Sermons 2021

Education Sunday 12th September

The homily is written as part of my work as Bishop’s Officer for Schools’ Mission in the Diocese of Ely.    Rev’d Sue Martin

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.
But education is more than just finding a way to a good career choice, it is about finding out, exploration, creativity, imagination, adventure, discovery, all of which can take us away from our own lives and engage with the wide world beyond.

It is the way to finding our place in God’s world. To help us be able to achieve, there are skills to learn, techniques to be accomplished and many things which we need to know for our lives now and in the future.

In the reading from Mark, we know that Jesus spends much time teaching the disciples. Jesus is recognised as a teacher and teaches many people along the way, which is key to spreading the Word. In Isaiah verse 4, we hear the words about having been given the tongue of a teacher.
Our very first teachers are of course our parents, which extends to other members of the
family. What an influence and strong position that is! A real joy most of the time but it can
often have difficult steps along the way.
Our schools are fundamental to everyone in our communities. They bring the life and soul of the children and young people to all who work and live alongside. As a community in
themselves they provide more than just a place to learn skills and techniques. Children are at school for full days and in that time much of their learning experience is about; social
interaction, friendship groups, learning to live with each other, following rules, sharing so
much with each other. This is all in an environment which is supporting them and enabling them to grow into people with respect and consideration for each other’s and for those around them.

These form the basic principles for a good education and in following Jesus’ way of being a
teacher: with stories and ways to ensure that aspects of living with each other can be
following God’s way in God’s world.

This last academic year (and part of the previous year) we have seen some of the most major changes that have ever occurred in schools. We have seen vast periods when schools were closed, apart from a few children whose parents were working in essential services or where it was absolutely necessary for children to be physically in school.
Teachers had to implement so many different rules and regulations, to keep people safe from the virus, Covid19, and to ensure that teaching and learning could still be delivered to the children and students.
New innovations such as online learning, using different platforms, engaging with technology in ways that had never been done before, were happening in all schools across the country.
Parents at home were involved in the learning process, children were learning in isolation.
But still we maintained our education in schools and colleges across the UK. What an
achievement! What a success!
We have much to be thankful for and returning to school in September for a new academic
year of 2021-2022, we hope and pray that our schools will be able to return to some kind of normality(new or old!) and return to their main focus of education.
In our churches we have many examples of being learning communities, through our weekly services of finding out more about God’s word through Bible readings and addresses. We also have many examples of very successful children’s work and activities which give the opportunity to learn and to know Jesus.
In our diocese we have children and family workers, we have church schools, we have
connections with all our community schools across the whole diocese and across the age
groups. We are empowered to deliver a programme which encompasses education in all our
© Diocese of Ely 2021
parishes and our vision is for us all to be generous and visible people of Jesus Christ. On this
Sunday, Education Sunday let us reflect on the beginning of the new academic year, the
importance of education to us all, and especially to our children and young people.
Let us set out on a journey of faith, with education as our key, to explore, to create and to be part of our communities in God’s world.

Rev’d Sue Martin    Bishop’s Office for Schools Mission, Diocese of Ely

Tenth  Sunday after Trinity Holy Communion at St Botolph’s Grimston and St Andrew’s Congham, Norfolk

Poppies in Norfolk Field July 2021

August 8th  2021

Readings

2 Samuel 18:5-9 and 31- 33

Ephesians 4: 25-5:2

John 6: 35, 41-51

 

 

May I speak in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The Big Question and the Big Answer!

We often have these days … a Big Question, what does that mean? A Big Question? Is it hard to understand, does it have lots of different angles, will it take along while to answer?

I have been reading a little book every day, called God Calling by 2 people who remain anonymous but have heard the word of God directly to them and have complied this into a series of passages for every day.

One of my real loves in life is reading, what a gift it is and doesn’t it unfold life in all it’s wonderful aspects. You need very little with you, just the book and time.

A book and time… that sounds to me like the recipe for a chance to relax, a chance to explore maybe and a chance to take myself away from the everyday things to do

Do you have lists? I do !!

We can get buried in every day things that we don’t see or don’t have time to see that the ‘Big Question’ is surrounding us, wherever we are and whatever we do.

‘I am the bread of life’ says Jesus in John 6:35, ‘ whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’

So , when I was reading my little book the other morning, getting ready to do the little everyday jobs that were in my list, I read…

This is Eternal Life that they may know thee and know Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

In John, Jesus says, ‘ For I have come down from heaven. Not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.’

This is indeed the Big Question!

And so what is the Big Answer?

In Ephesians  we have Paul who explains some of the Big Answer…

Put away all falsehoods, all malice, bitterness and wrath, anger and slander… be kind to one another, tender hearted and forgiving as God in Christ has forgiven us all.

Stark contrast with the reading in Samuel, where poor Absolom, third and favourite son of David, king of Israel and Judah.  Whatever was going on, why could they not let him down from the tree, rather than kill him?

For us, now the Big Answer is,,, I suggest

That we love one another, we forgive people, even when that is hard, we know that Jesus is the bread of life and that we can all work to make this world a better place through love, understanding and following in the ways of the word.

We indeed have the Holy Spirit to guide us along the way, we just have to listen.

This Summer of 2021, we are learning to live with this virus of Covid 19, it is a real horror and like many bad things it is not going away. We have to be reasonable and follow the advice we are given.

But what it has given me, apart from the double jabs that is  a chance to think about the Big Question, a chance to move away from my lists and to hear God’s word and to listen to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Next week I will , with all hope and God willing I will be joining my daughter and family in Croatia. A chance to relax, to swim to read and to share in family life, once again, which in this last year, like for many has been sadly missing.

When you have chance, take some time, take a book or whatever you prefer, maybe a good film. But take time to listen to God’s word and a way to follow.

Jesus is the bread of life…. The real Big Answer.  Amen

Sunday 11th July 6th in Trinity

St Mary  Gt Massingham and Roydon

Readings:

2 Samuel 6: 1-5.17-19

Ephesians 1 3-14

Gospel Luke 10: 25-37

May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The Good Samaritan,  a well known story and so well told in Luke. So I want to pick up today on a few things; being a good neighbour, to those known to us and those not known, the promises that as Christians we make and how we thank God for his great goodness.

Being a good neighbour, our promises and how we  give thanks to God.

I think we have all been and in need of a good neighbour in the last 18 months, what a long time and journey it has been. So much staying at home and close by to our homes. And also looking out for those who need our help, the food bank you have had here at St Mary’s. We came on a walk in the winter around Massingham and it was then that I first spotted the food bank in the porch. So important and being such good neighbours to those around us, not knowing them, but being there. What being a Christian is all about.

In the gospel reading today from Luke, there is no doubt about the goodness of the Samaritan, but why is it called the Good Samaritan? It could have been called A Good Neighbour, A Samaritan passer by…

This is Jesus telling us that we shouldn’t judge people by where they come from or who they are, but by their actions and indeed their faith. The Samaritans were the people of Samaria and were not well liked at that time. Now in the UK we have a very important group called the Samaritans which are people whose task is to help others. Like the Good Samaritan in the reading, they are not known, they are not there to receive praise from others, their actions are to help the other person.

God indeed knows our actions and has no need of us telling the whole world.

Jesus asks’

Which of these three do you think  was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? He said, The one who showed mercy. Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise?’

This was all to the answer of the question, ‘Who is my neighbour?’

This year we have and still are in touch with our neighbours close by and those far away.

In the Diocese of Norwich we have neighbours far away as well as those close to us. Every two years we have a Lent Appeal to Papua New Guinea, the diocese has a direct link through previous bishops and priests.

As in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he develops the link to the people of Ephesus, and he remains in touch. And so do we in PNG.

I serve on the link group in the diocese to Papua New Guinea. It is very, very far from here, but they are still our neighbours, and we look to find ways to help and support them. In fact the support goes both ways and although there ministry is very different to our established church here, the Anglican church in PNG is thriving and alive and well.

I am a keen traveller, so somewhat frustrated over this last year, but in 2015 I travelled on a pilgrimage to PNG with the diocese, including two bishops and a diocese from Australia and New Zealand, a real adventure and memories etched on my heart. People who gave me help and people who I still want to help also. Isn’t that wat we are here for? To help each other.

Whilst we were there, we had great feasts, fruits of every kind and lots of starchy vegetable. I decided not to eat the meat, it was v hot and there were lots of lies!

In Samuel6, v 19, they had a great feast and danced and sang(verses before). That is also what they did in PNG, lots of dancing, tribal dress and singing. Joyful songs and praises to the Lord.

Whether you are a good neighbour in Massingham, Ashwicken, Grimston, Congham, Little Massingham, Roydon, East Walton, Gayton Thorpe or Gayton we can also be a good neighbour to places far off, far and away. So watch out for the Lent Appeal, it is going to be for a project in the islands of PNG, where I spent most of my time out  there.

But back to home… our benefice has and still is undergoing changes; we have routines of services to plan and to make sure that our small team can deliver.

Essentially, we have Rev’d Judith who is the Rector across the 10 parishes and is licensed to serve in , FT ministry. Then we have myself ordained and  licensed to serve in the benefice on a part time voluntary basis, Then we have the ministry team which is made up of people who have had training. Then we have  all our churchwardens and PCC’s and congregations. And we are all here for each other. We will work it out together.

My ministry is also different as I work in the Diocese of Ely as the Bishop’s Officer for Schools. Mission. So I have a double aspect to my ministry. This links well to my previous work as a head teacher and many years in education consultancy.

I feel that I am called by God to do the things that I can and to be the person He wants me to be. That I am sure is the same for us all. God knows us, he loves us and he wants us all to be that person He knew before we were born. How good is that?

And that is fundamentally being a good neighbour, keeping the promises that God has asked of us and to give thanks to God for his great mercy and loving kindness.

When I needed a neighbour were you there…

O Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end…

Give thanks  with a grateful heart…  Amen

Sermon for First Sunday in Trinity June 7th 2021

Readings

2 Corinthians 4: 13-51

Psalm 138

Mark 3: 20 – end

River Ouse and River Babingley

May I speak in the name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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 Lynn, through some pretty grim scrap metal places by the docks and headed down to the river. I parked the car and walked, and walked and walked…

What did I find? I found utter peace! The tide was coming in slowly, it was very still and quiet, the sky was beautifully blue and the view of the river, the river banks and the sea ahead were idyllic. Who would have thought it, at the edge of King’s Lynn. Aren’t we lucky, we have so much space.

Aren’t we lucky that all those cars on the bypass heading to the beach didn’t know about it. Or it wouldn’t have been as peaceful.

I managed to get as far as the point where the River Babingley flows into the Ouse. There I met two Latvian fishermen, fishing for eels and flat fish!

Not really like the crowds that we hear about in the gospel reading from Mark today. What has been going on? Even his mother and brothers came out to rescue him.

But Jesus had been beside the lake, where it would normally have also been peaceful. But Jesus had been causing a stir, he had been performing miracles, been healing people, had been saying words that the Pharisees didn’t like at all. And just before our reading Mark explains that Jesus gathers his disciples around him, the twelve disciples. He tries to explain but the Pharisees say he is controlled by Beelzebul. Jesus returns that comments that How can Satan cast out Satan? How can the work of the devil be driven away by anyone other than in God’s name.

There is a lot in this passage and I wanted to put it into context,  as in Ch 4, all has once again gone calm and Jesus goes back to teach against the lake and tell the parable of the Sower.

For me, it shows that Jesus had been teaching and busy all day. His family were concerned that the crowds were pressing in on him, but Jesus stayed with them and tried to help them to understand. What he had tried to do was to go home.

And think about in the reading from 2 Corinthians, v 16, So we do not lose heart.

Surely Jesus was there near the lake wanting to share so much, he wanted to let people know about the good things that we can receive from God. The Pharisees are forever looking over his shoulder and waiting for the break of the Jewish rules. It must have been hard to remain cool through all of that. It is for us, often hard to stay detached and not to lose heart.

Psalm  138 has some lovely verses.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart. And Although I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me from the wrath of our enemies, The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me, your steadfast love, O Lord, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

In the midst of trouble,  Maybe Jesus had walked in the midst of trouble in Capernaum and gathering the disciples was seen as going too far.

Maybe we also are still walking in the midst of trouble.

We are so nearly through this pandemic but when we do set out to return to normal we are aware that we are walking in the midst of trouble sometimes.

So finding a place where we can experience that peace, that utter sense of joy and calm is very special.

And to finish… near where I started on the banks of the Ouse looking out to sea, I reflected on the passages from some of our readings;

Mark 3:19 Then he went home…. as I also went home

2Cor 3:16 So we do not lose heart…. It has been difficult for many of us not to lose heart this last year.

And finally… Psalm 138 I give you thanks O Lord, with my whole heart…. Which we all do together today and every day. We are truly blessed.

Amen

 

Pentecost Sunday 23rd May 2021

St Nicholas Church, Gayton

Romans 8: 22-27

Acts 2: 1- 21

John 15:26-27, 16:4-15

May I speak in the name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Pentecost or Whit Sunday

The Spirit of Truth, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit… when the advocate comes…

When He comes indeed, and Pentecost is a wonderful entrance of the Holy Spirit.

Tongues of fire and speaking in different languages! .

Let’s think about this spirit..

Have you ever found a time when you thought the Holy Spirit was with you? Have you ever been in a place where something feels so right about the place and the moment that you are filled with something… maybe an overwhelming feeling of calm, a feeling that makes you believe that you can do so much, or a feeling that all will be well.

The trouble with living in a secular world at the moment is that expressing any of that leads us into looks of disbelief, or thoughts of … “ Oh dear, she is going off on one again!” Ever sensed that?

I was listening to an old You Tube clip of Lord Jonathan Sacks, a previous Chief Rabbi and a man with wonderful insight.

He was asking what is it that people worship, what is it that makes them feel this sense of wonder? He concluded that in years to come, people will see that the new belief is in the selfie, the amazing me, the I. But we need to live and to be with others.

Well, this last year so many of us have spent a great deal of time without others, well some of us have been Zooming away, and that is wonderful, but we need to be ’with’ others. We need to be like we are today, with each other and to share and to know and to feel. That is what makes us human and will take us away from so much of the ‘selfie’.

We have and still do live in hope, and we live in the hope of the Holy Spirit as God in our world, to intervene for us, to guide us and to be with us. As Paul says,

For in this hope we are saved.’

In Acts we hear that the disciples had returned to Jerusalem. there were a group of about 200 followers, the disciples, and Mary, mother of Jesus and his brothers. A sound from Heaven, like a strong wind appeared and tongues like fire rested on them.

Peter, standing with the other 11 disciples, addressed the crowd. He interpreted the tongues as the fulfilment of God’s promise, described in Joel,

I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and daughters will prophecy”

Peter went on to baptise about 3000 people that day. They were from countries far and wide; they had the potential to cross cultural boundaries. They had the power and the spirit to take the word of God across the world.

The church and Christianity starts here!

We are celebrating today that we can start again in this church, after Covid, after all the work and changes.

We have the chance to start over, we have the chance tobe set alight with the Spirit who will help us in different directions.

After all, the disciples didn’t realise that they would ever be travelling across the world to spread the gospel.

It’s all about making bringing the word of God to people. To share and to shine.

One of the joys of our world today is the ever-changing world of IT, being connected,and it set me thinking about what that could have been like at Pentecost.

This was before the world of emails, texts, before the printed paper and letter press, before air flight and long-distance travel was popular.

Let’s imagine for a moment…

Jan Email from office@heaven.central.

To Peter and all disciples, Please all meet together on Sunday in Jerusalem at the Feast of Weeks. There will be people from many different countries speaking in many languages. More information to follow.

Sue Email from peter@fishermen.galilee

Many thanks but can you give more info please about where, when and what. We have been in upstairs rooms for quite a while now.

Jan Email from office@heaven.central

All will be revealed when you get there. No need for further info, or if you really feel in need then visit

www.howtomakecontactwiththeHolySpirit,com

Sue Email from peter@fishermen.galilee

Can’t get a signal or WiFi at the moment. Help!

Jan Email from office@heaven.central

Hi Peter, Don’t worry, the signal will be loud and clear, expect to be truly amazed. You are about to start something really big.

Sue Email from peter@fishermen.galilee

More info needed asap. Tried the website www.howtomakecontactwiththeholyspirit.com but couldn’t access the right pages. Please send password straight away. I have my iPad ready.

Jan Email from office@heaven.central Hi Peter, new password sent over, only active for an 20 mins, need to change asap. But too late now as the Holy Spirit is on his way. Check out stuff for 3000 baptisms, you may need it.

As to the emails from heaven… not going to happen is it! Thank goodness, and we like Peter have to rely on what God has already given to us. We have all that we need.

And what is the Holy Spirit? It is something so intangible it is hard to explain, there is nothing physical about it, but yet we feel and know when it is here and with us.

It is much more than just spirituality, the Holy Spirit is part of God, the three in one. When Jesus left the world he left us with the Holy Spirit.

From the word spirit we have much that gives us hope and joy and a chance to look beyond where we are. We have the word inspired, being given the means to feel passionate about something, a sense that we can do more. It is much more than just a mechanical way to solve a problem

Our church spires, also reflect the word spirit and point to the heavens. Looking for inspiration and searching for the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we can feel the Holy Spirit within us or around us, but we have to be ready to feel it, it is not going to happen if we spend all our time busying around or indeed writing too many emails!

We are given all that we need. If we truly listen we hear from the Holy Spirit.

The Church and Christianity started here, so let us make sure we carry it on

Amen

The First Reading is taken from Paul’s Letter to the Romans ch 8 verses 22-27

 

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 

23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 

27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

 

For the Word of the Lord

 

Fifth Sunday in Easter      Zoom Service

Readings

Acts 8:26 – end

1 John 4:7-end

John 15: 1-8 Gospel

May I speak in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Abide in Me as I abide in you.

All over lockdown we have been eating all our meals at the table n the kitchen with a view outside of a very large oak tree. Through the winter the branches have been bare of leaves and we can easily see the beautiful outline of the dark branches against the sky. Some of the branches turn this way and some turn the other way. Some are very crinkly and some are straighter. But they all, or mostly all, finish in smaller branches reaching upwards to the sky.

Now as we are trying to move into Spring the buds at the end of the branches are ‘greening up’, I think that is the Norfolk phrase!

Before long we will have yellowy green leaves and bunches of flowers hanging off all the branches.

In John, 15, v 5 I am the vine and you are the branches.

Just think how many things have been living within and around that old oak tree through the winter.

There is a parallel for me in thinking about that oak tree and ourselves. Watching it emerge in leaf and flower. Watching it bear the fruit of acorns in the autumn.

How then are we as children of God looked after and deliver the fruits of the Spirit compared to that oak tree.

Yesterday, Richard and I travelled to see family. A journey to Wellingborough to a place with lakes and places for the children to run and to have fun and for us to share precious time together, such a joy!

Part of our journey took us on the bypass around Wisbech. It perhaps isn’t the most scenic of routes but I was drawn to look at the orchards on the sides of the road. I used to travel this road with mu children who went to school in Wisbech.

So, I will take this parallel with our passage a little further until I finally arrive at the vines, where we have our own vineyard here in Congham.

The new orchards were tended and looked after, the apple trees were in straight rows and they had been pruned so they could bear more apples. They were just beginning to blossom so we could see hat they were going to be full of fruit. The apple grower was busy clearing the paths between the rows and managing the orchards to help the fruit. He was checking on his autumn pruning.

John 16 v 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.

And so it is those who can bear the fruit of the spirit work to do that and are given more tasks. Not because it is onerous but because we can!

All over this pandemic we have seen in our communities how much people care and help each other. We talk about in groups, we try and make sure that all who need our help are supported. We are here for each of us and for others too. We can all play a part in that. Even if it is a thank you when we have received help and support.

That is how God works within us. In this time of the pandemic how much more we have gained in community and with each other. We have been apart but yet close together.

At the beginning of the reading we have the words, Abide in me as I abide in you, Just as the branch can’t bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

Abide, to live or stay somewhere to be enwrapped by, to dwell within…

It struck me that it is very similar to abode.

Abide in me as I abide in you.

A little further on our road around Wisbech.. we came to an old orchard that was no longer in production, the trees were old, their branches had not been pruned, there was no visible blossom just a lot of new leaves. The paths in between were overgrown with weeds and brambles had curled themselves around the branches. There was no orchard grower looking after them.

So let’s think about the vineyard and the vines. Vineyards are carefully looked after, the plants are chosen at the beginning, the plants are cherished and cared for and their branches are carefully supported by wires so that the fruit hangs in abundance. They importantly produce fruit  and they even more importantly produce wine from the fruit.

When we receive communion, we receive the wine from the fruit as the blood of Jesus. We are fed and cared for as we are loved by God.

Jesus goes on to say to his followers that they and us also will abide in Jesus love, we need to try and keep his commandments and love ourselves and one another. God is love.

In the letter of John we hear again that God is love and who abides in love abide in God and God abides with them.

And so it is with us.

We have started to emerge from this pandemic, we made a journey even further than Wisbech yesterday! But the journeys we have all made in our hearts over this lockdown have been immense, through worry, through loss, through isolation, through a long cold winter, and they have and still do lead us out to work with others to share the love of God, because He said.

Abide in Me as I abide in you…. And everything else will just follow. Amen

Second Sunday in Easter 11.4.21 Zoom

Readings; Ps 121, 2 Corinth 4: 16-5.4 ,Gospel John 20:19 – end,

Thomas the disciple and honest doubt,

Remembrance for Prince Philip

John Donne – Bring us, O Lord, at our last awakening † Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity: in the habitations of thy majesty and glory, world without end.

Heavenly Father, We give you thanks for the life and work of Prince Philip; his great energy and enthusiasm and his immense service to our people and nation. We pray in particular gratitude for his devotion to duty and his support and care for Her Majesty The Queen and his family and all the things which marked his contribution to our national life. At this time of personal sadness we pray for The Queen and all the Royal family that you will comfort them in their loss, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It is without doubt, that the earthly life of Prince Philip, aged 99 had been drawing towards the end. He may have wished to have made it to 100, but like for many, that was not to be.

It is without doubt that the tributes to him will pour in, as a member of the royal family, in his own right, as the consort of our Queen and as the father of their family.

We live very close to Sandringham, a place which he loved and a place where he spent many happy hours driving horses and carriages, and cars too.

He was without doubt an enigmatic and undauntable character. He lived a hugely long life, his service to the queen and our country and the commonwealth is unmatched.

He was without doubt a keen and enthusiastic supporter of young people, setting up the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, still very much valued today to inspire and extend young people’s confidence and abilities in many directions.

He was without doubt a keen lover of the countryside and supporter of global climate and environmental projects.

In our prayers today we will think of his life, from childhood to the end, a life of commitment and dedication to service.

And so in our gospel reading for today we have the time when Jesus appears to the disciples in the locked upper room, firstly without Thomas

Thomas, the disciple, a real favourite. And Honest doubt.

And honest pragmatic thoughts.

Is this not where we find ourselves? Finding things difficult, not always wanting to deal with things, but  listening and responding to God’s call.

It’s not really a weakness, and it brings it home to us that even the disciples who were with Jesus all the time, there was a sense of doubt about the resurrection and all that Jesus had promised.

Believe in the impossible, see the invisible, have faith, one giant step…..

The story before the passage about Thomas shows that the disciples were meeting in an upstairs room, locked for fear of the Jews. It is easy to imagine the fear of this small group and how they jumped at every unexplained noise and footfall.

Then suddenly Jesus, without a sound, stood amongst them and greets them in the usual way, “Peace be with you.” And he showed them his wounds.

The disciples were so pleased, they rejoiced, bit of an understatement, I think! Jesus their hero, now proven as the Son of God returns, you bet they rejoiced.

“As the Father has sent me so I send you”

In other words, now is the time that you need to getting on with the mission ahead of you ….or get out of this locked room and spread the word.

I sometimes feel like this, just go on and get on with it!!

Two more important things happened at this meeting, Jesus then breathed on them the Holy Spirit, this was for the disciples until the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would be passed to all believers.

And Jesus said, If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, if you retain them they are retained.”

This was so that the disciples and then later all Christians can forgive others sins, priests are seen as being the ones who can do this but in fact as Christians it we can all do this for each other. It is one of the most powerful messages and that forgiveness means that we can go out and leave all the things behind that we are not happy with. This is why Jesus died for us.

But Thomas… he wasn’t there was he; I wonder why he hadn’t made it? He in all accounts was a very pragmatic person; John paints a picture of a gloomy, intensely practical, no nonsense disciple. When Jesus had said that he was to go and prepare a place in his Father’s house for them at the raising of Lazarus, Thomas could not accept this.

Honest doubt.

But Jesus returned and came to Thomas especially so that he should believe.

From that we have the saying ; “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

As we travel with the disciples over the next few weeks, we see how our own lives can also be dedicated to service, to the love of Jesus, to the love of all those we meet, whether close by or further afield.

We have to believe even though we cannot see directly. We believe, we have faith and we know that Jesus died for us to free us from our sins and to give us eternal life.

We do have signs all around us, we have the sign of the cross, the forgiveness of sins, the bread and the wine, the body and the blood, the Holy Spirit in all its ways of finding us and keeping us safe.

Jesus left the disciples with all they needed to go out into the world and spread the message. We too have all that we need, to live and to serve the Lord.

Believe in the impossible, see the invisible, have faith, one giant step

And to finish   John Donne –Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity: in the habitations of thy majesty and glory, world without end.

Amen

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday April 6th 2021 Zoom

Acts 10:34-43

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

John 20: 1-18

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!

May I speak in the name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit

I am here with you always, to the end of the age.

‘The stone had been rolled away’

A stone, actually a very large piece of rock had been rolled away. A stone which had been formed at the beginning of time, formed through different ingredients, processes and time. It was as nothing to God and his angels to roll that stone away.

Did they actually think they could contain our Lord with a stone?

God created that stone. God created each of us, We are all different, we have different gifts and strengths, we were never meant to be the same. We are unique and in the eyes of God we are that special person he made us to be.

God’s love for us is shining through on this day. The day that his own Son, our Lord, Jesus rose again and showed the whole world that he has freed us from the power of death. He has died so we can be free of all sin!

This is a ‘divine moment’ an earthly ‘Big Bang’ when tumultuous divine energy has ensured we have the Light within us forever. Through Jesus resurrection we are given the eternal promise of eternal life.

This is a new day. This is a new dawn!

In a different year when we could meet in church, we would also  be renewing our baptismal vows. That is what we do at Easter. But that is not so easy over Zoom, so we are moving that forward a few weeks until we can meet again in church.

Quite a story, so let’s just retell…starting with the triumphal ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the humble donkey. Crowded streets, the place packed with people preparing for the feast of the Passover, Jesus turning over the tables in the temple, the Last Supper in the upstairs room, for fear of being found, the long night in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, the capture by the soldiers, Jesus coming before Pontius Pilate, the crowds calling for him to be crucified and the release of Barabbas.

The crucifixion, an unbelievably horrific event. Followed by Saturday, the holy day for the Jews and the Feast of the Passover.

On Sunday morning Mary Magdalene had gone to visit the tomb and see where they had laid his body.

She saw that the stone had been moved and ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them.

‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him’

The disciples ran to the tomb and found that Jesus had gone, and only linen wraps were left. Mary had stood outside weeping and then saw two angels in white, sitting in the tomb, who said to Mary,’ Woman, why are you weeping? As she told them she turned around and saw Jesus but did not recognise him, thinking him to be the gardener, she asked if he could tell her where he had taken the body of Jesus.

But when Jesus said, “Mary!” she turned around and said,”Rabbouni”

What did she feel? What could she do?

There is a lot unsaid in this passage.

But what we do know is that she went back to the disciples and told them Jesus was alive and that she had seen him and the things  he had said. Later Jesus appeared to the disciples too and said to them,

‘Remember I am with you always to the end of the age.’

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

That is the Easter message. Jesus risen from the dead, alive and with us, here, now, and forever. No better message ever!

The cross that we wear and the cross that he bore gives us the light to walk out into the world and proclaim him Lord, It takes away the power of darkness, it takes away the things that we do wrong and leads us into an eternal life.

It is a love proclaimed, God who sent his only Son to be with us to show his love for all his people. But Jesus gives us forgiveness, he gives us love, he gives us a light to shine in the world.  He knows who we are, he knew us before.

And let us always remember Jesus said.

I am here with you always, to the end of the age.

Happy Easter and Alleluia Christ is Risen

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

Sermon for the 3rd Sunday in Lent

 Sunday 7th March 2021 Zoom

Readings

Exodus 20: 1-17

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Gospel  John 2:13-22

May I speak in the name of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

We  are in the 3rd Sunday in Lent, halfway through Lent and getting towards Holy Week  very quickly now. This year also that means getting to the end of the lockdown.

Have you ever felt so annoyed with a situation that you take the matter into your own hands and just sort it out?

Well, this is just what Jesus did  at the temple! Tables turned over, money scattered to the far corners of the temple grounds and people sent definitely on their way. Priests standing around in amazement, whoever is this man and what on earth is he doing?

What was Jesus doing? Here is this peaceful and calm person who was the man fast asleep in the boat whilst the storm raged and the disciples were tossed about, the man who calmed the storm and calmed the disciples too. I am sure his disciples were not used to Jesus behaving in this way, clearing the stalls, and sweeping things aside.

But it is fascinating to look at the story and other passages in the Bible that are linked to it. I am beginning to think if I did ever find myself on a Desert Island as in Desert island Discs it would at least give me enough time to see how the Bible passages are so often linked together.

We have the reading in John’s gospel today, which  is at the beginning of John’s gospel whereas in Mark and Matthew it is nearer to the  end, and it is the arrival into Jerusalem before the Passover.  The temple was the central place for the Jews, it was the hub of life. Jesus overturned the tables and scattered the money  of the money changers in the temple grounds, where there were a lot of people, Gentiles and Jews. They would not all have been allowed inside  the temple, but in the temple grounds.

Jesus had a good crowd with him, along with his disciples, he had many followers, he had ridden in triumph into Jerusalem, people wanted to hear what he would say, they wanted to see him perform miracles, they wanted to be with him.

Imagine the uproar when Jesus did this. Imagine the faces of the priests and Pharisees.

The temple was the central point for the people. It was the focal point of the nation. The Romans were in charge everywhere else.

And Jesus turned the whole thing upside down. Upside down! Isn’t that what Jesus did and still does. He turns things around so we can see where God is and what he wants us to do.

Sometimes it takes a whole lot of effort to make changes. I wonder if that sounds familiar to today. We are about to see major changes in our lives and all sorts of things, so get ready. We cannot always be comfortable for ever. We also need to make changes and if you like metaphorically , have our own tables turned upside down!

Jesus said,  “Is it not written,’ My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?’ But you have made it a ‘Den of Robbers’” Matthew 21:12

When Jesus says this these are direct quotes from firstly Isaiah 56:7 which says ‘For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.’ That is all people!

And in Jeremiah Ch 7  11 ‘Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers?’

The priests and Pharisees were appalled, they had been called to account on how they ran the temple, they now saw Jesus as a real problem, Timing was not good as the Feast of the Passover was soon to happen. The Romans needed to see that this place was in good order. Jesus was threatening the Jewish  priesthood with disorder. They could not tolerate this any longer, they started to plot against Jesus.

It is interesting that the first of our readings today from Genesis is the commandments, and links well with the need to follow the order that God has set before us.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, ch 1:20, ‘where is the one who is wise… Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?’

Tables and lives turned upside down! Jesus came to save us and to make changes. He has turned more than just the tables upside down

Now the scribes ask Jesus for a sign for doing this. But they do not understand what he says. He says that if the temple was destroyed, that he could build it up in three days!

The temple was taking years to rebuild and the Pharisees did not understand.

What Jesus was meaning was that his resurrection after death would be in three days and he would rebuild the nations for all God’s people.

In many ways we are fortunate to live now, even with Covid19, we know the signs and can interpret them if we try very hard.

As we continue in Lent and move towards Holy Week let us know that Jesus came to earth for all people. He came to save us. He may well turn over the tables and turn things upside down. All we need to do is to trust in Him and his love for us.  

Amen  Rev’d Sue Martin

Source of River Jordan

Source of the River Jordan Caeserea Philippi

 

Sunday 21.2.21 First Sunday in Lent

Readings

Genesis 9: 8-17

1Peter3: 18-end

Gospel Mark 1:9-15

 

 

Water is Life Giving

Noah and his sons were had finally been able to empty the ark of the animals. They had saved God’s creation to survive after the flood.

Well I don’t know about you but in our villages Gayton, Grimston and Pott Row we have had so much water about, flooding everywhere, tankers taking water away almost constantly for weeks.

Our fields hold the signs of the abundance of rain we have had in the last month. Ducks swimming on ploughed fields, streams and ditches overflowing. Thank fully in the last two days we have seen some signs of tis reducing and sunshine to lift our spirits.

But there is an old saying, which says You can’t always have the sunshine without the rain.

By this time in the year and this year holds a number of problems, we just love to see the sign of the sunshine and a chance for those first spring flowers to appear. The grass verge on the other side of our road is full of snowdrops and we have a few crocuses and tiny bulbs bursting through. What a joy!

It lifts our spirits.

The last time I spoke to Rev’d Jane she was hoping to see something of the bulbs that she knew would appear in her garden and they were giving her some happiness to think that this would soon happen. This coming week will see the funeral service for Jane on Thursday. Yesterday a number of us including people from Gayton came together to tidy and clean the church. It was quite a task after the builders. But it does now look very nice and ready for the occasion. I just wish that it hadn’t happened like this and would have ;oved Jane to actually see the church as she had hoped for for so long. We will ask Jesus to be with us all this week as we move to the service, knowing that she is safe now and at peace, in heaven where I am sure the sun will be shining.

In the story of creation God provides the water in the oceans and the rivers and without it our planet would not survive. Water is a crucial part of our existence from the beginning. Water is both life giving and a source of the holy Spirit’s refreshing and uplifting power.

Have you ever visited a bubbling fresh stream with clear sparkling water? It is effervescent to see and effervescent in our lives.

Water is life giving.

There is a theme of water this week in all our readings; the flood in Genesis. The baptism of Jesus in Mark and in 1 Peter the bringing together of the flood and the baptism and the understanding of the importance of water both to our lives and to our spirit.

In Mark’s gospel Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan

“ And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.”

And in Genesis we also have the dove who is sent out by Noah to see if there was  land appearing after the flood.

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 beautiful child full of smiles under a shower tap and the breaking news was 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 t all those who have made that possible.

So we know that water through baptism, whether immersed in the river or by water from the font we have been given that holy water by God.

The 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 for our souls to be quenched and full of God’s word and support.

Jesus is living water for a thirsty world.

A thirsty world where people look all the time for things to make their lives fulfilled. A thirsty world where people strive for more things to make their lives complete. But yet they look in the wrong direction, they seek material gains or short-term pleasures. These things which never satisfy and never quench their needs.

Jesus is living water for a thirsty world.

We have now started our time in Lent, time to give up something or to do something, but it is much .more than that. It is a time to really seek what we need,

We need Jesus in our lives, He will quench our thirst and provide us with the love and care to fill our souls with happiness and joy.

Lent is about looking towards Easter. Jesus knew when he went into the wilderness that he would have to face all that was coming to him and that he was to save the world and to save God’s people.

As in the time of the flood, people had and still do go astray and far away from God. We have a real human condition of feeding our immediate needs first. Which is why we find living through this lockdown, which is horrendous, so hard.

Lent can also be a time for an invitation to find God and to seek Jesus in our lives. You know the picture of the door, where Jesus stands on one side and we are on the other? There is no handle on Jesus side, but only our side. We have to open the door for Jesus and let him in .

A way in can be through that living water, a well where the water is from the spring of eternal life, it doesn’t get better than that. We have to just be immersed or touched by the water, touch your fingers into that flowing stream, quench your thirst by drinking water for the soul.

This Lent, remember that life giving water , the water of our baptism and the water of life on all creation.

Amen

Rev’d Sue Martin

Sunday 7th February 2021

2nd Sunday before Lent Zoom service across benefice in West Norfolk

Readings

Proverbs 8:1, 22-31

Colossians 1: 15-20

John 1: 1-14 Gospel

 

May I speak in the name of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful.

We have good news! Jesus came to dwell among us.

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.

You know, there is always bad news. And don’t people like to pass the bad news on. There is a saying , No news is good news’ and I think that seems right for many journalists and people. But then the news has been bad for so long that it is hard to turn that around and look for the good news.

Then, have you noticed, that when there is some good news, it is quickly followed by a kind of, “ well we can’t do that yet and that won’t be possible” .

Now  the good news is that… Jesus came down from heaven to dwell and be amongst us all.

“ For in him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell’ Colossians 1:19

We have all the good news we need, if we listen to it. In our three readings today we hear the message;

The Lord created me at the beginning of his works, the first of his acts long ago.” Proverbs 8:22

“ He is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning, the first born.” Coll 1;18

‘ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’ John 1:1

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth.

Now we know a lot about earth , but not so much about heaven. In fact we don’t often talk about it, not sure why but heaven is  the place that God created for us all to eventually live with him in peace.

Heaven was created so long ago but is still there for us.

Our timescales are a bit out of kilter at the moment, lockdown has created a void, a space which we are all in and it is hard to understand timescales of more than a year ahead. Our horizons have been diminished.

Bad things can make our horizons and our dreams seem impossible. Bad things come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they can surround us with despondency, they can make us feel as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, they can gill our hearts with darkness.

Now the good news is, Jesus tells us though that the light has never been put out by the darkness, it has always shone even in the darkest places. But the darkness likes to try and bring us back into the mire, have you felt that?

Things are not right all the time, but the light  does break through. It shines in the darkness

I hope and pray that is where we are now, the light is trying to break through and shine in our darkness.

Our second hymn today starts,  Think of a World without any flowers, think of a world without any birds…. It is potentially a sad hymn, maybe not sad as much as reflective. And it makes us think, look at the words as they appear and see where you are in this hymn. We brighten up later with  Be Thou My Vision O lord of my heart.

We have the good news with us, today and every day. We just need to believe and trust in God, our Saviour. Let those who cannot hear this or will not listen, spend some time in finding Jesus.

The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful

We have beautiful news, this world is a beautiful place and God’s creation is amazing and wonderful and we can live within it.

We have much praise our God in heaven for as we live on earth.  Let us put aside our feelings of gloom and get ready to step out once more into God’s world of light, peace, love and promise.

Amen  Rev’d Sue Martin

 

The Wedding at Cana

Epiphany 3 Sunday 23rd  January  Zoom

Revelation 19: 6-10,

John 2: 1-11

 

May I Speak in the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost

We live in strange times. Somewhat of an understatement I know. Times are difficult, unpredictable, sometimes we are in the doldrums and it is like we are becalmed in a vast ocean Other times we are bashed about like the disciples in the boat in a storm on Lake Galilee.

I was thinking that it reminds me of a film called The Life of Pi, which I am sure some of you will have seen. Briefly, a boy is travelling with his family and their entire zoo, including a tiger, on a boat, which is caught in a storm. The boy is saved and also the tiger and they share a journey across the oceans in a small boat. At one point they are becalmed. They keep their distance from each other. The boy is frightened of the tiger with his very sharp teeth and claws. The tiger is frightened of the boy and his ability to use things like wood and sails to threaten him. After a long, long time they drift to an island in the tropics and the tiger walks away, leaving the boy alone.

We are definitely becalmed somewhere, fortunately  in our own homes, and we are frightened of the virus with its spike proteins, maybe and I am guessing here, the virus is frightened of us and our ability to use vaccinations against it.( I don’t think the virus has any emotions though so don’t quote me!!

We are in a period of time which is called, ‘waiting’! We are waiting for the vaccination, unless we have already had it, we are waiting for the curve in the graph to be right down and we are waiting to be told that life can go back to some kind of normal.

What a strange time indeed. Never saw this one coming!!

But this week a real sign of hope The US inauguration for Joe Biden President of the United States and Kamala Harris as Vice President. What a joy to hear in his speech that he refers to his Christian faith at least 10 times. He referred to St Augustine who wrote that a people is a multitude defined by their common objects of their love. He said that the work and prayers of centuries have brought them to this day. And that the American story is a story of hope and not fear. Plus so much more…

This is the right time for a US president with such a dedicated faith who is able to proclaim that love.

In our readings, we hear in Revelation that the time does come when the Lamb is  married to the Lord.

In John the passage of the wedding at Cana, Mary, Joseph and family have been invited to attend the wedding of a family. A very special wedding and the hosts want all their guests to have a wonderful time, plenty of good food and wine too.

Now we all now the preparations before the wedding, I’m talking pre Covid! so much to do.

By  this stage, Jesus was already in his thirties and with brother and sisters too and at the wedding with Mary and Joseph, his brothers and sisters.

But there is also much missing in our story from John’s gospel. Had Jesus been doing nothing but learning the trade of a carpenter’s son to this point, what did Mary feel about him? Had she been aware of just how special he was and had he already shown to her some of the miracles that he could do.

I think there must have been some signs, some evidence that hadn’t been shared, but Mary was the mother of Jesus and she would have known.

So, at the wedding, the wine runs out! Disaster, catastrophe.

Mary sees  here is a chance for Jesus to be helpful surely, he could do something so she says,

“They have no wine.”

Jesus replies with a rather off hand reply, “Woman, what concern is that to you and me? My time has not yet come.” My time has not yet come.

But he does decide to help and asks the steward to fill the jars with water, these were huge alabaster jars. When we  visited Cana in 2015, we saw the jars, they were about 5 feet high and nearly a metre across, quite a lot of win!

When the stewards went to pour from the jars they poured out not water but wine.

Strangely the story we have finishes here, we don’t hear how amazed people were or if indeed they had even noticed.

But the important aspect is that Jesus shows just what he can do.

The wine is in abundance, over and above the needs of the guests, rather like the feeding of the five thousand, this shows that God’s love and what he can do is over and beyond all that is needed, it is in abundance, there will be no shortage.

My time is not yet come.

Jesus  was waiting for the right opportunity. Waiting for the right time.

The right time. When is the right time? When will be the right time for us to move away from lockdown? When will Jesus come again? When will our lives return to some kind of normal?

For Joe Biden, having tried for the presidency before, I am sure he  would also have been thinking is this the right time?  America has never needed such stability ever before. No one would ever have thought that over four years ago

For ourselves, sitting tight in this pandemic,  we know that . if we live in love, we live in hope and we live knowing that Jesus is with us, beside us, behind us, in front of us. Waiting with us and knowing that before too much longer the time will be right for us all.

So keep safe, and have your trust and hope in God.

Amen

 

 

 Sunday January 10th 2021 1st Sunday after Epiphany 

Bishop Jonathan -R Jordan 2020

Zoom Service

 

Readings: Genesis 1: 1-20

                  Mark 1: 1-13

 

May I speak in the name of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

In the beginning… a New Year and a new start

Last year is behind us, but like everything that is behind us, it still lingers on. My goodness doesn’t it feel like that at the moment. Let’s just cheer ourselves up today though, we are only 1 week into January, we have a roll out of vaccines which should make such a difference.

So for once, taking note of all the dreadful statistics, let’s look forward and see what joy we can find. And do you know, there is an abundance of joy, all around us. We have a new beginning; in Genesis we hear how God formed the world…

‘In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth’.

We hear how God created the earth from the void and  filled it with, light and darkness, earth and seas, day and night, living creatures, plants and trees, and finally humans made in his own image. On the sixth day God saw all that he had made, and it was good.

He has given us so many good things.

Epiphany is one of my favourite seasons, it follows from Christmas and is a haven of longing and fulfilment, good news, manifestation of God in man, wise men bearing gifts and allows us a few weeks to dwell in that sense of awe and wonder.

Indeed we have the greatest gift, Jesus in humankind, the Son of God, with us to the end of time. Such good news!

We have just had a time of many gifts and the best is yet to come!

I named 2020 as The Year of the Parcel. I don’t think it was only me that was a regular user of a famous online shopping service. There was so much constant bad news  and being unable to get out as much as usual, I turned to the online store beginning with A and  the brown paper bags and boxes just kept appearing!

But you know, although I ordered the items, they were still a surprise as I opened the box. I was full of joy  in receiving the smallest or most useful of things. I wonder what for you would be the smallest or most useful thing you ordered online. My highlights would be a jar of Vegemite or maybe the shoehorn, incredible so useful but still a delight.

We could see on Chat if you felt like adding your smallest or most useful online purchase?

2020 The Year of the Parcel

2021 Who Knows!!

But what we do know is that Jesus came down from heaven to dwell amongst us

Dwell… a definition can be

to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing to live or take residence.

We move on in our readings to the time when the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist, was living in the dessert and we hear that people across Judea were going out to him as he was spreading the message of  the coming of the Messiah. Jesus, he knew was close by and it was his mission to spread the word of Jesus to all people, not just the Jews but all people.

And at the time Jesus travelled from Nazareth about to start his ministry, and he came to John at the River Jordan. He asked John to baptise him and as he came up from the waters of the Jordan, the heavens tore apart and the Spirit descended on him like a dove.

This is the new beginning, Jesus baptised and ready to start, a new salvation. The salvation for all people. And even . well last year, now at the River Jordan, people from all over the world descend on its banks and are baptised again with the water from the river. Crowds of people all wanting to receive the Holy Water and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

So that is not just good news, that is the BEST news ever. We are all blessed and, in the love, and knowledge of God giving us his son, Jesus Christ.

And as  for now, 2021, what shall we do? Do you know I really think this is time for change, change for the better, let’s move forward to a different way of worshipping and looking after God’s world. It certainly is time we should .

Our planet is in trouble, that’s God creation we heard about in Genesis.

Our church is in trouble, that’s God’s church, not enough money, not reaching enough people.

Our neighbours are in trouble, that’s God’s People, both locally and across the world , they need our support.

So let’s make a change in our lives. As we sit back in our homes whilst we can’t go out. Take the time to  think about what changes we would like to see and if we keep trying, they will be possible.

So goodbye 2020 The Year of the Parcel and Welcome 2021 The Year of New Beginnings.

Amen