Message from The Rector
Pentecost blows in this week – the last of the great storytelling Festivals of the church year before we move into so-called ‘Ordinary Time’ from next week onwards. Ordinary time, with its ‘Sundays after Trinity’ will take us right through to the end of October and All Saints Day. At Advent we anticipated Christ’s birth, celebrated it at Christmas and marked the fact that he was born for the whole world with the visit of the Magi at Epiphany. Then we anticipated Christ’s crucifixion at Lent, marked its happening on Good Friday and celebrated his rising from the dead at Easter. The final chapter sees him return to his Father on Ascension Day who then sends the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to be his gift to humankind for all time. We celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit with us this week and ask for its guidance and inspiration. From Advent to Pentecost this is our story, and everything that we do, and how we do it, results from that story and what we learn from it.
This week it is Aldringham’s turn for an Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which will happen after the 11.00 service in church. Next week Knodishall rounds off the sequence and its meeting follows the 9.30 service. Thanks to all who work so hard to prepare for these meetings and ensure their smooth running. There is a lot of work that needs to be done behind the scenes and I couldn’t be more grateful for the help I receive.
And so to reminders. Firstly, about the chamber-music concert in Aldringham on June 6th at 6pm and those in Aldeburgh on the 7th and 8th at 7pm. Excellent live music-making in two of our churches, not to be missed – more details further down this pew-sheet. Then don’t forget our Benefice Service on Sunday June 27th in Aldeburgh church at 10.30. Archdeacon Jeanette joins us to preside and preach and we celebrate significant turning points in the ministries of Jo and James. And it is Aldeburgh’s Patronal Festival too – lots to celebrate.
But at Pentecost we remember that the coming of the Holy Spirit marked the beginning of what came to be known as the Christian Church – the enabling of human beings to become Christ’s hands and feet, eyes and ears in the world. It’s the church’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
With my love and prayers, as ever
God, who as at this time taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all round them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. Then he said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.’
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’ But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
John 15.26-27; 16.4b-15
‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. ‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Faithful God, who fulfilled the promises of Easter
by sending us your Holy Spirit
and opening to every race and nation
the way of life eternal:
open our lips by your Spirit,
that every tongue may tell of your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sermon for 23rd May – Pentecost,
by The Revd Johanna Mabey
May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.
I heard about a priest who was asked by a church member, literally moments before the service he was leading was about to start, if he could please explain the Holy Spirit to him. Not great timing, but this was an important question for the person who asked, and the priest could see it was truly weighing on the man’s heart.
What did the priest answer? – “Wind and breath” was his hasty reply, and I think that was pretty tidy thinking under the circumstances, although the priest later mused that he’d summed up one of God’s greatest qualities with two things that came out of different ends of his infant son on a daily basis!
It’s hard to answer questions about the Holy Spirit. It’s one of those beloved mysteries.
If we did some word study, we would see that both the Hebrew word ruâch (which is female, by the way) and the Greek word ‘pneuma’ translate similarly as: wind, breath and spirit. And so, it’s not a stretch to say the Holy Spirit is the breath of God, the wind that whips around us, and the air we breathe in.
The wind is easy to explain… we feel it on our faces, we hear it rustling through leaves, we see it whip up the sandy soil in local fields and cause the waves to roll and crash along our coastline.
Breath is also easily understood – we see it on cold days, we smell it – especially after too much garlic bread… and we hear it when we’ve had to dash somewhere. Breath is a part of every human being, so much so that we rarely even think about it until it becomes difficult.
But Spirit is something unique. It has no scent, shape or form. It’s invisible and hard to grasp. Perhaps like our own breath, we don’t think about it until we need it. When we’re troubled, we often pray for the spirit to come.
But like our own breath, the Spirit is already with us.
The Spirit is there even though we may not feel it. On days when there isn’t any wind, and at times when we’re truly out of breath, the Spirit encircles us, because the Spirit is God, and God has never left us.
Through the Spirit, God breathed all creation to life. It was the first thing to BE, and it has never ceased to BE.
A favourite theologian of mine offers this wonderful illustration: Think about it as our earth’s atmosphere. This invisible layer of gases surrounds our beautiful blue planet. It keeps the air we breathe here on Earth from being sucked out into the cold and consuming vacuum of outer space. And inside this layer is all the air that ever was, is and ever will be. The same air of the ancients keeps recirculating, passing from one generation to the next.
God’s first breath is still blowing through this world, filling our lungs with life. This is the same breath inhaled by dinosaurs, Pharaohs, and Greek philosophers. When Jesus exhaled his last breath on the cross, it re-joined with Abraham’s, Jacob’s and all of our ancestors.
But God took that breath, that last sacrifice and strengthened it into a mighty wind that shook throughout creation. Like a holy hurricane, it blew through the upper room on the Day of Pentecost; igniting sparks that burst into flames about the disciple’s heads.
Picture them standing there in awe, all the disciples inhaling God’s breath, filling themselves to the gills with God’s Spirit.
They began to speak in tongues – in different languages. They created such a racket that they attracted others who were just passing-by. By the end of the day the church had grown to more than three thousand.
The good news is that the Spirit is still moving. Pentecost isn’t a onetime event. The Spirit is the heartbeat of the Church today as we celebrate our ‘birthday’ and the Gospel is interpreted for a third millennium.
And faced with so much change and uncertainty: so many worrying and difficult situations, the Holy Spirit remains an ongoing gift, filling us with hope and purpose.
The Spirit stretches us and pushes us to uncomfortable places. It challenges us to cast aside our prejudices and listen to its truth. The Spirit reminds us of the teachings of Jesus and encourages us to apply them. To love our neighbour as ourselves.
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, we are one body, the Body of Christ. Young, old, male, female, from every culture, every background, all dreaming the same dream together; each of us living and worshiping side-by-side for one common purpose.
So welcome to Pentecost! It’s the season of the Holy Spirit… totally dependable and utterly unpredictable; gentle and wild; challenging and comforting – the Spirit that can’t be described or contained…
Let’s rejoice together in the gift of it!
Pentecost Who or what is the Holy Spirit? – Just an Idea.
Sunday 30th May
Chamber Music Box at Aldringham Church
Some of you may remember the visit that we enjoyed from the young players of ‘Chamber Music Box’ last year. This time they bring a programme of music for flute and string trio including works by Schubert, Mozart and two leading 20th-century composers, Aaron Copland and Bohuslav Martinu. Tickets must be booked in advance – head for http://www.chambermusicbox.com/concerts for more information and the opportunity to book.
The Fitzwilliam Quartet Concerts
7th & 8th June 7pm at Aldeburgh Parish Church
We are delighted to welcome the return of music into Aldeburgh Parish Church. The Fitzwilliam Quartet will be performing two nights of music.
Monday – Haydn and Beethoven
Tuesday – Hugo Wolf, Haydn, and Schumann
Tickets at the door £10 (cash only). First come first seated, as we are limited with seating for everyone’s safety.
Weekly Benefice Newsletter
If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week. Whether it be a story to tell, or tips or recipes or a notice to be added to spread the word.
Deadline – Thursday 4pm Please
Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends
Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat.
✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞
Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities and have an even more vital role to play as we navigate our way through these unprecedented times. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.
The Trussel Trust Organisation
Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last few months due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.
You should also check the food banks website or social media pages for any changes to opening hours or operations as a result of the Coronavirus before dropping off donations –
If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing email@example.com
✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details