Teaching in the parish

Teaching in the parish

This blog is to share the teaching within the parish

We are a parish who worship in four churches whilst being one worshipping community. Those who teach and preach within the parish wish to share what we believe God is sharing with us as we journey into the local communities and those in the wider areas.

We are known, beloved and called!

Sunday 19th March 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Tue, April 18, 2017 22:18:54

I was at Exploring Faith yesterday

Elaine was there

as were many others..

it was a good morning,

where as part of our exploration and discussions

around 2030 Archdeacon Bev

spoke to us of her life before ministry

how she had worked and lived in the square mile of London

Been part of the social culture

which comes from that work and life style

How through taking the time to journey

away from all that held her

her job

her life style

her community

her familiar ways of doing and being

She began to hear God

whispering speaking

Bev did not know the voice of the whisper

to be that of God at the time

But whisper on the voice did

the voice through time became recognised

and as she learnt to listen

and to talk back to the voice

at first in a way of discomfort..

am I going mad sort of discomfort

Bev did not know what or to whom she was talking

Yet through listening and talking

Bev had an experience of God breaking into her life

a mystical experience

Where a figure in white was at one side

and a crowd of people who knew her intimately

from her mum to her work colleagues

were at the other side

she was in the middle

and as she looked around

she knew they each saw clearly

to the heart of all she is and had been

throughout her life..

Bev then looked at the eyes of the man in white

and saw they were sad eyes

eyes which said I see you

I know you

I know all you have been and all you are ignoring

Do you know you are a child of God

beloved ..


delighted in

Do you know yourself to be beloved?

and you now hear?

you need to change how you think?

how you respond ?

how you live.?

Bev … took this to confirm what she had been planning

that she needed to take time away from all that held her

all that was familiar

so she fulfilled a longing to journey through South Africa,

from Egypt.. to Cape Town

during which she pretended to be a Christian

because it made life easier in the culture

she was journeying within

Bev as part of that pretence

as part of working out what that voice

those eyes were saying to her

bought a bible

and as she read her bible

beginning with Proverbs..

she knew this book was important..

As she finished reading proverbs

Bev knew the importance was more than she first thought

and began at the beginning …


Where she was questioning

not the Big Bang verses Creation argument

but exploring if God exists

then God is all powerful

creator God

Now to cut the story down a little

Bev had many encounters

on her journey through South Africa

meeting people who had faith

at a level unbeknown to her before

meeting people who lived faith

through torture

through bombings

people who lived faith

in ways that they suffered and died for their faith..

Bev learnt to respect God

and learnt that God respected her

Bev learnt the meaning of Covenant

Relationship with God

which calls us into deeper relationship with him

Relationship within which

we are judges with tender compassion

with mercy…. with grace …… with love..

And that is what we see in our reading from John today

the lady

a samaritan Woman in first century Israel

visiting the well at noon time

noon is not a good time to visit

in the scorching African noon time heat

the community will have gathered to collect water

to launder the clothing

to wash

to gossip and catch up on what is happening

in the community

before the heat of the day..

Those words tell us that

the woman was not part of the community

tells us that similarly to Nicodemus last week

there was shame

Nicomenus a leader of the Sanhedrin


living a right legal life

with all of the privileges that life gives..


coming to Jesus in the dark of night

so as not to be seen by those he leads…

afraid of loosing the respect

the authority

becoming different to all that is required by law

And here we have the Samaritan woman

hiding from others

living with shame

shame projected on her by others

shame of her own life choices

shame of her life circumstances

Bev reminded us yesterday

that shame comes from our conscience

it’s really interesting isn't it

that our conscience nags us about a decision

but our conscious does not stop us making bad decisions

but boy do we know about it

when we have made a decision

which we know not to be right..

as we feel the guilt

the shame…

Yet just as Nicodemus listened

and interacted theologically with Jesus

asking questions of faith

of God

of life

of history of the future..

So does the woman

as Jesus invites her nearer to drink with him

to reach into the well

and give a drink to him

we know he is breaking the rules of society

of religion

but Jesus is above our division

Jesus is one who desire oneness with him

relationship.. covenant with him..

Jesus is inviting her in

inviting her to share living water

and as he invites her

he shows to us and to her

in that one moment

that she is not unclean…

that she is not separated from God

that he sees her

God knows her

And as they converse on

the woman asks more questions of the responses of Jesus

as he offers living water to her..

The woman asks

how is it that you a jew ask a drink of me

a woman of Samaria..

Jesus is opening the eyes and heart of the woman

to see herself and to see him differently

And as they talk

the woman asks

I come here every day

I pray here at this well

when I do … does God hear me?

Am I known

am I accepted

is the only way of worshiping

to worship in the temple?

do my prayers at this well matter to God?

as much as the prayers of those in the temple?

Do I matter to God?

Jesus’ answer to the Samaritan

is simple ….

there will come a time when you with you will worship

neither here… nor in Jerusalem..

Jesus is saying it doesn't matter where you worship

it matters that you worship

So for us

for you

for me

lets start at the beginning

we like the woman at the well

whether we are man or woman

child or adult

young or old

we were known and loved

from before the beginning of time

we are each beloved..

adored children of God

children who like Bev

who like the Samaritan woman

who like me

who like you

Have things in our lives we would rather not be known for

we have things in our lives

which even if we can hide them in the darkness

so others do not see

God sees

and God offers to each of us

the living water of forgiveness

of love

of welcome

of forgiveness

of eternal life..

No matter where we worship

but remember it does matter that we worship

so as we discern again

over the next weeks and months

as our patterns of worship may change

lets remember that we are one body

we are the Church loved and known by God

That if we let the voice of God speak to our hearts

Our Lord will reveal to us

the changes he wants us to make

Our Lord will equip and enable

not just for us..

but for the communities within which we live..

I’m encouraged by the end of the reading

the woman

went to share everything she had learned from Jesus

with her community

and those people

of whom and within whom she had no part

became the ones

who heard clearly the voice of Jesus for themselves

Look at Archdeacon Bev

through listening and responding to the voice of Jesus

is now powerfully sharing

that Good News which she received

with and among so many others

who themselves learn to hear

believe what they hear for themselves

moving on to share stories of faith themselves

Stories which are alive with the living God

stories which show us The Son of the Living God

Stories and relationships which remind us again and again

that Jesus is our Redeemer

he is our friend

who continues to feed us living water

through the Holy Spirit

through the Eucharist

through being Church

through sharing who we are

one to another

Not necessarily just in the temple

in the Church

but in our communities

as Jesus said among those

who do not yet know the voice of God

among those who are outcast

among those who are doing ok …

but have that “something” missing from their hearts

My continued prayer

is that we will continue to become one Church

who at this time worship in four different buildings

but who when we listen to God

will respond to his voice

and minister and worship wherever he calls us

no matter what our history

no matter what our failings

but as beloved


equipped and guided by God…

Whether we are male or female

Young or old

Whether we have had 5 husbands

5 wife's … 5 partners

We are all

Each of known and beloved by God

Our Lord sees to the centre of our hearts

All the stuff we want to keep in darkness

All the desires that are for our gain and not another

And still he loves us

Offers to us living water

Offers Himself

To cleans and to purify our hearts

Our minds our souls and our actions

So that we can come out of the shadows

of all that binds us

Of all we are afraid of

Ashamed of

And reveal the spirit of Christ with us

Knowing we are loved

Yet at all times called to transform


Into the likeness of Christ