The Sunday after Easter is called “low Sunday” because after all the excitement of the Easter celebrations there is usually a natural lull, but nothing could be further from the truth yesterday. There was good attendances and it was enjoyable at both churches, but the general air of wellbeing was aided by my first baptism at St. Michael’s Otterton of Hamilton who was three years old. Despite some logistical difficulties (The font is so tall) and Hamilton being a typical three-year-old boy(!) we managed to complete the act and despite Hamilton not appreciating in the slightest having oil daubed on his forehead and then water poured on him, after the service he came up to me and said “Thank you” and showed me his toy car so I think we are friends again. My sermon revolved around the person of the Holy Spirit and his role in energizing and motivating the church. If you’d like to read what I said, just click here; https://revmartinjacques.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-breath-of-god.html
Easter flowers at St. Peter’s. Thank you to the flower arrangers at all three churches for making them so beautiful.
The R.M.C. Logo
First click on our excellent website; https://www.raleighmissioncommunity.org.uk/
Apart from marvelling at all the information on there (thank you Penny) take a look at the logo which appears at the top of every page. Do you know who devised it and what it all symbolises? It was designed by a member of the congregation called Hanneke Coates and this is what it all signifies, in her own words;
The scallop shell has nothing to do with the seaside.
It is a reminder of Sir Walter Raleigh’s poem of his pilgrimage of faith. The scallop shell of Quiet. (He wrote it while imprisoned in the Tower of London)
The solid wooden cross stands in the foreground as it stands in the foreground of a Christian person’s life too, and of course our Raleigh Mission Community.
The pebbles represent the people. Some lie close to the cross, some far away. But we are all searching people towards the cross.
The ancient hills of Devon are the landscape we all live and work in.
The river running through the Raleigh Community is of course the river of life and love and hope and forgiveness.
we all have a stream or tributaries in our villages or town contributing to the full flow of the river Otter as we all do in our community life.
I have always felt that the significance of our river, is very much contributing to our faith and the place we live in.
Next Sunday is the 3rd of Easter
This Sunday I am at St Peter’s and Karen is in the villages.
Acts 9: 1-6. Conversions don’t come any more dramatic or unexpected than this. Saul (Paul) was a fierce opponent of Christianity and in fact oversaw the stoning of Stephen – the first Christian martyr. Spare a thought for Ananias also, who was aware of Saul’s fierce anti-Christian stance and yet was told to seek him out and lay his hands on him to restore his sight.
Revelation 5:11-14. “Apocalyptic” is a genre of writing that is most prominent in Revelation in the New Testament and draws on Old Testament imagery in books like Daniel and Ezekiel. They speak in complicated (and sometimes indecipherable) symbols and codes to convey spiritual truths often at times of great temporal/historical trauma. What they want to convey is that no matter how bad things look from our perspective, God is in control and in the end all will be well. John’s vision came to him in exile during the persecutions of Emperor Dormitian and exalts the slain lamb Jesus to the highest heaven whom the whole creation worships.
John 21: 1-19. This passage has tremendous personal resonance for me, because when I was considering my options whether or not to go into ordained ministry, my wife Alexandra, who wasn’t given to fanciful talk or experiences, exclaimed that she had heard God’s voice speaking to her after praying about the situation and clearly heard the words “Go feed my sheep”. I have been trying to do that to the best of my ability ever since.
On the horizon…
This Saturday 4th May at 7.30 at the Hub in Budleigh Salterton, Jo and Chris Cant will be reporting on their April visit to Palestine to rebuild a home that had been demolished on the West Bank. The presentation will be followed by a discussion. Free parking and free admission.
This Sunday 5th May at 6.30pm The next Taize service will take place at Temple Methodist Church.
Amended service provision at St. Michael’s.
On the first Sunday of every month, at the 11am service at Otterton (starting 5th May) the Communion service will be replaced by a non-Eucharistic service of the word led by the church warden John Archibald. John is an experienced and spiritual worship leader and I’m sure that his ministry will be much appreciated.
The Lighter side!
Thought for the day
Though I can’t remember the date, I remember the place and the fact that it was the middle of the night. I am talking about my “conversion” to a belief in God. It was a cold store warehouse and it must have been about 1am – I worked nights! The situation was inauspicious, the characters involved weren’t setting out to convert me, and it wasn’t as if I had ever been particularly anti belief. It was just that I hadn’t paid much attention to the questions. My family weren’t anti faith, just non-religious in the way that is the default setting for the majority of people in our country. I was a lazy agnostic, which I think is also the majority position, despite gains by noisy atheists recently.
But I remember the feeling that I experienced moving from a spiritual sleep mode to a conscious belief in God. Nothing happened outwardly and things went on pretty much as before. But it was the start of a quiet revolution, a process that would change not only my life but the life of my family. I stress that I believed in “God” as a concept which then became a felt reality. Who or what this God was or what his character and purposes were I hadn’t a clue. This was a dangerous time in retrospect. I could have come under the influence of any religion or cult – and this, in our pluralist culture is the position that all young people are in today. Why would they choose Christianity over Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism or any other flavour? I lived in a broadly Christian (largely unacknowledged) culture and Christianity was the go-to faith to explore notions of God. This is still broadly true but less so year by year nowadays. I accepted and grew into Christianity because it was there, and this understanding of the church being a presence in every community is one of the strongest suits of the church of England. We are “there” and we have a presence in thousands of locations up and down the country. Other expressions may be more vigorous than we are, but we are broad, open and willing to engage (often clumsily) with secular culture and we are “there” if and when people want to engage with us. We accept people wherever they may be on their faith journey and provide a home to many disparate factions, but we are still one broad body – a family that bickers and quarrels constantly – but just like a family I believe we all love each other underneath the squabbles.
The Prayer for Today
From the cowardice that shrinks from new truths,
From the laziness that is content with half-truth,
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
O God of truth deliver us.
Love and peace,