Message from our Curate in Charge,
The Revd James Marston
Though it may be easy to feel a little depleted due to the temporary fall in clergy numbers, I can, nevertheless, detect a notable energy among our churches to get things done and share the love of God in our benefice as we rise to the challenge of vacancy. There is much to look forward to in the weeks ahead.
And as we continue to strike the balance between the strange pause of incumbent vacancy and a desire to get life going again, I recognise there may be some frustrations as well as some joys. Usually, I hope, the joys outweigh the frustrations – at least that’s how it seems to me as I begin to understand something of what priesthood is all about – the people, relationships, and encouraging others in faith.
And though we are in vacancy, I think this Sunday we can come together to mark the celebration of Christ the King – a timely reminder that our parishes and our benefice is not only the church of Christ but also the body of Christ in this place. Indeed, our church is led by God, whether there is an incumbent or not, revealed to us through the risen Christ and subject to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
And as I reflect for a moment, I am struck how our churches are made up of not just our regular worshipping communities but others who come to church, though perhaps less often, who also play their part in prayer and presence. Indeed, I expect we may well see some familiar faces returning to worship once again in the coming weeks.
As we welcome the wider congregation and community to our various services and continue to build up our faith communities, we can use the opportunity of Advent and the beginning of the new church year to remind ourselves and tell others of whom we serve and the king we worship.
With my prayers and thanks,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, now and for ever.
As I watched, thrones were set in place,
and an Ancient One took his throne;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousand served him, and ten thousand times
ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgement, and the books were opened.
As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him. To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.
‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’
Sermon By The Revd James Marston preached on
Sunday 7th November 2021
Mark 1: 14-20
May I speak in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This week I went to a friends’ collation – I thought this was something to do with a selection of cold meats and pickles. So confused as to how my friend could be served up with pickles and maybe some crusty bread, I looked it up in the dictionary – I was right collation is a light informal meal.
It is also, according to this dictionary, the action of collating something and in church speak means the patron, rather than the bishop, presents the incumbent to the living.
Although I’d rather you didn’t question me further on this insight into canon law as I’m still not totally sure.
Anyway, my friend was collated, inducted, and installed with the patron, bishop, and churchwardens in a lengthy ceremony in which she took up the mantle of her ministry.
We had sausage rolls afterwards – so I guess, in the end, it was a collation in both senses of the word.
In our gospel story there is no such ceremony, no prayers and no hymns, no quiche buffet afterwards. Instead Jesus simply says Follow me and these men simply stop what they are doing – put down their fishing nets as it happens – give up work, leave their homes and even their families and do exactly that, follow Jesus into the unknown.
I am sure, over the years, you have heard many sermons about the compelling man that Jesus was, how these simple words of his could excite such devotion and how amazing he must have been. You may too have heard biblical exegesis on what fishers of men means and the construction of first century Galilean fishing nets.
But what strikes me this week is not the powerful charisma of Jesus but the trust these men display – it seems extraordinary. We know the story, but they had no idea where they were going or what was going to happen next.
As I picked out a well-buttered cheese scone at my friend’s collation a lady of Buxhall church, my friend has got the Combs and Finborough benefice near Stowmarket – seven churches and I don’t envy her, said to me I know you your James Marston aren’t you. It seems my face is my ID across the county.
I nodded and exchanged pleasantries, but I was reminded by how, in my days working in the press, I would often be introduced as James the journalist, only to get the retort by the new stranger to whom I was being presented “Oh, a journalist, I better be careful what I say.”
Tempted though I was to reply, “I shouldn’t worry you don’t seem as though you’re going to say anything interesting anyway”, I usually just smiled. But on occasion I would remind people that they wouldn’t know who the prime minister was or what’s happening in any part of the world or our national and regional life, unless a journalist had told them. That usually shut them up and got them thinking.
And, of course, it is true that we trust journalists, arguably we would know nothing of Covid, or Brexit, or any of the issues of the day if we didn’t trust those who were telling us. In fact, it would be difficult to form any world view whatsoever if we weren’t bombarded with news, social media, information, books, and magazines, morning, noon, and night.
But sometimes it is a good idea to switch off the background chatter and try to listen to other voices – Christian experience has shown us that God’s voice in particular comes through in the silence.
This week I have been thinking about trust in God a great deal. What does it mean? How do we do it? How do we work out what God is asking of us or how he is guiding us? And I think for all of us that is something that emerges as we deepen and nourish our relationship with God, though it is not always easy.
Yet we trust almost implicitly ourselves, our own views and experience, supported by the background noise of 21st century life but do we ever sit and try to listen to God?
I suppose, as Christians, on the whole we do; we pray, we worship, we try to pay attention and see the world through the lens of our faith.
These Galilean fishermen James, John, Simon and Andrew, listened and reacted with such an extraordinary level of trust in a man they’d never met and in the end, they became the first witness to the greatest story ever told – the story we retell each time we celebrate communion or come to church.
The good news that God exists, life is eternal, and our souls are saved.
But it seems to me, that in order to trust in God in our own lives, in order to refocus our lives to the divine and not the earthly, we have to listen to God in the first place; to be aware he might be trying to guide us amid the maelstrom of life, and give ourselves the chance to let it happen.
So, I’m going to present to you an interesting challenge this week – turn off the news, don’t watch it for a few days, don’t tune in to the morning radio or six o’clock bulletin. Cut back if you can on the background chatter of life. Put a bit of silence into your daily routine.
See what happens and see if God might get a word in edgeways.
Creating space for him in our lives, as we approach advent, is no bad thing so I suggest you view this proposed news blackout as a spiritual exercise.
I doubt you’ll miss too much, and I just wonder if turning a listening ear to God might give him a chance to speak to you instead, and all of us the chance to renew our trust in Him.
Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Aldeburgh Christmas Festivities 2021
Saturday 27th November
Come and enjoy a day of festive fun in Aldeburgh with Craft Fayres, Knitivitys, Samba, Santa and of course the Big Switch On!
From 10am – Christmas Fayre at Aldeburgh Parish Church Hall and Knitivity in the Church
1-4pm – Santa is in his grotto at the Baptist Chapel
3-4pm – Samba at Moot Green
4pm – Christmas lights ceremony at Moot Hall, including carols with the British Legion Band, Town Crier, Christmas blessing by
Church of England and Diocese Online Worship
There are many online services you can view from the Church of England and our cathedral. Here are some links below.
Church of England website
Church of England Facebook page
Church of England YouTube channel
St Edmundsbury Cathedral Facebook Page
Christmas Service Dates at Aldeburgh Parish Church
To make sure everyone feels safe in church this Christmas, we are offering you the chance to reserve your seats for selected services. Due to the popularity of the Crib Service (Christmas Eve) we have decided the safest option is to have two services,
Weekly Benefice Newsletter
Book Recommendation from Mary Sidwell
Aldringham Advent Carol Service
Canon John Giles 60th Ordination Anniversary
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
The Trussel Trust Organisation
Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays
Zoom Quiz night: Saturday 27th November. Please email Sue and Richard if you can provide a round: email@example.com
Sunday 28th November
First Sunday of Advent