Holy Land Pilgrimage 2020 – Thoughts and Experiences

We arrived back in the UK from the pilgrimage with the Norwich Diocese on March 2nd, pilgrims together, full of thoughts and experiences that would stay with us forever. For many it was the first and possibly only visit to the Holy Land, and incredibly special. My second visit and still a deeply significant place of holiness… The Holy Land.

Where did we go?  Walkabout Jerusalem 2020 Blog has all the places we visited. We travelled to Galilee, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, with each day packed with places and services.

Forever in my mind will be the Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, and the roads to Jericho and Jerusalem. But I would also never be able to forget Bethlehem, the wall and manger Square, the River Jordan, the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

A special thank you to Hanna, our guide, The Very Reverend Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich Cathedral and The Right Reverend Jonathan Meyrich, Bishop of Lynn, Diocese of Norwich and Pilgrimage People.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Visit to The Holy Land in Lent 2020

As the winter continues I am delighted that I am about to embark on my second visit to the Holy Land. We arrive at the Sea of Galilee on February 24th and  have a full itinerary for the week including;  Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho and the Dead Sea.

Really excited to be not just revisiting but re-energising my understanding of the life of Jesus, visiting the same places and walking in his footsteps. Spiritually it will touch my soul, physically  it will give me great hope as I visit further places in my pilgrimages and travel journeys. The Dead Sea has been a place I have wanted to visit since I learnt about it at school.

Physically,the whole region is set on the edge of the Mediterranean and Europe and the edge of the Middle East and Africa. Never a very settled area of the world. The Dead Sea is at the end of the deepest valley in the world, with the River Jordan flowing through this rift valley.

So, now to start planning the next Blog  for the journey ahead.

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

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Happy Christmas


When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman 1899-1981

Happy Christmas!

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Carol Service in Deepest Norfolk

Window lights in

On a dark and dreary night one week before Christmas, in deepest West Norfolk, I walked along the lane, covered with mud from the fields.

As I turned into the church entrance the windows were lit up with a warm glow from within.  This was a warm welcome to St Mary’s Church.

I was leading the carol service that evening and along with my robes, bag and service sheets, I had assorted necessary items; spare bottle of mulled wine and 12 mince pies.

Opening the creaking door, I immediately felt the warmth from the coal fired boiler, glowing red in the corner; beautiful singing was coming from the a small choir.

“Hello,” said Bill, the churchwarden and farmer.

And I knew that St Mary’s Church, would remain my favourite place for a Carol Service.

“We have 6 bottles of mulled wine, dozens of mince pies and shortbread, all we need now are the people. said Bill.

“I’m sure we will be fine”, I answered in that reassuring way of a vicar!!  And we were.

The creaking door continued to groan at every entrance and people stepped in out of the wet and cold,  joining us with chatter and laughter.

We began singing Once in Royal David’s City. After an hour of listening to the story of Christmas, singing the well known carols, dreaming of the good news that Christmas and Jesus will bring we gathered at the back of the church to share in fellowship with each other. And of course to eat a considerable quantity of mince pies and mulled wine.

Christmas can start once the carols are sung, the readings are read and we are ready to share with families and friends the good news that Jesus came down from heaven.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Advent 1

Advent literally means the arrival or the coming.  Just as it’s getting darker and darker with the nights getting longer and longer, we start thinking about the light of the world;

All out of darkness there came light,…

The light of the world has come among us to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light from the collect.

What does that all mean, darkness, the works of darkness, the armour of light?

After news of another attack on the people of London near London Bridge, can we reconcile ourselves to be aware that there are still many incidents of dark deeds in this land and on this earth.

Having been completely disillusioned by politicians of any side of the debate, I wonder when we can get back to knowing that there is still a deep unrest in this country and others too.

Read more in Advent 2019

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Heroes and Villains – Archangel St Michael

Mural on entrance wall at Rockingham Centre

Dragons at Rockingham Centre, Southwark

Many stories have a hero and a villain.
Some that come to mind are; Superman and Lex Luther , Batman and The Joker, Harry Potter and Voldemort, Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader,

What happens in these stories; well let’s take Harry Potter, of course…

As he grows up in his school at Hogwarts he discovers the evil truth about Voldemort, that he is trying to overthrow all that is good in the world of wizardry including the head of the school,  Professor Dumbledore.
But Harry Potter is strong and rises up to those who are used by Voldemort to
do his evil works, eventually Harry Potter meets and fights with Voldemort himself.
Harry Potter the hero and Voldemort the villain.

Sherlock Holmes, the series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is one of my favourites.
Sherlock who is able to make amazing deductions from clues, is always aware that
Moriarty is a force that is usually present.
And so then to St Michael, we hear in the book of Revelations that Michael and his angels fight the dragon and his angels and that Satan, the dragon is defeated and thrown down.

So St Michael is the hero!!

And then what about his band of angels, read more in Faith Goes Walkabout, sermons.

Rev’d Sue Martin

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Bolshoi Ballet and Spartacus at The Royal Opera House, London

Spartacus the ballet was performed over three weeks this summer. I was lucky to be there for the opening night and the performance by the Bolshoi Ballet was stunning beyond words. This is a ballet full of emotion and hard gritted determination of Spartacus and his followers in the complete strength of the Roman Army in Italy. A full three hours of energy,passion, ballet like I had never seen, dance and gymnastic skills which were perfection, either as a group or individuals.

The Bolshoi Ballet returned to the Royal Opera House for another exciting three-week season of spectacular ballets presented by Victor Hochhauser, beginning with Yuri Grigorovich’s Spartacus.

This sensational staging, first performed in London in 1969, is a Bolshoi classic, displaying the energy and power of the company’s male dancers.

Spartacus leads his rebellion of gladiators and slaves against the rule of empire in ancient Rome – an epic uprising that brings marching battalions, mortal combat and heroic death scenes.

Performing Khachaturian’s thrilling music, the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre accompany these performances.’

Further information about the dancers can be found on the Royal Opera House website.

The 150 players in the orchestra were incredible and gave more than I can describe to the energy and passion of this performance.

The principal and soloist dancers were completely stunning and the full audience in the Royal Opera House  were silenced in awe and wonder.

Sometimes it is so good to leave all words behind, and yet feel the amazing energy that life has. This ballet gave so much to the audience and without any words at all, we all left knowing the story and feeling deep within us the hurt and anguish of the life of the slaves.

To know the feeling that is caused by such an outrage as slavery can only help to know and to understand that we all need to leave behind such horrors and reconcile them to the past.

In creative works of dance, art and music we can sense more than we can say and we can glimpse an awareness of life beyond our own understanding.

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

 

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Landing on the Moon 50th Anniversary

‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’. Neil Armstrong.

Neil was the first man to walk on the moon, followed by Buzz Aldrin on 20th July 1969.

 

 

Awesome, inspirational and 50 years on shows just what we can do from planet earth!

Buzz Aldrin read from the Bible, John 15:5

I am the vine, you are the branches.

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.’

You can see the last stages of the landing of the lunar module The Eagle

On a clear dark night we can look at the moon, we can also look at Jupiter for a while. But when the moon is out, especially a full moon, we can look and wonder that it is only a small part of our solar system, it has always been there for us shining and reflecting the Sun. Beyond our solar system and universe we know there is our own galaxy and then more beyond that, beyond our wildest dreams, imagining and understanding.

We live in a tiny part of this universe and our understanding of God and our part is still pretty small.

Read more on Sermons 2019

Rev’d Sue Martin

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The Planets with Professor Brian Cox

There is something very special in knowing we are part of The Solar System, a small place in God’s universe. The BBC series on The Planets with Professor Brian Cox brings in more than just the science. There is a huge dimension of awe and wonder. The sense of something so much larger than we can see or imagine is embedded in every episode.

I was lucky enough to be star gazing a week ago and watched Jupiter  slowly appear over the darkened horizon, above a cliff side in the Mediterranean. As it slowly crept into the night sky in the south, it shone way in excess of anything else in the sky. No one could  fail to have been impressed with the sight.

Jupiter could in fact have destroyed the earth, in sending out asteroids which landed on earth billions of years ago and have left enormous craters and were responsible for the destruction of over 70 species, including of course, the dinosaurs!

Definitely a series worth watching !

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

 

 

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Easter Sunday Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

On this glorious Easter Day , spend time in the garden if you can or at least ouside in the sunshine. Gardens and being a gardener are part of the Easter Story. Remember the Garden of Gethsemane, and when Mary found that Jesus was not in the tomb, she thought his voice was that of the gardener.

Jesus said,  “Remember I am with you always to the end of the age”.

And that surely is what the Easter message is about. Jesus risen from the dead, alive and with us, here, now and forever.

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 to 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.

And Jesus gives us forgiveness, he gives us love, he gives us a light to shine in the world.

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,

And let us always remember he said,

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

Happy Easter and Alleluia Christ is Risen. 

Part of Easter Day sermon

Rev’d Sue Martin

 

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