Soul food - 6th March
Today is Ash Wednesday when we mark the beginning of the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. It is significant that Jesus was driven into the desert, not by Satan but by the Holy Spirit. This happened directly after Jesus had been baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist and this was the first thing that the Spirit caused Him to do; Retreat to discern his true calling and what it would mean for His life. Therein lies a challenge for all of us to be challenged by the Holy Spirit as to what embracing the gospel really means for our lives!
I was at St. Peter’s this morning and the theme as we go into the season of Lent when the humanity of Jesus was tested, is to remind ourselves that within Jesus the uncreated light of God shines out from Him. If you’d like to read what I said just click here; https://revmartinjacques.blogspot.com/2019/03/i-am-light-of-world.html
Out and about
A very fruitful meeting with Reverend Doctor Trevor Jones planning the future governance of the R.M.C. It is fantastic to have someone of Trevor’s calibre on hand to plan with us how to rationalise our administration while freeing us up to to be able to concentrate on the core mission of the church. I am glad to say that Dr. Jones will be with us in Sidmouth on the 6th July to present these conclusions, already agreed by the constituent P.C.C.s, to the Mission Community as a whole.
St. Peter’s school was being assessed through a SIAMS inspection (This is the C.of.E.’s version of an Ofsted inspection ) and in a packed programme of meetings and assessments, the school passed with a wonderful assessment of GOOD across the board. Much praise must be given to the headmaster Steve Hitchcock, and the R.E. and collective worship co-ordinator Hannah Jenkins for all their sterling work. St. Peter’s school has been turned around in recent years and is now hugely popular with around 300 pupils and the entire staff, the governing body, the PTA and especially the children themselves are to be congratulated.
I represented Aylesbeare Deanery last week at an Archdeaconry meeting in Ide as James Hutchings was otherwise engaged. Our Archdeacon, Christopher Futcher is of course leaving to take up a similar post in our link Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and he and his wife will be moving to Larnaca in Cyprus during the summer so again….all change!
The Lighter side!
Busted! The deputy warden of All Saints caught red handed worshiping Baal
Next Sunday is the first of Lent
I am on holiday this weekend in Paris celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary (I proposed on the steps of the Sacre Coeur!!) so Karen is at St. Peter’s and Bishop Richard is in the villages.
Deuteronomy 26: 1-11. A theology of creation is completed by a theology of redemption. The created order does not unambiguously point to a benign creator. Such a belief only comes from meeting God through his redemptive acts like the Exodus, which is then applied to creation itself.
Romans 10: 8-13. Lent is “back to basics” time and the twin affirmations that “Jesus is Lord” and that “God raised him from the dead” are central to the church community. As is the affirmation that Grace makes all sinners equal in God’s sight. We are all liable to become like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son in the face of the inclusiveness of God, scandalised by the richness of God’s mercy.
Luke 4: 1-13. The devil tempts Jesus to put material gain, personal power, and invites Him to test God’s loving care in these three temptations. Each time He answers with a quote from Deuteronomy. God’s word is living and active and enfleshed in Jesus Christ Himself.
RMC Dinner club – 22nd March – 7pm at East Devon Golf club.
Bookings have flowed in fast for this second instalment of this exciting new venture to help us relax together and get to know each other. Karen is the after-dinner speaker for this one and the menu and signup sheets are attached to our pew sheets and need to be returned to Fran in the office. We are currently between 75 and 80 people with people also bringing a smattering of non church going friends which is tremendous news so we are anticipating an excellent evening!
Thought for the day
This week I conducted two funerals of people who had been very involved in their respective church communities, Barbara Ingram at All Saints and Glynn Whittle at St. Peter’s. Funerals always remind me that we are all individual pieces of the cosmic jigsaw of life, where the picture is always emerging but never finished.
Barbara and Glynn and us are all part of an enormous interlocking mosaic of people, that in the case of the church, leads back to Jesus Himself. All who call ourselves Christians are also part of that “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) stretching through time and space, both alive and dead, we recognise as being part of the body of Christ. This concept forms part of the symbolic architecture of an Orthodox church. The church building is a representation of the entire cosmos with the Dome (heaven) usually adorned with Christ Pantocrator (Almighty) looking down on the Nave which is covered with pictures of the Saints so that when you enter the church you become part of the great cloud of witnesses yourself, extending the worship experience to include all who have gone before. My Christianity has been enriched by so many different influences and traditions, from charismatic and evangelical, to Catholic and Orthodox and I both consciously and often unconsciously incorporate them into my worldview and practice. In that sense my own Christianity is like the church itself, a marvellous mosaic of different people and influences. Long may that continue.
The Prayer for Today is for Lent
Joy with peace,
Amendment of life,
Time for true repentance,
The grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit,
And perseverance in good works,
Almighty and merciful Lord.
Love and peace,