Reflections Blog

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March we forth!

March we forth...

‘God is working his purpose out as year succeeds to year’ is one of my favourite hymns, and it contains, the lines ‘March we forth in the strength of God, with the banner of Christ unfurled, that the light of the glorious gospel of truth may shine throughout the world’. In these cautious days those lines might be considered  to be neither very politically correct with their military undertones in marching, nor respectful of our multi-faith world, if it is suggesting that only Christianity has the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

And yet ... each and every Lent, just like this one, we March through Lent towards Holy Week and Easter, and we do it all in the strength of God. For we try our hardest to give something up, to fast from certain foods or fancies and in so doing call to mind Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness, in a way that we publically unfurl the banner of Christ for all to see, or do we just keep these things to ourselves?

The light of the glorious gospel of truth may shine throughout the world, if only we are bold enough to shine this light ourselves.

Now, in order to shine their best, my black shoes need to be lovingly polished every now and then. I know that they will get dirty in-between the polishing but still I religiously polish them for all to see. I remember my Dad every Saturday evening lining up all the shoes to be worn the next week, to church or to work, and his spending time making them shine for all to see.

Lent is really our opportunity to polish up our lives a bit, even though we know and realise that things will come along and make our lives dull and sometimes in need of a good clean up.

I learned my shoe polishing skills from my father. As Christians we should learn our life polishing skills from our Father who again and again dusts away our dross as he forgives us our sins.

The true banner of Christ was unfurled on that very first Good Friday, as Jesus said to His Father, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’, Jesus didn’t say ‘Father when they come to their senses and repent, forgive them’ no! For the light of the glorious gospel of Christ was and is still for everyone to see. 

It’s just difficult to see sometimes because of the dust of our lives. So get polishing and praying this lent, for the party is to come, this Easter Eve in Great Wymondley. And I know I have said it before but if you have never been to the Easter Eve service before – where have you been! – does it take you that long to polish your shoes?

Carry on marching and polishing with love.

Reverend Ann.

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Quiz Evening and Quiz sheets

Over 110 people attended our annual Quiz in the Parish Hall to raise money for the Church. Fifteen teams battled it out answering a wide variety of questions set by Mary Hooper. In the end infiltrators from Clifton and the surrounding area usurped the home teams to win by 1 point. The quizmaster, Michael Hooper, assured everyone he had not been bribed with offers of free drinks to give the winning team the answers. 

A big thank you to everyone who helped and gave prizes for the raffle. Special thanks to the Jane and Jennifer Veasey who, ably assisted by Kath Burt and Jane Guppy, supplied the teams with a sumptuous ploughmans supper and Brian and Hilary Leonard who ran the bar!

Now our annual quiz is over do not forget that the 2014 St Ippolyts Church quiz sheets are on sale for £1 from the village store or Michael Hooper. This years quiz theme is Sport. Buy a quiz sheet and be frustrated trying to unravel the mind of the setter. He certainly has a warped mind! There is a £10 prize for the person who answers the most questions correctly by the end of December.

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One day at a time

As children go back to school it seems all eyes are set towards Christmas. On entering a shop on 10th September what did I see? Rows of Christmas cards! Leaflets have already come in the post advertising special ideas for Christmas services, catalogues have arrives for those Christmas presents you always knew you wanted to buy and pubs have started advertising Christmas dinners! Why is it we always seem to look to the future while living in the present? Can't we just slow down a little and take "one day at a time, sweet Jesus" to quote a certain country and western female singer from yersteryear.

 

The words of the Lord's Prayer say "give us today our daily bread", and I remember a lecturer telling us the original words used in the Greek New Testament can be translated "Give us bread, enough for today", food for the present yes, but no great store for tomorrow, please. We are reminded of the story of Moses and the Manna, that almost miraculous substance that appeared each day in the desert when the people of God were travelling to their promised land. Instructions were given to gather just enough for the day, and folk found that if they gathered more, then the surplus went bad and was good for nothing. Except for the Manna that appeared on the day before the Sabbath, then folk could gather two days worth and somehow it stayed fresh.

 

At the end of this month comes "Bible Sunday" and the collect - the special prayer prayed at all the services - will ask God to help us to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Holy Scriptures. I think we should take the Lord's Prayer as an example of how we should read the Bible, and pray that we may read "just enough" for today, ... each day, ... each day, ... each day. I remember when I was a small child sitting with my parents as they read their daily portion of the Bible, just enough for that day. Too much and it would seem indigestible and the extra would seem to be of no use, too little would have us wanting to hear more. Just enough for today was the right amount.

 

All of us are guilty of storing up goods as we look to the future, and we would find it very difficult if each day we had to go and buy all we needed, just for that day. And yet the idea of looking to Christmas in September still seems a little indigestible to me. Let's mark harvest, bonfire night, buy our poppies and advent candles first, before we start buying for Christmas, surely that seems only right. But that's probably enough for today. "One day at a time sweet Jesus, that's all I'm asking of you", my lovely parishioners, and have a happy October.

Reverend Ann

 

 

 

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St Ippolyts Church - At the End of the Rainbow

 

St Ippolyts Church at the end of the rainbow

 

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New Beginnings

It seems odd but this ninth month of the year always seems like a good time to make a new beginning, a fresh start, almost like a new year. It probably dates back to the time when harvests had been gathered in by now and the work had been done which would hopefully keep folk alive throughout the coming winter. And to the history of the school year always starting in September.It's also a time when we look forward to the beginning of spring as we plant those lovely daffodils.

Each new year brings with it hopes and dreams, promises and resolutions. Thie time last year I had finished my Sabbatical and had resolved not to work so hard! Well, we all break resolutions! All of us that is, except God. For God promises to be with us, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of plenty and in times of need, at the beginning of each year and at each harvest.

What hopes and dreams, promises and resolutions will you be making this year?

Happy autumnal beginnings and harvests - Reverend Ann

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