Soul food

Dear friends,

Things  really stepped up a gear this week which meant I was really busy! But I also enjoyed a lovely lunch courtesy of the Mothers Union last Tuesday in the Peter Hall, attended two collective worship sessions at Drakes and Otterton schools, had my first lesson in learning New Testament Greek in Torquay, led a local Bible study group, as well as all the usual meetings, church occasions, writing for parish magazine’s, pastoral visits and new initiatives that needed investigation.It is a joy and a privilege to be the vicar of the Raleigh Mission Community and it is such a comfort that no matter how clogged the diary becomes, I am surrounded by huge love, goodwill and support that eases the way forward.

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The Baptism of JesusLast SundayBoth Karen and I were both at the service at St. Peter’s which had been changed to 11am so we could then move seamlessly into the Farewell lunch for James McAdam and Andrea. James and Andrea delivered wonderful prayers and we bade them farewell at the end of the service and delivered about six presents (!) bought from contributions from a grateful congregation. This day was also the “Baptism of Christ” in Epiphany season so if you’d like to read what I said, just click here;
Next Sunday – Third Sunday of EpiphanyIsaiah 62: 1-5. A prophesy of the close indwelling of God within the church likened to a marriage, it is so close and personal. The perfect accompaniment to the gospel story concerning the marriage at Cana in John 2: 1-11 (see below)1 Corinthians 12: 1-11. God is the source of all spiritual gifts that are distributed according to his will. There is no hierarchy of spiritual gifts, and the common denominator is that all who have the Spirit of God can affirm that “Jesus is Lord”   John 2:1-11. This is the entire gospel in miniature! In John’s gospel he doesn’t use the word “miracle” but “signs”. The turning of water into wine is a spiritual sign that with God in the equation, everything is lifted and renewed and life enhancing. The C.of E. lectionary misses out the four most important words in this story in the Bible – the first four words….”On the third day”.And we all know what happened on the third day I trust – the raising of Jesus from the dead!
The Lighter side!

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Epiphany service of lessons and CarolsThis was a new thing for us at St Peter’s and I’m glad that there were 117 people in church on Sunday evening for a lovely service celebrating the Epiphany. Our own choir was supplemented by the voluntary choir of Exeter cathedral and in a service devised by David Davies (the new organist at Buckfast Abbey) it was extremely warmly received. It was followed by a meal for the choir members, some of whom had traveled from as far as Plymouth to be there. Musical interlude.
Lou Reed’s classic “Perfect day” speaks of the ordinary life enhancing experience of being with someone you love. I’ve chosen this version that has many and various artists on it. Enjoy: a pleasing move….The Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell has requested that my wife Louise joins a focus group considering the way the church engages with elderly people. Excellent that her expertise is being recognised.Thought for the dayWhat raises the turning of water into wine from an amusing party trick into a life changing story of universal application?Well if you say that your life is the “water”, you have to ask what is it that changes your life into wine? I mean what gives your life meaning and purpose and enhances your life at an elemental level.People, relationships can do it sometimes (see the “Perfect day” music above) or having a job or career you enjoy can also lift you. A hobby or pastime you can express yourself through can lift you sometimes as well.All the above and other things as well I’m sure can help sometimes but not all the time or in a complete and fundamental way.What would help underpin and transform all the above and indeed everything else in our life, would be an encounter with the living God and the knowledge that you are loved unconditionally, that God will forgive all your shortcomings when you come to Him with the determination to change, and know that your eternal identity is that you are a child of God.This is the eternal spiritual meaning of the key note sign in John’s gospel. Every other sign refers back to this fundamental sign. 
Prayer for Today Eternal God and Father,Change the water of my life into rich wine.Change my perspectives, my relationships, my sense of who I am,through your intoxicating presence.Enable me to grow spiritually, emotionally and ethically into the personyou created me to be.We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, your tangible self-revelation through whom we approach you.Amen. 
Love and peace,Martin

St Peter's C of E Primary School

Moor Lane, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6QF

01395 443167

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