Thursday, 17 December 2009

Mary, did you know?

This week at the Advent course we looked at Mary. Quite literally "looked" at her, using images rather than passages of Scripture, some of the images very traditional, and others.... well, maybe a bit surprising.

We also listened to the track "Mary, did you know?" and tried to absorb the enormity of the Incarnation, that very closeness of a loving mother and baby being the image of the closeness God desires between God and humankind.

"Mary did you know...
...that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?"

New Bibles

One of the recurring comments during The Bible Aloud at St Felix last month was that the print in our pew Bibles is too small for people to read aloud fluently. So we have bought a new large-print Bible (NIV) for the lectern, and 20 more pew Bibles, as there is only one per pew at the moment. There was a special offer on pew Bibles at Eden online, so we went for it. They will be dedicated on Sunday, and bear a label commemorating The Bible Aloud and verses from 2 Timothy which seem appropriate:

“All Scripture is God-breathed

and is useful for teaching,

rebuking, correcting and training

in righteousness,

so that the man and woman of God

may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3.16&17

Amen. So be it.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Carol Services and all Christmas Services

The Carol Services in this cluster of parishes has begun!

Yesterday the Church of John the Baptist at Wantisden was filled with people wearing extra jumpers who had come to sing the first Carols of Christmas by candlelight. The warm clothing was the keep out the cold (no heating), and the candles and torches to see clearly as the afternoon light faded outside (no electric lights either).

We heard the events of the Incarnation in the words of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and then the fantastic Mystery contained in John's Gospel:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning..."
O Glory!! And I get to read that bit! Yes! What kind of privilege is that?!!

And if you missed that one, catch another Carol opportunity at one of the following:
  • Sunday 20th December,
    10.30am St Felix Rendlesham
    - the Family Service will involve unfolding the Christmas story, creating the Crib in the church and singing Carols
    6.30pm St Gregory Rendlesham
    - Traditional Carol Service with the choir of St Mary-le-Tower Ipswich
  • Wednesday 23rd December, 6.30pm
    - Carols in the Square in Rendlesham, outside Costcutters, with season refreshments afterwards in the Community Centre
  • Thursday 24th December, CHRISTMAS EVE:
    4.30pm St Felix
    - Christingle Service with JOY balloons: a service to which the younger members of our community can bring their adults, and for all the young at heart
    5pm All Saints Eyke
    - Crib Service, creating the Crib in the church, for all ages
    6.30pm St Michael & All Angels Tunstall
    - Traditional Service of Lessons & Carols
    11.30pm St Gregory Rendlesham
    - The first Holy Communion of Christmas Day
    - 9am Holy Communion at All Saints Eyke
    - 10am Holy Communion at St Felix Rendlesham
    - 11am Holy Communion at St Michael & All Angels Tunstall
O come, all ye faithful!
Come and adore Him!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Christmas Lights not just festive lights!

I like having Friday’s off work; my wife has most Fridays off, so we can spend the day together, :-)

She has often has to work Saturdays :-(

I also really like Christmas lights, and this year we bought some Christian Christmas lights. Over our front door we now have an LED rope light in the shape of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus, above that (on the roof) we have a star. It was fun getting that up there! I don’t have a roof ladder, or even a ladder that reaches the gutters. My plan was to throw a rope over the roof, tie it to my star and pull it up, however, without being sexist, I throw like a girl! After a few feeble attempts, with rope with a stone tied in it, I went for some wool with an old loo chain pull tied in it (don't ask why I had one of those spare).
After getting it stuck in the gutter a few times and nearly smashing a window (good throw but the wool caught in my fingers Doh!), I eventually got the wool over the roof.
New problem: how to get loo chain and wool down the other side! It had stopped a few tiles up from the gutter, out of sight and reach when at the top of the ladder; anyway long story short…, eventually got to it, then tied my rope to the wool, back round the front pull wool, but not hard, paranoid about breaking it and having to start again! But where the wool was tied to the rope, it kept catching on the tiles. Tie rope to door handle so wool under tension, run to back of house (OK walk to back of house), jiggle rope to free it, run walk back round to front, repeat process a dozen times or more! Tie star to rope and go to back of house, pull on rope, yes! Oh, stuck again! Star dangling over gutter, push it up a bit and hope I can pull the rest up. Star now on roof.

The Bible says the star was over the manger; hmmm, I could forgive any visitors to my illuminated scene from going next door. I’d really like the star to be aligned with the crib and the Baby, after all it was His birth the star was proclaiming. Still for now it’s just up there, and I have my Christ mas lights up.

Say Bar Humbug if you like, but I’ve never been a Father Christmas fan; to me it associates a lie with a truth that so many people also call a lie. When a child learns that there is no Father Christmas, it’s just something parents / adults made up, surely, at least subconsciously, the story of Jesus and the manger and the virgin birth are tainted by our lies.

Well I hope you enjoy this time of celebrating the birth of baby, who, at his death, was named in three languages, ‘King of the Jews’.
Happy Birthday Jesus, Happy Christ Mas.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tempus fugit

Boy, how time flies.

It's amazing it's been 10 days since we finished Bible Aloud, and it's been a busy week. Sunday was our 'offical end' as we read the last chapter of Revelation.

Tuesday we started our Advent Series, Rev Janice is running two courses, one in the day time, and one in the evening. Good numbers attended both sessions; in the evening we broke into 6 groups, to discus various bits of the book Isaiah, it went very well. Looking forward to the other 3 weeks.

Thursday we had House Group at our house, as our usual hosts were at their childrens school, as usual a very pleasant evening, thanks Nat.

Friday, day off work, as was the wife, so we had a pleasant day in Woodbridge, and coffee at the garden centre, I even managed to finish putting the bolts and locks on my shed.

Followed buy a great weekend with our two youngest Grandchildren (and their parents) round for the weekend.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Bible Aloud follow-up

During the planning of The Bible Aloud, we wondered how we should follow-through, rather than just read the whole Bible and feel jolly pleased with ourselves, and leave it at that. And we thought some kind of follow-up would be a Good Idea ("...first the blade, and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear...").

So an Advent course is running every Tuesday until Christmas, at 11am-12.30pm in the vicarage, and the same material again in the church, 7.30pm-9pm. Everyone welcome! Bring an open mind and an open Bible, because together we are exploring the meaning of Advent, that expectant pause before Christmas.

The first session was last week, but each session stands alone, so come when you can, even if you missed it last week.

"Lo, he comes with clouds descending!"

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!