Was ever another command so obeyed?

I’ve been sent this by one of my All Saints Basingstoke friends, in response to my enquiries about Eucharistic theology. It is a worthy reminder that no single view should be valued above any other, but each has a personal significance that draws us close to God.

Department of Theology and Religious studies Studies, University of Wales Lampeter

Update: a little later this evening I read this from Bishop Alan at a German conference I’ve never heard of… it seems blunt and to the point, just what we need among Christians who are too comfortable in their own place; http://bishopalan.blogspot.com/2009/05/liturgical-terrorism-or-future.html

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lectio divina

An old posting from Maggi Dawn, but it jumped out at me from a column of old references on her blog, because it’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot in the last couple of weeks

Lectio Divina is something Belinda has encouraged here in St. Peter’s in her prayer workshops, and has now given me some stuff to try… it was one of those things that hasn’t happened this week!

Maggi’s bit includes some historic background plus also a way of using it in Pentecost worship, that might be something to try in our combined congregation one year… I reckon we could manage several languages…

maggi dawn: pentecost grid blog:: (4) lectio divina

Further update 10th June: again HT to Maggi Dawn for a man breathing

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Pentecost Novena

Maggi Dawn talking about the period between Ascension and Pentecost as a period of Waiting… reminding me of Paula Gooder’s Advent book on waiting.

Having an explanation of what a “novena” and an “octave” is may also have uses in the future

maggi dawn: Pentecost Novena

My own period between Ascension and Pentecost is not being marked by a Novena, nor with the world prayer thing that I should be doing, as encouraged by our St. Peter’s clergy, because well… oh the excuses… but fairly high on the list are spending some much needed quality time with the husband (some of which could have been used praying together, I know), and doing what Johny Baker might call “curation” but the rest of call “co-ordinating” our open air Pentecost service this Sunday. It’s taken two evenings just to put together the service sheet!

And tomorrow is some rather special preparation for my Faith and Daily Life module (and some quality time with my Dad to celebrate his birthday!)

I think I can hear my spiritual director telling me not to be too hard on myself…

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Wildlife at my fingertips

Yesterday morning, as we sat down to breakfast, a baby Blue Tit flew into the french window and wobbled, stunned on the patio step.DSCN9872c(web)

Needing to rescue it from our dog or the local moggies, I dashed outside and picked it up. Graham grabbed the camera, and here is the result. I was able to pop it on the bird table, it’s mother returned, and eventually it flew off.

It was lovely to be able to use the incident immediately to open and close the morning Iona Communion Service that I was leading at St. Peter’s.

Only on looking at the pictures later did we realise it had a deformed left foot (see close up) and wasn’t using it properly. Over the winter we’ve been aware of a chaffinch with similar sort of growths on it’s foot, but we’ve no idea what may cause them.DSCN9875c(web)

We’re enjoying a little relaxation time at present, since it is the start of half-term, the boy is on Scout Camp in E Sussex, and I’ve finally finished my placement report. Saturday afternoon we returned through Ashdown Forest from the Scout Camp stopping for a picnic near some bluebells and at Weir Wood Nature Reserve where we a bit disappointed to find it felt a bit neglected. However the noise from the heronry was extraordinary, and we found two Fallow Deer nearby just showing antler growth in velvet.

Yesterday evening we went to our local patch at Castle Bottom at dusk. We saw a Roe Deer en route in the adjacent Silver Fox Farm fields, and a hunting fox right near the stream-bed in Castle Bottom itself. What we went for were Nightjars, and although we heard distant churring, we saw nothing… but midges. (Must try again, possibly later… although we didn’t leave till 9.30pm.) The smell of Bog Myrtle was intoxicating however. The new blog header was a photo Graham took whilst we were out, just before we returned home across the back of Blackbushe Airport, where we saw a black rabbit (among many other bunnies) and bats… some largish ones out on the edge of the heath, and what we think were Pipistrelle bats in the lane coming home.

Today we’ve been to Ashe… via needing to hand in that placement report in North Waltham… which boasts the source of the River Test (famous for it’s trout). The spring rises in a small pond, favoured by ducks and fed over by Swallows, which then forms a stream that stretches out across a beautiful meadow (full of sheep) through which there is a footpath to Overton. If you fancy a wander we thoroughly recommend it… park by the church and walk through the (very tidy) farmyard to the waymark signs.

Reminded me, I really must try and go trout fishing with my father this summer!

Holy Trinity and St. Andrew's Church, Ashe
Holy Trinity and St. Andrew's Church, Ashe

Marriage – Women Are Complicated, Men Are Impossible

Graham found this when looking for ‘think spot’ inspirations – it was almost completely unrelated to what he was looking for, but had resonances for both of us, and may have uses related to marriage prep work I might be involved in, at some point in the future.

“Women Are Complicated” “Men Are Impossible” Overcoming the Differences

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What Rowan said

  • Posted originally elsewhere on Feb. 28th, 2008 at 8:24 PM

H was at the now infamous ‘Sharia’ speech last week, and thought the Rowan Williams was really good (despite what the press said). Today I had my chance to hear him, though on a completely different subject. He gave the Lent Lecture to the ministers (lay and ordained, which is how come I got to be there) of the Diocese of Winchester. I went with some trepidation, not expecting to understand half of what he said, and quite possibly to disagree with him on some things (if I understood them.)

I have to say Rowan Williams was brilliant – totally outstanding, understandable, engaging, orthodox and human. In the morning he spoke on the Resurrection (well the lectures are designed to prepare the ministers for their Easter messages). There were several things in what he said that really struck me, and I suspect will stay with me:

* “Jesus opens up a place for us to stand in relationship to both God and the world… we occupy Jesus identity in the world before God” I’d never thought about our relationship with God and Jesus in these terms before: humbling and exciting at the same time.

* Looking at the historical core of the Resurrection story he talked about how the stories of the Passion in the Gospel of Mark (the first Gospel to be written down) are all detailed, like a route-map of Jerusalem with lots of illusions to prophesy and patterns recognised from the Old Testament. In contrast Matthew’s account of the Resurrection are “abrupt, confused, vivid and unpolished” – a new kind of story telling that does not fit with the expected pattern but rather “pressed into existence by the facts”. In other words what you might expect if it inaugurated a new age. Fascinating – well at least I thought so.

If possible the afternoon session was even better. Titled: “Risen Today” it tried to deal with how the Resurrection impacts on people today, and was followed by an extensive question and answer session.

* The Resurrection shows that the world really can change – something happened in history that changed the world, proving it’s possible for things to be different; giving Christians justification for being a nuisance and wanting a tidier world, a world that doesn’t have to be as it is.

* If Jesus is risen then there is a human destiny – our dignity liberty and glory are so that we are proper companions for Christ. Isn’t that just the most amazing idea?

* Prayer is allowing God to happen in us – the action God desires to do in us to bring us to life – letting God be God (rather than us giving a shopping list) – the suggestion was that we might need to do a bit of spring cleaning in our lives to give God a clear route!

* All liturgy probably needs decluttering – not necessarily less words, just more spaces between them.

Along the way we discovered that Rowan Williams is a fan of Fawlty Towers and the music of Mozart, specifically the Magic Flute. He also showed himself alert to the need for careful answers to tricky questions:

Q: What would you do if they found the bones?
A: Become a Quaker!

Understanding Grace

I am desperately trying to complete my placement report. In it I (currently) say:

“My understanding is that grace is “the transformation… of human life” and Jesus as offering us this undeserved relationship with God through his death and resurrection God (Richardson and Bowden 1983, p245). By accepting and entering into this relationship, we are drawn into participation in extending God’s Kingdom on earth, as Jesus commissioned his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”
For me, this echoes with something which has deeply affected me since I heard Rowan Williams say it at the 2008 Bishop’s Lent Lecture: “Jesus opens up a place for us to stand in relationship to both God and the world…
we occupy Jesus identity in the world before God.
If we are individually, or corporately, an island, we therefore need be in island which takes it’s identity from that of Jesus, and offer the characteristics of his love to the world we touch.”

Now the Rowan Williams quote comes from notes I made last year… since I keep needing to refer to them to remind me of the particular things he said which struck me as really important, I transfer them to the next entry in this blog for future reference.

A surprise encounter

My good friend and fellow trainee Ian, has just posted the audio of my sermon from Sunday (the one with Gabriel in it) at  http://www.stpetersyateley.org.uk/
– follow the links to Services and Sermons and I’m there on the list as “A surprise encounter” (Luke 1:26-38)!

Tomorrow I’m off to the Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park Racecourse where my main job is to order a cassock, probably from J&M Sewing, which brings the whole licensing thing a little closer!

I am very fortunate in that I have been given a surplice and Reader Scarf… and it’s a lovely story: Liz got me involved in Mothers’ Union several years ago – it was her that suggested to some diocesan folk I might have suitable skills to edit the ‘Archway’ newsletter, from which the rest is history!

Liz’s Mum is Thelma, a dear old lady who we think was one of the early women Readers in the Church of England… Women were first licensed as Readers exactly 40 years last Sunday (that’ll be the day I preached about Gabriel and the Holy Spirit then!) Thelma (also a staunch MU member) is now in a home, but Liz and her brother David very kindly found and with Thelma’s blessing, have given me, her surplice and Reader Scarf.

When licensing finally comes, I will be very honoured to wear them.