Pentecost Sunday 23rd May 2021

St Nicholas Church, Gayton 

1 Corinthians 12:3-13

Acts 2: 1- 21

John   20:19-23

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, since Covid so many of us have learnt how to Zoom 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, we have an interregnum approaching. We have the chance to start over, we have the chance to be 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…

 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.

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.

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


Email from peter@fishermen.galilee

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

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.

Email from peter@fishermen.galilee

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

Email from office@heaven.central  Hi Peter, new password sent over, only active for 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  Rev’d Sue Martin


Palm Sunday April 2nd 2023

Luke 19:28-40

Following the donkeys into St Mary's East Walton

What a delight to follow behind the young donkeys on our way into church.

Donkeys – what do they mean to us? Calm, loving, spirited, friendly. They were used for beach donkey rides and I think still are used with racehorses to calm then down.

They were chosen by Jesus, this was no accident. The donkeys were mentioned in Zechariah ch 9 ‘ Lo, your king comes to you triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’

In fact the story is full of coincidences, the Mount of Olives, mentioned in Zechariah ch 14 The crowd stripped off their coats and cast them down before Jesus as in 2 Kings ch 9 and as they tore down branches from the tree there is a connection with Maccabees ch 13.

Much, much more than just coincidences, this was planned and determined long, long ago and Jesus knew that he had to play this part. it must have been very hard for him, knowing what was about to happen, losing his friends and knowing how hard the disciples would find carrying on without him.

But it still had to be done.

He had travelled a long way to get to Jerusalem and the road from Jericho, which is the lowest point on the earth, was long, dusty and always hot. Half way up you reach sea level and when you get to the top of the Mount of Olives, the sense of relief and excitement is intense. The dusty desert changes to green, lush growth and there before you lays Jerusalem, the holy city.

The end of the journey, the pilgrimage to end all pilgrimages

And so Jesus enters Jerusalem on the young donkey, just like our two here. As they all go down the steep path to the Kidron valley the disciples start the laying their cloaks down in front of Jesus and the crowds follow on.

With all the followers that Jesus had developed in the last few months, there was much excitement, people were starting to believe in this new Messiah. He was doing great things, he had cured many people and performed many miracles. He was indeed very popular with the people.

But the Pharisees were not so sure, to them he was a rebel, a dangerous man who took no note of their rules and laws, and even worse breaking the rules in the name of God.

And even more dangerous he had the people behind him.

For them this was the start of something very serious, Jesus riding into Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover, the busiest time. The Jews were in hand with the Romans but if they felt there was going to be a big demonstration this would be a problem.

But of course this was the reason why God had chosen this special time.

Turmoil, trouble and triumph……

So are we like the crowds, let us arrive at Jerusalem with them. Are we going along for the trip in the hope that Jesus will help us with some of our own troubles and turmoil. Are we ready to sing a song of praise, but only as long as Jesus seems to be doing what we want?

The long and dusty pilgrim way of our lives gives us plenty of time to sort out why we are following him.

But let’s do more than spread our cloaks before him and shout praise.

In the days that followed Jesus entry into Jerusalem there were problems and things started to get difficult, the story was not going to end in the way the disciples and the crowds had hoped.  And he will be there with us for always, riding the donkey, bringing calm and peace to all.

Let’s follow him into trouble, let’s follow him into turmoil, let’s go the right way with him not just for what we get from it but because it is the right thing to do. Let us follow Him to triumph




Sermon for the 5th Sunday in Lent 26.3.23 St Mary’s East Walton and St Nicholas Gayton

Readings Ezekial 37:4-11

Romans 8:6-11

John 11:1-45


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

Phrases for arriving somewhere.

Nice and early, Always on time, Just in time and Running late!

The Gospel reading today from John’s gospel could be seen in the context of being timely or not!

Jesus is being pressed by his disciples and also pressed by Martha to visit them and make things right with Lazarus. But Jesus is not pressed. In fact time is not the issue here. Everyone else thinks it is. But Jesus knows what he can do.

This is a long passage and a substantial story. Two weeks ago, we had the woman at the well.

As we continue into Lent and near Holy Week, we are getting closer to the final days and the real answer that we are all looking for. So, what has time got to do with anything?

Which of the categories above do you fit into?

Nice and early, Always on time, Just in time and Running late!

Nice and early. I have to admit to hardly ever fitting into the first one, nice and early. As much as I would love to be that organised I never really am.

Always on time is not for me either, hand on heart. I am now better but I have to really work at it!

Just in time fits me nicely. Gathering things together, having a last cup of tea and then getting to the right place.

Running late – can still be said of me occasionally now. I don’t like it as it means that you may be letting people down, so I do try hard!

And so Mary and Martha were distraught, Lazarus, their brother had died, They had sent word to Jesus who was only two days away, so why didn’t he come then?

After the two days he said to the disciples that they were to return to Judea. The disciples didn’t think this was a good idea as the Jews were gathering against him, because of his miracles and because so many people were following him. They had the Feast of the Passover to get through, they had the Romans ready to punish for any wrong doings.

But anyway, eventually they all went, two days travelling. As they arrived Martha met them and told them that Lazarus had died and asked Jesus why head not he been there as could have saved him.

And Mary Martha’s sister said the same.

We have such a clear difference here between the divine side of Jesus and the human. In Jesus divinity, he knew that he could raise Lazarus, and all would be well. But his human side felt the grief of Mary and Martha and anguish for his good friend Lazarus.

When Jesus asks for the stone to be rolled away from the tomb, Martha is horrified, she knew it was not going to be pleasant and surely, they had suffered enough, there were so many people around. But they did roll the stone away.

Jesus called to God the Father and then simply asked Lazarus to come out of the tomb and he did!!

Was that surely leaving the best of the miracles to last.

Jesus was none of the time restrictions that we feel. He was not late or even just in time,

With Jesus all is possible, there is nothing that is impossible. And Lazarus became alive again.

Jesus had been talking to Mary and Martha about the resurrection, the risen life. We are told so many times that the resurrection is for us all.

What Jesus did was a preview of what was to come.

However, it did mean that the Jews were gathering even more in their plot to kill him.

We move on now towards Palm Sunday next week.

Lent starts us gently and we think and reflect on our own time, By the time we get to next Sunday, we enter Jerusalem with Jesus in glory and riding on the donkey.





Sermon for the 3rd Sunday in Lent 12.3.23

All Saint’s Ashwicken and St Nicholas Gayton


Readings Exodus 1:1-17

Romans 5:1-11

John 4:5-30

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

Water from the Well and the Rock

I came back from a wonderful week in the island of Madeira, which is 500 miles to the west of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean on latitude approx. 30. It was a lovely week, restful and chance for a breather. The island is volcanic and reaches over 6000 ft in the north and centre, but I was near Funchal and by the sea/ocean. I had a wonderful view of the Atlantic and my highlight was seeing some pilot whales as they travelled from Mexico  eastwards. I was told that the Gulf Stream flowed straight across too and gave warm water.

My first morning I walked to the church on the very steep hill, catholic and all in Portuguese but still a real joy.

One of the things that Madeira has a lot of is water. That is in contrast with our readings which all took place in areas of semi arid countryside/desert in Judea or nearby.

Water ! The essence of life on this planet., Life giving, pure, healing, enriching…. We simply cannot manage without it.

In Madeira they have channels called levadas, which were made going round the mountains more or less on the contour lines which bring water from the mountains to the areas where it is needed. There it enriches a very fertile soil and agriculture, bananas, potatoes, lots of fruit and for people too.

Our first reading is set in the Sinai desert , Moses and Aaron had taken the Israelites from Egypt across the Red Sea and to Canaan. But the people were thirsty and hungry and they were angry with Moses for bringing them into this barren land. They were suffering.

And so Moses spoke to the Lord and he told Moses to take his staff and go to the rock at Horeb, where when he struck the rock water would appear. He did this and the people were thirsty no more.

A test for the Lord, which Moses knew was not the right thing.

For a minute let look at the second reading…

Paul talks about our suffering, God’s love poured into us through the Holy Spirit, Suffering produces  perseverance, character and hope.

Lent is in some ways a chance for us to suffer or give up something or make some commitments or just simply to have a chance to stop and take a breath and allow that life giving spirit of holy water to fill us. We have water added to the wine, Jesus turned water to wine. There are over 700 references to water in the Bible. It is important.

And so Jesus was in Samaria which is north of Jerusalem, on his own and by the well. A deep well of water!

The Samaritan woman came, and Jesus asked her if he could have a drink. But the woman challenged him, asked him why he a Jew was asking her a Samaritan. Jesus was being challenged, just like Moses really.

Jesus answers her saying that is she knew who he was he could have given her living water. But not to be outdone the woman continues… You have nothing to draw water with and this well is deep.

Actually this is quite thought provoking…. ‘nothing to draw water with. And this well is deep.

In other words no ordinary person can talk about ‘living water’ and she needed proof that Jesus was greater than her ancestors Jacob.

Jesus answers,

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Isn’t this a question for us all, is this not what we ask and crave for at all times?

Eventually the woman how is not daunted in anyway by speaking to Jesus, says that he is a prophet and Jesus replies …

I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

I think the woman is speechless!!


And she returns to her home and friends and tells just what has happened to her.

How amazing is that!

The water, the well, the everlasting sense of love, spirit and God through the Messiah, Jesus.

Water ! The essence of life on this planet., Life giving, pure, healing, enriching…. We simply cannot manage without it.

Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father, the bedrock for life our love and for all that we are!



Sermon for the 3rd Sunday Before Lent 12.2.23 Ashwicken and St Nicholas Gayton

A New Beginning

Readings Genesis 1: 26-end  

Romans 8: 18-25

Matthew 6; 25-end







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

In the beginning…

This is the start of Genesis… in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth. I have shortened the first reading today as it was all of Genesis chapter 1. Definitely worth reading but maybe you could do read it at home.

If we move to the start  of John in the new Testament, how does it start… In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God and the Word was God…..

In the beginning…

I love stories and books and the old fashioned way that children’s stories used to start was… Once Upon a Time. Quite similar to In the beginning…

We all have to start somewhere. We all have to journey along the way. We all get to, well where do we all get to?

The Bible has over 7000,000 words so we are not at the end yet. In fact for us there is no end, we step out of this life into a life beyond.

But that’s not where I wanted to get to!!

God had to start somewhere and the important word is ‘created’. Creation is the most wonderful thing. Every day we wake up to a brand-new day we see the blue sky, the world around us. Sometimes if we are on a journey, we can see from a plane the edge of our world and the slight curvature on the earth.

At nights recently we can see the stars and some planets, Venus and Jupiter, we can see constellations like Orion and the Plough. We can stand back in awe and wonder to realise that we play a small part in this universe.

But yet that small part is so important.

So let’s take a tiny thing… the snowdrop… Lots now flowering in our churchyards, a flower of winter, and a herald of Spring. How uplifting it is to see their beautiful and tiny white flowers appear through the ground and make carpets of flower in January and February. The beginning of our year.

In the beginning…

I was recently shown the book called A Gospel of Wild Flowers by Anthoy Foottit, who was a previous Bishop of Lynn and a very keen botanist.

What he says is… snowdrops are a first sign, a promise that spring is on its way, and sometimes called Candlemass Bells, they are often here at Candlemass, when Jesus is taken to the temple with an offering of two doves. There Mary and Joseph are met by two older people Anna and Simeon.  These older people have been looking after the temple as older people do today in our churches. Keeping them alive as a beacon of hope in all our communities.

Jesus shows that God gave the world a fresh start. The snowdrops show that we have a fresh start at the beginning of our calendar year. They represent purity. Light and peace.

We all live in this world of God’s creation. He created, he made the world, and he made us. I have no qualms about how He did this and there is much understanding that the first chapter of Genesis is written from a different style, we should not always interpret it as accuracy in the days and weeks. Who had created a calendar at that time?

God’s world. Creation…

And then on the sixth day God created humans. And here we are. Not only did God create us as a different species, but he created us in His own image and so that we should become stewards of the world. That we should look after and maintain all that is in the world. We have been given this as a task.

We live in a part of the world and a part of our country which is rooted in countryside, creation is all around us, aren’t we lucky?

If we can do anything we can pass on that love of all that is in creation to the next generation and those who do not understand the ways of the wild, the ways of other things apart from human living. Because we are very close as a global community to creating our very own end time!

In Romans, ch 8, Paul talks about hope. We all have a hope for our own lives and for our families and we also hope that for all in our world there is hope for a future.

so do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.’ Matthew 25: 34

To spend our time worrying detracts from all the good things that we can do. But of course, we all have worries and fears. Jesus asks us not to worry and likens us to  the lilies of the fields and the birds in the air. God will hold our worries and keep us safe.

In the beginning… when we all start our journeys with hope, free from fear and ready to walk forward with God in this world full of his creation.

On your way home today, just glance or take a longer look at the snowdrops. The beginning of our year, wonderful signs of light, purity and peace.

.   Amen.