Soul Food 15th May
There are so many things crowding my mind that are coming up, everything from hosting a visitation service, Alpha courses, Joint PCCs planning, Greek homework, East Budleigh scarecrow festival, weddings, open gardens in Otterton, confirmation services in the cathedral, that the simple process of presiding at a Sunday worship service comes as light relief. There is so much positive comment about the morning service at St. Peter’s that is so gratifying but a real high point on Sunday was the choral evensong. Stephen Tanner, our musical director, had bolstered our choir with some talented youngsters and the combined sound was of cathedral standard – well done everyone who was involved!
At the morning service I talked about the universality of Jesus Christ amongst other things and I was surprised when it received so many plaudits. I thought it unremarkable, so I think it owes more to the work of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully through the congregation that so many people were so appreciative. Anyway, if you want to read what I said just click here; https://revmartinjacques.blogspot.com/2019/05/god-is-as-jesus-is.html
Next Sunday is the 5th Sunday of Easter.
This Sunday, while Karen is still on holiday, I am in the villages and the Reverend Dr. Trevor Jones is in St. Peter’s.
Acts 11: 1-18. It may seem strange to us that the things we take so much for granted about not being bound by dietary laws, or the universality of Jesus, still needed to be fully accepted even by Peter, and he then had to explain to other Jewish Christians the significance of Jesus after he had been convinced in a vision. The deciding factor in convincing Peter and the others was the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out on all people.
Revelation 21: 1-6. A reading familiar from funeral services. In this vision John sees the glorious future awaiting mankind. A new heaven and a new earth and God dwelling with his people in eternal bliss. This is the music of the future. In order to dance to it now God gives us His Spirit described as “water as a gift from the spring of the water of life”
John 13: 31-35. This text is sandwiched between episodes of betrayal and denial so stands as a beacon to followers of Jesus. The command to love one another stands as a continual challenge to church communities to model this, but it should help that even though our response may be wanting, we are always recipients of unmerited love ourselves. “ Just as I have loved you..”(v34)
Mum & Dad (Update)
On Thursday evening we travelled to North Wales to see my mum and dad. Dad’s eyesight is very poor now and both are frail. Mum was diagnosed with Myeloma which is terminal, but I asked mum what I should say to people when they ask how she is and she told me to say that she is coping with the situation. They appreciate all the prayers from the R.M.C. and all the beautiful cards from Hanneke have pride of place around the living room.
The lighter side!
Thought for the day
It truly is the little things in life that bring the most pleasure. Whilst in Wales I cleaned up one of two bird feeders and re-filled them both and watching the birds feed and one little bird have a wash in the bird bath gave me a sense of enormous wellbeing. It has only occurred to me since then that I realise that I had practiced mindfulness without planning to. Being in the present moment, actually noticing the miracle of life and engaging with it happened naturally without me saying “Now I’m going to practice mindfulness”. I do know that like so many people my day is spent worrying about the future or lamenting things in the past which then destroy the present. And the present is all we have – so enjoy and appreciate every moment as far as you can. In theological terms the present is where time touches eternity and just taking time to stop and notice the mystery of life one finds oneself engaging with the created order which leads to engaging with the creative Spirit that inhabits it all.
The Prayer for Today is attributed to someone called Byrhtnoth in the 10th Century
O God, I thank thee for all the joy I have had in life
Love and peace.