Friday, April 22, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The following was written for church newsletters!

Recently Andrew, James and I went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and had a lovely afternoon off, wandering around the 500 acres of woodland, and looking at the different sculptures. The picture shown here is part of a exhibition by an Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. It’s a picture of a man in an rocking chair, and a man with a bicycle, they are connected by what looks like two ribbons. You won’t be able to see, but on one of the ribbons are the words  ‘Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.’ 

It struck me, as something appropriate for the church, for often we are asked and called to take a step of faith often into the unknown.  In the book of Joshua (3: 9-16), we read:

“Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God …… See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.”

In order to cross the Jordan, the priests had to take a step of faith – for it was only when they touched the water, did it stop. They had to trust in God that he would do what he promised, and their faith was rewarded.

I wonder whether God is asking you to take a step of faith at the moment – maybe it’s something in your personal life, or in the church. I strongly believe that God is asking us all as the Church to take a step of faith together as we consider what the future holds for us. Let’s be like the Israelites and trust in God, and take the first step even when we don’t see the whole staircase.’

God bless you all.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thoughts on today ..

It's been a good day - we tried something new at church this morning - the service was based around the godly play story "The Mystery of Easter" .. .(ably led by one of our sunday school leaders) --- using the colours purple and white to reflect on the sad and happy, purple and white of easter  and the fact that in the midst off  the sadness celebration of eater, comes joy. We then gave people time to reflect in word, thought or craft. The majority of the response to the service was positive with some good constructive comments about how we could make it better NEXT time we do it....

The rest of the day was spent at a 30th birthday afternoon tea and then I took an evening service in a small village, asking them to reflect on their own jouney through Lent, as we journed with Jesus from His baptism, His time in the wilderness, the calling of the disciples and how Jesus made a difference to Matthew the tax collectors life.

It has been a good day ... except for one part ... which I'm not sure I'm annoyed or gobsmacked about... during the morning service whilst people were talking or being creative .. I wandered around the room to see how people were getting on ... I went to one table where a mum and very new baby were sitting ... when a man at the other end of the table lent over and said - it'll be you next Rachel ... meaning having a baby ... This is not the first time he has said this to me .. the first time was just a few weeks after our wedding...

If people want to make a comment about the service - that's fine and I am pleased with the conversations I had with people who found this morning helpful and those who didn't ... but I find this type of personal comment offensive... . he doesn't know me or my circumstances... nor will he every hear them .. but people should really think about what they say before opening their mouth.... I was very controlled - but made the comment that he really ought to think hard before he comes out with comments like that in the future ... but came close to wanting to hit him,

What I wonder is it because I'm "young(ish)" or because I'm the "minister" that people feel they can make such personal comments .... and do they really realise what they are saying .. or think they can get away with saying anything because I'm the minister... I also wondering whether I should now ignore the comment or let him know why I find his comment offensive.. or whether I'm just being too senstive!!!

Oh well, I'm sticking with the positives of the day and thinking that it has been a good day ... and thanking God for all he has done in it.