Soul food - 22nd May
The City steam Jazz band entertained us royally on Saturday night at East Budleigh village Hall. Louise and I became friendly with Dave Martin, the singer and trumpet player, through a mutual friend in Gainford, County Durham (Hi Bill!) and we go to listen to them once a month at the London Inn in Ottery St. Mary. Dave, the son of a vicar, sang a lovely spiritual on the night “Precious Lord, take my hand”
On Sunday afternoon we went to Exeter Cathedral for the confirmation service when two ladies from the Raleigh Mission Community were confirmed in a lovely service. My appreciation of Bishop Robert just grows and grows.
Ann, one of our confirmands with Bishop Robert
On Sunday morning I preached on Christian belief and practice being a dynamic and progressive thing because God’s Spirit is living and active and dynamic. If you’d like to read what I said just click here; https://revmartinjacques.blogspot.com/2019/05/work-out-your-salvation.html
Next Sunday is Easter 6
I am at St. Peter’s this Sunday and returning from her holiday Karen is in the villages.
Acts 16: 9-15. I don’t know how one distinguishes between a dream and a vision, but this one prompted an immediate reaction and on arrival in Philippi the first convert was a “God fearer” – a non-Jewish lady who was nevertheless attracted by the Jewish understanding of God and morality represented by the Jews. She was an independent businesswoman and head of her household reflecting the importance of women in Luke’s biblical accounts of the faith.
Revelation 21:10, 22 – 22:5. Speaking of visions we enter the vision to end all visions – Revelation. One can simply wallow in the magnificence and the powerful symbolism of the scene painted by John of peace, light, healing, and abundance bisected by the river of the water of life. Everything needed for life to flourish is provided by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
John 14: 23-29. Jesus prophesies the coming of his Spirit which will “make our home” with followers of the way. The conflict between the full presence of the divine present to believers as described here and notions of a “second coming” is most acute. “I am going away, and I am coming to you” (verse 28)
Out and about
My fortnightly trips to Torquay to learn New Testament Greek are going well. By which I mean the journey is easy – the Greek less so. Actually I am really enjoying it and I am learning so much.
Last Tuesday was spent at the Old Deanery in Exeter on a CMD spirituality day exploring Ignatian spirituality and the “Examen” way of daily prayer examining the day and discerning what gave joy and what drained and asking God to help us learn from both experiences.
A trip to Sidmouth to mow the lawn on our new house before we rent it out. It seems slightly strange to buy a house that we won’t live in for about 12 years but it is a beautiful place and the right thing to do.
The lighter side!
I found this YouTube recording of Dave and his band performing “Precious Lord take my hand” at Ilminster last year;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QstAXyVGfvA
Thought for the day
Bill Sykes was a great priest and the chaplain at University college Oxford when Louise was studying medicine there. At a certain point in his ministry he lost his faith. As he writes he had three options; leave the church; stay and just go through the motions; or stand and fight. Happily, he decided to stand and fight and the result of his spiritual fight back was a series of books called “Visions of…” which are collections of writings arranged thematically drawn from inside and outside of Christianity including other faiths and from the world of Art, literature and philosophy. He started reflection groups in Oxford which were extremely popular with religious and non-religious alike. We attended his memorial service a few years ago and picked up a pile of his books to use sometime when the time was right. I’m sure Bill would be mighty proud that we are now using his book “Visions of Grace” as our source material for our home group. Our first one dealt with “fellowship” and was very well received. As a change from pure Bible study I think it offers a fresh way of approaching a host of issues that might not otherwise get covered.
The Prayer for today was written by a former Archbishop of Canterbury Donald Coggan
Lord Still me,
Let my mind be inquiring, searching.
Let my heart be open.
Save me from mental rust.
Deliver me from spiritual decay.
Keep me alive and alert.
Teach me, that I may teach them.
Love and peace