Friday, 26 December 2008
I saw M&S using "Eat Drink and be Merry" as an advert over their food fixture. Somehow I think that they might not have done if they knew it continues "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" King James Luke 12:19-20.
Or would it be too cynical to suggest that they might have known but decided that their public didn't?
But this year has been different living and helping lead people through advent with weekly meditations, 10 days of Compline before Christmas and sermons on waiting to be written. Of course there have been the odd few carol services, but not as many as some churches not too far from here, and I found John Saxbee helpful on that http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=67443.
So helping at the crib service and seeing and somehow sharing in the wonder of the young children and then presiding at midnight, with a short walk home in which to wonder at it all gave me a new way of seeing Christmas - hard to put into words - but it felt like a celebration at a birth - rather than several weeks afterwards!
But how realistic is it for the church to want things our way? Society has decided that Christmas starts in early December (if we are lucky - earlier if not) can we and should we fight against it - or is there some way of working with it? I think for me this year has changed me in that before I would have said work with it - the impact of advent had passed me by for so long, and yet now, although I want to introduce the joys of waiting to others I still recognise the difficulty of the task - and wonder how it can be done without having the message diluted. Answers please on a postcard...
I discovered the following song in a track from Audiopot which I played on the radio (if yuo want to know which one it was this one https://www.audiopot.org/track.php?do=detail&linkid=1350 - members only) - I liked it so thought I would share it.
Sunday, 21 December 2008
From todays show there are a few links worth passing on:
John A.T. Robinson wrote Honest to God and Where Three Ways Meet which I think is the book which contains the sermon about his cancer, but I'm not sure.
Richard Holloway wrote Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity which is the book I think I referred to!
Dan's dad works for http://www.tearfund.org/ and I forget why, but I mentioned http://www.christianaid.org.uk/
If you want to know more about YSL which Dan talked about http://www.stleonardscb.org.uk/homepage.htm and click Family/Youth
Or his football team http://www.kingschurchamersham.com/community_focus.html
More about Healing at St Michaels can be found here http://www.stmichaelsamersham.org.uk/healingministry.htm
Dates for 2009 should be available soon, but I know that there will be healing at the services on Sunday 25th January at 8.00am and Sunday 22nd February at 10.00am as I happen to be presiding at both.
Links to Church of England information on Healing
Saturday, 20 December 2008
I talked briefly about how anyone living in the Parish can be married in the church - and there have recently been some new rules which allow people with a connection with the parish to marry in church too Rules for marrying in a CofE church.
This site talks about what is possible and has help for planning your wedding: http://yourchurchwedding.org/
One of the things that we were told when the web site was launched was that many people disqualify themselves because they think that as they don't go to church they can't have a church wedding - well, you can, do ask - the worst we can do is say no - and if, reluctantly, we have to we will do it nicely!
Some people may be put off by the fact that our church looks new from the outside - the photos show what it looks like inside - the top one shows the main body of the church where weddings would take place - and the bottom one is from the Lady Chapel which is where the register can be signed, and where photos can be taken.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
When I agreed to do the show with Duncan I wondered how we were going to fill 6 hours of show, and thought we would get through a lot of music! How wrong could I be - but then vicars have a reputation for being able to talk!
Here are various links to topics we talked about today
Details of the Diocesan trip: http://oxfordtaize.blogspot.com/
Details about Taize: http://www.taize.fr/en
Faith and Food conference discussed with Mike Rayner: http://www.faithandfood.org/
Local Cafe Opening in January: http://www.cafe-africa.co.uk/
Sacred Space as discussed with Diane Rutter:
Pray as You Go - week day mp3 prayers: http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/
Enjoyed the music from Tilles Elementary School in Fort Worth?
Buy it here: http://www.powertobelieve.org/ - we have been playing the 2006 CD
And then there are the things I didn't get round to saying:
There is a large scale advent calendar in St Michael's (location here) come and open the days entry and see what has already been opened (no chocolate!)
Also at St Michael's 40 minute Advent meditations 8.00pm on Tuesdays until Christmas 2008 and Compline 7.30 nightly from 15th December until 23/12/2008
Saturday, 6 December 2008
The album you can only buy online http://www.myspace.com/karenmoney
St James Galeshewe - scroll down to see articles on visits
I think this was the book that Duncan read from:
St Michael and All Angels Amersham on the Hill - where I am curate
Friday, 5 December 2008
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
For any who might be interested here is the rough script of what I said in the Thought for the Day:
The other day I read an excerpt from a book by Malcolm Gladwell – I found it so intriguing that I googled for other books he’d written and while I was doing this I found a video of him talking about spaghetti sauce! Now, you might wonder what was so interesting about spaghetti sauce – well, he tells how Howard Moscowitz was hired to find out how much sweetner to put in Diet Pepsi –and during his research he discovered that there was no right amount – no straightforward average - different people liked different amounts – there was no perfect Pepsi – only perfect Pepsis!
From this he realised that there is no perfect anything – we are all different and have different tastes, but not everyone was happy with this idea – and he struggled to get work - until Campbell’s hired him to research spaghetti sauce. By making 45 different sauces and testing them he discovered that there were 3 predominant tastes, plain, spicy and extra chunky – but no one made extra chunky spaghetti sauce – when people were asked what they liked they didn’t know that they liked it extra chunky! Campbell’s made an extra chunky sauce - and made $600m over 10 years.
So why am I telling you about spaghetti sauce in a “Thought for the Day” slot? Because in the same way that Howard Moscowitz believed passionately that there was no one perfect Pepsi, there was no one perfect spaghetti sauce – I believe that there is no one perfect Christianity! There are only perfect Christianties!
You may well have heard about the disagreements between Christians – homosexuality, women Bishops, whether to read the Bible literally or not– and in most cases those who are most vociferous and get their views into the media are those who take the most extreme positions. Of course those extremes do exist within the church, but so do many other views as well - and I want to say that it takes all views to embrace the whole of God’s love - that God is so much bigger than any one of us can comprehend. There’s an African proverb – it takes a whole village to raise a child – and similarly Max Warren once said “It takes a whole world to know Christ.” - only by adding together our knowledge of God can we see more of her!
I want to talk about the power of God to change our lives, but I also want to talk about the powerlessness that Jesus embraced on the cross. So is God powerful or powerless? I want to say both! God is both/and, not either/or – black and white, male and female, rich and poor - and I could go on. I can’t always explain how this works – but I can trust that God is bigger than I can comprehend and that he can make it work.
And at a time when we are preparing to celebrate God coming to earth as a powerless human baby – perhaps a willingness to acknowledge our own inability to explain everything is the best way to discover the true meaning of Christmas.