On the Right Road

Travelling in my car with  a very smart Sat Nav on Friday to my office outside Cambridge, I started thinking about life’s journeys and seeing them is a similar way to any journey using Sat Nav and changing direction.

We set out on one route, the route that is planned and we are going along nicely and then!! The whole thing is re calibrated and the next thing you know you are changing direction, going a different way. New roads and paths ahead, new view outside the window, could be lots of traffic on a fast road or no traffic on a country lane. Either way you are heading to the same destination.

Sometimes I can see the big picture and sometimes I can only see the road directly around me.

I am comforted in knowing the exact time of my arrival, and where the road works will slow me down. But what if I go off route!! Much re calibration takes place and eventually it finds me again and sets me on the right road.

Does that sound familiar?

Our life journeys have several twists and turns, much re calibration and setting back on the right path again. Other things happen. and events further down the road, not related to us at the time,  have an impact on our journey.

But we are all gathered up, re calibrated and put on the right road.

A slightly deeper theological reflection on Sermons 2020

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Zindzi Mandela

I only met Zindzi Mandela once,and in that few hours could feel the depth of love and emotion that she felt for her family and the cause of the Mandela Legacy Foundation. Her parents Nelson and Winnie Mandela were an enormous force in the anti apartheid movement in South Africa and Zindzi followed in her parents footsteps to lead, to make changes and to ensure all South Africans have a chance in life.

It was enormously sad that Zindzi , so full of life, died on Monday 13th July 2020 at the age of 59. Called away far too soon and she will be missed enormously by her family, supporters and by the wider world, where she was continuing to make a difference through determination and love.

Many projects are underway through Zindzi,  an anti- apartheid protester from an early age, and her ability to engage and make things work, like her father, Nelson who said ”

It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela.

In 2018 we met Zindzi Mandela at South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London at the publication of her book with her great grandchildren.  What a special day and invited through our work based organisation Books Go Walkabout,  and one which I will remember as a great honour.

“Grandad Mandela “by Zazi, Ziweli and Zindzi Mandela, with illustrations by Sean Qualls, published by Frances Lincoln Books

Rest in peace Zindzi and rise in glory.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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An invisibility cloak! Pentecost

Pentecost, rushing winds, tongues of fire, speaking in different tongues, but how else does the Holy Spirit work?  Where is this Holy Spirit?

It can be rather like an invisibility cloak, you know the one that Harry Potter uses to get about and see things when others can’t see him? Through our own invisibility cloak, of the Holy Spirit,  we can see a world that is beautiful, full of God’s love and in which we can take a real place.  So long as we let the Holy Spirit surround us and come within us we can see a world that is full of richness in spirit and in love.

Without it we see a world full of fear, greed and looking only after our own selves.

How many times  in this lockdown have people shown little acts of kindness, not the great big things but the odd word in the street, across the road, a phone call, a card through the post, collecting the shopping for others, and the list goes on. In our own village in Norfolk, a new group helps others who have to stay at home and are vulnerable. Truly a good thing to do.

Pope Francis in his recent address says Vene, Spirito Santo, Come Holy Spirit.

 

Read more in Sermons 2020…

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

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VE Day 8th May 2020

VE Day 2020

The silence that says it all…

The lives lost, the lives changed, the lives that would never be the same again.

Seventy-five years on we remain united in isolation, glorious in survival, and thankful for all that we have received.

Because of bravery, courage, determination and spirit we can go forward with joy in our hearts.

Father, we give thanks, we hold honour and strength in our hearts and we let the Holy Spirit work within us to show that same love for each other and our world.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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The Upper Room

The Upper Room is to this day, an inconspicuous space along a quiet street in Jerusalem. The windows  are hardly noticeable on the first floor next to some dangling electric cables. Jerusalem normally bustles with people, but in these days of lock down it is a quiet and eerie street.

The disciples had returned to the Upper Room in secret, and Jesus was with them for a short time, and showed them his side and feet.But Thomas, was not there and he could not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. When Jesus did return, then Thomas believed. There is much more to this story and it can be found in John 20, verses 19-29.

I am intrigued though with  the secrecy of the Upper Room and gathering there without the authorities knowing. In our isolation world at the moment, we have become aware of being fearful, to know that going out is a risk, to know that there may be people watching us. This is so strange and I am reminded this morning from our Sunday readings just how powerful it is to be isolated.

And yet, like Thomas, many of us do go out and do the essentials, the shopping, the daily exercise, maybe a visit at 2 metres distance to a vulnerable person. I delivered a birthday card to Pearl yesterday, aged 88. The notice at the back door said,” Please knock on the lounge window, I would love to see you.” So I did that and we stood 2 metres apart and had a chat. “How good to have a chat!” said Pearl.

We don’t know what Thomas was  doing, and sometimes he is perceived as doubting Thomas just because he wasn’t there. He was just being very realistic though.

Maybe he too had just been out for some essentials. Don’t judge him too harshly

 

Rev’d Sue Martin

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On this day…

Six weeks ago I was one of a number of pilgrims from Norwich Diocese on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We stopped in the Garden of Gethsemane and looked over the valley to Jerusalem. We visited the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest where Jesus spent the night in his dungeons. It was a dark and dismal place.

Today is Maundy Thursday, and amazing that we are all, in some ways contained in our own houses with the Corona virus pandemic.

We hope soon to be able to journey away from our homes and get back to some kind of normality, whatever that will look like, but I strongly suspect that for so many of us life will not be the same again.

The events of the crucifixion and Easter happened over 2000 years ago. Jesus lived among us and died for us. Life can change for us all, His resurrection meant that life would never be  the same again.

Amen

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Have we locked God in the church?

Have we really locked God in the church along with the pews? Did we firmly turn the key and slide the bolt so we can’t get in and He can’t get out?

Over the last week , or is it two… all the churches have been locked. Understandably church goers are distressed. Where can they go to pray and worship? Is anybody doing anything?

But out of sadness there comes joy,and out of a locked church emerges online services. Numbers for people listening in to a service of their choice is huge, larger than church attendance by far. So, now is the time to reach out and offer help and support to all those who are getting in touch.

And, no, of course we haven’t locked God in the church, how could we. He is out there, with us, walking with us through this crisis, reaching out to all who ask.

And all we have to do is to ask, to pray and to find Him in our lives  today.

 

Rev’d Sue Martin

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So long as we…

Above all else in this time of social distancing, isolation and world wide pandemic a little prayer to remind us of life in this world.

So long as we enjoy the light of day

May we greet one another with love.

So long as we enjoy the light of the day

May we pray for one another,

Zuni prayer taken from A Child’s Book of Prayer, compiled by Tessa Strickland, Barefoot Books

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Places and travels

At the end of my travels to the Holy Land we found these beautiful anemones at Abu Gosh, the site of Emmaus.

But lets start with the travels of Jesus. His own pilgrimage, in a sense, places he walked to, he didn’t have a coach or a car or a bike. He  used a donkey from time to time, but generally he walked. Places where he performed miracles, gathered his disciples, went into the wilderness, and places where he met with God. Travels in the wilderness, travels into towns and villages.

In our own pilgrimage to the Holy Land 2020, we followed in his footsteps and walked in his ways. And now challenged to bring back to others the sights, the sounds and the knowledge we have gained.

Sermon for 3rd Sunday in Lent follows our journey and also relates to the Samaritan woman at the well; John 4: 5-42.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Holy Land Pilgrimage 2020 – Thoughts and Experiences

We arrived back in the UK from the pilgrimage with the Norwich Diocese on March 2nd, pilgrims together, full of thoughts and experiences that would stay with us forever. For many it was the first and possibly only visit to the Holy Land, and incredibly special. My second visit and still a deeply significant place of holiness… The Holy Land.

Where did we go?  Walkabout Jerusalem 2020 Blog has all the places we visited. We travelled to Galilee, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, with each day packed with places and services.

Forever in my mind will be the Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, and the roads to Jericho and Jerusalem. But I would also never be able to forget Bethlehem, the wall and manger Square, the River Jordan, the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

A special thank you to Hanna, our guide, The Very Reverend Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich Cathedral and The Right Reverend Jonathan Meyrich, Bishop of Lynn, Diocese of Norwich and Pilgrimage People.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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