Friday, 30 October 2015

Morning Prayer - 30 October 2015

Psalm 17
Hear my just cause, O Lord; consider my complaint; listen to my prayer, which comes not from lying lips. Let my vindication come forth from your presence; let your eyes behold what is right. Weigh my heart, examine me by night, refine me, and you will find no impurity in me. My mouth does not trespass for earthly rewards; I have heeded the words of your lips. My footsteps hold fast in the ways of your commandments; my feet have not stumbled in your paths. I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; incline your ear to me, and listen to my words. Show me your marvellous loving-kindness, O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings, From the wicked who assault me, from my enemies who surround me to take away my life. They have closed their heart to pity and their mouth speaks proud things. They press me hard, they surround me on every side, watching how they may cast me to the ground, Like a lion that is greedy for its prey, like a young lion lurking in secret places. Arise, Lord; confront them and cast them down; deliver me from the wicked by your sword. Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand from those whose portion in life is unending, Whose bellies you fill with your treasure, who are well supplied with children and leave their wealth to their little ones. As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness; when I awake and behold your likeness, I shall be satisfied.

Psalm 19
The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. One day pours out its song to another and one night unfolds knowledge to another. They have neither speech nor language and their voices are not heard, yet their sound has gone out into all lands and their words to the ends of the world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course. It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb. By them also is your servant taught and in keeping them there is great reward. 
Who can tell how often they offend?
O cleanse me from my secret faults!

Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me; so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Ecclesiastes 5
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than the sacrifice offered by fools; for they do not know how to keep from doing evil. Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.

 For dreams come with many cares, and a fool’s voice with many words.

 When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Fulfil what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfil it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your words, and destroy the work of your hands?

 With many dreams come vanities and a multitude of words; but fear God.

 If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and right, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But all things considered, this is an advantage for a land: a king for a ploughed field.

 The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.

 When goods increase, those who eat them increase; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

 Sweet is the sleep of labourers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.

 There is a grievous ill that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owners to their hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture; though they are parents of children, they have nothing in their hands. As they came from their mother’s womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands. This also is a grievous ill: just as they came, so shall they go; and what gain do they have from toiling for the wind? Besides, all their days they eat in darkness, in much vexation and sickness and resentment.

 This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot. Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil—this is the gift of God. For they will scarcely brood over the days of their lives, because God keeps them occupied with the joy of their hearts.

John 18.12-27
So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing round it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.’ When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?’ Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

The Collect
Blessed Lord,
who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:
help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word,
we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Disability aware?

One of the greatest challenges for those of us who do church is that of thinking about accessibility of services for those who might otherwise find a challenge through some form of disability.

All too often I find myself with people who think that being disability aware is testified to by the presence of a hand rail or a ramp - and it is indeed a start in the right direction; but it's not the ever the final word (especially if you have deaf people in the congregation!).

An induction loop is another great addition to church buildings these days, but I am often surprised at the number of people who tell me that this is not always turned on in their church. 'Sorry, couldn't hear what you said in the sermon, the loop wasn't working,' equals a blessing for those spared my sermon but exclusion (often by neglect). When did you last check your loop was working?) from an act of worship which, eventually, causes people to drift away.

Our little church building has a projector and screen for the services and this suits most people. But there are the words, in Bold on the 'Welcome'; screen, which state that for those having difficulty reading or seeing the screen, paper copies are available in 12pt and 18pt fonts. This message is reinforced by various of the members to newcomers who appear to be struggling. (There's always a tension between trying to offer support and potentially embarrassing someone - a careful balance called for here).

I have often thought about, and failed, learning to sign because it's a need that crops up from time to time. I have some of the basics and know of people I can call on to provide assistance so it's sort of sorted, but still on the 'want to' list.

Recently I've been working with a few different fonts and sizes to find out which work best for those who need large-print material and have come to a place where it is Arial and 18 point.

Having just completed a Mission Shaped Introduction course where I am, I thought I'd place a set of large print course member handouts HERE should anyone find them useful.



morning Prayer - 29 October 2015

James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyr in Uganda, 1885

Psalm 14
The fool has said in his heart,‘There is no God.’ 
Corrupt are they, and abominable in their wickedness; there is no one that does good.

The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of earth, to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks after God. But every one has turned back; all alike have become corrupt: there is none that does good; no, not one.

Have they no knowledge, those evildoers, who eat up my people as if they ate bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There shall they be in great fear; for God is in the company of the righteous. Though they would confound the counsel of the poor, yet the Lord shall be their refuge.

O that Israel’s salvation would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, then will Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Psalm 15
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
Who may rest upon your holy hill?
Whoever leads an uncorrupt life and does the thing that is right; Who speaks the truth from the heart and bears no deceit on the tongue; Who does no evil to a friend and pours no scorn on a neighbour; In whose sight the wicked are not esteemed, but who honours those who fear the Lord. 
Whoever has sworn to a neighbour and never goes back on that word; Who does not lend money in hope of gain, nor takes a bribe against the innocent; 
Whoever does these things shall never fall.

Psalm 16
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge; I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord, all my good depends on you.’ All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, upon those who are noble in heart. Though the idols are legion that many run after, their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, neither make mention of their names upon my lips. The Lord himself is my portion and my cup; in your hands alone is my fortune.

My share has fallen in a fair land; indeed, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, and in the night watches he instructs my heart. I have set the Lord always before me; he is at my right hand; I shall not fall. Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my flesh also shall rest secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Death, nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit. You will show me the path of life; in your presence is the fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Ecclesiastes 3.16-4.end
Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upwards and the spirit of animals goes downwards to the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?

Again I saw all the oppressions that are practised under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive; but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person’s envy of another. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind. 
Fools fold their hands and consume their own flesh. Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil, and a chasing after wind.

Again, I saw vanity under the sun: the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. ‘For whom am I toiling’, they ask, ‘and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This also is vanity and an unhappy business. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king, who will no longer take advice. One can indeed come out of prison to reign, even though born poor in the kingdom. I saw all the living who, moving about under the sun, follow that youth who replaced the king; there was no end to all those people whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

John 18.1-11
After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus replied, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he’, they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’ This was to fulfil the word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.’ Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’

The Collect
Most merciful God, who strengthened your Church by the steadfast courage of your martyr James Hannington: grant that we also, thankfully remembering his victory of faith, may overcome what is evil and glorify your holy name; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Morning Prayer - 28 October 2015

Simon and Jude, Apostles

Psalm 116
I love the Lord, for he has heard the voice of my supplication; because he inclined his ear to me on the day I called to him. The snares of death encompassed me; the pains of hell took hold of me; by grief and sorrow was I held. 

Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I beg you, deliver my soul.’ 

Gracious is the Lord and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord watches over the simple; I was brought very low and he saved me. Turn again to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has been gracious to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed that I should perish for I was sorely troubled; and I said in my alarm, ‘Everyone is a liar.’

How shall I repay the Lord for all the benefits he has given to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. O Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds. 
I will offer to you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord. 
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Alleluia.

Psalm 117
O praise the Lord, all you nations; praise him, all you peoples. For great is his steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Alleluia.

Isaiah 45.18-26
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), 
who formed the earth and made it (he established it;
he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!):
I am the Lord, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in chaos.’ I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right. 

Assemble yourselves and come together, draw near, you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge - those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Saviour; there is no one besides me. 

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’ Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; all who were incensed against him shall come to him and be ashamed. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory. 

Luke 6.12-16
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

The Collect
Almighty God, who built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone: so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Monday, 26 October 2015

More poppy avatars

Today; having been asked to add a few cap badges, I thought I'd better paste them here:


Blues and Royals
11 Hussars (Cherry Pickers)
Ride To The Wall
Devon and Dorsets



Remembrance: It's that time of year again.

For those of you who have served or have a connection with our UK forces and would like to reflect it in your Facebook, Twitter or other places, can I remind you that there are a fairly large number of poppy avatars, like that below,  available on this blog?



If you would like one, all you need to do is go to a search engine and search on:

Vic the Vicar  poppy (regiment, service or branch name). That above can be found by entering the search criteria:

Vic the Vicar poppy RAChD

You just choose whatever you want and it should be there - if not, add a comment and I'll create one for you. (once you've found it, right-click and 'save as' - you can use it wherever you wish)


Morning Prayer - 26 October 2015

Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, Scholar, 899
Cedd, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of the East Saxons, 664

Psalm 1
Blessed are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the assembly of the scornful. Their delight is in the law of the Lord and they meditate on his law day and night. Like a tree planted by streams of water bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither, whatever they do, it shall prosper.

As for the wicked, it is not so with them; they are like chaff which the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked shall not be able to stand in the judgement, nor the sinner in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.

Psalm 2
Why are the nations in tumult, and why do the peoples devise a vain plot?
The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed: ‘Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.’

He who dwells in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak to them in his wrath and terrify them in his fury: ‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.’

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord; he said to me: ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’

Now therefore be wise, O kings; be prudent, you judges of the earth. Serve  the Lord with fear, and with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry and you perish from the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Happy are all they who take refuge in him.

Psalm 3
Lord, how many are my adversaries; many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say to my soul, ‘There is no help for you in your God.’

But you, Lord, are a shield about me; you are my glory, and the lifter up of my head. When I cry aloud to the Lord, he will answer me from his holy hill; I lie down and sleep and rise again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of hordes of the peoples that have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord, and deliver me, O my God, for you strike all my enemies on the cheek and break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord: may your blessing be upon your people.

Ecclesiastes 1
The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 
What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? 
A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever. 

The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises.  
The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.  All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. 

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered,  nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them.

 I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.  What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.

 I said to myself, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’ And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind. 
For in much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.

John 17.1-5
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

The Collect
God, our maker and redeemer, we pray you of your great mercy and by the power of your holy cross
to guide us by your will and to shield us from our foes: that, after the example of your servant Alfred, we may inwardly love you above all things; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Like ending a veggie meal with a burger!

Recently I found myself at a Crem' waiting for the person in front to finish their slot and as I listened to their 'this is all you get' eulogy I thought how hard a message it was; where was the hope, the 'something extra' that gets you out of bed in the morning and enables you to see something more in life than, 'This is all it is - and then it's gone - bye and thanks for all the ....?'

The person 'doing' the 'service' then did a sort of committal but instead of the perhaps more familiar 'earth, ashes and dust ' that goes along with a Christian funeral we got the deceased 'being consigned to eternity' and lots of talk about them 'moving on' - and this raised the question in the back of my head (just next to the, 'Is it time to eat' section I reckon by the way my stomach rumbled): 'Moving on to where, with whom - why and how?'

After all, if you're a humanist then surely there's no divine being and no one to go anywhere with!

Yes indeedy, I was experiencing syncretic atheism at its very best (should that be 'worst'?) as somehow some 'god being' had crept in to the proceedings and whilst untheological thinking should have been being peddled it was obvious that there was an emerging theology , complete with an emerging god (or someone who could lead the deceased to somewhere by some hitherto unspecified and uncarpeted (or desired) being!

But which god could it be? After all, there are so many on offer and up until then I assume that, being a humanist service, none of those on offer were desired, invited or engaged with!

Then, as is to offer me some clue the service drew to a close wth the person conducting the thing offering 'an opportunity to take some comfort and draw on words, and thinking, that have provided solace to so many for so very long!'

Then the music started playing and I nearly dropped (metaphorically speaking) me chips!

Amazing Grace - full version complete with '... the Lord has given good to me ...'


Like a veggie meal ending with a burger!






Can't make it to church - 25 October 2015

So here we are, we've reached end of the green season in the Church of England and we do it with a bit of style as first we consider poor old Job; remember him? Kids die when the house collapses and everything he loves, or loves him, is taken from him (or leaves).A story of testing and perseverance - all about a bloke who, despite the awfulness that surronds him, cings faithfully to God: And sees everything not just restored, but given twice as much! Now that's a bargain, innit?

I have to say that I identify with Job at times when I recall the loss of TJ, a son who almost made it to ten years despite the medical car crash that was his life and look at our four beautiful children. Not a replacement but a restoration and added blessing.

The same is true in other areas of my life - and I don't think I've been especially faithful, I have my feet of clay and my own stupid and selfish bits, but praise God because He has been; after all - faithful, that's His other name isn't it?

Where do you need to be perserving? Where have you been persevering? Trust God for a blessing .. for that's His business then, and now! After all, look at His credentials in the Hebrews reading. Thia is one cool high priest indeed - totally trustworthy, consistent and integrity ridden. Comes with a guarantee that is cast iron: So why not put Him to the test (it's biblical, don't worry - I'm not leading you into sin but salvation and reconciliation with God therough God!

The Gospel, what a story: We find a blind beggar, Bartimaeus (son, that's what 'bar' means, of Timaeus) sitting by the roadside. Hearing Jesus is there he calls out to Him: ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’

The people (probably the church goers!) tell him to shush (I remember that in a situation where Jesus was replaced by Rowan Williams) so he shouts louder - a good lesson here, don't let the administrators get in the way, demand to speak to management (and you can... 'Our father in heaven...') directly.

Jesus tells the people to bring Bartimaeus to him. So they called him saying, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ Needing no further encouragement he throws his possessions (his cloak) aside and legs it to Jesus who does something amazing. When you get a chance to meet Jesus, then dumping what little you have makes sense: how often do we get our priorities right like this?

He asks, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’

Here is God made man and yet rather than assume that He knows what the man wants (and I'm sure He, and we, had a good idea), He asks. So when we encounter people with needs, why do we assme that we don't need to ask???

You've probably guessed what the man asks for, ‘My teacher, let me see again, and of course the answer is, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’

The same faith that we started off with when encountering Job at the beginning of today.

Got the hint? 

Job done then - off you go (don't forget to chuck the things that weight you down!




The Collect
Blessed Lord,
who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Away at a conference I heard this again: been forty years since I first heard it and I thought I'd share it: Never thought I'd be a C&W bloke :-)



Job 42.1-6,10-17
Then Job answered the Lord:
‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?”  Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. “Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.”

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’ And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his  brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.

Hebrews 7.23-28
Furthermore, the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.

Mark 10.46-52
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.



Post Communion Prayer
God of all grace, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Morning Prayer - 24 October 2015

Psalm 147
Alleluia.
How good it is to make music for our God, how joyful to honour him with praise. 

The Lord builds up Jerusalem and gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his wisdom is beyond all telling.
The Lord lifts up the poor, but casts down the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God upon the lyre; who covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth; who makes grass to grow upon the mountains and green plants to serve our needs.
He gives the beasts their food and the young ravens when they cry.
He takes no pleasure in the power of a horse, no delight in human strength;
But the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their trust in his steadfast love.

Sing praise to the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates and has blest your children within you.
He has established peace in your borders and satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends forth his command to the earth and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool and scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casts down his hailstones like morsels of bread; who can endure his frost?
He sends forth his word and melts them; he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and judgements to Israel.
He has not dealt so with any other nation; they do not know his laws.
Alleluia.

Ezekiel 47.1-12
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple towards the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate that faces towards the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.

 Going on eastwards with a cord in his hand, the man measured one thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured one thousand, and led me through the water; and it was up to the waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, ‘Mortal, have you seen this?’

Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I came back, I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on one side and on the other. He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. People will stand fishing beside the sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.’

John 16.23-end
On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
‘I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.’

His disciples said, ‘Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!’

The Collect
God, the giver of life, whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church:
by the Spirit's gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ
      and make us eager to do your will,
that we may share with the whole creation
      the joys of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. 
Amen.

Friday, 23 October 2015

What did they leave?

One of our churchwardens tells a tale of a chap who was walking through the streets of a town one morning when he came across a funeral procession. There were many mourners walking behind the horse-drawn hearse and it was obvious by the attire and obvious station of the mourners that this must have been someone of import.

Getting in step with one of those processing towards the cemetery the young man asks who it is that is being buried. Upon being told (a man he'd never heard before) he asked the question, 'Did he leave much?' to which the man by his side replied, 'Everything!'

This is Christian Legacy week - a time when Christians and churches are being encouraged to think about the delicate of issue of what we will be doing with the 'everything' that we leave behind: One of the most sensitive topics I think there can be; something that I have never discussed with anyone, ever!

Recently, Christian Research conducted a survey the results of which showed that 'only' 45% of Christians plan to leave a gift to a church or charity in their will. Now I have to say that I was amazed at the number and think that the 'only' should be replaced with 'as many' because I was surprised at that number. But of course it means that more than half of those who wear the label 'Christian' have  never thought about it and that's a large number of people!

Recently I have experienced legacy first hand as someone I know left a gift that will keep on supporting a church that was dear to them for a very long time. This really was a gift that will keep on giving and even though no longer physically with the members of their beloved church, their present makes their presence, and their love for them, real and obvious for a very long time to come!

The Church of England have made this video for PCCs to help raise awareness of this important (yet highly sensitive) topic:





So, if you're a Church Treasurer or a member of your Church Council - this is something you might like to watch and bring to your next finance group meeting and PCC, DCC or whatever you call those who give of their time to do the business of the church.

And even if you are not either of the above - take the time to make your Treasurer and members of the Finance team, the PCC, DCC and leaders aware. After all, to paraphrase (a little wrongly) the old song:

'T'ain't what you'e got it's the way that you leave it - that's what gets results!'

A new question for us all: 'You might have sorted out how you live, what about what happens when you leave it behind?' ... and while we are on the subject: 'How many of us have made a will ?'

Be careful what you ask for!

Morning Prayer - 23 October 2015

Psalm 142
I cry aloud to the Lord; to the Lord I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before him and tell him of my trouble. When my spirit faints within me, you know my path; in the way wherein I walk have they laid a snare for me. 
I look to my right hand, and find no one who knows me; I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for my soul. I cry out to you, O Lord, and say: ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Listen to my cry, for I am brought very low; save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name; when you have dealt bountifully with me, then shall the righteous gather around me.’

Psalm 144
Blessed be the Lord my rock, who teaches my hands for war and my fingers for battle; My steadfast help and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I trust, who subdues the peoples under me. 

O Lord, what are mortals that you should consider them;  mere human beings, that you should take thought for them? 
They are like a breath of wind; their days pass away like a shadow. 
Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains and they shall smoke. Cast down your lightnings and scatter them; shoot out your arrows and let thunder roar. 7 Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and take me out of the great waters, from the hand of foreign enemies, Whose mouth speaks wickedness and their right hand is the hand of falsehood.

O God, I will sing to you a new song; I will play to you on a ten-stringed harp, You that give salvation to kings and have delivered David your servant. Save me from the peril of the sword and deliver me from the hand of foreign enemies, whose mouth speaks wickedness and whose right hand is the hand of falsehood; So that our sons in their youth may be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters like pillars carved for the corners of the temple; Our barns be filled with all manner of store; our flocks bearing thousands, and ten thousands in our fields; Our cattle be heavy with young: may there be no miscarriage or untimely birth, no cry of distress in our streets. 

Happy are the people whose blessing this is.
Happy are the people who have the Lord for their God.

Ezekiel 44.4-16
Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; and I looked, and lo! the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord; and I fell upon my face. The Lord said to me: Mortal, mark well, look closely, and listen attentively to all that I shall tell you concerning all the ordinances of the temple of the Lord and all its laws; and mark well those who may be admitted to the temple and all those who are to be excluded from the sanctuary. Say to the rebellious house, to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O house of Israel, let there be an end to all your abominations in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You have broken my covenant with all your abominations. And you have not kept charge of my sacred offerings; but you have appointed foreigners to act for you in keeping my charge in my sanctuary.

 Thus says the Lord God: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple, and serving in the temple; they shall slaughter the burnt-offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall attend on them and serve them. Because they ministered to them before their idols and made the house of Israel stumble into iniquity, therefore I have sworn concerning them, says the Lord God, that they shall bear their punishment. They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my sacred offerings, the things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame, and the consequences of the abominations that they have committed. Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its chores, all that is to be done in it.

 But the levitical priests, the descendants of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me; and they shall attend me to offer me the fat and the blood, says the Lord God. It is they who shall enter my sanctuary, it is they who shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge.

John 16.16-22
‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.’ Then some of his disciples said to one another, ‘What does he mean by saying to us, “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me”; and “Because I am going to the Father”?’ They said, ‘What does he mean by this “a little while”? We do not know what he is talking about.’ Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, ‘Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me”? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

The Collect
God, the giver of life, whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church: by the Spirit's gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ and make us eager to do your will, that we may share with the whole creation the joys of eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Street Angels: A shocking addition to the repertoire?

November sees Tamworth Street Angels extend the scope of their services to the people of Tamworth.



There is always a need for people to get involved with

Street Angels

Town/Street Pastors

Listening Groups 

The Samaritans

Could you make a difference to a life because Jesus has made a difference to yours?

NOT A 'Person of Faith?'  
Not to worry!
THERE"S NO MONOPOLY ON BEING KIND!

TALK TO YOUR LOCAL GROUP NOW!




Morning Prayer - 22 October 2015

Psalm 143
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and in your faithfulness give ear to my supplications; answer me in your righteousness. Enter not into judgement with your servant, for in your sight shall no one living be justified. For the enemy has pursued me, crushing my life to the ground, making me sit in darkness like those long dead. 

My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is desolate. I remember the time past; I muse upon all your deeds; I consider the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul gasps for you like a thirsty land. O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me; hide not your face from me lest I be like those who go down to the Pit. Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning,  for in you I put my trust; show me the way I should walk in, for I lift up my soul to you. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies, for I flee to you for refuge. Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God; let your kindly spirit lead me on a level path. Revive me, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for your righteousness’ sake, bring me out of trouble. In your faithfulness, slay my enemies, and destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for truly I am your servant.

Psalm 146
Alleluia.
Praise the Lord, O my soul: while I live will I praise the Lord; as long as I have any being, I will sing praises to my God.

Put not your trust in princes,nor in any human power, for there is no help in them. When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth; on that day all their thoughts perish. 

Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in the Lord their God; Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps his promise for ever; Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong and bread to those who hunger.
The Lord looses those that are bound; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.

The Lord shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Alleluia.

Ezekiel 43.1-12
Then he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And there, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east; the sound was like the sound of mighty waters; and the earth shone with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the vision that I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

 While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me out of the temple. He said to me: Mortal, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet, where I will reside among the people of Israel for ever. The house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their whoring, and by the corpses of their kings at their death. When they placed their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they were defiling my holy name by their abominations that they committed; therefore I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their idolatry and the corpses of their kings far from me, and I will reside among them for ever.

 As for you, mortal, describe the temple to the house of Israel, and let them measure the pattern; and let them be ashamed of their iniquities. When they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the plan of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, and its whole form—all its ordinances and its entire plan and all its laws; and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe and follow the entire plan and all its ordinances. This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. This is the law of the temple.

John 16.1-15
‘I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Collect
God, the giver of life,
whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church: by the Spirit's gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ and make us eager to do your will,
that we may share with the whole creation the joys of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.