For many this conundrum of the doctrine of the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has been the source of much confusion, misuse, and controversy through the ages.
Are we really worshipping three gods? And have we fallen back into creating a pantheon of gods like the Romans, the Hindus, and other religions.
I like to think about the Trinity as in 2 Corinthians, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Three in one, and one in three.
Not part of, or in any dimensional way that we can conceive, but a God who finds ways to ensure we can find him and work with him to make this world his own, and a better place for all people.
In the Old Testament we find that God has worked with the prophets and Moses to ensure that his people are kept safe.
Jesus, God’s only Son is sent from heaven to be with us, for always.
As he returns to heaven he does not leave us alone but sends the Holy Spirit, the enabler and mission giver.
Three in one and one in three- see Trinity Sunday on FaithGoesWalkabout.org
Rev’d Sue Martin
Have you ever found yourself gazing up at the clouds? Looking at the sky, waiting for something.
The disciples were told by the two men in white; we assume Elijah and Moses, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand and look up to heaven?”
John 14:23-29 Acts 1: 1-11 Not an unreasonable thing to do, I would have thought if someone had been standing with you and then Lo and Behold ! There he is, carried up in a cloud.
Well I would definitely be standing there even today looking upwards, amazing!
It’s rather like when you have been to the theatre and it has been an amazing performance , a ballet, musical opera, something spectacular. The curtain goes back and forth at the end.You would like to stay there and maybe the curtain will pull back one more time and you will see the ballerina again.
Keep gazing though, because this time Jesus was going into heaven. But he did leave with the disciples the message that the Holy Spirit would come among them.
In other words look beyond the possible and into the vision. What we can do if we really have inspiration, being inspired, spirit given, looking heavenwards.
Tocare el cielo con ditto. Touch the sky with your finger tips.
Rev’d Sue Martin
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.
Sixth Sunday in Easter and a great message.
Three years ago I was in Avila in Spain on a diocesan retreat. A week of warmth, sunshine and friendship. And on the way we met the words and life of St Teresa of Avila. Her most famous words;
‘Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you All things pass away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. He who has God Finds he lacks nothing, God alone suffices.’ Solo Dios Basta
And, you know, these words help a lot when times get tough and those you love seem far away.
Full sermon at Easter on Faith Goes Walkabout
Reverend Sue Martin
Saul, the persecutor of Christians is converted by a blinding flash of light on the road to Damascus.
Saul was a Jew and had been present at the stoning of Stephen, he was on his way to make sure that further Christians were held in check.
But, we are told in Acts 9: 1-20, that whilst he was on the Way he was blinded and a voice came to him asking him why he was persecuting him. Saul asked who the voice belonged to and Jesus replied that it was him.
He was three days without sight. Ananias was asked to find him and lay hands on him to restore his sight, which he did, but wondering why he was helping this man who was renowned as a persecutor.
And so the start of Paul/Saul’s start of leading the church and spreading the word in his imitable style into many countries and places.
Hidden in the story there are references to Christian terms; one being The Way and the other being The street that is called Straight.
The Way, or the path or the journey or the place in which to walk – a need to follow where we are called.
The Street that is called Straight… probably the modern Darb el-Mostakin in Damascus (as above), but reference to following the path that is straight although in a journey of faith it is seldom ever straight.
But to follow the Way and as much as we can to walk in a straight path, easier said than achieved and unlike Paul , after his conversion,many find it hard.
Rev’d Sue Martin
Have you ever wondered what is happening with the weather this year?
Day after day of cold, bitter northerly winds and a Spring that just seems to refuse to happen.
Snow at Easter, the northern hills still covered in the white stuff, lambs already in need of their warm and wooly coats.
The Atlantic Jet Stream, it seems is too far south! Leaving us above the warm and westerly winds an in direct line for the easterly winds from the Urals.
What does God think about the jet stream and could he just not give it a casual blow from the south, please?
I wonder if he sits in heaven and maybe thinks that along with austerity goes a very cold wind indeed!
On searching in the Bible the main reference to the weather is in Job, 37: 22- end
‘When the wind has passed and cleared them, out of the north comes golden splendour.’
Maybe we should just hope that in time the weather will change and become warmer…. and like all difficult things, with time it will pass.
Rev’d sue Martin
Jesus looks in to the near future and sees his betrayal and death.
Feeling troubled, Jesus says that one of the disciples will betray him, but the disciples miss what he is really meaning and so don’t get the message. Judas is handed the piece of bread by Jesus and told do do the deed quickly.
Judas disappears into the night.
What is about to happen in the next few days will leave the world in a different place to any other time then and now.
It seems that the disciples were oblivious to the messages that Jesus had given. No wonder then that they would also deny any involvement with Jesus, even Peter.
But a message that was plain to them all, ‘I give you a new commandment that you love one another’.
A message as much for today.
Assistant Priest St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, London
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
Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (less Sundays).
The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death and resurrection.
The actual word means – to lengthen, and is marked by the lengthening of days as we enter the season of Spring.
Lent is a preparation for Easter and is often shown by giving up something, often foods that we especially like; chocolate, cakes and biscuits are good examples. But Lent can also be a time for real reflection.
There are many Lent courses and the two included are both good ways of exploring meanings and an understanding of life today and the role of Christianity.
The Norwich diocese course(as illustrated) is part of the Lent project with Uganda and can be downloaded for free. The material is written by Rev’d Dr Medad Birungi Zinomuhangi, President & Founder-World Shine Ministries.
The Church Urban Fund course looks at issues of poverty today in the UK and can be downloaded for free. Searching for the truth behind the news headlines and discovering realities for people who live on the edge.
Or try Christian Aid Count Your Blessings? Bite size pieces of daily thoughts on life’s issues in a gentle but real way.
So, let’s get going in Lent, wake up to life around us and the Easter story in 40 days time.
Rev’d Sue Martin
Curate in Gayton group of parishes.