September 29th. Michaelmas, an important day in the farming year when traditionally farm tenancies changed, and farm workers were unhired or hired for the coming year. Must have been a difficult time if you were a hired hand and then n longer had a job for the winter ahead. The hiring fairs across the country were held around this day
St Michael the Archangel is patron saint of sea and maritime lands, of ships and boatman, of horses and horseman. He was the Angel who hurled Lucifer from Heaven for his treachery. He is seen as the leader of the army of angels against the forces of evil, as a protector. He is a Satan slayer and a dragon beater!
Every step of our lives is involved in learning. Every day, every waking minute, wherever we are, and however old we may be, we are still learning. Education is the key!
It is the key to our understanding, the foothold on which our ‘ladder of life’ is based. It fills
our minds to grow, our hearts to understand and our souls to be refreshed.
We all have a part to play in education, whether in our own lives or for our families.
In our country we have an education system which is free for all children from ages 4-18
years. In further education we have a system whereby young people can follow their hopes
and dreams and find a way to a career. Education doesn’t end there… we have a lifelong
learning programme whereby we are encouraged to find out about different aspects at
different times. Every day and every year can be a learning journey.
A few weeks ago I took the photo of the poppies in a nearby field, close to where I live in West Norfolk.
At that time fields were full of the stunningly bright red poppies.
Where there had been crops of wheat and barley, the fields had been turned into rewilding projects on the local estate farms and the poppies flourished.
For me, the poppies represent all that we have lost in this last year. Through their radiant colour, they show all that is good in this life. They show that if cared for they can flourish, just like ourselves.
The dark grey clouds indicate that we are not out of the storms yet, we still have to find our way through the Covid 19 crisis, blue skies appear from time to time, but still the storm clouds roll in.
But we will find our way through ,and with God’s help we can look after others who are struggling and we can find new ways of living. Like the poppies in the fields, which had been struggling, but now are radiant and flourishing.
Have you ever felt like getting away from it all? Going somewhere else, peaceful, no pressure, no crowds, no traffic queues, no noisy crowds?
Strangely I did just that yesterday afternoon. What a glorious day and I had fought my way across the traffic to get into town and just decided to do something that I had been thinking about for a long while. Well, to be honest since lockdown has finished and I have been planning in my mind places to walk or to cycle to.
So, I drove down past the Fisher Fleet in King’s Lynn, and headed down to the river. I parked the car and walked, and walked and walked…
And so the disciples were left behind, and returned to Jerusalem. Once again they had to say goodbye to Jesus and were even more aware that they needed to be going out into the world to spread the word.
The cloud often appears in the Bible and can be seen as the way that God appears in a veil of cloud. How often do you stand looking at fluffy white clouds and make them into amorphous shapes?
A cloud took him out of their sight…
This is where the distance between heaven and earth comes close. It is hard to visualise and explain this concept, it can be described as like cutting through paper with a knife and finding yourself in another place, at certain points in our world we can feel closer to God and heaven.
We hope that many of our churches are in such places, but it can also be a place in the countryside or a spot in a town, somewhere where you do feel closer to God.
We had a balancing act this year shall we church or shall we Zoom?
In the end we did both! We had the Service of Light at 8.00 a.m. in All Saint’s Ashwicken, which is our church in the fields. Set on a hill in Norfolk with primroses, and daffodils throughout the churchyard, it was joy to meet each other( socially distance of course!) and to share greetings.
By 11.00 a.m. we were live on Zoom! At home and people celebrating Easter, even though they can’t go out.
At least we are on the way to meeting with each other. At least we have some sense of getting through this pandemic, even if it will take time.
Alleluia, Christ is Risen! The stone is rolled away, and a new dawn has begun.
Our link with Papua New Guinea remains strong in the Diocese of Norwich. We are aware that life is tough for the people of PNG at the moment as Covid19 hits the area.
We have a presentation to deliver to a school in Norfolk, Heartwood C of E Primary School, on Thursday 18th March to help Year 2 discover a different land. This is part of their curriculum in geography and RE. What a great way to explore our world.
We journeyed to Papua New Guinea on a Pilgrimage in 2015 and I will be using many of the photos I took at the time to illustrate the session with the Year two children.
The video below is of our greeting by the people of West New Britain(an island in the South Pacific) as we were welcomed into the island.
I received a leaflet this week with my Church Times, called Water; The Truth from WaterAid. On the front cover was a picture of a child full of smiles under a shower tap and breaking news, that for the first time in history 9 out of 10 people in the world have clean water!
How astonishing that is and we give thanks to all those who have made that possible.
I live in a country where the thought of not having clean water to drink is impossible. But not everywhere in the world has this necessity. Good news indeed that 9 out of 10m people now have clean water.
The image is of the spring of the River Jordan, where water flows effervescently and pure. Water is life giving, but so much more than that. It is the sign for us all that we need to be given that spirit from God, through Jesus. That life-giving water. When we thirst for something and are not sure what we need, it is that need to be quenched and full of God’s word and support.
We have good news! The vaccine is a great success and we are leaders in the world, ready to roll out worldwide.
So let us not be glum! Let us not be dreary! Where is the goodness in being despondent?
Easier said than done, I know.
But this week, so many of us, including myself have had the vaccine . That is truly remarkable and will lead to us getting back together at some stage. Wave if you have had the vaccine! Send a wave through chat if you can! And for those who haven’t yet, it is really getting through to everyone now. How amazing is that!
That is good news and beautiful too.
So let’s get the bad news out of the way and then I can talk about the good news of Jesus coming to dwell with us.
To be a pilgrim is to follow, or to be in the footsteps of other Christians.
It is setting out on the road, to travel or to wander, a journey through life. A famous place for pilgrimage in the UK is Walsingham and to the shrine of Our Lady .
Thought for the Day BBC Radio 4
Every weekday on the Today programme, a speaker gives a few minutes summary on issues and relates these to faith and moral view points.
Speakers from many faith backgrounds give interesting perspectives and it's great to listen to at the start of the day . Read more here...
A new charity, recently launched by the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu.
Working to give donations directly from the charity web site to those in need of help.
The charity derives its title and mission from Acts 4:35 - ...and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need'.