Third Sunday in Lent The Teams of Twelve
Genesis 28:10-19a and John 1:35-51
The teams of twelve…. John starts the building of the team of the twelve disciples for Jesus, as we hear in the passage from John’s gospel. Jacob has the powerful dream, about the ladder to heaven with angels passing up and down, as we hear in the passage from Genesis. From there his name is synonymous with Israel and the twelve tribes of Israel from the descendants of his twelve sons.
There are other links between these two passages; There are links between the books of Genesis and John; they deal with the beginnings, the establishing of God’s church and creation, light and darkness, day and night.
There is a similarity of the endings of both passages; in Genesis Jacob makes a vow,
‘ If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.’
In John, Jesus says,
‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the soul of man’
And there we also have another connection, in the angels ascending and descending.
Rev’d Sue Martin, Assistant Priest St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield London
Kalpana, aged 7, in Nepal on her way to school.
We support Kalpana and make regular contributions towards her school costs, from our children’s books website Dolphin Booksellers. We put aside monies to send to Kalpana for her education.
Her family live several villages away and Bhim and Kalpana walk for a day to stay with her aunt during school time. Bhim, her uncle, is a Himalayan guide, and communicates with us regularly when he is back from trips around Everest.
Our connection was started over two years ago when I went to Nepal, on a walk to Everest Base Camp. Two days from the Base Camp I developed altitude sickness and had to make a very long and hasty retreat down the mountain. There’s more info on my Faith in Nepal page. Helping me to get down was Bhim, an experienced guide. We talked a great deal on the 5 days down and I learnt all about Kalpana.
What happened to the vote, how does 72% overall in favour mean that the legislation was defeated?
Everyone is reeling this week with the news that General Synod, the top section of the Church of England’s structure, have seemingly voted against the position of women bishops. In brief there are three houses and each has to have a two thirds majority. All had gone fine until the House of Laity, who did not return this majority.
What a disaster!
In 2012, with a church that has women priests, the common sense and equality approach, would see no reason why women are not treated the same as men!
Theological, a minority of people including conservative evangelicals, feel that it is not right.
If we are all working in the affirmation, love and welcome of God through the world, then surely it must be time for us all to have an equal position and worth.
There is much anguish, frustration and disappointment.
The Bishop of Norwich has written to all across the Norwich Diocese and expressed the need, now, to be more united as a church, to work and pray for a resolution.
In the meantime, women and men together in ministry continue to bring the good news to all in the parishes and beyond.
Rev’d Sue Martin
Curate in Gayton Group of Parishes
Tasmania, the most southerly state in Australia, an island, separated from the mainland by the Bass Straits. A beautiful place with huge diversity in the climate, landscape and wildlife.
Vast areas of wilderness and huge untouched forests with no roads or population are unchartered territory, especially in the south west.
We spent a week in Tasmania (see section on Faith Goes Walkabout- Walkabout Australia).From echidnas and wombats to Tasmanian Devils and Duck Billed Platypus, the wildlife is amazing. The temperate rain forests with the Tall Trees of Sassafras and Arras and beautiful beaches are stunning.
The history of Tasmania since the arrival of the white settlers doesn’t make good reading and the church was part of this difficult time. Tasmania was established as the place of last resort and conditions were really bad. Conditions were harsh and made worse by the elite class who continued to make large amounts of money. The aboriginal population was destroyed and any people left were made part of the settler’s way of life. There are many stories, and a recent book called Wanting by Richard Flanagan is about a young girl Mahinna around 1839 and her move into the governor’s house.
Maybe it’s when travelling that we are taken to places, not only beautiful but where we learn about life, that we start to increase in wonder and look back in amazement.
Tasmania, a great place and very far south on the other side of the world.
Rev’d Sue Martin Curate at Gayton group of parishes
Sponsored Cycle Ride.
What a fantastic day! With the sun shining all day and the hills(there really are hills in Norfolk!), it felt more like rural France.
£107 was raised to be shared between All Saint’s Church, Ashwicken and The Norfolk Churches Trust. A real fun way to support one of our local churches and the Norfolk Churches Trust.
All Saint’s Ashwicken, is our church in the fields, and at a high point where you can gaze out towards the coast. There is always a place to sit and rest, outside and inside. A special place indeed.
The Norfolk Churches Trust makes grants to churches and chapels towards repair and restoration costs. Since it’s inception in 1976, it has given over £3.8 million.
In total, we cycled 18 miles and visited seven churches, Grimston,Congham, Little and Great Massingham, Gayton Thorpe,East Walton and Gayton.
Look forward to next year but hope to do more cycling in the next few months, as summer turns to autumn.
Rev’d Sue Martin
The Olympics starts today! The opening ceremony is to be held at the stadium in Stratford, East London and promises to be the best one yet!
Listening to Radio 4′s Thought for the Day this morning, Canon Duncan Green, the head of multi-fatih chaplaincy for the London Organising Committee, talked about the excitement, the anticipation- the ‘are we there yet’ feeling!
It’s a great chance to listen to how this enormously mammoth event, through all it’s troubles and commercialisation still brings people from all over the world to celebrate and be together in harmony with a common purpose.
Thought for the Day is also a really good opportunity to listen to a number of speakers from many different faith backgrounds talking about current issues and happenings. It’s only on for a few moments at about 7.45 am every week day morning.
But you can always listen to it again, follow the link on Faith Goes Walkabout or direct from the BBC.You can also find your favourite speakers and listen to their broadcasts again or read the whole script.
Make it a favourite then you can always access the broadcasts.
So in between the events and when you have some space for reflection it’s well worth a second chance.
Rev’d Sue Martin
Curate at Gayton Group of Parishes
Passing people by, walking on the other side of the street, not sharing a glance…an every day happening on most city streets. The Big Issue seller, with his back pack resting by the side has a struggle to make contact with those walking past.
What does it cost to be civil or smile or show some support, it doesn’t always mean parting with money.
A lack of care or an indifference seems to happen more in a wealthy society. And however many laws and regulations we have, a system built on increasing individual’s or an organisational wealth then maybe that inner morality is hard to maintain.
The Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks says in article for the Times,
‘Morality matters. Not just laws, regulations, supervisory authorities, committees of enquiry, courts, fines and punishments, but morality, the inner voice of self restraint that tells us not to do something even when it is to our advantage, even though it may be legal and even if there is fair chance that it won’t be found out.
Because it’s wrong. Because it’s dishonourable. Because it’s a breach of trust.’
The book of Amos, from the Old Testament, is also a book about society around the 700′s BC. A central plank to Amos is about social justice, and he wrote as a prophet about a society, where people were greedy and had stopped adhering to values, the wealthy elite had become rich at the expense of others. They had also reached a low point in their relationship with God.
They were passing people by, walking on the other side of the street and caring for themselves.
There is more about this under Trinity, in Faithgoeswalkabout.org for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity.
Rev’d Sue Martin
Her father was the leader of the Burmese Democratic Party and was killed by the military when she was very young. Her mother remained in Burma and Suu Kyi came to England and was educated at Oxford and married Michael Aris and they have two sons.
24 years ago, they all went to Burma for a visit to her mother who was not well. Whilst she was there she was asked by members of the democratic party to become their leader. She had no intentions or ambitions to become leader but over time felt that she should do this. Michael took the boys back to the UK and it was expected that before long suu Kyi would follow. It took 24 years.
In that time, she was threatened, her home was destroyed, her followers were treated abysmally in dreadful conditions and the military were convinced that at some stage she would leave to retrun to England.
Her mother died, her husband died, her boys grew up. There were times when they were allowed into the country and the military always thought that she would go back with them.Then they would not allow her to return.
An amazing story full of courage, full of quiet resolve in the face of fear, full of life’s terrible moments. She was not a woman with wealth, domination or anything else that would give her power. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991 whilst still held in Burma.
But what she did have and I’m sure still does, is inner strength a quiet resolve and an ability to dissolve fear, which is the greatest weapon that her enemies had against her.
Portrayed so well in the film The Lady, directed by Luc Besson.
Rev’d Sue Martin, Curate in Gayton group of parishes
On my way home from Australia I stopped over in Singapore for one night to break the long journey home in the hope of preventing some of the jet lag.
Singapore is an amazing place. Full of the most impressive buildings, hugely tall and wonderfully architect designed. Blue glass surrounds with flashing steel girders over 60 stories high.
The Marina Bay Sands, over 56 stories high, 220 metres and with a garden, restaurant and observation platform.
I paid the 20 Singapore dollars to look at the view.
The view was spectacular, the waterfront with the container ships moored into the sea in a real South Asian feel, the huge high rise buildings that seemed to go on forever and the Boat Quay a real haven for tourists, especially in the evening.
But it was somehow, surreal. An air conditioned walkway for people to spend and then spend again, drawn into the shining shops with wonderful goods.
No where did I feel anything spiritual at all. I wondered if it was the fact that it was all ‘man made’ or was it just me being spaced out with travelling! Maybe this is what happens when life becomes over designed with no spaces for real life to be found. Amazing but not for me!
Rev’d Sue Martin
Social reformer and co-founder of the National Trust.Octavia had a vision and a belief, alongside energy, commitment and resolve; a socially inclusive society for ever for everyone. Good housing, recreational open spaces and education for all.
Remembered mostly for the National Trust, her real vision was as a campaigner for improvements to people’s lives and to broaden horizons through enabling all to have access to open spaces and a better quality of life.
Born in December 1838 in Wisbech, to a family where her mother was very instrumental in the formation of Octavia’s beliefs, she was part of a large family, five sisters from her mother and father, and six children from her father’s previous marriage.
Her father owned a bank which in 1825 was closed and her father became bankrupt, It was during a time of a national banking crisis.
Memories of Mary Poppins!
Her maternal grandfather Dr Thomas Southwood Smith was a champion of rights for the poor and involved in preventing the unsanitary conditions in the slums of London.
In 1848 The Christian Socialists developed and Octavia became involved and was confirmed in 1857. Her faith was profound and enduring, action not words were her expression of her belief.
She became involved with John Ruskin, a social and education reformer, between them they worked to ensure that ‘the poor’ had access to housing, food and sanitation. This was the time of the Poor Laws, the workhouses and soup kitchens.
There are a number of parallels between life then and now, and there is much evidence of the work of Octavia Hill especially in London.
Rev’d Sue Martin
Curate in Gayton Group of parishes