Services this Sunday for The Alde Sandlings Benefice
Service of the word
O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the
weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing
without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in the
keeping of your commandments we may please you both in
will and deed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am’, to a nation that did not call on my name. I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks; who sit inside tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels; who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.’ These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long. See, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their laps their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together, says the Lord; because they offered incense on the mountains and reviled me on the hills, I will measure into their laps full payment for their actions. Thus says the Lord: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it’, so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah inheritors of my mountains; my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall settle there.
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
Sermon preached by The Revd Johanna Mabey at
Friston 12th June 2022
May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.
Trinity Sunday falls on the Sunday after Pentecost and is one of the few feasts in the Christian calendar that celebrates a doctrine rather than an event.
It’s also notorious as the day which preachers shy away from because it’s a tricky doctrine to try and unravel.
I think it was an in-joke at vicar school that incumbents would try to off load the Trinity Sunday sermon onto their poor inexperienced curates – and so we were told to watch out for that in our first few years.
The Holy Trinity is complex and impossible to fully explore in the context of a short sermon – which you’ll be glad to know, this one is…
But that said, it seems odd that we try to avoid the doctrine…
After all, we articulate the Trinity many times a day in the liturgy: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you; and so on.
Many different images have been used to try and explain the mystery of God as three in one and one in three – for example;
The fact that water can also become ice and steam….
The three leaves of the shamrock on one stalk….
I’ve even heard it described as a 3-in-1 dishwasher tablet,
where each colour of the tablet has a distinct role, while being properly interconnected with all the others.
You may find that a rather earthy and uninspiring image, but I don’t think it’s a bad attempt to describe something beyond our vocabulary.
Of course, trying to box the Trinity into something we can logically manage kind of misses the point. Our frames of reference won’t explain God neatly. By definition, hoping in God involves an acceptance that He is infinite and we are not.
The author C S Lewis said that a doctrine never seemed less real to him than when he had just been defending it.
I was reminded of a scene in his famous children’s story, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’… the great Lion (Aslan) has died: and early the next morning 2 young girls, Susan and Lucy meet him alive again:
Aslan has risen from the dead.
This newly risen Aslan doesn’t first deliver a great, rousing speech to inspire them or perform a mighty act of power to impress them; instead, he says, quite simply, “Children – children – catch me if you can”. Then he leaps into the air; round and round they go, the children chasing after him; Aslan dives between them – then tosses them into the air, catching them in his huge velvet paws. Suddenly: he stops – all three of them roll over and over in (as the book says) “a happy, laughing heap of fur and arms and legs”.
It’s a glorious scene where every movement is certainly spontaneous and free, yet exhibits the precision of a well-prepared, minutely choreographed dance.
Here in this chase, I think C. S. Lewis provides us with an image of what life with the risen Jesus can be like – if we respond to his invitation to join him in the dance… it is a life of delight, almost we might say, of playfulness, a life of overflowing love – fullness, and joy.
Perhaps Trinity Sunday isn’t about trying to bend our brains around difficult doctrine.
The English Anglican mystic, Evelyn Underhill, wrote ‘If God were small enough to be understood, he wouldn’t be big enough to be worshipped.’
Perhaps this Trinity Sunday as the priest and poet Malcolm Guite observes, we are all simply invited:
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us and within.
Eternal Father, we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts: may our communion strengthen
us in faith, build us up in hope, and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Revd Johanna Mabey has kindly shared a photo of Aldeburgh church, from her evening walk this week.
What a moment to capture the vapour cross above the church. Thanks Jo!
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Licensing and Installation of Reverend Sarah du Boulay
There will be refreshments in the Church Hall after the service
Can you contribute with a plate of food? We need small finger food – sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese straws, savoury tartlets, sausages, crisps, and cakes. To prevent vast quantities of the same item, there will be a list in the west porch at Aldeburgh Parish church that you could add your name and food item that you would like to contribute with. Perhaps each church in the Benefice would like to do the same, or please do let Sandra Saint know or Claire at email@example.com
Youth Club has Returned
Weekly Benefice Newsletter
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Friston Open Gardens
Sunday 3rd July 3pm
Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays on Zoom
Sunday 26th June
Second Sunday after Trinity