –  it’s what lies in our hearts that matters when we’re talking about faith. 

In today’s reading we  can see that, the way of life of the Pharisees and the deeper meaning given by Jesus, are at odds. And it happens today when folk work to serve and fulfil the ‘obligations’ of society or church but don’t recognise that God has a voice too. As Christians we should listen to the things that  God is telling  us are important – that we are loved by Him, and that that should guide our relationship with him and the way we live our daily lives;  listening to God helps us recognise the things that are important in our worship, in our lives and in the communities in which we live. And when we are open to Jesus, he  often shows us the need to act upon his word. It is not enough to honour him with our lips – it’s our deeds that are important.  Our faith shouldn’t be passive or academic faith but an active and living faith driven by the the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus’  words to the Jews must have been shocking for many but Jesus was never afraid of being controversial – he said it how it was and how it should be according to the will of his Father. His words wiped aside the need to adhere to the rituals of the law, much of which had complicated religion and warped human life and stunted personal growth. His words condemned hypocrisy that abandoned the commandments of God in order to cling to human traditions.

We must never allow ourselves to forget that It’s our hearts and actions that are important to God;  God sees into our hearts and minds and into our very being. He calls us to honour him in our worship and in our actions; to love as he loved and to let that love underpin everything we do – our worship, our relationship with him and how we use that love in service to our neighbours.  And sometimes that will mean being controversial as we speak out against injustice, against practices that impact on peoples’  well being and the well being of the planet. But we need to do it because of Love – love that died on a cross to save us and rose again to give us new life now and for eternity. 

God is love and that is how we must be too.

Amen.

Compline for Wednesday 25th August 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Revd. Sue Auckland

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity – 22nd August 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

 

Our sermon today, from Jamie Worthington

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

Love Divine

Christ is made the sure foundation

More Modern:

I will follow

Endless Hallelujah

Prayerful
 
 

Compline for Wednesday 18th August 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Ellis

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity – 15th August 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our sermon today, from Lynda Mansfield

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

All my hope on God is founded

Be thou my vision

More Modern:

Behold the lamb who bears

Remembrance

Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

Sunday, 15th August 2021 – 9.30 am

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ephesians 5:15-17: – “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Today I am looking mainly at the Ephesians reading and concentrating on wisdom. And as I was thinking about my talk I found some wise words that have been spoken by children. Children come out with amazing truths about life and the following are examples:

1) No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.
2) When your Mum is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.
6) Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandma’s lap.

Okay, not very theological or profound, but nevertheless pretty wise!

You may have heard some of them, and you may be able to quote others that you have heard children say.

Wisdom cannot be learnt. Wisdom is not knowing everything. It is being able to listen to those who need to talk about a problem and being able to understand how they feel inside. Wise people listen, but do not try to dictate exactly what to do. Hopefully, we listen to what God is telling us.

My daughter Katie was telling me about a time when she was at Southampton University and she used to work in the evenings at Safeway Supermarket. She would walk back to her house, and she remembers one particular night when she almost took a short cut. It would have been much quicker, but thankfully she felt God telling her not to go that way – go the way where there is light and people – not where it is dark and sinister. She took the light way and was glad to have done so.

Again, you may have had a similar experience when you have felt God telling you to do something – or not, as the case maybe.

Wisdom is common sense and it is also listening to and knowing what God wants us to do, and doing it. I was reading a book the other day and it had a fictitious Memo from God. It was an imaginary response from God after someone asking for help:

I am God. Today I will be handling all your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If life brings you a situation that you cannot handle, don’t try to resolve it. Just put it in the SFGTD box (Something for God to do) – ie. Pray about it. It will be dealt with in my time, not yours – once the matter is placed there don’t hold on to it).

You may have minor or major problems – think about them and pray about them. If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don’t despair. There are people in this world for which driving is an unheard of privilege. (Wisdom is trusting God)

If you find yourself the victim of other people’ bitterness, ignorance, small-mindedness or insecurities, remember things could be worse. You could be them. (Wisdom is knowing when to respond to such bitterness, etc. and when not to)

The book of Proverbs has many wise words in it – an example being :

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues. (Proverbs ch. 17, v.28)

Turning this the other way round an elderly friend of mine, years ago, would often quote: Better to be thought a fool by keeping your mouth shut, than to open it and remove all doubt!

We are all Christ’s people and should therefore live wisely; we need to be actively involved in goodness and obedience; in loving fellowship and pastoral care and all this with humility Quite a tall order I know. But we all have those inner gifts that we can share- and wisdom is knowing when and where to share them.

We need to seek God every day and to make good use of every opportunity we have to shine as lights in our communities and encourage others to follow suit. May we, then, think carefully before we speak, listen well to those who need to talk, and enjoy learning from our own mistakes.

What we should always do is ask the question: “What would God want me to do in this situation?” From that, I believe, wisdom will come.

May God bless us all with wisdom. Amen.

Compline for Wednesday 11th August 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Ellis

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Tenth Sunday after Trinity – 8th August 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

 

Our sermon today, from Ann Cork

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

Lord, thy Church on earth is seeking

Make me a channel of your peace

More Modern:

Merciful (At the cross where Jesus suffered)

Listen to our hearts

Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

Compline for Wednesday 4th August 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity – 1st August 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Our sermon today, from Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

God is working his purpose out

Alleluia, sing to Jesus

More Modern:

I am the Bread of Life

All things new

Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

I’ve been walking around. Watching people, talking and listening. I’ve found hope with lots of anxiety. Has it gone? Is it safe? Will I get ‘pinged’?

What will happen next? Will restrictions return? Why can’t I get into the chemists?

And so many more.

These are all real and valid worries. We are so like those crowds following Jesus. Hopeful and fearful, both at the same time.

To us and to anyone who will listen, Jesus offers words of comfort and peace. Jesus says, “I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.” It is not physical hunger that Jesus is talking about. It is spiritual hunger and thirst. It is a hunger for meaning, hope, reassurance and peace.

He is with us now. The future is hopeful and uncertain all together. But as Jesus said to those hungry crowds, he says to us – “I am what you need. I am the bread that you need, whether you know it or not.” Jesus says, “No one who has faith in me with ever be thirsty.” You and I feel the anxiety. But there is a remedy. Jesus offers us the water of peace and calm. The water of life.

So let us be calm. Let us drink of the Spirit

The Lord of heaven and earth is in control. He is with us now.

We can sing his praises together again.

So let us be calm. Let us drink of the Spirit

The Lord of heaven and earth is in control. He is with us now.

Our future is unknown to us.

Our future is known to our Father.

The Spirit is preparing us for that future. We don’t need to know what it is. It is sufficient that God knows. It is sufficient to know that the Spirit will lead us to that future. If we let him.

So let us be calm. Let us drink of the Spirit

The Lord of heaven and earth is in control. He is with us now.

Trust Jesus. Have faith in him. Let him give you the water of life always.

Take that water into yourself and let those worries and fears be dissolved away.

Let the water of life wash over you. Jesus is generous, there is plenty to wash you clean of the dirt of temptation and greed. Let the water of life wash over you. Let Jesus make you clean.

So let us be calm. Let us drink of the Spirit.

The Lord of heaven and earth is in control. He is with us now.

God bless.

Amen.

Compline for Wednesday 28th July 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity – 25th July 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Our sermon today, from Jamie Worthington

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful
 
 

Compline for Wednesday 21st July 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Ellis

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Seventh Sunday of Trinity – 18th July 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our sermon today, from The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

Sheep without a Shepherd
Mark 6; 30-34 and 53-56 and Psalm 23


Mark 6 v 34. “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because
they were like sheep without a shepherd……”
Looking for direction in their lives, looking for someone to lead them during the turbulent times in
which they lived, looking for answers to questions they were asking – perhaps as a result of having
heard John’s teaching and his call to a baptism of repentance; perhaps having heard rumours of
John’s murder and trying to come to terms with that, what ever the reasons – there were many
people [5000 men we are told – not to mention the women and children] all of whom chose to
leave what they were doing that day and run around the lake shore to where they knew Jesus and
His disciples were heading, in the hope of being able to spend time with them and see if what they
had heard about them was true.
Jesus was becoming known as a teacher, preacher and doer of miracles; His disciples – had recently
completed a successful mission of preaching and healing throughout the area – so they too were
becoming known – and so the people went – impulsively, with no thought of what they would do
when they got there, or how they would feed and care for themselves and their families for the rest
of the day. They just went.
Now Jesus – had invited His disciples to draw aside for a rest – which they needed after the very
busy time they’d all had –
v 31+32 – ‘“ Come with me by yourselves to a quiet pace and get some rest.” So they went away by
themselves in a boat to a solitary place’!!! or so they thought – but getting off the boat – they were
confronted by this huge crowd which was the very last thing they needed at that time; but Jesus –
looking at them – had compassion on them – because (v34b) “they were like sheep without a
shepherd”; He recognised their confusion, their lack of direction and aimlessness, and – putting
aside His own exhaustion – He reached out to them in love and mercy, as – we are told – a shepherd
would to his sheep.
Some time later, Jesus referring to Himself as The Good Shepherd would say that His sheep – some
of those very people there that day – would listen to His voice and follow Him – that He knew them
each by name. This concept of the people of Israel being sheep who belonged to the Chief Shepherd
who was God – or Yahweh, can be seen throughout the O. T. and therefore was not a strange new
idea to those who heard it, but something – I believe – that would have given them comfort and a
sense of security.
One of the most familiar passages illustrating this – to us anyway – is the 23rd Psalm, our second
reading for today – written by King David, who was known as ‘the Shepherd King’ and wrote many
of his psalms out of his personal knowledge and experiences of God in very specific ways – as the
God Who met his every need of provision and protection, compassion and mercy – and he wrote
Psalm 23 using the imagery of sheep and Shepherd out of his own experience of having been a
shepherd and caring for his flock of sheep – but with the focus being on his understanding of being
a sheep in God’s flock and experiencing for himself God’s presence and love.
David – who knew the history of the People of Israel – and had had a personal knowledge of God
since he was young – had found God to be utterly faithful – so he could say – v 1 “with the Lord as
my Shepherd – I have everything I need”. This tells us of his relationship with God – and God’s
provision – he then goes on to talk about the specifics of God’s provision. Of how the good
shepherd knows exactly where to find green pastures – even in the most barren desert – how He
knows where to find life giving water – not stagnant – not too fast flowing; He knows how to
protect His sheep in dark and dangerous places – literally laying down His life for His sheep. As
David Adam – a christian author has said – “ this is not a cozy Psalm – but one that acknowledges
that green pastures cannot be taken for granted; desert, wilderness, hunger, thirst, darkness, death –
are all realities – yet it knows these do not have the last word.” God does!
There is so much to learn from King David’s story. So much to learn from one who lived under the
restrictions of the law, yet who understood and experienced the freedom of knowing the Lord as his
Shepherd – who learned of the consequences of disobedience and of the need for real repentance.
( read the story in 2 Samuel 11 and 12) So much for those “new testament” people we heard of in
our reading today – to learn and understand as they began to be “shepherded” by Jesus – and were
taught about repentance and forgiveness, faith and love.
So much for us to learn about following Jesus once we have chosen to call Him ‘Our Shepherd.’
It’s not news that God’s people sin – they/ you / me – are not immune to temptation or inoculated
against disobedience! Jesus still looks on a confused and aimless world – a world or people /sheep
without a shepherd – and continues to reach out in compassion and mercy longing to be their /our
Shepherd – speaking words of forgiveness and life in the times we fail – if we are truly sorry – and
then using every part of every sinful or rebellious situation – the hurt, pain, shame, guilt – all of it –
to teach us and grow us up – to equip us to serve in His Name – and bring us to a place of wholeness

  • of holiness.
    Truly – with the Lord as our Shepherd – we have everything we need. Praise His Name!

Compline for Wednesday 14th July 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Ellis

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Sixth Sunday of Trinity – 11th July 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

 

Our sermon today, from Lindy Ellis

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 
 

More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

When we read the service of Morning Prayer, we usually include the Benedictus, which is part of St Luke’s account of the birth of John the Baptist. As a boy, I wonder how often John was told this story and reminded of those last verses that were said by his father:

7 And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, ♦ for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

8 To give his people knowledge of salvation ♦ by the forgiveness of all their sins.

9 In the tender compassion of our God ♦ the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

10 To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, ♦ and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

It was a heavy burden for a young man to carry as he grew up – no wonder he sometimes comes across as rather serious, even severe. While his cousin, Jesus, was enjoying weddings and dinner parties, John went out into the desert, managing to survive on only what he found there. … Now today, in our gospel reading, we have heard St Mark’s account of John’s brutal death.

As a preacher, John never beat about the bush ‑ he always spoke plainly and he spoke the truth to everyone, and as Plato wrote, ‘No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.’ Significantly, he was not afraid to speak the truth to King Herod and his wife.

People love a scandal, particularly when it involves royalty or those in high places – it seems that we continually have such stories in the news today. Imagine then the gossip that must have been stirred up across the area when Herod married Herodias, who was his niece (so it was incest), and who had previously been married to his brother, who was still alive (so it broke Jewish law). John the Baptist publically denounced this behaviour, telling them to their faces that they had sinned against God, and that they needed to repent.

Herodias hated him for this and would have had him killed, but Herod had enough of a Jewish background to respect John as a prophet, although he did have him thrown into prison. There he would listen to John’s words, tortured by them, but unable to stop listening. He recognised and was drawn to John’s holiness, truthfulness, and integrity, even though he had none of these qualities himself.

In today’s gospel we heard how Herodias finally managed to manipulate Herod into killing John in a most gruesome manner. I wonder what all those important guests really thought about it, particularly when they had sobered up the next morning.

Mark likes to juxtapose the stories he tells, giving us more to ponder. If we go back to Mark’s gospel we read, immediately before the story of John’s death, about how Jesus sent the 12 disciples out in pairs to call people to repentance, and immediately after we hear about the disciples’ return. Jesus had advised them to go out to call people to repentance, but to move on rapidly where people did not respond well to their message. They came back elated by their success, but they had learned that their message could antagonise some people.

That has continued to be true ever since, and is still true today. It is certainly a fact that millions of Christians live in places where it is dangerous to be a Christian. Such Christians are often poor, often belong to ethnic and cultural minorities, and often their lives or livelihoods are at risk. Still today many Christians continue to die because of their faith. Above Westminster Abbey’s Great West Door stand ten statues to modern martyrs – Christians who gave up their lives for their beliefs. These martyrs are drawn from every continent and many Christian denominations and represent many others who have also been oppressed, persecuted or killed for their faith.

Few of us here will have experienced anything of that sort – we are more likely to meet indifference, ridicule, or even pity because of our faith, but that can intimidate us from speaking the truth and declaring our faith boldly. I am sure we can all think of moments when, looking back, we wish we had said something, but didn’t. Personally, I frequently feel the need to bring such moments in my own life to God when I admit to him that I have sinned against him and against my neighbour in thought, word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through my own deliberate fault. Yes, I have not only let God down, but also that other person. My love was not strong enough for me to help that other person, just because I was afraid of a little ridicule. Do you remember moments like that? Let us pray:

God of grace, you have called us to be your disciples, in your grace, send us your wisdom and love that we may act and speak with boldness when it is your will. Remembering all Christians who suffer for their faith, God of love, may our hearts reach out in compassion for all who are imprisoned or tortured or separated from family in the cause of what is right and good. Amen

Compline for Wednesday 7th July 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Fifth Sunday of Trinity – 4th July 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

 

Our sermon today, from Ann Cork

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

Go forth and tell!

We have a Gospel to proclaim

More Modern:

God of justice (We must go)

Facing a task unfinished

Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

Compline for Wednesday 30th June 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Forth Sunday of Trinity – 27th June 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

 

Our sermon today, from The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

Praise, my soul, the king of heaven

We cannot measure how you heal

Soldiers of Christ arise

More Modern:

Goodness of God

Scars in heaven – Casting crowns

Healer

Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armour on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies
Through His eternal Son.
Strong in the Lord of hosts,
And in His mighty pow’r,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts
Is more than conqueror.

Stand then in His great might,
With all His strength endued,
And take, to arm you for the fight,
The panoply of God;
That, having all things done,
And all your conflicts passed,
Ye may o’ercome through Christ alone,
And stand entire at last.

Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul,
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole.
From strength to strength go on,
Wrestle and fight and pray,
Tread all the pow’rs of darkness down
And win the well-fought day.

Soldiers of Christ arise! A rousing hymn that accompanies our online service and ends at least two of our services in church today. A great hymn that uses Paul’s comparison of Christian life with that of a soldier to encourage and inspire (2 Timothy 2.3-4).

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armour on,..
Wrestle and fight and pray,
Tread all the pow’rs of darkness down
And win the well-fought day.

Hopefully, you will be inspired to be brave and bold for Christ. Full of confidence and ready to share the wonder of God’s love with the people around you. But will you really do that or just hear the words and feel good? I’ll stop picking on you. Will I really arise for Jesus or will I just enjoy a good hymn?

I want to be honest here, but I don’t like the answer. The answer, the true answer, is something like ‘I’m not sure’, or ‘I hope so’. I hope that my faith will be strong enough for me to stand firm when life gets tough. I pray for it, I want it and sometimes I do it.

I think of the giants of the faith. I think of Paul who inspired that hymn. I think of Peter the bold. They both achieved great things for Christ, but both of them also experienced doubt and failure. Paul was constantly battling with wayward churches. Just read 1 Corinthians 3 where he says, “You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned.” Peter was famously compared to Satan by Jesus and denied him when Jesus needed him most.

So soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armour on. But what does that really mean?

I look at me, I look at you. I imagine that some of you are bold and some timid; some energetic and some tired; some confident and some doubtful. Some of you will be naturally shy; some will be extroverts. If you learn nothing else from Peter and Paul, learn this, that none of that matters, not really, not to God.

When you open your heart to him God will feed you and be there in you when it matters. I have found that he uses my strengths but more than anything he uses my weaknesses. As Jesus revealed to Paul, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” 2 Corinthians 12.9.

Whether you are naturally strong or weak, bold or timid the Spirit will work through you. He’ll lead you to share what he’s done in you with others. Don’t be ashamed of what Jesus has given you. Don’t be jealous of anything you see in some one else. Just share what you are and what you know, and let the Spirit do the rest.

You and I can’t claim to be anything special, but I look at you and I wonder… I wonder what the Spirit will lead you to do, or say or be.

I know that you will arise, put on the armour of the Spirit. I know that you will,
“Tread all the pow’rs of darkness down
And win the well-fought day.”

Amen!

Compline for Wednesday 23rd June 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Third Sunday of Trinity – 20th June 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our Sermon today, from John Taylor

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

Will your anchor hold?

I cannot tell

More Modern:

Faithful one, so unchanging

Trust In you

Prayerful
 
 

Sermon Text

Virtual Sermon June 20th 2021

There are various ways of looking at the very short parables in today’s Gospel reading. I find the second one in particular hugely reassuring. A tiny mustard seed grows into the greatest of all shrubs. Jesus is talking about what the Kingdom of God will look like and I don’t think he literally means that it will resemble a massively overgrown plant if for no other reason than mustard is not a perennial. It dies off each year and the Kingdom of God is everlasting. In one sense he is telling us that it will be a kingdom or regime where nothing and nobody is looked down on or despised because of humble or inauspicious beginnings. The smallest of starts may end up in absolute glory.

Life can often be totally unexpected. Sometimes this can lead to a very nasty surprise. Few people start off on a car journey expecting to get a puncture. It usually seems to happen to me when it is raining but just because it is raining doesn’t mean that I am not surprised when it happens again.

But, on the other hand, sometimes a day will start off in its usual humdrum way and turn out to be wonderful. An unexpected phone call asking if I am in so a book I lent can be returned may lead to an impromptu picnic by the sea with friends and all those dreary chores will wait another day. From the small start of, “can I drop your book back”, will grow a magnificent day of golden memories. Sometimes small suggestions or ideas grow into monster parties that people are still talking about years later. Words just don’t seem able to do them justice and we have to tell our listeners, “you had to have been there to understand”. The people in the original conversation had no idea how a drink and nibbles with a few friends would end up taking over the entire village.

In telling this parable Jesus was not preaching to a crowd but to his close friends. How many of them at the time could possibly have foreseen that this was the start of Jesus’s ministry and it would end up as the Christian church numbering millions of people over two thousand years covering the whole world.

But this is what Jesus is telling them. Firstly, do not judge on appearances, do not dismiss something because you think it is too small to be of interest or use to you. Secondly, he is telling them that what he is saying and doing will grow into the largest and most important thing they can ever imagine, the party to end all parties and that they are invited; The Kingdom of God itself. He is explaining that this greatest of all kingdoms has space for everyone to find a place to shelter, somewhere to call home. A place for each and every one of us and if that isn’t hugely reassuring I don’t know what is.

Amen

Compline for Wednesday 16th June 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Ellis

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Second Sunday of Trinity – 13th June 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our Sermon today, from The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

Let all the world in every corner sing

We plough the fields and scatter

More Modern:

Hear the call of the kingdom

Build my life

Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

It is often the little things that truly blow me away. I was watching a colony of wild honey bees the other day. They were busy coming in and out of a gap in the tower at Redenhall church. Then I noticed something else out of the corner of my eye. I noticed a slightly fatter looking honey bee, with a furry ginger waste coat. I watched it circle around then dive into a tiny hole in the stonework. Then I noticed another do the same. I then watched little masonry bees and their nest.

Have you ever stopped and looked at some of the smaller wild flowers? Among others we have Common Mouse Ear in our garden. It’s flowers are only 3mm / 3 1/6ths of an inch across. But they form incredibly beautiful petals that look as though they have been formed into the points of a crown with emeralds and gold at the centre.

God is like that. He uses the simple and insignificant and turns them into masterpieces! None of us are great in the eyes of the world. You might be but I am certainly not. I doubt that you are hugely rich or powerful. But that does not make any of you unimportant in God’s eyes. Often fame and fortune can blind us so that we can no longer see what is truly valuable.

In each of you God has planted a seed. Small and insignificant to look at. But you have let the Spirit water that seed. It has grown in you. You have responded and come to church. You have let that seed grow into something beautiful.

Transformed by the power of the Spirit you have become the disciples of Christ. You are his brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of our Father in heaven.

Like a seed planted in the ground God does the work of growing and producing a harvest. Our task is to keep the ground clear. To nurture what God is growing in us. To keep strong in the face of temptations to hatred or anger or greed or pride. If you are anything like me you will know these temptations all too well. They starve the seed growing in us of the life giving water of the Spirit.

So God uses the simple and unimportant and turns them into masterpieces. Even you and me. Our task is to guard ourselves against the temptations that would stop the seed within us from growing. Then we are to let the Spirit do his work, and produce a great harvest or perhaps stand tall like a great tree. Let the Spirit make you fruitful in works of kindness, generosity, love, faithfulness and self-control.

God bless. Amen.

Compline for Wednesday 9th June 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The First Sunday after Trinity – 6th June 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thank you this week to The Revd. Lyndy Domoney for today’s music choices.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Our Sermon today, from The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

 
 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

Trinity 1 2021. Mark 3; 20-35. Online. Pride etc
Can you picture the scene of our passage today for a moment – perhaps imagine yourself in that
situation; Jesus goes into a house – we’re not told whose house it was, but He is obviously at home
there – and a crowd follows Him obviously expecting / wanting to see what other miracles He
would perform. They had seen or heard about Him restoring sight to the blind – speech to the mute;
deformed limbs were made whole at His command and evil spirits cast out of those who were
possessed. We are told in v 20 that there were so many people crowding around him – pushing
forward to touch Him – wanting His attention and healing for themselves – that neither He or His
Disciples were able to find time to eat!
We also see – at this time – which was quite early on in His ministry – that His own family didn’t
really understand Jesus or what He was doing; even though Mary had been told Who her Son was –
how could she fully understand what that meant until His life and ministry was almost over? So
His motivations and even His true identity were part of an unfolding mystery for her – and it was
out of genuine concern for Him – and not wanting the family name to be tarnished by His radical
behaviour – that she accompanied His brothers and set out to ‘take charge of Him’ – ‘because He’s
out of His mind’ – to take Him home – until the situation had quietened down!
But they weren’t the only ones concerned by Jesus’ growing reputation and activities – the big guns
from Jerusalem – experts – teachers of the law – they were also aware of what He was doing – and
that knowledge scared them because it threatened their own authority and status; so they travelled to
where Jesus was – and – maliciously tried to discredit what He was doing by saying that He was
doing everything under the influence of Satan.
Interesting – don’t you think – that they didn’t question the reality of what Jesus was doing – or
suggest that it wasn’t what it appeared to be – how could they – it was self evident – people were
being healed and restored – but to acknowledge that He was doing these things under God’s
authority would have been an acknowledgement that He was Messiah – the One that the Prophets
had foretold – and they couldn’t have that! Their pride wouldn’t allow it!
And as Jesus responded to these accusations – as He answered their allegations by quoting from
scripture ( Isaiah 49; 24-25) – telling the parables of a house or a kingdom being destroyed when it
becomes divided and fights against itself – Jesus – not only bypassed their religious authority – He
diminished their control over the people by highlighting their weaknesses; He challenged what they
believed and exposed their insincerity and hypocrisy – no wonder they didn’t like Him!
And then – when told His Mother and brothers wanted Him to go outside so they could speak to
Him – Jesus gives what – at first sight – sounds like a pretty harsh response – v 33 – 35. “ Who are
my mother and my brothers?”
But He was not saying He didn’t recognise His own family – He was saying that it was those who
believe in God and recognise / understand that His /Jesus’ ministry was/is empowered through Him

that is God, who would become family – God’s family – and that those who believed that the
power in Him to heal and restore people came from satan were committing a sin that could/would
never be forgiven and would separate them from God.

As we’ve gone over the passage and thought about what Jesus was saying both to those Teachers of
the Law and to His family – I don’t know about you – but I began to realise that I’m not so very
different to them! Undoubtedly – Jesus’ family loved Him, but they wanted Him to behave the way
they thought was right and proper! They didn’t like that He appeared to be “out of His mind” –
according to them! So they tried to get Him to conform to the family standards! I can relate to that –
can you? I can remember telling my daughters at times over the years that “that” wasn’t the way we
did things!
It was the Lawyers’ pride that got in the way of them recognising God’s work through Jesus – or if
they did recognise that – it didn’t suit their purposes to admit it – and their behaviour as they tried to
discredit Him made me think of all the times I’ve thought I knew better than God – when I was one
person when I was in my work place, and a different person at home – oh – not in the big things – but
enough to realise that there were times when I had two faces – one for ‘out there’ when people were
watching and listening – and another here – on my own! [Pride / hypocracy??]
Jesus’ answer to His own question – “who is my mother and brothers” = v35 – “Whoever does God’s
will is my brother and sister and mother” – emphasises my longing to be part of His family – and
for that to be so – I not only need to have made the decision to follow Him, trust Him and be
obedient to Him – in other words – commit myself completely to Him – I need to follow that up with
choosing – always – to have only one face as it were – to – as it’s been said – ‘walk the talk’ — ie –
live in such a way that what I say and profess to believe – is in harmony – or backed up – with how I
behave/ live – and don’t contradict each other.
I guess it’s actually easier to live that way too – one doesn’t have to keep remembering what/who
you are in each situation!
Do you identify with what we’ve been thinking about?Are you a member of God’s family – do you
walk your talk??

Compline for Wednesday 2nd June 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by John Taylor

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

Trinity Sunday – 30th May 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our Sermon today, from Lindy Ellis

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 
 

More Modern:

 
 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

For many years I have sat in a pew on Trinity Sunday and listened to sermons that try to explain the Trinity. I have heard explanations involving triangles, shamrock leaves, and even pretzels, but of course each of these can explain only one small aspect of the Trinity, which is something so much greater than our human minds can possibly conceive. There is a story of St Augustine, while he was pondering the mystery of the Trinity, he went for a walk along a beach. He came across a boy, carrying a bucket full of water from the sea, and pouring it into a small hole in the sand. He asked him what he was doing, and the boy said, “I am emptying the ocean into this little hole”. That boy attempting the impossible led Augustine to realise that he was trying to do the same – he was trying to put an infinite God into his finite mind.

Indeed, it has been said that if you try to explain the Trinity, you will lose your mind, but that if you deny it, you will lose your soul. As someone trained in science, I cannot agree that we should not try to explain the Trinity to ourselves – it is in our human nature (as created by God) to try to make sense of everything we experience – that is the way all knowledge has progressed. But I totally accept that I can’t explain the Trinity to you, so today I want to look at the Trinity from a different angle.

I firmly believe that God is love, but love cannot exist alone – love is a transitive verb. If there is love, someone has to do the loving and someone has to be loved. So God’s nature tells us that he cannot be solitary; he has to be, always has been, always will be, a community, a fellowship. Our creed tells us that he is three persons in one God, and those three persons love one another; they always have and they always will. I have mentioned the novel, ‘The Shack’, by William P Young before. There is so much that can be quoted from it, but the most long-lasting memory of the book that I have is the relationship shown in it between the three persons of the Trinity. It is such a loving relationship, with so much respect shown by the three to each other, so much love, so much happiness. They are portrayed as continually laughing together and really enjoying each other’s company. I loved that image. The book is worth reading for that image alone.

I further believe that we were created because God wanted even more of us to join in that love, in that loving community. God is longing for each one of us to turn to him and to ask if we can join his gang, yet he will never force anyone to do that. We have been created with free wills, so it is up to each one of us to opt to join in that joyous circle of love, or not. Love is not love, if it is not freely given.

Let us pray: Dear God, we thank you for your great love that is beyond our understanding. We thank you for the love of the Father that is always ready to shelter us under his wings; we thank you for the love of the Son that was so strong that he sacrificed himself for us and for our salvation; we thank you for the love of the Holy Spirit that is within each one of us if only we can acknowledge his presence. Grant us grace we pray to recognise your love for us so that we may join that eternal fellowship of love. Amen.

Compline for Wednesday 26th May 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

Pentecost Sunday (Whit Sunday) – 23rd May 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

Our Sermon today, from John Taylor

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

Today is Pentecost when we celebrate God sending his Holy Spirit to be the guide and spokesperson for the Christian church. This was a vital part of the history and development of Christianity. Pentecostal sermons often talk of the Spirit and its works but I am looking at one small part of how the arrival happened on the day.

When the disciples received the Holy Spirit they started talking and one of the gifts was that everyone heard what they were saying. Most importantly the audience heard in their own language. I say importantly because no matter how fluent we might be in other languages our own is always special. It is ours, we own it, it belongs to us.

We are usually far better able to understand completely what someone is telling us if they are speaking our language. This is a phrase which is often used; so and so speaks my language. We can understand what they are saying and just as importantly they can understand us.

Throughout the New Testament there are stories of Jesus not just talking at or to people but with them. Often these are people on the fringe or edge of polite society. For example when he is talking with the Samaritan woman by the well he speaks in such a way as to engage with her and they obviously understand each other. She listens to him and he listens to her. They are talking with each other not at them.

This, I think, is one of the most important lessons to be learnt from Pentecost. We need to talk with people if not in their own language then at least in such a way as they understand us and we need to listen to them. We need to remember that our languages may not be the same and we must take account of that.

Conversation or debate or negotiation needs to be a two way thing. Many Christians are praying for peace in the Middle East, in Myanmar, in Afghanistan and so many other places. Closer to home there are tensions over race relations and matters of sex and gender. These problems are not going to be solved by shouting at someone in a language they do not understand.

The Church of England has recently developed a system called Pastoral Principals which are designed to help with the debate over sex and gender. They provide for reasoned, courteous debate arising out of listening to each other. The aim is to identify areas of disagreement but then, most importantly, where agreement can be found and built on. These basic principals can be used in almost all situations.

When I say almost all situations I do not just mean major political issues or international relations, war or genocide but everyday life. Family and neighbourhood matters. Some of us may remember recent reports of a zoom council meeting which became rather heated. A major part of such problems is that people talk in ways that others cannot understand. It doesn’t even have to be a foreign language that causes problems. English, for example, can be very confusing. Does LOL mean lots of love or laugh out loud?

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was that Christians could speak to others in a language they understood. This is something the world needs us to demonstrate today. There is too much argument and misunderstanding. We have to show how we can talk with people of all walks of life, listen to them and work with them. If we can do this then others can see that there is a way forward. By taking this meaning and gift of Pentecost out into the world we can help show the Holy Spirit at work.

Amen

Compline for Wednesday 19th May 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Sue Auckland.

God bless…

A Service of Compline for Today

The Seventh Sunday of Easter – 16th May 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Our Sermon today, from Ann Cork

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

Compline for Wednesday 12th May 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by Lindy Ellis

God bless…

Compline for Wednesday 12th May

The Sixth Sunday of Easter – 9th May 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our Sermon today, from The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

 
 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text (the Bible Passage quoted (John 15.9-17) can be found at the end of the text of this short sermon)

Dear Lord may all that is of you be heard and remembered and all else forgotten.
Amen.

I have been taking a great many funerals lately. Funerals are always painful times but with the current restrictions, funerals can be particularly difficult for families. More painful still is the day-to-day living with that special person no longer in your life.

Jesus knew this and that his disciples were going to struggle without him. So he gave them words of hope and reassurance that faith in him is stronger even than death. Jesus also gave the disciples crucial advice on how they were to live together when he was not there to referee. Those disciples didn’t always get on, James and John wanted to be the most important, Peter wanted to tell Jesus and the rest of them what to do. They included a freedom fighter and a collaborator, there were bound to be fights!

Even today, after all these years, Christians are a strange mixed bunch. We too are all too ready to fall out.

So what was this great advice that Jesus had? Well, it is so simple and so difficult, all at once. Jesus’ advice to his disciples is, “Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you.”

That’s alright for Jesus but what of mere mortals like me. I am being told to see my fellow Christian as my friend; my sister or brother. But if God wants me to love these friends, these brothers and these sisters, why can’t he make them more loveable!

It seems like impossible advice. Or at least impossible for me.

Then I thought of the alternative. Then, with a shudder, I remembered the evil way that Christians treated each other during the debate about whether women should be priests in the Church of England. It was terrible. Reading history we Christians have even tortured and killed each other when we disagreed.

So maybe, just maybe Jesus knew what he was talking about. And maybe, just maybe we his disciples, friends, brothers and sisters, should start to take his words more seriously. Perhaps, if we did truly obey Jesus the Church would be far healthier than it is. It’s a thought!

Jesus said, “You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last… So I command you to love each other.”

Amen.

John 15.9-17 CEV
I have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you. 10 If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.
11 I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. 12 Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you. 13 The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. 14 And you are my friends, if you obey me. 15 Servants don’t know what their master is doing, and so I don’t speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.
16 You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. 17 So I command you to love each other.

Compline for Wednesday 5th May 2021

This week our service of Compline (Night Prayer) is led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

God bless…

Compline for Wednesday 5th May

The Fifth Sunday of Easter – 2nd May 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Nigel Tuffnell

 

Our Sermon today, from The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

You are the vine, we are the branches

 
 
Prayerful
 
In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful (Note there is a 20 second intro before the music; relax and be patient)
 
 

Sermon Text

As the Church – we are called to be Branches.
John 15; 1- 8. 2021 recorded for Easter 5

Verse 5. off our reading from St John’s gospel ch 15 today “I am the vine, you are the
branches……..” As a new Christian, the whole idea of being a branch excited me tremendously –
I wasn’t sure why – but it did – and the more I have understood about it – the more excited I’ve
become.

The vine in the scriptures – was seen and understood as the emblem of prosperity and peace among
the ancient Hebrews, a sign of fertility and goodness. But in particular – it symbolised God’s
relationship with Israel – His chosen people, the ones through whom His love and purposes for the
world would be revealed.

In His teaching – Jesus loved to use “word” pictures, drawing on the familiar imagery of the
scriptures to teach deep truths – and here in one of His so-called “self disclosures”, He refers to
Himself as the “true vine”. v 1 of our reading = “I Am The True Vine.” – not any old vine – but the
genuine, authentic vine – the reality of which the vine of the scriptures – was merely a picture or
symbol – The One – through whom God’s will and purposes for the world would finally – and
completely – be expressed and realised.

And nothing has changed – it is still through Him – the true vine – working through His body on
earth – that is the Church or the branches of that vine – you and me – that God seeks to work out His
purposes; and the very essence of His teaching – the prerequisite on which everything else
depends is seen in verse 4 – “Abide in me and I will abide in you.”

Can we spend a moment looking at that word “ABIDE” – as we try to understand a little more of
what Jesus was teaching His Church. A.B.I.D.E.

To Abide = to stay – to live or dwell in a place, and as many translations of the passage put it – to
remain. So much in our present day society is transient, throw-away or programmed for
obsolescence – but there is a sense of permanence and security about “abiding” – and we need to
have both of those in our relationship with Jesus.

As the true vine – He is the source and provider of life for His branches – as long as they remain
part of Him.

And in order to remain – to ABIDE – they need to belong to the vine. The branches are living,
nourished and sustained because they belong to the vine. And one of the wonderful things about the
branches of a vine – is the way in which they are intertwined – quite unlike the branches of a tree –
which tend to grow independent of one another. Vine branches – rely on the vine for life – and on
each other for support. Thank God that He has given the branches / us / His church – a support
system within Himself.

“Can a fig tree bear olives or a grape vine bear figs” asks James in his letter [3; 12.] The answer is
obviously “No” – but the branches that belong to the true vine – are able to be identified by their
likeness to the vine. [ I. ] They/we need to show – by the quality of our lives – to whom we belong
and with whom we Identify – ie “Being transformed into the likeness of God’s Son”, as Paul put it in
his letter to the church at Rome; and that “being transformed” – is a process – [ a former Bishop of
mine used to say we are not human beings – we are human becomings!] – so that ‘being transformed into the likeness of His Son..’ is a life time process, that happens only as and when –
we Depend on Him.

We have been taught to pray “Give us this day our daily bread” – encouraging a daily dependence
on God – for all our needs – just as branches depend completely on the vine for nourishment and
sustenance.

And the more we depend on Him and draw life from him – the more Effective we – will become for
Him. V 5b… “those who abide in me and I in them – they will bear much fruit”. As the
characteristics of Jesus – otherwise known as the fruit of His Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, as all these qualities grow and
become more evident in us – in our lives, we have the awesome privilege of reflecting His love and
mercy – effectively – to the world.

So – if we – Abide in Him
Belong to Him
Identify with Him
Depend on Him
and are Effective for Him

then – and only then – will we bear much fruit – “because” said
Jesus, “apart from me you can do nothing”.

Separated – or apart from the vine – there is no growth – no fruit – no life – only death. In v 6 Jesus
tells us – “ Whoever does not Abide in Me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches
are gathered, thrown into the fire , and burned.”

And even for those who do abide – it is not necessarily an easy or a comfortable ride. You see
there’s that matter of pruning – that Jesus tells us about in the second half of v 2. “ ………Every
branch that bears fruit, He (that is God the Vinegrower) prunes to make it bear more fruit.” – and
that – at times – can be uncomfortable! But necessary!!

“Abide in me – and I will abide in you – without me you can do nothing” – an invitation for unity
with God – with the promise of growth and transformed lives; Jesus has told us these amazing
things – why? – well – He tells us in v 11 ….

“ I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
That is His desire for us – that our joy may be complete – and I can think of no better reason to
ABIDE in Him – can you?

Prayer
Dear Jesus – source and sustainer of our lives
Give us grace to abide / remain in You
That we may truly BE Your church
And reflect Your love in the world

Amen.

Harleston Centre of Mission Closes Today: Wednesday 31st March 2021

Sadly, our amazing Centre of Mission closes today. With the current restrictions we are not able to have final worship celebration to send Trevor and Bonnie on their way. Instead we have recorded a farewell video to wish them God’s blessing wherever he may lead them next.

Farewell Video

Reflections on a year with Covid-19

Today Tuesday 23rd March 2021 the reality of Covid-19 has been with us for a year. To help us to reflect upon the last twelve months we are sharing reflections taken from a recent interview that the Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher, gave to Radio Norfolk.

God bless…

Reflections on Twelve Months with Covid-19 with Bishop Graham

Ken and Johnny use Zoom

Those of you who come along to the Informal Worship will have been missing Ken and Johnny and their little chats. Unfortunately, like everyone else they haven’t been able to meet up. Then they discovered Zoom. They accidentally recorded their last chat and asked me to share it with you; just in case you are missing them.

Over to Ken and Johnny…

 

Boris Johnson – What is Truth?

What is Truth?

At the trial of Jesus, Pilate the Roman governor famously asked, “What is Truth” (John 18.38) A question that seems so relevant right now. We have Trump in the USA claiming that any inconvenient truth is, “Fake News.” We have China denying that student protesters were massacred in Tiananmen Square in 1989. These are bad enough, but at least for me in England they have the comfort of being somewhere else in the world. But now there is a real danger here in the UK.

Today it is clear that Boris Johnson is the front runner to become the next Prime Minister.

I know the old joke,

Question: How do you tell when a politician is lying?

Answer: Their lips move!

Even so, until now politicians have at least recognised the existence of Truth, and expected there to be consequences if they have lied. Not so Boris Johnson. For example, just remember his tweet that he had voted during the local elections, when there were no elections in London. I wish the Conservative Party every success in choosing a leader, but for the moral integrity of that great party and of this country, I pray that they do not choose an unrepentant liar!

I am not alone in this concern for the value of Truth. Mohammed Amin, chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, said he would quit the Conservative Party after more than three decades as a member if Boris Johnson is chosen as their next leader.

Mr Amin told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “There are many horrible people who have been popular. Popularity is not the test. The test is, is this person sufficiently moral to be prime minister, and I believe he fails that test.” … “he, as far as I’m concerned, has insufficient concern about the nature of truth for me to ever be a member of a party that he leads.” 

I must agree with Mr Amin on the importance of Truth, and that Boris Johnson is unfit to be prime minister. This is not a party political statement. I would expect all Christian Conservatives to feel the same. I must follow Jesus above all else or stop claiming to be a Christian. I must follow the same Jesus who told Pilate, “I was born into this world to tell about the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth knows my voice.” (John 18.37)

God bless…

“Bleeding for Jesus” by Andrew Graystone – a review and some comments

A disturbing but important post. Please read:

https://zenandtheartoftightropewalking.wordpress.com/