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.

JOHN 20:1-18 and Acts 10:34-43 - Easter Sunday - Rev Yvonne Callaghan

Sunday 01st April 2018Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 08, 2018 09:44:47
So a week ago we were in Easby, on a warm spring morning Celebrating Palm Sunday with Palm Crosses and hosanna’s Since then throughout this week We have shared a Churches Together Evening service Where we let the cross take all of our sins We sat, ate and drank together in a Tenebrae Service Where we shared the last supper As we headed further into the darkness anticipating Good Friday Then we have the disciples not able to stay awake in Gethsemane We have the arrest And the trials of Jesus Then we have the cross of crucifixion.. And a stone Stones we laid on the cross Giving to Jesus all we are and all that separates us from him Then the stone which covered the tomb Where Jesus’ body lay Yesterday in our Easter Vigil Service at Easby I met a man who was lving with such confusion Joy at the birth of his new grandson And such a depth of sadness As he and his wife nurse their very sick daughter The confusion of joy and despair together.. The gentleman’s daughter has written a poem about Gethsemane about the transition from life to death of the torture within the heart, mind and soul of the confusion, fear and despair.. let me read it to you now… I close my eyes. My translucent form drifts into the past from the bed where I’m lying in the present and I’m back in that garden with you. My ghost self glides into your body, occupying the same exact place in time and space as you. Kneeling here, we reside within each other. My heart cradles your heart, beating as one. We wait together, the rest of the world falling still – distant and alien while we hold our breath and try to beat back the panic. If it is possible, may this cup be taken away from me we plead over and over, desperation and distress overwhelming the soul to the point of death. Then the horror of reality: we are not going to be spared, we are not going to be rescued, not this time, not right now. We are loved but we are not going to be saved from this. And it hurts. It doesn’t feel like love. Each breath stings with grief. I know this territory well; my soul is the perfect companion for yours tonight. We hold on tight. Your heart cradles my heart. We are one in Gethsemane. If it is possible, may this cup be taken away from me. © J.K.Rowbory 2014 – All Rights Reserved No part of this poem may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the author. I also met a lady who is struggling so much financially That she has to make choices between Wearing sanitary protection, feeding her family And heating her house. Confusion that a few months ago all was well and now due to sickness all is far from well. I’m sure the lady wishes her particular cup could be taken away… And there is a snapshot of life Of the life experience just two people .. So today April 1st, April fool’s day Against the back drop of the messy confused world I can see why so many people think us fools Fools to come into a cold stone building At an unearthly hour on a Sunday When all around is confusion Shock and despair Fools to trust, believe and have faith.. It was into a similar state of shock Despair and confusion that first Easter Morning.. that Mary returned to the tomb she and others had left Jesus on Friday Yet for us with hind site We know there is an absolute joy in the stone being moved Yet that first Eater morning Finding the stone moved Seeing the body was not there I am totally with the disciples I get how they did not understand it I feel their confusion Their despair and their shock….. On that dark Friday afternoon Around 3pm Jesus’ friends had watched him breath his last Heard him entrust himself to Father God.. The friends had carried his broken body And laid it in a tomb The tomb of someone else.. Even in death Jesus did not have an earthly home. The disciples were grieving Lacking understanding Confused by the events of the last week Asking again and again How could all of our hopes and dreams ended this way? I imagine Simon Peter was especially confused He had denied even knowing Jesus three times.. This was his friend The one he had seen transfigured on the mountain The one whom he had called Lord.. Simon Peter had denied knowing Jesus And what must be dreadful for him Is knowing that Jesus knew he would do this.. Did Simon think, Well that’s it, Jesus knows the truth of my cowardice My fear.. My weakness He had known it all along And just pretended Pretended to build me up.. Pretended it was him on whom Jesus would build his Church? Confusion.. Questions .. Despair.. And it is in to that mind set That grief That guilt That fear That Mary ran on Easter Morning.. Mary …. Ran to Simon Peter And to John.. Absolutely desperate “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb..” Can you imagine what these words would have done To Peter and to John..? We sanitise the truth of this experience imagine what it would be like if we were to turn up here one Sunday and see graves open and empty? Would we call 999 Or would we like those confused desperate disciples Simply go home… Home where we are familiar.. Where we can respond as we need in the privacy of our safe space.. Yet Mary… She did not return home Mary stode outside the tomb and wept I think I would have been like Mary Just there, unable to move confused.. bereft.. broken.. Unable to leave.. And in that disbelief Mary Mary through her tears Checked just one last time that Jesus’ body was not where she knew he was left and as she took that last look saw two angels in white Again… the language sanitises this.. “There were two angels in white” As if this is an every day experience… And not only are there two angels But they actually speak to Mary Asking her Why are you weeping? This day for Mary is turning ever stranger The empty tomb of the man who had saved her from herself The disciples coming along And then going home Now an angel… In my minds eye I can see why the angel asks the question of Mary Because right behind her.. It sounds like a pantomime doesn’t it Where is he? He’s behind you.. Yet in Mary’s case This is no pantomime Because the net thing she hears is Jesus And all he says is …. “Mary” The minute he speaks she recognises him Mary knows it is Jesus And in her delight Mary ran again To the disciples I have seen the Lord.. I bet they thought here we go again.. Mary is getting ill again.. Yet once again The confusion The human judgement Is transformed by the resurrected power of Jesus.. The disciples The men learned from a woman The truth of the resurrected Christ Jesus.. Continuing to do all things new From the moment of his resurrection .. Lifting up the vulnerable Giving voice to the oppressed These are confusing things for the men of the time These would be confusing things for Mary Yet that is the truth of who Jesus is He redeems He transforms He confronts unhelpful behaviours WHY … Because he loves us And in the years to follow We see Peter this brash fisherman Who got so much wrong about Jesus finally gets it As we read Peter Speaking in Acts.. as he says.. I truly understand that God shows no partiality .. Simon Peter as he writes in Acts finally knows Jesus is Lord! All the Disciples went through The doubt The confusion The mistrust as we heard from Thomas Unless I can put my fingers in his side I will not believe Yet as Jesus appeared Thomas did not need to do those things He just knew Jesus is Lord.. We hear the Easter Story year after year Yet the enormity of it Is lost in the language Our familiarity Our dare I say apathy… I wonder have we lost the significance of Jesus’ resurrection, and what that means for each of us all these years after the event ? It can feel like the news paper Used to wrap chips It’s old news.. The question I am asking yet again Is so what What difference does that make to me..? Well .. I can tell you the difference the truth of the resurrection makes It means I can stand here at every single funeral I can sit with all those who mourn Those who are experiencing the utter despair of life And I can say With integrity do not be afraid Just take the hand of Jesus Let him speak your name Let him love you Hold you in life and in death… Whatever life brings However confusing life is Jesus has won the victory over death Over sin Over our lives Over our deaths.. As Peter Pan said to Captain Hook I think death will be a great adventure It certainly was for Jesus It certainly will be for us.. But until that time Let’s each of us be clear Let each of us not be confused Let each of us know That no matter where we run to No matter what we don’t understand No matter how confused How sad How scared we are Jesus Christ is risen today Amen .

Romans 13:8-14 and Matthew 15:18-20 - Trinity thirteen - Rev Yvonne Callaghan

Sunday 10th September 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 08, 2018 09:09:29
The words we have just heard Jesus say to the disciples reminds me of our sending church our home church the church where I was married we we bought our boys to baptism where my dad was taken on his last journey.. We were a church similar to here in a way on the edge of a rural area which had grown some small industries which still had something of a village feel about it for those of us who had grown up there those of us who knew the area before the changes when we were surrounded by fields not new builds new houses which change the shape of who we were.. And even though we were dying many of the people who had been in the church all of their lives spoke harshly to anyone who suggested change there was gossip division back bitting anonymous letters sides taken That continued after we left to worship in a more healthy environment a place where people listened to the will of God above their own will And about seven years ago now.. our family church was sold to the russian orthodox as the original church family had let the division and harshness get between them in a way that made them unattractive to others and the church community died.. This is the result of gossip of sin of refusal to listen one to another to discern the will of God and to hang on to what we want rather than what God wants.. Yet those in that community who had left and gone to another church also had a part to play by not sticking in the process not being bold enough to speak truthfully into situatiations not seeking mediation.. We all had a part to play in the death of that Church community and have each taken a time of confession collegiately and privately.. we have each spoken out about how we had a part in the death of the church in that place Bishop Nick last week spoke about when we gather after we have praised God our next stage is to always confess because when we confess to God we have to go through a time of recollection a time of acknowledgement of our sins that is a time of unbinding a time of releasing we don't want to get to heaven and have to start recalling and remembering before God the things we could have brought to him whilst we were here because the change that could have happened is too late for those we live among binding.. and unbinding.. One of my responsibilities as your priest who has cure of your souls is to unbind you enable you to be who you are as Church and as individuals.. Yet we can often find owning our own sin hard and Jesus knows that Jesus speaks of the problem of sin throughout the gospel of Matthew. Yet and I hope you hear this that Jesus even knowing about our sinfulness continues to love and call us. He calls us to him knowing that whatever our sin we can acknowledge our sin before him in freedom without condemnation And just as he knew Simon Peter deny him three times He knows that the Church you ….. me … we will sin we will disagree and we will cause offence and sometimes harm to each other sometimes that will be accidentally and sometimes with intention and purpose Yesterday I presided at the wedding of a lovely couple called Alex and Stephanie Alex grew up in Scorton and Steph in America Their language The words they both use Often has a different meaning for the same word and they had to work at understanding the truth of what each was saying to the other when they actually thought they knew what each was saying to the other. But .. but… they both knew when the words the language used around them was not of love Jesus knows our fallen brokenness he knows we use language words and actions which are a long way from the Trinity’s ideal of love. Jesus has already seen bickering and power-play within the twelve, he has heard heated comments that have caused wounds within the group Comments that he has had to confront and speak truth into He knows he is going to leave the disciples and that they and those who become his new church, will be tempted to air their grievances in the broken ways of the damaged world: And over the years owning our brokenness being real Honest one to another Sitting down and hearing the real truth The real understanding of one to another Has almost gone in church and society Instead we often gossip We mutter sabotage when we feel slighted When things don't go our way Society often moves into litigation expensive law suits, insurance claims, to get our way We sell stories to the tabloids, We gossip... tittle tattle Which breaks unity and brings incongruence disharmony in worship. How wonderful to be able to read this and think that Jesus was wrong, that we have been able to follow him without upsetting anyone. We all know of stories similar to that of my home church we have experienced similar here whilst i have been here and throughout the generations. We take sides, we feel slighted, and before we know it, the church is at war with itself. Is this really what Jesus died on the cross for? are we really so inward looking that we spend all our energies on internalised arguments, when the rest of the world is hurting? You know tomorrow it is 16 years since we saw planes flown into the twin towers Words spoken to those people who carried out such an act of murder changed them from who they were to killers and their actions changed the world in a few moments The world has been changed many times through through misguided manipulative teaching through speaking lies and part truths into hearts and minds of people .... Jesus was constantly cutting through the part truths The lies The gossip and in doing so he brought healing in so many situations Now more than ever, it is the time for us to heed the advice of Jesus. Now is the time to be the people of Church Who confess Who share and who own our brokenness Our division not as a way of beating ourselves up but as a way of healing and restoration. As Church here in this small corner of North Yorkshire we are becoming a missional church we are become church shaped for 2030 and beyond I have to acknowledge such a change of heart among us We have an openness and a willingness to grapple with the difficulties of the time we are living in. Yet still just as Jesus acknowledged to the dicisples in our reading there are still words have being spoken which are not of love Blame and gossip continues to be projected inside and out side the church Words which blame, divide and hurt As your priest I have always said please come to talk to me if you have any questions concerns or worries.. and that will always be so.. I cannot always do or change what you may wish But I can hear and explain why we are doing what we are.. Today as your priest I offer my apologies for any hurt that I may have caused to any one of you and of my brothers or sisters here. I ask your forgiveness for anything that I may have said out of turn. Will you be willing to humble your hearts Humble your hearts to acknowledge hurts for which you are responsible, that you need to seek forgiveness for too? Before we share bread together at the Lord’s Table, there is an opportunity for us to receive Christ’s peace, but also to make peace with others. Maybe this could be a time for quiet personal prayer to make peace with God about an issue, or perhaps it is a time for action, of actually offering a hand of peace. St Paul writes to the Roman church reminding them to love each other. To love as Christ loves, with a fullness of heart for those who have denied and betrayed him as well as those who have been loyal. Can we do the same? Can we be the same? Owe no one anything except to love one another. ****** SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT OVER THE NEXT DAYS**** How were you taught to say sorry when you were a child? What memories do you have? How important is it as adults to recognise and apologise for mistakes Is there anything which we need to seek forgiveness for, or to give forgiveness for, and how can we enact it now? Amen

Romans 12:1-8 and Matthew 16:13-20 - Trinity eleven - Rev Yvonne Callaghan

Sunday 28th August 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 08, 2018 09:03:18
About 25 years ago Neil and I began to learn sign language I’m very rusty at it.. but lets have a go.. Does anyone know what I’m saying..? (my name is Yvonne) its sometimes hard to understand other peoples languages or we can get confused when others speak to us.. I was confused when my tutor Robert signed the name he was known as by his friends those who knew him well. can you guess what this name was that he was known by? name was SIGN HIS NAME Well his friends called him 'stinky' because he has a problem with wind.. I was known as kirbdrill at school as my surname was Kirby and it was the time we were all being taught 'the Kirby drill'. Who remembers the kirbdrill.. “Look right look left look all around.. if all is clear quick march !!” Do you have a nick name? If so what is it and why? Nicknames are given because of our characters - Our natures .. In the reading from Matthew Jesus asked the disciples So.. who do people say I am and the disciples have heard so many suppositions of who Jesus is by those around them John the Baptist .. Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Then Jesus comes back to his disciples and he says Yeahhh that’s all ok others thinking who I am But what about you …. Who do you say I am? And yes the answer is given in full as Peter declares “you are the Christ, the Messiah, The Son of the Living God..” In making that statement Peter has declared that Jesus is the one the Jewish people have been waiting for the one foretold by the prophets the one who will save the Jewish people.. That question of who do you say I am who is this man the supposition of who he is was asked right up to the death of Jesus And that question is still being asked today. So I suppose my question today is who do you say Jesus is? And if he is to you Jesus Christ, Messiah, Son of the Living God then just like Peter who was given the keys to the kingdom acknowledging Jesus professing Jesus as Lord will make a difference to your life not just a one off difference but a continuing difference day after day…. whatever our age.. There are people today still seeking to know who Jesus is and people discounting who he is.. I love how Nicky Gumble deals with this question in Alpha the course we have just run in the parish. Nicky says there are only three possibilities as to who Jesus is.. Either he was a fraud.. insane or He is the son of God We know that the characteristics of Jesus the actions of Jesus the life, death and resurrection of Jesus tell us he is the Son of God And ask if that's so if we truly believe then what difference does it make to yours and to my life.. ? For me the difference it makes is as far as I can see that just as Simon Peter.. Peter Knew that Jesus was the son on God through first hand evidence And then through his public acknowledgement of Jesus Jesus Who knew full well the character and potential of Peter gave him a new name a nick name The rock On whom I will build by church. So as soon as Peter acknowledges Jesus Jesus acknowledges Peter and not only does he acknowledge Peter “you are the one on whom I will build my Church..” And of course that doesn't mean we all live happily ever after it means Jesus through the Power of His holy Spirit equipped Peter for all he had to face.. and we know that was often traumatic often more difficult than we could ever imagine.. Peter walked on water then sunk through the waves Peter tells Jesus not to follow the path to suffering and death and Jesus tells Peter .. get behind me satan.. And the most famous thing we know of Peter is that he denied Jesus three times as Jesus was crucified.. yet knowing all of these things.. Jesus called Peter called him the rock and as he called him he called him to a purpose to build his church.. And in the same way as we acknowledge Jesus acknowledge Jesus as Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God Jesus will acknowledge you And will equip you equip you with the Holy Spirit to be the disciple you have called been called to be… So my question today is every time we name Jesus as Lord, the Messiah Christ as the son of God do we allow God to name us and tell us the plans he has for us? plans not for our gains but for the purpose of building his church the church which can breathe and speak into the needs, pain and suffering of the world the world abroad and the world here in our communities.. Are you ready to be a disciple called anew to walk with others .. Are you read just as with Peter. to allow yourself to be walked with through the good and the hard times of life. declaring your faith your belief in Jesus as the Messiah.. Christ.. The Son of God.. Amen..

Romans 8:1-11 and Matthew 13:1-23 - Trinity five - Rev Yvonne Callaghan

Sunday 16th July 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 08, 2018 09:00:14
So today in our readings we have specific teaching about life Firstly from Paul as he talks about life in the spirit not life lived just of the things of the flesh the world but life from the Spirit of God living in each of us.. Then we move on to the sower the sower Is often thought to be God God who through Jesus gives new life to us all God who loves each of us with a lavish extravagant love an inexhaustible love a self sacrificial love a love that he continues through his spirit to pour out on all creation all life all people This afternoon those being baptised adults and babies all ages receive the same spirit the Holy Spirit the life giving love of God the equipping of God the power of God poured abundantly on everyone equally And God is so clear that he will just pour and pour pour out his spirit his word, his love on all people in the most unlikely places and in some of those places God’s love will take root live and flourish.. Take root and flourish as people reach out to help each other work together for the healing and the restoration of all people even those who do not yet know him.. even those we don't think are worthy God will pour his love and his spirit upon all people in all places for all people in all places Yet in our humanity our capacity for love is so much less to that of God so much less than the abundant love of God We often feel the need protect ourselves Many of us often feel the need to guard the amount of love we receive Many of us often feel the need to need to guard the amount of love we give But God does not love in the way we do.. We often want to measure equate love to being earned But God has loved us before we did or even were anything Now that’s abundant love psalm 139 tells us We were loved from before we were born.. Extravagant love We see so much in the world that is not love If ever there has been a time for extravagance extravagant passionate love it is now. Because when we allow the love of God to live fully in us That love changes us So just take a few moments to think about the ways in which God has showered love on you.. Did you accept it joyfully.. with thanks and delight or did you see it as your right your right for all you have done and all you do? or your right for how hard things in life have been? How many of us have decided who God should love and save and who couldn't possibly be worthy to receive God’s love ? Most of us have experienced all those feelings. We get frustrated as peoples behaviours and attitudes are different to ours. we might want God to visit God’s judgment on others rather than restore them to wholeness. It’s frustrating.isn't it… Why does God do that? Well all I can say is God’s love is boundless he wastes it extravagantly and in his extravagance makes his love truly available for everyone. God always reaches out to us. and the parable tells us ways in which we can loose that love So… knowing the love of God is extravagant abundant knowing the ways we can so easily let that love go what are you going to do about it? If we are letting the seeds of love grow what is your soil like? does it need some fertiliser if so you might want to spend a little more time in prayer you might want to spend a little time with others reflecting you might want to read our bible with others you we might want to minister share the love we receive with others Some of you will say … “Its ok thanks” I don’t want to do anything to improve .. “I’m ok… doing enough..” Or "I don’t have time for this abundant love.” Well That’s OK….. God is very patient. But for me.. well I cannot ignore the lavish, extravagant, generous love of God God’s love God’s forgiveness God’s redemption is limitless and will not be held back by us There are no limits on the love of God on his word Not one of us have done anything to deserve this love but grace love joy peace patient kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self control are fruits of the spirit of God within us the love of God within us will produce good fruit when we let the love of God root deeply in our hearts our minds and our actions again and again and again..

Matthew 11:16-30 - Children in the Market Place - Trinity Four - Rev Yvonne Callaghan

Sunday 09th July 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 08, 2018 08:56:43
Oh boy Do those readings speak to me.. We have all heard “You cannot please all of the people all of the time” Well at this time for just one day I would like to please some of the people And I can hear that same edge in the voice of Jesus as he is speaking to the gathered crowd He had just sent John the baptists disciples back to John who was in prison and whilst in prison John had heard all that Jesus was doing and in his fear in his isolation in his humanity John, who had been preaching the coming of the Messiah John who had been preaching austerity and repentance asked Jesus.. Are you the one.. ? And Jesus sends Johns disciples back with the words report what you see the lame walk the blind see those with leprosy are cured the dear hear the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor.. Jesus is saying What do you think John all of these things are happening and yet you … i in prison for teaching about me holding those to account who are living in impure and immoral ways ask Are you the one? And then… its as though a flood gate opens The question of John’s doubt and Jesus’ response gives Jesus permission to criticise this generation… Jesus lets everyone have a taste of what he experiences as he moves through the villages.. Jesus tells everyone how they have been behaving How the people who reject John because of the truth he speaks also reject Jesus as he speaks the truth.. Jesus is saying to the people listen no matter how you behave no matter how often you behave as children in the market place calling for one thing and expecting another Jesus is saying your really don't know what you want even when you get what you want.. So he goes on and says if you are following me or if you are following John I can see whatever happens you are going to moan you are not going to like it The signs of God at work is fruitfulness the signs of the spirit of God is growth growth in numbers accepting the good news.. however it is preached however it is lived out.. Be it in the way John taught.. many of you did not want to hear you look for something to detract from what is happening so instead of listening and letting the words sink in to the brain and into the heart when John taught repentance, and neither ate nor drank you detracted from what was going on and said “He has a demon” We aren't having anything to do with him Then Jesus says and I “the son of man came eating and drinking among you and you call me a glutton Jesus is saying you cannot have it all ways. there is a truth that you are detracting from a truth you are avoiding and that truth is God loves each of us and through that love God chose to come alongside humanity put aside all he was as God and come live as a human baby on earth teach .. Be the kingdom of heaven on earth in all he did and through being who he is he is rejected by many of those who heard the message Rejected by those who wont see the truth who wont see beyond what is familiar to them Remember Saul on the road to Damaskas Saul was one of those people he would not accept all he learned of Jesus why? because it did not fit with his theology even though the people had been waiting for the Messiah this one this itinerant preacher is not the one Saul and others wanted because he was not doing their bidding Jesus was doing a new thing A THING which lead to his death as those who would not see the truth had him killed.. Yet only when Saul was stopped literarily in his tracks and experienced the voice of Jesus the care and hospitality of others who accepted listened and acted upon all Jesus taught were Saul’s eyes opened his heart changed and his love of Jesus overwhelm the rigidity of all he was before that Damascus encounter.. Jesus is saying no matter where God sends a message there will be people who reject that message.. the messenger people who want to play games to hang on to that which is familiar that which does not challenge that familiarity which keeps them safe and in control So as Jesus says to what can I compare this generation 2000 + years ago I’m sure he says it today to this generation to our generation Jesus is saying no matter who is sent no matter what is said throughout generation upon generation there will be those who will not recognise me or what I am doing among and through others. And today here as Church as people of faith are we those people are we in this generation rejecting all that Jesus is teaching and doing among us out of fear do we play games do we collude do we only accept the bits of our faith which we like? As we come to the end of what Jesus is saying in to the crowd of people …. to this crowd … us today we might still have fear fear of actually coming to Jesus coming to Jesus sitting at his feat learning to rest in him learning again to trust him learning again to be as Jesus wants us to be Learning that as we make a choice to come near come near to the one who will reveal to us the heart of the Father learning again that as we come near to Jesus not just part way but all the way come right into his arms to sit right at his feet we must put down our own preferences our own yoke the things we bind ourselves with the things we bind ourselves to and willingly place those things at the feet of Jesus Only then will we stop behaving like children calling each other wanting things our way only then can we lay down our burdens.. To do those things takes a desire to do so as Mary said a good few weeks ago we have to let go of what our hands are holding on to We need to open wide our hands and drop all that is binding us at the feet of Jesus And yes it will take a willingness to come to come to the feet of Jesus in humility and not grasping on to what we want to grasp on to As we open our hands down lets each of us who are ready unburden our disbelief unburden our rigidity our fears our worries our hearts and lay our burdens down. Then slowly after we have laid down those burdens turn your hands over to receive from Jesus in freedom and choice.. unconditionally take on the heart of Jesus his yoke his teaching not through force or fear but through gentleness humility and love.. Amen.

Matthew 10:40-42 - Welcome -02 07 17 - Rev Yvonne Callaghan

Sunday 02nd July 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 08, 2018 08:53:06
This week has continued to be a week of people asking us to look at life from there point of view those who have been let down in unbelievable ways by Kensington Council in the Grenfell Disaster We have seen wonderful responses to that disaster responses that have shown humanity in a good light in a caring .. loving light The clothing collections…. the food collections the things needed for all those affected to keep on living.. We have seen the other side of the story too someone making a false claim for a family they did not have politicians resigning for “apparent mistakes” When we don't own what is going on around us when we don't open our eyes when we wont look further than our own needs we damage ourselves and we damage others.. Jesus told story after story of people projecting their fears their complacency onto others and we see that so much at the moment the disabled have been treated as pariahs the elderly as selfish and grabbing the young as uncaring and un-welcoming.. The negative response we are seeing are responses through fear and desire to hold on to situations which can no longer be the same.. As Christians we are told again and again by Jesus that we are to welcome the stranger we are to care for the needy in society the lost the vulnerable.. This week we also heard of the death of Michael Bond The writer of Paddington Bear.. Paddington as you probably know was found in Paddington Railway station by the brown family sitting on his suitcase with the words “wanted on the voyage” written on the side of it.. With a luggage tag tied on his blue duffle coat the luggage tag read “Please look after this bear.. Thank you! “ The luggage tag had been written by Paddington's auntie Lucy it was she who sent Paddington from darkest Peru.. From where Paddington claimed he travelled all the way to England in a lifeboat and ate marmalade sandwiches as he travelled.. many people passed Paddington before the Browns stopped and through asking the questions of the bear the hearts of the Browns were moved enough to welcome Paddington into their home 32 Windsor Gardens of Harrow Road.. Through welcoming Paddington into their lives and their home The Browns lives were turned upside down…. changed as is Paddington’s life is changed As paddington learns to bathe learns to travel on the underground Gets lost shopping Learns about art with Mr Gruber Visits the theatres, the seaside and has many adventures along the way.. And not its not only the life of Paddington and the browns who are changed as the community welcome Paddington the life of the community are changed.. The story of Paddington reminds me very much of the reading we have here today.. Jesus is sending out the disciples he is sending them out into the world to welcome others to see others to be Jesus to others The Browns could have chosen not to show a welcome to Paddington…. Only the browns opened their hearts their family and their home to Paddington only the browns welcomed him.. I know Paddington is a story I loved the stories as a child I still love the stories because they talk about welcoming welcoming the stranger welcoming the different opening hearts and minds to welcome someone very different to who the Browns were… How we welcome one another how we take time to find out who the stranger and those we know well truly are The disciples of Jesus faced much opposition as they were sent out in the authority of Jesus to share the Good News the gospel the transforming love of Christ Prophets sent out in the name of the prophet Disciples sent out in the name of Jesus in the power of The Holy Spirit.. If we take Jesus seriously about being hospitable and welcoming welcoming the other just as for the Browns it changes the way we live it changes the way are.. welcoming another is transformative Jesus uses an image of marriage when he talks about welcoming him just as a bride is prepared for her bridegroom Which is helpful today as Simon and Tina are renewing their wedding vows Over the years… as you first met each other you welcomed each other into your lives and that welcoming was transformative changing in ways you would never have thought.. As the years went on you welcomed your boys you welcomed other changes some changes as in all of our lives would have been better not to welcome Some changes in our lives are not healthy or welcome Those changes happen often when we don't see the other when we relax into who we are without looking around at what is going on we don't see the negative changes until they are too late we drift into being content with “ok ness” we drift on in life without the desire to welcome the other or see the other as they are we become too familiar we accept things that are not life giving we accept much less than anything we dreamed we could be And whilst that is what can happen in any marriage it can happen to the Church the body of Christ when we refuse to welcome the transforming Spirit of Jesus when we are content with what we know because its familiar we become less… We become those who want to hang on to things we are familiar with we become afraid to welcome we project our fear onto others and we refuse to see what God is doing among us we can become unwelcoming we refuse to own our part in what is not right and cling on to what we want.. rather than look around to see what is different where we are being called to change.. look out from what is familiar When we see each other clearly when we take the time to see who we live among and with we see changes that perhaps we had not taken the time to see And whilst this is true for many of our marriages it is also true for many us in our relationship with Jesus we welcomed him into our lives when we first met or we thought we had welcomed him but then we became comfortable and often forgot to take the time to see where he is taking us So today lets welcome our Lord afresh lets welcome him as children lets welcome each other.. Lets welcome all people as we are welcomed… As the Browns welcomed Paddington At the end of one of the books Mr Brown is putting someone right about Paddington it doesn't matter that he comes from the other side of the world it doesn't matter that he is a different species or that he has a worrying marmalade habit.. it matters that we welcomed him and we need him as much as he needs us.. And I think this is the same for us when we welcome God when we welcome those who teach and preach when we don't collude with the fears and the projections we welcome the transformation of God among and within us When we offer our selves one to the other when we take the time to see again and again who the other is what the other is showing us when we look for the righteousness in the other when we put aside fear and self-interest when we offer a drink to refresh when we offer through welcoming hospitality when we share the transformative living water of Christ within us and continue to be changed ourselves by that.. When we offer welcome we will have our reward a reward which is in the present and in the yet to come the reward of knowing we are with our Lord living in his welcoming transformative presence now… and when we finally meet Him face to face… Amen .

Lord reign in me

Sunday 21st May 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, May 21, 2017 18:56:42

Paul arrived at the Athens spiritually, physically and emotionally exhausted after confronting the spirituality and bad behaviour of the churches of Thesalonica and Berea in Northern Greece

So he came away to spend some time with Silas and Timothy
And as he waited them to arrive, a bit like us when we go somewhere new and need to find our directions learn where we are, what the culture of the place is, it seemed Paul had a tour of the area by some locals took him on a trip around the area and part of that trip was to the Areopagus. The Areopagus is solid marble and literally means rock, its a big mount of stone.

And on that mount of stone, Paul begins to talk of what he has seen as he’s been shown round, he hasn't got the capacity for another conflict he’s exhausted, but his work is to teach about Jesus, Paul lived fully the sending out of Jesus

“Go into the world and make disciples of every nation.”

So even in his tiredness Paul comments on what he as a guest has seen “As I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription “”To an unknown god.. “” and then he begins to teach he doesn't say you're wrong I'm right…

He said I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. Paul teaches right from the beginning of all he knows of God, God who created all things God in all things

And he tells them the God they don't know the Unknown God, The God of Abraham ....right down to Jesus who came to live among us was crucified died and was resurrected on the third day.

That God of heaven, creator God, chose to leave his kingdom in heaven. The heavenly realms where all creation was spoken into being, where all creation is being restored and renewed where sickness, sorrow, sadness, pain and death are no more…

God chose to leave that space to come among us as Jesus, and bring his kingdom here to earth, showing us how to live as though the kingdom were fully here among us.. Jesus taught us that we are to love God and lovingly care for each other as we are loved and cared for by God.


Jesus assures us that the kingdom of heaven will come fully on earth when he returns, but until that time we are not alone, we live in the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the indivisible God within us. When we submit to his will and not our own.. that presence has a transformative power, power to change lives and power to enable lives to be lived in ways which give life new life.

A new understanding to those who accept the truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus. And just as the people who heard Paul speak truth into a culture of idol worshiping we too need to look again at what idols we put in front of that truth..

What do we put before God and his kingdom reigning within us?Who do we put before God being first in our lives?
Is it our husbands, our wives, our children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends? Our work, our fun, our play, our social activities, our treasures do we put all these before God.

This is how the world has become secular, this is how we have become divided, we are called to gather as a church community as people of faith, then to go out, go out and spread the good news spread the gospel

It doesn't mean not spending time with those we love and care for, it means spending time with them in the power of who we are as followers of Jesus, as disciples - and disciples never ever stop learning afresh what the teacher is doing.. So just as the people who met at the Areopagus learned that it is only in God that that we have our being and our live, that idols are just that they are things which take us away from God, idols are temptations and fancies, they are not things within which we have our being and our life. Even our families, we can love better when we know how to love and receive the love of God as his children …his offspring. And as his children, turn again, turn to him, the time had come for repentance, for stepping away from all idols, repent of putting our own desires above the ways of God

There is no escaping …. we must repent for putting others before God, other people, other desires. other plans other things that are not what God is calling.
We too must put down our unknowing and find him anew, find him afresh, so that our hearts just as the hearts of those listening to Jesus our hearts can be touched and changed by the heart of who God is and experience his Kingdom on earth…


The Greeks were converted by the truths Paul told and those truths, the hearts changing, had an impact on the lives and culture and those changes of all who lived in the area a nd spread into all the earth.

What I know is that if we are serious about who we are as Jesus shaped people ..as disciples. If we recognise and acknowledge Jesus is Lord over all thing, Sovereign over all, there is no escape from his reign, everything.. everything we know is under his authority

Our church, us .. how we behave, Our schools, how we meet with the staff, parents and children, Our workplace, Our cars and how we drive and acknowledge others, Our streets, Our neighbours, Our friends, Our Drs, Our care homes, Our hospitals. And if that is true ..If the truth is that Jesus is Lord over all things all places, we have to ask ourselves "what would that space …. Those places be like if we let him reign and rule?

Once again we are called to !re-imagine everything we are involved in, we have to look again at how we welcome. Do we have a welcome sign? and if we do, do we welcome in the name of Jesus, in the shape of Jesus ?


All of our churches offer refreshments, hospitality, God calls us to welcome all in his name, As Jesus people, we have to be prominent be seen, I am asking you all to step up, Step up in grace, step up and be prominent be seen, dare to share who you are as a person of faith as the song says… “Will you go where you don't know and never be afraid.”

Stopping our own control, stopping our own desires can be scary because God takes us to places where we don't know we are going, but when we follow where we are called act as we are invited, when we don't hold on to our prejudices, we show how the Kingdom of God can be, yet when we continue not to do those things, we show how idol worship is..


So my question this week is, are you willing to repent of the times you have chosen a pagan way of being a time when you have worshiped other God’s put other people … other situations other desires before the people, before the will and desires of God?

Are you willing to speak truth into situations not your truth, the truth you make fit your will but the truth of God who in Jesus came as a light to our world, who brought visions of what the Kingdom of God can be not just in heaven but here on earth.

Are you willing to live that truth?
Are you willing to love God above all loves?
Are you willing to let our Lord reveal himself in you, not just when it suits you, but at all times, even times of exhaustion, even times of frustration, even times of joy

Are you willing to keep the commandments of Jesus and live as though the kingdom of God is among you? Just as Paul did as he met those who knew nothing of our Lord are you willing to share the good news by thought word and deed at all times not just when you feel “nice “ or feel “ like it. ”

Are you willing to put down religion and have faith, faith that God will reveal himself in you when you let him reign in your life.

Amen



Reverend Yvonne Callaghan - Imagine

Sunday 23rd April 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Sun, April 23, 2017 13:13:44

Imagine

it was evening

on the first day of the week..

that means the day after the Sabbath

Sunday

the day when everyone could resume to normality..


But for these disciples

who have been through a week of such trauma and change

what is normality

they have had their feet washed by Jesus

they have been told they are to be servants of others

One of their group

One of their friends has betrayed Jesus

and don't forget..

Judas has betrayed each of those who ate the last meal with Jesus


All but one of the men had slowly abandoned each other and Jesus

Jesus had been tortured in ways which we can still only imagine

but the graphic press of today brings us nearer to understanding the horror of Good Friday..


Peter has denied Jesus three times as predicted

Mary has met the angels and spoken with Jesus

Mary the first evangelist

told not to hold on to Jesus as he had been

the familiar Jesus

whom she had followed and loved

Mary was not allowed to know him in that way any more

but was to know him as the risen Christ

the one whose story she must tell again and again..

Mary was not allowed to hold on to what she wanted..


So after all of that here we are

we meet the disciples as they are locked away….. LOCKED AWAY

they weren't at peace to sit and eat

they were still fearful

they were still reeling reeling from all of the changes

all of the loss

all of the confusion..

And suddenly here we have Jesus standing among them.

He didn't open a door

he didn't make a grand entrance

those whom he called his friends

and said “Peace be with you..”


I know we hear that a lot

But peace… peace.. after all they had and were experiencing


Yet the memories of John as he speaks of Jesus are indeed calm, very matter of fact

"After he said this.. he showed them his hands and his side..


I imagine it wasn't as succinct as that..
I imagine it was a lot more subtle..
but the way the statement is written brings stability to the reality to all they have lived through..


We who are reading these words all of these years later

can reduce the effect of Jesus just appearing among the disciples, wishing them peace,
and then showing the wounds of his death... to a statement ..

not the life changing moment it must have been


Similar to what we read last week in the garden

where the stone was rolled away and Mary recognised Jesus

who responded to Mary with the words “don't hold on to me Mary..”


It seems the familiarity is there… but things have shifted

"don't hold on to me Mary "

I believe in those there simple words

Jesus is saying

“hey… its going to be ok.. I've got this."

It wont ever be as as it has been but it is going to be ok..

And part of "its" going to be ok..

means you are going to be ok

ok does not mean perfect

sorted

it means “I have this“

And “have it he does”

As Jesus breathes into each of their beings the Holy Spirit

and as he does, he equips the disciples for the future of all they are to do

for all they are to do without the physical presence of Jesus..

It seems Jesus does indeed “have this”

things sounds sorted don't they?

“ it “ sounds ok..


But then we have Thomas

Thomas remembered for his doubting

and not knowing the way to the Father’s house

when Jesus said he was preparing a place for each of us


Yet amid that sorted

amid the “I’ve got it”

“ I’ve got you”

“the ok ness “

the peace that Jesus offers to us


The echoes of the voice of Thomas

is the voice of many of us today

Thomas reminds me of Victor Meldrew..

Famous for saying I DONT BELIEVE IT..

and not understanding situations and circumstances.


How many of us are like Thomas... ?
I don't believe it..?

I don't know the way to how we are going to sort things out.

I don't understand how we got here

I certainly don't understand where we are going.

Well …..lets look at those words

I don’t believe it..

How many of us find so much of our present experience unbelievable?

America… North Korea… Russia

Another National Election

Paris

Westminster Bridge

Brexit

etc., etc.,

right down to the 2030 vision of Ripon Episcopal Area..


How many of us want to turn back the clock?

hold on to what we understand?

hold on to what we like?

How many of us want to hold on to what we have?

How many of us haven't got a clue what on earth is happening.. ?

How many of us haven't got a clue how we are going to get to 2030?


Many of us are at some stage or another

are like Victor Meldew

like Thomas …

like Peter..

Remember Peter was one of those who denied Jesus

he even got upset and frustrated when he thought Jesus didn't understand he was saying sorry


Yet here we have Peter speaking in the book of Acts

The Acts of the Apostles..

brave Peter empowered by the Holy Spirit, standing with the other disciples
and addressing the people of Judea and Jerusalem..


Peter.. The one who denied Jesus three times

is today the one stood in front of the Jewish people

and sharing the Good News

Peter is stood among those who could have been the ones calling for the death of Jesus


Yet empowered by The Holy Spirit... Peter is giving his testimony

This man who denied Jesus is changed, he is not holding on to the things of the past

He recognises the future, the future of telling the stories of Jesus

Sharing his experiences and sharing the theology behind those experiences..


Showing the promise of God that one day he would put a descendent of King David on the throne of Israel..


Showing that King David himself had told stories of Jesus saying that death would not hold him

Hell was not his captive nor would his body degrade


Peter is doing theology through sharing the story of his life with Jesus and his life as a Jew .
Peter is no longer confused..

Why?


Because finally understands that nothing can be the same

Peter finally understands

that no matter how many times we doubt Jesus

no matter how many times we struggle to understand

Our Lord Jesus

breathes afresh his Holy Spirit within us

as he forgives

as he restores

equips

and enables each of us…

even when we don't understand the situations we are in..


So my questions today is are you able to let go of what is familiar

Are you able to let God guide you?

Are you able to share your stories of faith with others?

Some of doing that is dangerous.

some of it is hard work.

WHY? because it is hard work for us to let go

let go of what we are familiar with

it is dangerous to trust God

and let our Lord breath his spirit of life into us

because we then become empowered by his will

his authority and not our own…


Remember last week Peter really did not understand

that Jesus was sending him to share the story of his life

his time with Jesus ….

his time of not understanding

telling his testimony to the Gentiles..

that was dangerous

doing something new

sharing food and housing with gentiles

is risky in the eyes of the Jewish people..

Peter must have very clear memories of what happened to Jesus…


What I am hearing today in our readings is something we have known for a while

it’s something we may not want to do

because its dangerous


But the “IT”

"It "means we have to let go of all we have held on to in the past
and let our Lord guide us into our future.

The process will be difficult, just as the process for the disciples was difficult


because when we let our Lord guide we are sent into situations, not of our choosing, but of our Lord

Trust is hard work, as can be sharing our stories

because we leave ourselves open to questions, to being unsure as to where we are going, except to know that where we are going, we do so with the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

And that again takes us back
back to the disciples on the first day of the week, hidden away, afraid, because as Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them, not as a perfunctory exercise. Jesus as he breathed was empowering them to forgive others as he forgives us..

Jesus was empowering them to share the stories, write them down, share them verbally share the Good News..


And today Jesus empowers too,
he will empower us to believe and share the stories, so that we and others may believe and have life, life in abundance, in the name of Jesus.. Jesus who calls each of us his friend


Amen










PARISH PALM SUNDAY SERVICE

Sunday 08th April 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Tue, April 18, 2017 23:05:12

The palms are blessed

We all hold up our palms while the prayer of blessing is said

God our Saviour,

whose Son Jesus entered Jerusalem to suffer and to die,

let these palms be for us signs of his victory;

and may we who hold them always hail him as our King,

and follow him in the way that leads to everlasting life. Amen.



Those at the top of the hill follow the donkey into church singing: We have a king who rides on a donkey

(tune Drunken Sailor)

We have a king who rides on a donkey

We have a king who rides on a donkey

We have a king who rides on a donkey

and his name is Jesus

Jesus the King is coming

Jesus the King is coming

Jesus the King is coming

Into his own city.

Arrival and welcome, for which we stand

Hosanna to the Son of David.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest

Shout Hosanna



Verses from Luke are read out.

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher,
order your disciples to stop.’ He answered,
‘I tell you, If these were silent, the stones would shout out.’



Opening responses


Jesus is coming

Shout Hosanna


Jesus is riding on a donkey

Shout Hosanna


Open the gates

Shout Hosanna


Open the ancient doors

Shout Hosanna


Don’t be afraid

Shout Hosanna


Wave the branches

Shout Hosanna


Spread your coats

Shout Hosanna


Peace in Heaven

Shout Hosanna


Glory in the Highest Heaven

Shout Hosanna


The Lord be with you

And also with you.



As the donkey walks in to church we sing

We have a king who rides on a donkey

We have a king who rides on a donkey

We have a king who rides on a donkey

We have a king who rides on a donkey

and his name is Jesus

Jesus the King is coming

Jesus the King is coming

Jesus the King is coming

Into his own city.

Welcome to the city - 1st Narration

Lord Jesus

If only you would come to our city

like you did to Jerusalem
We’ve got some great hymns and songs to sing to welcome you with.
We’d wave our scarves and dance.
You would get a real red-carpet welcome,
Five star treatment no less.
There would be a real religious revival
It would be wonderful
If only you would come here
Come to our country, our parish, our Church
To rescue us.
But in case you do,
Just a tiny word of advice,
If I may be so bold.
Stick to religion, but be careful.
Don’t interfere with politics, or economics, buildings, liturgy, hymns, rotas or anything like
that and don’t make any unpopular changes in the way we worship.
Save us from what might happen in the next life,
but leave us to go on in our own way
The way we are used to in this life.
If you get it wrong for us
Who knows what may have to happen?


Song: Make Way, Make Way


Make way make way for Christ the King
In splendour arrives, fling wide the gates

and welcome Him into your lives

Chorus

Make way (MEN - WOMEN ECHO)
Make way (MEN - WOMEN ECHO)
For the King of kings (MEN - WOMEN ECHO)
Make way (MEN - WOMEN ECHO)
Make way ((MEN - WOMEN ECHO)
And let His kingdom in (ALL)

He comes the broken hearts to heal
The prisoners to free
The deaf shall hear the lame shall dance
The blind shall see

And those who mourn with heavy hearts
Who weep and sigh
With laughter joy and royal crown
He'll beautify

We call you now to worship Him
As Lord of all
To have no gods before Him
Their thrones must fall


The Collect of the day

True and humble king,

hailed by the crowd as Messiah:

grant us the faith to know you and love you,

that we may be found beside you

on the way of the cross,

which is the path of glory.

Hymn: Jesus name above all names

Jesus name above all names

Beautiful Saviour glorious Lord

Emmanuel God is with us

Blessed Redeemer living Word

Jesus loving Shepherd

Vine of the branches, Son of God

Prince of Peace Wonderful Counsellor,

Lord of the universe Light of the world.

Jesus name above all names

Beautiful Saviour glorious Lord

Emmanuel God is with us

Blessed Redeemer living Word

Jesus loving Shepherd

Vine of the branches, Son of God

Prince of Peace Wonderful Counsellor,

Lord of the universe Light of the world.


2nd Narration, Palm Sunday

Six lit candles in a circle.

In the centre of the candles is a palm cross.

Mark 11:1-11

As they approached Jerusalem, near the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, they came to the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of his disciples on ahead with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. And if someone asks you why you are doing that, say that the Master needs it and will send it back at once.” So they went and found a colt out in the street, tied to the door of a house. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders asked them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered just as Jesus had told them, and the crowd let them go. They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the animal, and Jesus got on. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches in the field and spread them on the road. The people who were in front and those who followed behind began to shout, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the coming kingdom of King David, our father! Praise be to God!” Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the Temple, and looked around at everything. But since it was already late in the day, he went out to Bethany with the twelve disciples.


QUESTION

Why do we have six candles and this palm cross today?

RESPONSE

Because this week is Holy Week, in six days it is Good Friday (PAUSE) and Easter is coming.

On this day we remember how all the people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem by waving palm branches.

3rd Narration - Holy Monday

Five lit candles with a copy of The Lord’s Prayer

Mark 11:15-19

When they arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple and began to drive out all those who were buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, and he would not let anyone carry anything through the Temple courtyards. He then taught the people: “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.’ But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!” The chief priests and the teachers of the Law heard of this, so they began looking for some way to kill Jesus. They were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching



QUESTION

Why do we have five candles and the Lord’s Prayer on the table for Holy Monday ?

RESPONSE

Because this week is Holy Week, in five days it’s Good Friday (PAUSE)
and Easter is coming.

On this day we remember that Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple.
“My house shall be called a place of prayer.” He told them. This special prayer is for all
of us always.

4th Narration - Holy Tuesday

Four lit candles, with a bottle of perfume on the table, in the centre of the circle of candles.

Mark 14:3-9

Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease. While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an alabaster jar full of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, “What was the use of wasting the perfume? It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!” And they criticised her harshly. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me. She did what she could; she poured perfume on my body to prepare it ahead of time for burial. Now, I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

QUESTION

Why do we have four candles and some perfume on the table on Holy Tuesday?

RESPONSE

Because this week is Holy Week, in four days it is Good Friday (PAUSE)

and Easter is coming.

Today we remember the woman from Bethany who anointed Jesus’ head, who recognised that he was the King of Kings and would soon die.

5th Narration - Holy Wednesday

Three lit candles, with a purse filled with money

Mark 14:10-11

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Jesus to them. They were pleased to hear what he had to say, and promised to give him money. So Judas started looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them

QUESTION

Why do we have three candles
and this purse full of money on the table on Holy Wednesday?

RESPONSE -

Because this week is Holy Week,

in three days it is Good Friday

and Easter is coming.

Today we remember that Jesus was betrayed for money
and that Jesus wants us to give what we can to help those in the world who are poor.

We affirm our faith together


Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?

We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?

We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?

We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Song Servant King


From heaven you came helpless babe

Entered our world, your glory veiled

Not to be served but to serve

And give Your life that we might live

Refrain

This is our God, The Servant King

He calls us now to follow Him

To bring our lives as a daily offering

Of worship to The Servant King

There in the garden of tears

My heavy load he chose to bear

His heart with sorrow was torn

'Yet not My will but Yours,' He said.

Refrain

Come see His hands and His feet

The scars that speak of sacrifice

Hands that flung stars into space

To cruel nails surrendered

Refrain

So let us learn how to serve

And in our lives enthrone Him

Each other's needs to prefer

For it is Christ we're serving

Refrain


Graham Kendrick - Copyright © 1983 Thankyou Music


The Eucharistic Prayer:

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

Almighty God, good Father to us all,

your face is turned towards your world.

In love you gave us Jesus your Son

to rescue us from sin and death.

Your Word goes out to call us home

to the city where angels sing your praise.

We join with them in heaven's song:

Holy, holy, holy Lord

Holy, holy, holy Lord

God of power and might,

God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes

Blessed is he who comes

in the name of the Lord most high

in the name of the Lord most high

Hosanna, Hosanna

Hosanna, Hosanna,

Hosanna in the highest.

Hosanna in the highest.

Father of all, we give you thanks

for every gift that comes from heaven.

To the darkness Jesus came as your light.

With signs of faith and words of hope

he touched untouchables with love

and washed the guilty clean.

This is his story

This is our song:

Hosanna in the highest.


6th Narration - Maundy Thursday -

Two lit candle and a bowl of warm water and a towel.

Mark 14: 22-26

While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. “Take it,” he said, “this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and handed it to them; and they all drank from it. Jesus said, “This is my blood which is poured out for many, my blood which seals God's covenant. I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine in the Kingdom of God.”

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.



QUESTION

Why do we have two candles, this towel and this water on the table today?

RESPONSE - SIAN LAWTON

Because this week is Holy Week.

One candle is for Good Friday and one for Maundy Thursday, when we remember the last Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with his disciples.
Our communion service derives from this meal

Easter is coming.

The Eucharistic Prayer Continues

The crowds came out to see your Son,

yet at the end they turned on him.

On the night he was betrayed

he came to table with his friends

to celebrate the freedom of your people.

This is his story.

This is our song:

Hosanna in the highest.

07th Reflection

Reflection of Simon Peter. -

What a day it was,

A day I shall never forget,

The voices raised in jubilation, the arms outstretched in welcome,

The crowds lining the streets,

Waving their palm branches, hurling down their cloaks, welcoming their king

The Son of David,

The one who came in the name of the Lord.

We believed that at long last the waiting was over,

The Messiah finally come

Come to set us free..

We believed that after all his talk of suffering and death

We dared to hope that he had got it wrong.

And for a moment as I watched him I wondered if he felt the same.

The way he responds to the cheers,

Laughter playing on his lips,

A smile on his face, a twinkle in his eyes

He was enjoying himself, I’m sure of that

Determined to savour the moment.

Then I noticed it,

As we drew near to Jerusalem,

A tear.

A tear in the corner of his eye

So unexpected.

Not a tear of joy, but of sorrow

Tricking slowly down his face,

Silent testimony to his pain.

He wasn’t fooled by it all,

Not like the rest of us

He knew what they wanted,

He knew how they would change.

He knew they would offer the cross if he rejected their crown.

But still he continued,

Resolute to the end;

That’s the extraordinary thing.

It was a day to remember,

A day on which they welcomed their king.

But none imagined, least of all I,

That the crown would be made of thorns,

And the throne reached by the way of a cross.

Lord Jesus Christ,

We are reminded of how you entered Jerusalem

to shouts of joy and celebration.

We remember also how quickly that welcome evaporated

How soon the mood of the crowd changed.

Lord Jesus Christ,

We know all too well that we are not so different,

Our commitment to you so often short lived,

Superficial, self centred.

Help us to welcome you into our lives with true gladness and to go on serving you

Come what may, now and always. Amen.

08th Narration Good Friday

One red candle is lit and then blown out. A wooden cross is placed on the table,
the palm cross is placed upon it.

Mark 15:21-39

On the way they met a man named Simon, who was coming into the city from the country, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross. (Simon was from Cyrene and was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” There they tried to give him wine mixed with a drug called myrrh, but Jesus would not drink it. Then they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves, throwing dice to see who would get which piece of clothing. It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him. The notice of the accusation against him said: “The King of the Jews.” They also crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left. People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: “Aha! You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! Now come down from the cross and save yourself!”


QUESTION

Why do we blow out the candle for Good Friday?

RESPONSE

Because this week is Holy Week,

Good Friday.

This is the day that we remember that Jesus died and went home to God.

The Eucharistic Prayer continues

Jesus blessed you, Father, for the food;

he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said:

This is my body, given for you all.

Jesus then gave thanks for the wine;

he took the cup, gave it and said:

This is my blood, shed for you all

for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this in remembrance of me.

This is our story.

This is our song:

Hosanna in the highest.

09th Reflection This Time

This time,

There will be no flight into Egypt.

This donkey has too much to carry, too far.

The shadows wait for me

Around the table at Passover,

Among those in high places,

In the condemned cell,

On the hill outside.

Fear haunts my waking moments

and I cannot sleep.

Why had God forsaken me?

The crowd today is with me,

But not for long.

They are the powerless ones,

The ones who matter.

The ones who count are counting.

Time is running out.

This time there will be no flight into Egypt.

10th Narration - Holy Saturday

Mark 15:42-47

It was toward evening when Joseph of Arimathea arrived. He was a respected member of the Council, who was waiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God. It was Preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), so Joseph went boldly into the presence of Pilate and asked him for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. He called the army officer and asked him if Jesus had been dead a long time. After hearing the officer's report, Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a linen sheet, took the body down, wrapped it in the sheet, and placed it in a tomb which had been dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph were watching and saw where the body of Jesus was placed.


QUESTION

Why do we have seven candles

A stone, Soil, Some spring plants and Easter eggs

RESPONSE

We will build an Easter Garden with a cave, spring flowers and a stone
that can be rolled away on Easter day.

(all who wish build an Easter Garden)

The Eucharistic Prayer continues

Therefore, Father, with this bread and this cup

we celebrate the cross

on which he died to set us free.

Defying death he rose again

and is alive with you to plead for us and all the world.

This is our story.

This is our song:

Hosanna in the highest.

Send your Spirit on us now

that by these gifts we may feed on Christ

with opened eyes and hearts on fire.

May we and all who share this food

offer ourselves to live for you

and be welcomed at your feast in heaven

where all creation worships you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Blessing and honour and glory and power.

be yours for ever and ever. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus taught us to call God our Father, so in faith and trust we pray:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen.

Post Communion

Lord Jesus Christ,

you humbled yourself

in taking the form of a servant,

and in obedience died on the cross

for our salvation:

give us the mind to follow you

and to proclaim you as Lord and King,

to the glory of God the Father.

Ride on ride on in majesty

Ride on, ride on in majesty!

Hear all the tribes hosanna cry;

The humble beast pursues his road

with palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!

In lowly pomp ride on to die.

O Christ, your triumphs now begin

o’er captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!

The hosts of angels in the sky

look down with sad and wondering eyes

to see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!

Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh:

the Father, on his sapphire throne,

awaits his own anointed Son.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!

In lowly pomp ride on to die;

bow your meek head to mortal pain;

then take, O Christ, your power and reign.


11th Reflection - Easter Day

John 20:11-18

Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying, she bent over and looked in the tomb and saw two angels there dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. “Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her. She answered, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!”

Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. “Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?” She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned toward him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher.”) “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.” So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.

STATEMENT

When the garden is built

it will be an Easter Day Celebration

the last day of Holy Week

as the stone is rolled away.

Easter day is a celebration,

it is the last day of Holy Week.

Easter Day is when we remember that Jesus rose from the dead
and showed us the new life God offers to all of us.
Not just when we die, but through the difficult bits of living now.

Final blessing


O Christ you entered the city as a poor man

not in style but simply,

yet still you caused uproar

and questions everywhere:

you drew the expectations of a hungry crowd,

and brought buried conflicts to light.

May we, who are sometimes swayed

by the crowd through our need of approval,

who often avoid conflict for fear of its cost to us,

or being seen as less than we would like.

Hold fast to your gospel of peace and justice

and follow wilfully in your way

bringing your kingdom here in our parish

now and in the future

whatever the cost.


Sending out

Now go in trust and in love to serve the Lord

In the name of Christ

Amen






Resources used with kind permission of Wild Goose Publications

Ruth Burgess and Christ Polhill

John L Bell and Graham Maule

material included in this service,

is/are copyright © The Archbishops’ Council

copiright@archbishopscouncil.2002

Ccli no: 1993940



Yvonne Callaghan - APCM

Sunday 02nd April 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Tue, April 18, 2017 22:48:48

The story of Lazarus has been brought to my mind

much more these last few weeks

as we have read Dethroning Mammon

Mammon being the things which take over our lives

the things we value that are of society

above the value of seeing ourselves

and each other as known,

as beloved by God..

That what we count we begin to value…

Value above being known and loved

by our creator God..

Do we live out our lives as ones known and loved

Or do we seek to gain prestige and value

through seeking our will

our way above the desire of God for us

Remember God has plans to prosper us always

and proper is not financial

prosper in this way

is to grow deeper in relationship with Jesus

To really push in

walk in his footsteps

Grow in covenant and in relationship.

so we truly live a life

where we each know ourselves

to be called, known and loved by God

every day of our lives.

We as children of God

are as the people the body of his Church

have to frame all we are and all we do
in those same values that we are valued by.

As we minister into 2017 and beyond.

we have lots to look at

lots to discern
Lots to pray about.

The new share system being one of those

as the system stands at this time

all of our reserves

everything will be gone in three years..

When we went to appeal our share allocation

Arch Deacon Bev looked at our accounts
and said ”you are unsustainable

which two buildings are you going to close?”

I dont know that is the answer

we have to discern our answer

whilst ministering

to those among us in our communities

and in the wider world.

We have to look afresh at our buildings the sustainability of each of them

the usage of them as community spaces

and not just for an hour on a Sunday.

We have to be the ones who look wider than figures

look wider than Pounds and pennies..

and that is what we as PCC

as Church are beginning

it’s not going to be easy,

we all have things which we hold tightly

things we are precious about

The things we say

“Well if that goes, if that happens …then I’m leaving.”


This process is not one which any of us find easy

but it is necessary

necessary to see how we minister

as the body of Christ

as Church in our parish

Please bear with us, your PCC

as we with you look at ways of each of us

being part of discerning the vision

God has for us

it can seem at the moment

that nothing much is happening
But there is a lot happening

there is much praying

much discernment …. much waiting

And in the same way Jesus waited three days

before he revealed his plan for the raising of Lazarus

so we must wait and discern

for the right time

when he will make his vision for us clear

when our eyes will be opened

our bandages taken off by the revelation go God

by the understanding of others imparted to us.

None of this happens by denying the truth of our situation

or by gossiping.. colluding

the way these things happen

is to be real
is to look at the reality

and we will have to make the hard decisions

based on those realities

So what are the realities?

Well the first reality is that we are being Church

in many ways which are new

and continue to be exciting,

whilst also being Church in ways which are familiar.

A lot of what happens in our buildings

and our communities

depends on us stepping up as we are called by God

What is God calling you to

What is he shouting at you to COME OUT and do

come out and be?

We have seen the gracious response to the calling of
Come Out

and Step Up

in new and familiar ways.

So to everyone involved in the ministry of the Church in our parish

however you have stepped up

or come out

thank you..

Thank you to those who clean the church buildings

thank you to those who serve on PCC

thank you to Ron and to Hazel

our Church Wardens
i know this year has been difficult for you both.

Thank you to Pam

Whose hard work as treasurer is invaluable

Pam’s vision and clarity is a gift from God

it is thanks to you Pam

that we are so clear on our financial position

I know this work has been even harder this year

for you, for Lesley and for Louise

thank all you for your forbearance

My thanks to our Auditor Tony Simms,

who has now audited the books twice

We will be writing our thanks and appreciation

to Tony this week

I also need to thank Mary...

without whose able assistance and willingness

to share her ministry among us,

both I and our parish would be in a different situation...

Thank you...also To Scott, Sian, Stewart and Gillian

Who minister among us throughout the year..

Next year we look forward to having Sian with us

on a full time basis

as she takes up her formal training as an ordinand


Thanks to all those who verge at our weddings,

baptisms and funerals..

To you who set up Sunday after Sunday

To those who keep the teas and coffees going here for the walkers

And to Diana...

not just as PCC secretary...

but as parish administrator…
Or more in reality as my PA

again thank you...

the difference you make uncalcuble.

to the work of the Church here

and to me personally...

I also want to thank those

who as group or team members

of the various communities within which we minister

Open2All ...

Open 2All Disciples, the group which formed

from the confirmation group last year


Open The Book..

SPLASH... RURAL CHALLENGE

Part of the continuing future

in succession planning and discipleship

Is Step-Up
Which is now into our third year..

As you know the intention of Step Up

is to ask what is God doing

and how am I going to respond to him.

We see that response being lived out in the parish

Last years Stepees continue to be mentored

and have now become mentors

for those coming through this year.

A similar pattern has evolved out of our

Continuing Confirmation Group - Open2All Disciples.
in that those who were confirmed last year

were to have been mentors

of those being confirmed this year.

A joy we have seen come out of Step-Up

is as part of the mission module

A mission developed

And the Wednesday Morning

Community Church Café was born

Pam and Diana have felt called

to be part of the ministry in the café

And over the year, Dianah

Linda Parrot and Wendy Tuff

Have felt a calling to be part of the group.

Freda is also part of the group,

Freda is there to chat to those who are new

and need someone to talk to.

The café runs along side the Computer Access Group,

Which continues to be well received

and continues to evolve.

Whilst many have learnt the basics,

And moved on to Skype, email, internet,

Facebook, Twitter etc.,

They are now bringing their

technology problems too.. Which is great.

We owe such a vote of thanks to Steve Jackson

for giving up his time every Wednesday

to be oversee and lead this teaching.

Please do keep spreading the word..

So the café and the computer group

are proving to be a good way for those

who do and don’t do computers

to meet and share the company of others.

Another way to share the company of others is

The Afternoon Tea for the Bereaved

This is held every two weeks

at Mary and Brian’s home...

which is a lovely space

for those in need of companionship,

those finding out who they are in Christ...

Also at the home of Mary and Brian

is The House Group..

The group is Facilitated and led by Brian

There is lots of discussion,

fellowship and learning

continues to evolve in this fluid group. ..

where people drop in and out

as their circumstances permit.

The Parish Visiting Team

headed up by Mary...

Mary and Angela

continue to take Holy Communion

into Abbey Care

Lilian and Doris have up until recently

continued to take Holy Communion

to the residence of St Edmunds

Thank you to Lilian who continues this ministry

as Doris convalesces further to her recent illness.

We also visit the house bound, the sick and those those in hospital..

you just have to ask or make us aware.

We also have a dept of thanks to The marauders

A great group of people

who care for each other

and for the grounds and the church

building at Easby..

Thank you to each of them

And thank you Hazel

for keeping them going on a Monday

with your home made cakes and drinks

Thanks to Lynda, who counts and chases

those who want to be on our electoral role.

We have to thank our buildings group,

who oversee all of our buildings

there work will be challenging

as we move into the future.

Thanks also to the new Fundraising Group

who are attempting to find ways to fill the gaps

in our giving ..

against the costs of ministry and mission..

Thanks to yet another group

our Mission Group,

who are looking at how we live in our communities

meeting others where they are

planning quizes, going to the pubs

and other social events as CHURCH..

There is so much ministry and mission happening

in our parish

and that is what our vision has to be

into the future..

Just what we are called to do and be as people of faith

is to love God and love others

just as we are loved..

And when we truly push into our Lord

when we know ourselves to be known,

called and loved.

As his children …

We become empowered by His Holy Spirit

to go out into all the world

sharing all we are in faith

in whatever way we are called today

and in the future.

We have to be brave

just as the disciples were brave when Jesus

started out to the cross

he trod on all of their hopes and dreams

for their own gain

and raised their dreams above anything

they could have ever imagined.

So as we put aside our hopes

as we COME OUT again

lets come out with new hope

Hope from listening and being guided by God

equipped by his spirit

to be his disciples

now and into the future..

So as we commit ourselves to him anew… lets pray

for all we have been and all we will be

as we minister now and in the future

And as part of our ministry

to come under the authority of accountability

of one to another

and to those in authority over us..

We now follow the rules of the Church of England as we

Elect our Church Wardens..

Thank you Ron and Hazel for standing for yet another year.

Lets pray for the new wardens

Lord we thank you for Ron and for Hazel.

For their continuing ministry among us this year.

Please continue to guide and anoint them as they work to your praise and your glory. Amen.





Mary Williams - Transfiguration

Sunday 26th February 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Tue, April 18, 2017 22:31:07

How do you respond to the unusual, the new, wacky, the intellectually challenging new situations, ideas?

Do you revel in what is different, embrace it because it's novel, are you suspicious because of it's source, or antagonistic because it challenges long held beliefs and ultimately your security?

It seems that almost every week someone comes up with new 'research' telling us for instance, that the only way to stay healthy is now to eat 10 a day instead of 5, go on a yo-yo type of diet which will kick start immunity against diabetes, avoid butter, eat butter...............and so on. I'm sure you can add to the list!

Does all this make us more cynical? Does it push us towards the safe, well trodden, middle road of 'moderation in all things'? Do we close our ears or do we embrace it reasoning that the 'experts' must know something?

Often we just don't feel qualified enough to sift through the facts, and so the line of least resistance can be to dismiss it all as newfangled nonsense.

Move away from the illustration of food and diet. Consider fresh thinking, often we don't listen properly, we only pick up half of what is being proposed and because we haven't taken in the whole scenario, our reaction can be out of proportion with what is actually being suggested. We hear the words, but attach our own interpretation to them.

When Jimmy Carter was president of the USA, he visited Japan, and addressed a large delegation, speaking through an interpreter. He thought he would break the ice by beginning with a funny story. After he had given the punch line he waited for the interpreter to translate, and was surprised at how quickly he relayed the story. Immediately it was followed by an explosion of loud laughter and clapping, with delegates practically falling off their seats.

I knew it was a good story, he thought to himself, but not that good!

Afterwards he asked the interpreter how he had managed to relate the story so suscinctly.

That was easy came the reply, I just said, President Carter has told a funny story, laugh now, loudly!

We need to be clear about what we hear or experience before jumping to conclusions. Especially so in our spiritual life.

Peter, James and John were certainly confronted by something so unusual and different, not least to say, frightening and mysterious. We wouldn't blame them if they'd turned tail and galloped off the mountain! It wasn't merely new teaching, but a whole new experience, which would have rocked anyone to the core-a voice from heaven, appearance of people long dead, scary changes in Jesus' appearance and peculiar weather. Not the kind of thing your average church-goer expects to encounter!

In our weekly Home group, we've been looking at what Prophesy is all about. First we needed to debunk commonly held notion that it was confined to the OT, to people like Isaiah and Jeremiah, that God only spoke to the super spiritual like them, or that it was about telling the future or predicting some catastrophic disaster.

But as we delved into the NT accounts which mentioned prophesy, we found that it was more widespread within the early Church than we'd expected. Normal, even. Part of the presumed everyday life of a believing community.

And following logically, that it should be, like the other gifts of the Spirit, part of our everyday Christian life.

Why? Because at Pentecost the Holy Spirit filled believers with gifts so that the Church could be built up and the Kingdom of God that Jesus had ushered in would spread throughout the world.

We learned that prophesy was more often than not, about the small issues, everyday events; the things that many might put down to coincidence. We are learning, through our time together, and also through the Step-Up course, that we need to listen carefully and to expect God to speak. Now does that sound way-out, wacky? Have you already decided not to listen to anything more, because the whole idea of God speaking to you sounds impossible?

Let me share an example that puts the idea of hearing from God into a more understandable context.

One of the members of the Home Group had felt for a while that she needed to share something with the PCC, but was unsure whether it was right or not. You know, that shall I, shan't I debate with oneself when we're not sure about a course of action? It's so easy to think something like that is your own idea. But that same evening, not knowing any of this, another person in the group, felt they needed to say that we should be brave enough to speak out if we felt it was God speaking to us, and even if we'd got things wrong, no real harm would ensue. That the words, once spoken, if not actually for any specific individual would just 'roll into the centre of the floor, curl up and die', so to speak!

The Holy Spirit was using the gift of prophesy to affirm another's reception of God's voice, which in turn would benefit a wider group. You see how it works? Not big, life-changing disclosures, but gentle nudges which benefit the wider fellowship.

We're all in this together, all subject to one another's wisdom and discernment. In order for the gift of prophesy to become normal and commonplace, we need to share those nudges with one another. To talk them through, discuss whether they might be from God, or just our own imagination.

I wonder if that was why Peter, James and John were all present on the mountain? If it had only been one of them, how easy it would have been to dismiss the experience as personal imagination, to explain it away, as we so often do in retrospect. But the 3 together were an insurance against that, and later on in his letters, Peter was able to look back and be strengthened by that powerful outpouring of God's glory that he and the other two had experienced.

How much more the Church of today needs to revisit that supernatural realm that cannot be explained but that points to the one who is above and beyond all we can imagine or understand. Has our church life together become too worldly? Too cosy club-like? Too lacking in any life changing spiritual dimension?

I'm not suggesting that we should seek such experiences as the disciples had for the sake of proof, for if you've noticed it was only the 3 inner-circle disciples who were party to this phenomenem. Signs and wonders must always take second place to the gospel, it is their creator we follow, not the created. They are a gracious manifestation of God's presence and are not an end to a means.

When Peter heard God speak, what did he say?

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him.

And was Peter listening? What did Peter do?

He wanted to build three shelters, reminiscent of the Tent of Meeting in the OT where the people were to bring burnt offerings and God would meet with them and speak to them. He was assuming that God was always going to act as he had done in the past. Peter knew his OT, but God didn't want another OT Tent of Meeting. He was doing new things. He wasn't wanting a repeat of the past, he wanted to move the disciples on to new things, new revelation, new ways of being Church.

But Peter was running ahead, of God, intent on 'doing' instead of 'being'. He didn't take time to listen before he acted. And so he got things wrong.

He didn't take time to find out what God really wanted.

Does that rings bells with us? It does with me. One of the hardest things is to do nothing until God's voice becomes clear. What is he saying in our present situations? In our local church/chapel? In the wider diocese/circuit? In our personal journey with him?

Are we taking enough time to really, really listen?

Don't be distracted- remember;

Almighty God said Listen to my beloved Son.

What did Peter do? He tried to build a tent.

Does anything change?!

Amen.

Yvonne Callaghan - "When all is stripped away?"

Sunday 05th March 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Tue, April 18, 2017 22:26:01

Last week I caught up with a friend

Whose eldest daughter lives with a serious eating disorder

When I asked my colleague

how her faith was as she navigated the waters of life

throughout her daughters illness

She replied

My faith has had to change

My surety and naivety in a God

who would above all things

protect those who love him above those who don't has gone


And a new true understanding

that God loves each of us

Not just those who love him

God’s love is truly unconditional

but it is not a magic potion

a cloak with protects us..


That even in our times of darkness

We are be-loved - delighted in and known


And today as we hear again

the familiar words of the devil tempting Jesus in the desert

it is in that being know, delighted in and loved we can see

that Jesus was able to stand firm in the desert testings


Jesus did not give way to the fear devil was aiming to use

Because Jesus knew the 'if you's'

were lies to unnerve and disturb him..

Jesus in his identity

as beloved child of God stands firm

against the lies and fear of the devil...


I suppose my question today is Are you

Are we strong enough in our identity as beloved children of God

To stand firm in all we are being tested in

both personally

and as Church …




Our faith is a way of living which must be integral

on a Sunday and on every other day

and in every other moment..

As people of faith

we face many challenges

one we have been looking at is mapping

what could our parish look like in 5 years?


Well.. I’m glad we have been doing that work

because within the entire Ripon episcopal area

We are being asked to look at each

Deanery and within each parish

what might Church look like in 2030

Its the 2030 vision


Part of that vision is to be real

and to respond NOT out of fear

BUT AS CHDREN OF GOD


One of the factors around 2030

nationally 40% of today's clergy will have retired

the people coming through in training do not match those numbers

In our Deanery alone we are looking at 4 clergy

for the entire Richmond Deanery

where we have something like 68 church buildings

4 clergy for 68 Churches


As a response to this figure

Archdeacon Bev asked us to work out in our own hearts and minds

if everything goes

Clergy, robes, buildings, liturgy, music, hymns, ...

what really matters


What is the crux of who we are as church ?

Where is our faith?

I ask you the same question this morning


What is central to your faith ?

If it's the building ..

what happens if it goes?


If it's the clergy

What happens when we have 4 in the entire deanery?


If it's the words of a particular type of services

What happens when we don't use those words ?


If it's the music

What happens when we don't have Myles Fionagh or James?


So take a moment and be real...

I hope each of you know yourselves

whatever your age to be a child of God

So in the surety of your identity


Lets ask some questions

What if These things I hold dear

you hold dear go?

Is being known, beloved, adored enough??


Many of you know Pam, Hazel, Mary, Diana and myself

went to a share review meeting earlier last month


Parish share is a financial,

socioeconomic calculation made at diocesan level

and handed to the parishes

who pay this sum to the diocese to cover costs


Mainly it covers the cost of clergy

and diocesan running expenses

it is in that reality that we have to look at who we are

with 4 grade 1 or grade 2 listed church buildings and a hall

Which cost a fortune to heat

To repair …


How do we make them sustainable

how do we use them for more than one hours worship a week

It's immoral that the entire Church invests so much in buildings financially

and in people hours to use a building one hour a week..

hold that thought…



So... back to the parish share review meeting

Our parish shares proposed increase in three years will take us

somewhere in the region of 80k+

last year we paid £26k


The reality is in three years time

when the share increase is around £80k+

we will have no money to cover our costs

Our reserves will be gone


Our giving our collections

although generous is already not enough

We have set a £10k deficit budget this year..

in 3 years time we will have nothing left financially

to cover the costs of ministry ...


So I ask again

THIS TIME I ASK BECAUSE MY QUESTION

IS NO LONGER RHETORICAL


When all is stripped away ...

What is important to your faith ...

What matters


At the share meeting Archdeacon Bev looked at our figures and said

you are unsustainable

which two churches are you going to close?

And she is right to ask


and to ask the further questions of

How many people do you get in the doors of your buildings each week

to warrant the cost of heating our churches


How much is our insurance, repairs, maintenance

Where else do we meet that doesn't have these overheads?

Where are your buildings multi purpose warm comfortable

With parking .. fully accessibly for all people

Not just accessible to those who have loved their own church building

Perhaps LOVING THAT BUILDING above loving God


And as we are being asked that question

so is every parish in the deanery

The golden age

If ever there was one

Has gone


The truth of who we are HAS NOT GONE

THE TRUTH IS WE ARE

beloved, adored Children of God

who are redeemed by Jesus

and all he did on the cross and through his resurrection

We are his Church


And it is as his Church

in the confidence of knowing we are beloved children of God

that we will respond to the challenge of today

WITHOUT FEAR

WITHOUT BEING DECIEVED..

AND IN REALITY AS WE LOOK TO 2030 and beyond..


We have to respond to CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES

We have to look again at where our population are


We have to look again at how we are church

How we use our buildings


And don't think just because reserves

are tied up under some title or other

that makes you or your church building safe …. It doesn't ..


All reserves will be undone

or offered back to their original benefactor

if they cannot be undone ...

we cannot have money in a pocket which is untouchable

when we have to pay our way


All of this sounds overwhelming

All of this sounds threatening

All of can make us respond from a place of insecurity

and not from a prayerful place of being known

loved and adored children of God..

We will be Church here in our parish into 2030 and beyond

But don't think for one moment it will be as it has been

We have to cut our cloth appropriately

We have to be more than a Sunday church


We have to be more than a holy huddle

in our own preferred building in our own preferred way

We have to become more relevant in our communities


We have to live among others

who do not yet know they are beloved -adored children of God


We have to be wise

We have to pray

We have to use common sense

And respond from a place not of fear but of of faith

Just as Jesus responded

from a place of faith in being a beloved child of God


Common sense tells us we have to change our ways

So lets use common sense and be wise

no knee jerk reactions

we exist as Church to worship God

and to share his love with others..

we baptise, we marry, we teach in schools, in Open2All, in SPLASH

in house group, in the cafe.. we visit, we pray…

and we have to continue doing those things

we have to be missional

or why do we exist at all?

things like the Lent Bags

are essential for engaging those who do not understand Lent

as well as those of us

for whom Lent is a familiar pattern of our Church Year..


Common sense tells us

we cannot have our own little private place of worship

shaped as it has been for thirty : forty - hundreds of years

But we must not stop everything we do and are out of fear




We have to be different

Different by letting God build the shape of his Church

His house

Please us the words of Psalm 127

which your PCC have been using recently

We have to let God build the house


There will be pain in this process

Pain for those who love God

as we work out with him

how we will be Church afresh in this generation and beyond..

But… just as my friend right at the start..

when we live in a true understanding

that God loves each of us

Not just those who love him


That God’s love is truly unconditional

is not a magic potion

a cloak with protects us..

That even in our times of darkness

We are be-loved - delighted in and known


Last week Mary spoke so eloquently on

Listening and being heard

How Peter perceived one thing

Whilst Jesus was doing another

Peter assuming that God was always going to act

as he had done in the past.


But just as Peter last week had to discover

God is not repeating the past

he is making all things new

he wants us to respond as the disciples of old responded

after his death

Build the Church

for this generation and beyond..




Yvonne Callaghan - "Come out of the darkness"

Sunday 13th March 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Tue, April 18, 2017 22:22:36

Nicodemus

A Pharisee,

a leader of the Jewish Sanhardrin

this Powerful and respected leader

came quietly under the cover of darkness

to meet with and learn from Jesus...


I often wonder about that meeting

was it so amazing that Nicodemus was changed so much by it

or is that meeting the only one reported on in the bible

and the truth is that they met more often than has been noted.

we will never know whether it was the one meeting

or the many meetings


All we know is that meeting Jesus changed Nicodemus

As a Pharisee

as a leader of the Sanhadrin

Nicodemus was present at the mock trial

it was he who spoke up

saying that that the law requires that a person be heard

before being judged…


Nicodeumus from knowing and learning of Jesus

knew Jesus to be innocent

innocent. as Jesus was tried, tortured and killed


And at the death of Jesus we see Nicodemus

stepping out of the darkness

and into full light

full vision

as he accompanied Joseph another secret disciple of Jesus

to ask for the body of Jesus

not only did Nicodemus accompany Joseph

Nicodemus took with him

a mixture of myrrh and alloes..

the two of these leaders

these secret disciples took the body of Jesus

wrapped it with the spices and in strips of linen..

Yet is was only at the time of torture and death

that we see Nicodemus finding the courage to speak out

and by doing so he staked his reputation on all he was

the respect of others

his position as a leader

he was willing to give all this up

to care for Jesus..


Again we need to remember

someone considered a blasphemer could not receive

the rites of a proper Jewish Funeral

Yet Nicodemus

gave to Jesus as much of the rites as he was able

before the sun went down and the Sabbath began


Nicodemus is a man

similar to Saul

who held one view

and upon meeting Jesus

truly meeting Jesus

are changed beyond anything they could have imagined ..


The story of Nicodemus reminds me of

the life ofAugust Landmesser

a gentleman who we meet publicly in 1936

at the launch ceremony of a German ship

at which Hitler himself was present

when everyone else raised their arms in salute

and in allegiance to the Nazi Party and Adolph Hitler.

August Landmesser

kept his hands down and folded infant of him


Why might a young man behave differently to the rules

everyone else was following?

Well.August joined the Nazi Party in 1931

believing in its philosophy and connections

believing he could be something big

make the right connections

Then he met a woman named Irma Exkler

a Jewess …

Remember the intolerance of the German ideal

the hatred of those different

who do not fit what Hitler believed to be right

the ones following the right rules..

having a relationship with Irma

must have meant his eyes were opened

he himself changed..


Nothing was public

in the open

until August and Irma were engaged…

and because August was countering the Nazi party rule

he was expelled from the Nazi party

and their marriage application

denied under the racial Nuremberg Laws..

August was imprisoned for not hiding his love of Irma

and Irma sent to a Euthensai centre..

just for being born a Jew


Change happened to August as he experienced love

anyone who denies love

is denying the love of God within them

And August changed by experiencing love

could not hide in the dark any more

his love for Irma

was more than his desire for connections,

for power, esteem and money…


By experiencing love

he knew the intolerance of the Nazi party

was wrong

and he could not accept what he was

and needed to be who he was as someone in love and loved.


That is the same way that the heart and mind of Nicodemus

was changed,

through experiencing the love and teaching of God..


So today I have a couple of questions in my heart

Are we who come to church

coming to listen - hear - learn

about Jesus under cover of darkness?


I know we physically come to Church in the day time

.. the darkness to which I refer

is the darkness of hiding

hiding our questions

our understanding or even our misunderstanding

through our hiding are we denying Jesus?


Or are we being bold in being Church

are we bold in speaking to others about being Church..

about living in the love of God

in and through Jesus..


Or do we come on a Sunday and that's it..

No more thought about meeting together

Praying together

Or joining in with events

or gatherings which happen during the week..

Do we not want to be seen as followers

as disciples of Jesus.?


Nicodemus did not want people to see him with Jesus

He had a position to uphold

Perhaps he didn't want to have to think more deeply

about this man Jesus..

Yet though the conversations

todays reading show us that he did think deeply..

he did try to work out the incongruence of his leadership roll

and the teachings of Jesus

He even recognised God within Jesus

as he said.. Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher

who has come from God,

for no one can do these signs that you do

apart from the very presence of God


Jesus was born Emmanuel

God with us

Emmanuel speaks of God in Jesus

remember Jesus was fully human

but living in relationship

letting the Holy Spirit blow where it will

Jesus heals

turns water into wine

feed thousands from a few simple loaves and fishes

brings Lazarus to life..

equips the woman at the well to bring others to him

to see who the Messiah is


Jesus, Emmanuel, our Messiah, our Redeemenr and our friend

tells us that to know him properly

we have to be born from above

we have to hear again the call of the Spirit in our lives

we have to hear again the call to covenant

to give of ourself and receive from God..


Nicodemus was eager

Nicodemus engaged… Nicodemus learnt

how… through experiencing relationship with Jesus

Nicodemus’ life was changed for ever

he gave up on all he held dear

and came to hold Jesus and all he offered

dearer than his own desires..


Nicdemus finally came out and become public

about his relationship with Jesus

But... and here's the thing

He became VOCAL AND VISIBLE … AsJesus was dying..

So I ask

Are we waiting for the Church here to die

before we all put aside the things which we are respected for

the things we hold power over

the things we prefer

the excuses we make

Are we waiting for death

before we testify to what we have seen

so others can receive our testimony

others can see God within us


One hour on a Sunday is not enough

enough time or enough space

to let the Spirit of God blow through our hearts and minds

enough to show others the presence of God within us?


I invite you again

to gather more than on a Sunday

I invite you to share fellowship

Share our stories

Share our joys and our sorrows

Share our lives

Together in mutually flourishing relationships


Today more than ever

we have to learn again

to be Church

Church who do not hide in the darkness

We have to open our doors

and our hearts


We have to be Church who meet together in the light

in public

we have to be the ones who does not raise our hands

to oppression,

to the worlds bigotry

to the power of others ….. because its safe

The mossed missed thing about Jesus

about being a Christian

is… Jesus was radical

he stood up in the light against those who held power bases

he stood up in the light and confronted behaviours and beliefs

He stood up and taught us how to be Church


Meeting, eating, walking, worshiping, studying,

spending time together..

with his disciples

with those who came by darkness

so he could show us how to be Church

a people

who would gather anywhere to be Church

Church who

stand up for the weak, the vulnerable, the poor, the needy,


So as the body of Christ here in our little patch of North Yorkshire

can we step out of the darkness

can we step into the light of being seen

can we confront behaviour that do not value all people


Can we be like August Landmesser

and be different to the crowd

walking in the light

and not the darkness.


Can we let Jesus change us

can we let him remove the scales from our eyes

as he Did to Saul


So we too can remove the yolk of oppression

from our hearts and minds

allowing our faith to be seen

in all we are and in all we do.


Amen…






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 ..

known…

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 …

Genesis…


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

Educated..

living a right legal life

with all of the privileges that life gives..

Nicodemus

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

known

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

Change

Into the likeness of Christ


Amen









Mary Williams - Transformers

Sunday 16th April 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Mon, April 17, 2017 21:27:03

Transformer.


So called because it transforms from one thing into another. A bit like Superman, or the Beast in Beauty and the Beast and many other children's characters.

There's something of the satisfying fairy tale in something or someone being liberated from a former state into something better.

The Easter story is all about transformation. Transformation from despair to hope, from grief to joy, from death to everlasting life.

Jesus himself transformed from Good Friday's broken, lifeless body, to Easter Sunday's resurrected Lord.

However, if we look closer at the characters who play a part in the account of those three momentous days, we realise that transformation is beginning to take place within, in their lives as a result as the result of having been with Jesus.

Take Peter; at first as he and the other disciple (John) enter the tomb, we're told that it was John who 'saw and believed', not Peter. I wonder what Peter expected to find after Mary Magdalene ran to tell them that the tomb was empty? Might there have been a glimmer of hope, despite all the evidence, or would past failure have clouded his rational thinking? Did he perhaps hope that somehow Jesus was still alive? Or a ghost? Was he worried about an encounter with the one he had let down so dramatically? But Peter, being Peter, had to know and the mystery deepened as he entered the empty tomb.

Then we have Mary Magdalene. Misrepresented throughout history. Yet nowhere in the Bible does it state that she was anything other than a faithful disciple. I understand it was Pope Gregory I who claimed she was a prostitute in AD591. And because such juicy gossip was newsworthy even then, that reputation has stuck.

Three days earlier she was standing, helpless, near the cross with Jesus' mother, his aunt and Mary the wife of Clopas. Faithful women who, unlike the disciples, had not fled in the face of danger, and now she has the privilege of being the first person to meet the risen Christ.

A transformation of hope, of dawning reality, that had its roots in her past encounters with Jesus. As she had learned from his teaching, watched his miracles, witnessed his compassion and wondered at his integrity, even in the face of a painful death, she was being changed from the person she had been into the disciple she became.


And that transformation that had begun in her and Peter continued, through Pentecost to influence the early Church. Peter became one of the main leaders of the fledgling, 1st Century Church, and by the time we reach Acts chapter 10 we realise how much he had changed. Here we have a man, strong, not in his own human strength as in the past, but one who is open to what the Holy Spirit is saying, even though what he actually says at first appears contrary to the Church's teaching.

Kill and eat these unclean things, Peter is told three times in a vision, and while he's still trying to work out the significance of the vision, strangers arrive, asking for him by name and urging him to go to with them to a Gentile household.

Again he hears from the Holy Spirit, Don't hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.

And Peter, the one who so often seemed to get the wrong end of the stick, gets it right this time and realises that he is to go to those who are 'unclean' in the eyes of the Jews and preach the good news of the gospel to them.

It is his inner, spiritual transformation that is evident here. No doubt, a few months before he would have refused to go anywhere near a Gentile, and the liberating gospel of the Kingdom of God could have remained confined to the Jewish religion, a kind of sect within Judaism.

His thinking, attitude and openness to the Spirit were changing, his whole being was being transformed into the likeness of Christ. He has begun to think 'outside the box', so to speak, and to listen to what the Spirit is saying, rather than to rely on his own traditional ways of thinking.

We too can know that transformation today because Christ has risen. When he returned to his Father at the Ascension and promised his Spirit, it wasn't just for those who were physically on earth with him during those days. It was for every believer down the ages. It was for you, and me, and for those who came before us and for those who are yet to be born.

So great, so powerful, so earth-shattering is the fact that Jesus came back to life (proper life, not a ghostly shadow) that he was able to state that we, his followers would be able to do greater things than he did, because his power is present in us.

Not greater things for the sake of the miraculous,

not greater things to bring us individual glory or prestige,

not greater things so that we could do thing 'our way', and run ahead of God,

but so that the world might know that the one we follow is the Lord of heaven and earth. The One whom we are called to worship, love and obey. Our Lord, Redeemer, friend and brother. So where does that leave us today? Easter Day 2017?

Are we conscious of transformation in our lives? Are we willing to be transformed? If so, what does transformation look like today?

I think a clue is that it was through a deep encounter with Jesus that Peter and Mary's lives were transformed. They had sat under his teaching, listening to him, walked with him, watched his behaviour, his actions, and been impressed.

They must have been or otherwise they would not have continued with him. But transformation was more than that. It wasn't until the Holy Spirit was given full reign in their lives that things actually started to really change from the inside out.

We can be full of good intention, like the former Peter, and that is brilliant, as far as it goes. But it takes an inner, supernatural touch from God, something that comes from outside ourselves to cement and grow his life in us and move us from weakness to victory.

Only then will we be up to the challenge of our changing world, changes both within and outside the Church. And if we, like the early Church are going to move forward, we must make sure we are tuned in to what the Spirit is saying to us, right here, right now, for the present and for the future.

Let us pray



Yvonne Callaghan - Transformers

Sunday 16th April 2017Posted by Yvonne Callaghan Mon, April 17, 2017 21:21:45

Transformers, they are great toys. They are toys where when we move parts of it around and re aligning the parts, they are changed from one thing to another.

They are - Transformed

Sometimes what we transform is good, like our gardens when we clear out weeds, move them from where they are not wanted, that place then becomes, cleaned, transformed, free to grow the plants we want

Painting and decorating a room can make such a difference, putting our own stamp on a place, transforming a room into our space, often making a house a home.

Yet sometimes what we transform is not always good, we don't take account of why we are transforming something, we just plough on, or we hold on to what is familiar, the things which we like

Which is what we saw Peter doing in our first reading. God had plans for Peter. Remember he was named by Jesus as the rock. Peters name was changed from Simon the fisherman to Peter the Rock. The Rock on whom Jesus built his church.

Peter was transformed by name for a purpose, not just for the sake of it by Jesus.
Jesus didn't just think "Hey - you know what I think you look a lot like a Peter."

Jesus named Simon Peter - because the name means rock - Solid. The solid one on whom Jesus would build his Church.

And yes we know Peter denied Jesus three times, but Jesus already knew peter would deny him, he shared that with Peter prior to the crucifixion. Yet still Jesus called him the rock... Peter ..

He also gave Peter the opportunity again and again to say 'I'm sorry', I will change my ways of being, I will transform.

So in our first reading, just before the piece we read today, Peter had denied God, as God lowered three times a cloth with foods not allowed by the Jewish People, foods which would be a sin to eat. So each time the cloth dropped, Peter denied God, by saying things along the lines of: "You must be kidding God - I ain't eating that stuff - It's not legal for a start."

That denial of Peter gives me hope, hope that even when we deny our Lord, we can still be transformed and transform those whom we meet. If we look further on, we continue to see that God is transforming Peter, as he becomes the one who take the Good News to the Gentiles. Through lowering the cloth, Jesus is showing Peter that the grace, the love, the mercy he offers to Peter is not just for the Jews but for all people - Even the gentiles.

So whilst Peter was denying God - God never let him go - God held on to him - guided him and continued to transform Peters heart...

And then we have Mary - And what transformation has gone on in her life - Both when she was alive and since she has died

Mary the faithful disciple, who watched and waited at the foot of the cross, whilst many others had gone.

Mary misaligned as a prostitute in the 6th century by Pope Gregory The Great as he got confused with the many stories in the bible of many Mary’s..Mary the sister of Martha and the unnamed Mary - a sinner from Luke’s gospel, both of whom wash Jesus’ feet with their hair.

Yet Mary. Magdalene, this faithful disciple of Jesus - the first evangelist - the first person to share the Good News of our Lords resurrection with the disciples has been, misrepresented by the world, which in hindsight is harsh - But our God is in the business of transformation. He always has been and always will be - and even if it has taken theologians until more recently to recognise the error made by pope Gregory. They were able to do so by studying the text of the bible. Looking again and as they looked they saw there is no where within the text that once refers to Mary as a prostitute

Mary has been redeemed again, by the life of Jesus recorded for us in the bible.
We too can redeem people today, by understating, engaging with and sharing the stories of Jesus in the bible. Why? because Jesus is in the business of transformation

Never more so than at Easter, when through what was the finality of his earthly death he transformed for us our earthly death

as a gateway to life…. Life eternal with our Father, through all Jesus did on the cross and in his resurrection we have forgiveness of our sins always when we turn to him. As we look again and again at the life of Jesus and how he lived - how he died - we see the heart of Jesus is to transform our own heart - and whilst the account of Peter and of Mary are personal human transformations - Jesus does something amazing with them - Jesus transforms his Church.

Jesus is showing us even today - again and again - how to transform his church. How to share the gospel in each generation - And I'm sure we are all aware of all he is transforming among us in our Parish. I'm sure we are being shown cloths with new ways being opened before us and our attitude of no!
"No I have always done this"
"I have always cared for this"
"I have always given this"
"I have always …. "

All of those no's will be transformed - are being transformed
I hear those transformations again and again as I have conversations with others
I also hear the no’s.. not always directly - but I do hear the no’s
"the I don't want to do this,"
"I have always done this and will continue to do so."
But… But.. among our no’s and our yes's
We are being called again and again
Just as Peter was
Just as Mary was
When she went looking for the body of Jesus
We are being called again to look for life where we may not expect it.

Remember the voice of God will always say no
When we ignore his desire.
Yet when we follow the sound of his voice guiding us - like Mary, we will recognise him when he calls our name. We will recognise when he says No ... not that way - Or - Yes .. this is the way.

And we have to listen again and again to God, as individuals and as church - most especially in the immediate future as we discern how to be Church - not just now but into the future as far as 2030 and beyond.

And just as Peter was called to eat differently - to go into homes he would not traditionally have done - we too must do the things our Lord reveals to us calls us to.

So that we who know ourselves to be beloved and known called by name - to be his body - His church - may be both transformed - and transforming - meeting others who do not yet know they are beloved - known and called by name.

When we listen - When we experience God doing something -
when we recognise a God moment - a Kairos moment
A time when God is doing something among us
and we respond - then we through Jesus transform lives - Ours and those of whom we are shown we are to minister among - Then just as the first disciples heard the voice of Mary passing on the news of Jesus resurrection - Just as Cornelius heard the voice of Peter speaking to the Gentiles - Passing on the truth of the teaching, the death and the resurrection of Jesus.

We too will be the voice of hope
The voice of change
The voice of transformation
Of his Church
Of our lives
By his guiding
Now and in the future. Amen