Soul Food - 4th December

Dear friends,

So I heard on the radio, December 1st is officially the first day of winter. Waking this morning to two frost bound cars, there was no mistaking that fact, but there is something wonderful about bright, crisp, cold mornings when no matter how bright the sun is, temperatures hardly ever rise.

We danced the night away to a ceilidh band on Saturday night organised by the Budleigh Male voice choir and I’m proud to say that we danced every dance! Earlier that day the Advent fair raised £1012.24 and thank you to everyone who organised both very different but very enjoyable events  

Sunday though wasn’t very cold, and it was dry, which provided a lovely backdrop to our Advent Sunday celebrations. I was particularly happy with the 88 people who attended our evening service of “Advent readings and music”. St. Peter’s choir go from strength to strength. In the morning services I tried to set the scene by acknowledging the countdown to Christmas, but also explaining the wider spiritual meaning of Advent which comes under considerable pressure when the commercial emphasis is all about one particular day. If you’d like to read what I said, just click here;

Sunday 8th December – Advent 2

I will be at All Saints and St. Michael’s in the morning and at St. Peter’s for choral evensong in the evening. Karen will be at St. Peter’s in the morning

Isaiah 11: 1-10. Jesse was the father of King David, and this prophesy foretells a perfect future king of the Davidic line which Christians have always naturally attributed to Jesus Christ. Matthew’s gospel opens with a grand genealogy charting the line of succession from Abraham, through Jesse, through David, ending with Jesus in chapter one of his gospel via the male line. Although Joseph it is claimed elsewhere by Matthew and Luke, was not the biological father Jesus was nevertheless “of the house of David”.

Romans 15: 4-13. This is affirmed by St. Paul quoting verses in Isaiah 11, and also Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel and psalm 117, with special reference to Jesus’ universal significance (to the gentiles). Paul’s prayer is that we be a people defined by hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3: 1-12. Matthew also quotes a prophesy of Isaiah and applies it to John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a “link” between the prophets of old and the coming of Jesus. He was a wild and woolly character and his ministry occurred in the wilderness. This was all meant to evoke the prophets of old and the message was clear. This Jesus may be something “new”, but he is foretold and in the direct path of all that went before in Israel’s history.

Hospice care service.

This took us by surprise because it is a bi-annual affair and Stephen and I were both unaware of its existence, but we are very happy to host this “Light up a life” service in St. Peter’s tonight- Wednesday 4th – at 6pm. A Christmas service staged by the hospice care chaplain and team with carols. Our choir will be present as will I try to be.

Late night shopping in Budleigh

There are slightly different arrangements this year. The high street will still be closed as in past years but there is no float and procession from the public hall this year. Instead, the local schools in conjunction with the church partnership will stage a candle-light procession starting from St. Peter’s church at 5.45, following a “stations of Christmas” format ending at the Methodist church.

Table talk – 11th December – 7pm in Peter Hall

For the last in this short series, myself and David Boorer from Palmers Funeralcare will be giving a talk on end of life issues

Thought for the day

The buzz at coffee after the service on Sunday was extraordinary. You know, that time socialising is a part of the morning service as important as any other in my view. Chatting about this and that and having a laugh or having an important chat about loss and pain are all part and parcel of our social interaction as a family. As I disrobe after a service and observe the melee I get a warm feeling that despite everything that may or may not be happening elsewhere, basically all is well with the world.

Elections, terrorist outrages in London, riots in Hong Kong, floods in Venice, floods in Northern England, forest fires in Australia or whatever are left to one side for a few moments, to commiserate with Mrs. Miggins’ lumbago, or rib someone for their choice of Jacket, or tell a bad joke (or discuss the finer points of the sermon!). Life is a strange interaction between the International and general and the local and personal – the meaningful and the bland – the intense and the trivial – the deadly serious and the funny. We need both aspects of life to keep sane and navigate the world I think. Human beings are so multi-faceted and endlessly surprising and multi-dimensional that it should come as no surprise that we are made in the image of God.

The prayer for Today has its origin in the evangelical alliance website, though I have slightly amended it to render it more eirenic at this election time.

 Dear heavenly Father, thank You for always being on our side – for being our defender and ever-present help in our times of need.

Your support for us is not dependent on who we support in this general election
We pray that You will protect your children who are involved in campaigning during this election season, and keep them out of the snares of those who wish to harm them.
Strengthen us as we trust in You, and please do good onto those who are upright.

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures for ever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people both now and for evermore.”

Psalm 125:1-2

Love and peace,


St Peter's C of E Primary School

Moor Lane, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6QF

01395 443167

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