Lent Course, A Journey to the Holy Land

 

As part of our discovery about our own journeys we are looking at parts of the Holy Land; Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Sacred places, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, 2000 years on in our own time with changes and challenges but still a deep sense of God’s presence.

The Holy Land is the place in which Jesus grew up and carried out his ministry. It is an area about the size of Wales, although it has many different parts.

Physically it is set on the edge, the edge of the Mediterranean and Europe, the edge of The Middle East and Africa.

The valley of the River Jordan is a rift valley and is the deepest valley in the world. It develops from the Sea of Galilee and continues to the Dead Sea. Further south it reaches the Red Sea.

It is featured many time in the Old and New Testament. It continues to this day to be a place of friction and war.

Read more at Lent Course 2019 as the journey evolves over four weeks in Lent

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Hoi An, Walkabout Vietnam

Hoi An in Central Vietnam – a place of transforming light, colour and peace.

In October 2019 I travelled to Hoi An in Central Vietnam for a short stay. A time to find some peace and relaxation, time to off load a little. My own cycling adventures in Hoi An were not so overloaded as the girl with the bike, but somehow she reminded me of myself… valiantly carrying with a smile on her face.

The Vietnamese people are very peaceful, determined and friendly. Couldn’t resist the lady offering boat rides for £2.oo.

It has taken me a little while but I have included in Faith Goes Walkabout sections with a new style presentation.

 

Central Vietnam is a great place to visit if you have the chance.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Signs of Hope & Blessings

Bless You – That’s my line!

Blessings, God Bless You, Blessed are the poor, the hungry, those who mourn, and those who are hated because of their faith…

What does it mean, blessings, blessed, bless you? Is it really a sign of hope, when hope is needed? Like the first daffodils in Spring, blessings for us all at the end of winter, we hope!

It seems that many people use the term, ‘Bless’, ‘bless you, bless him, and bless her’

I find it hard when people say that as I think what do they mean?

So, when people say to me ‘Oh, bless you,’ I often reply, ‘that’s my line!’

I must admit I deviated quite a bit from my sermon on the Beatitudes today, it seemed that hope was what was needed.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Candlemas

This is a turning point for the church year. We now move from Christmas and Epiphany towards Easter and Lent, a turning point from looking behind to looking ahead, symbolic and preparing ourselves for Easter.

I think that Jesus must have grown up learning some of the trade of a carpenter as Joseph, I wonder what he made in wood, I imagine him carving and creating. A favourite picture of mine is taken in Avila, Spain and is of a statue over the entrance to a church. It is of Jesus with a saw in one hand and holding his father’s hand as they are walking.

Candlemas – a time when Jesus is taken as a baby to the temple in Jerusalem.  Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and declares that he is a light to lighten the Gentiles. A light in our own darkness.

A time when we move from Christmas and Epiphany towards Easter.

It is in a way, where the plan for earth and heaven collide, a meeting point. Luke cleverly draws us all in to that story wanting to know more and in a way looking at our own journeys and life’s plans.

Processions or just taking a single candle out in the darkness tonight, all will be a pathway  and alight for our own journeys.

Read more on Sermons 2019.

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

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That’s My Pitch!

Darkness and on the road. But not like the Wise Men.

Some weeks ago, just before Christmas I went to London and was walking along the road towards The British Library. I noticed a hooded figure lighting up a cigarette in a corner, small, covered in black jacket with a hoodie.

I walked on and then heard a wailing from behind me. There were great crowds of people and no-one else seemed to notice this distressing call from behind, saying,  ” No, you can’t go there, that’s my pitch. Get out! It’s mine, I have it from Big Issue, it’s mine!”

A much larger man was in her space by the wall. He was not giving it up either despite emany wails, hits and tears!

I carried on to the library and had a coffee.

When I came out, it was nearly dark. There by the side of the road was my little figure, squatting on the road, cigarette in mouth, tears down her face, on the phone talking to someone about her problem.

Now, why I walked past a second time, I just don’t know! Please don’t remind me of the story of The Good Samaritan!

So, a month later, Jan 16th, I was walking back along the same piece of road in the dark. And yes, there was my girl, in her own pitch, in her claimed place on the streets of London, not selling Big Issue, but fast asleep, with a mountain of sleeping bags, wrappers, newspapers and other stuff. She looked about 16.

At least she was still with us, and I’m sure or I pray for the certainty, that other rough sleepers keep an eye on her, or maybe the local homeless charity or Camden borough.

What a way to live in 2019 in London!

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Happy Christmas

And all the bells on earth shall ring

On Christmas Day

On Christmas Day

And all the bells on earth shall ring on Christmas Day

In the Morning

Happy Christmas to All

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

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Advent

Four weeks of preparation and getting ready! That’s a long time even for those, like me who are not that organised, all those endless jobs that need doing before Christmas are sitting in my lists, staring at me every day!

I met with a friend this week who has everything done and finished, just waiting now for Christmas to arrive! At first that seems wonderful but what would Christmas be like if we had it all completed before we had even started?

So, I give myself permission to remain unorganised, have many jobs left to do, and presents to wrap. But in the midst of that I hope to meet friends along the way to share time with, to see sparkling lights brightening the dark skies, to think of just how lucky we are and to find a time each day to thank God for the arrival of his son Jesus into the world over 2000 years ago.

A prayer…

Slow down Advent, and take time to look inwards at our hopes and fears, to look outwards at a world in need of hope and to look Godward confidant in his love and committment to the world.

Amen

Rev’d Sue Martin

Read more at Faith goesWalkabout advent 

 

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Remembrance 2018 – 100 Years

Poppies made by the Girl Guides,Gayton

One hundred years ago the Armistice was signed between the Allies of World War 1 and the German Empire. The cessation of hostilities took effect at 11.00 am on 11th November 1918.

This year marks the centenary and Remembrance Day is commemorated across the UK.

In our Benefice on Norfolk, we held two main services with packed churches and two minutes silence at 11.00am. Even the traffic stopped on the road for us this year. In the evening  two large bonfires were held and again huge numbers of people gathered to watch and the church bells rang out at 6.50pm to join in across the UK.

This was followed by singing the old songs and enjoying a glass of wine and some cakes and listening to stores of people from our village who went to war and never returned.

The first verse of the poem by Rupert Brooke, written in 1914, is a reminder of that time and the young men who gave their lives in the trenches in France and Belgium.

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is forever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

A body of England’s breathing English air,

Washed by rivers, blest by suns of home.

 

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

A pulse in the eternal mind, no less

Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;

And laughter, learnt if friends; and gentleness,

In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke 1914

Rev’d Sue Martin

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The Bread of Life

 

What does it mean I am the bread of life?  John 6:24-35

Jesus had left the disciples behind for a while and they had found him on the other side of the lake, Lake Galilee is very large so it would have taken some time to have found him.

You know those times when you just fancy a few minutes on your own to have a coffee or to have time with your thoughts, and then someone comes along and finds you.

And then what do they do, they invariably ask you a question.

The disciples did the same with Jesus, “When did you come here?”

Jesus had just performed the miracle of making the five loaves and two fishes  feed a crowd of five thousand.

Presumably he had slipped away when the disciples were busy handing out the food, everyone was hungry.

Jesus doesn’t answer directly to the question from the disciples, that was not the important question. The answer that Jesus gave was about bread, but not just the bread that we eat with fish, but about the bread of life…

Read more on Sermons 2017-2018

Rev’d Sue Martin

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The Boys in the Cave in Northern Thailand

The picture of boys in India praying for boys in the cave. 


This is a story that went straight to people’s hearts, the successsful rescue was everybody’s hope. What does it tell us…

There is the respect for human life.

There is the willing of nations and ordinary people for a successful rescue.

There are the rescuers with their expertise and determination that this is just their job. But one of them lost his life.

The parents who laid no blame on anyone

The boys who showed such courage and strength.

The coach who had led them into the cave and it had all gone horribly wrong.

Read more in Sermons 2018

Rev’d Sue Martin

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