Message from our Curate in Charge,
The Revd James Marston
Quite a long message this week but please read so you know what’s going on!
This week I buried the ashes of a lady called Joan Farrington. Her remains were laid to rest in our churchyard with her parents who died in the 1970s. The service only took a few moments and I’m rather sad to say was attended by just me and the undertaker. We did the service properly, I dressed up in my robes and we said the appropriate prayers and sad though it is, occasionally this happens – a burial of ashes with no mourners. I wondered, if this happens in the future, if any among you might like to spare a few moments and join me and represent our worshipping community at this simple yet important service. If you would be happy to be called upon in these circumstances, please let me know. It only takes a few minutes and I think having an extra person or two would be a kind and respectful thing to do when this happens.
Benefice Service October 31 – All Saints
I draw your attention to the Alde Sandlings Benefice Service on October 31st at 10.30am at Aldeburgh Church as we mark All Saints Day. The benefice choir, under the guidance of Mish Kelly, has been rehearsing and are planning to use the Alde Sandlings Mass setting and people from across our parishes are taking part in all aspects of the service. I’m looking forward to seeing us come together again as we celebrate our church communities.
I’ll be preaching on the saints of the benefice for which I have just begun research. So far, I have discovered that St Andrew (Aldringham) is also the patron saint of Russia, St Lawrence (Knodishall) is the patron saint of chefs, and the Virgin Mary (Friston) is among the most common parish church dedications in England. And a question I’ve always wondered about, the joint dedication of St Peter and St Paul (Aldeburgh) reflects church tradition that the two saints were martyred on the same day, though maybe not the same year.
This year there unfortunately won’t be a civic Remembrance Service in Aldeburgh church. This is because the town council have decided to decline the invitation to come up to church following the Act of Remembrance at the war memorial. I think they wish to follow last year’s precedent of an outdoor ceremony in which people can be spaced apart, in the fresh air and as covid secure as possible.
Obviously, I have to participate in the act of remembrance in the town and can’t be in two places at once, so the town council have invited our congregation to join them and the rest of the community as we remember those fallen in conflict. I would urge you, as a worshipping community, to accept this invitation and join the wider community on this occasion.
Remembrance Sunday is an important part of the civic calendar and an opportunity for God’s people of Aldeburgh church to be seen amongst and join the wider community. The town council has offered to provide some covered seating.
For those who don’t wish to take part in the town ceremonies the church will remain open with some reflective music giving those the opportunity to be still, pray and remember from about 10.45am. Elsewhere in the benefice the Act of Remembrance will be observed from 10.50am at each church followed by a service. Furthermore, in line with Church law, I will be offering a simple said communion service using liturgy according to the Book of Common Prayer at 8am at Aldeburgh church for those that wish to receive the sacrament.
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be
written for our learning: help us so to hear them,
to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them
that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word,
we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
2 Timothy 3.14-4.5
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. ‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’
Sermon by The Revd James Marston
Preached at Knodishall 17th October 2021
“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve”
It’s not easy being a Christian. We work hard to keep our churches open and going – yet few come. We give up our time to fundraise and be part of the community and often it seems no one really cares if we are here or not.
We are taught to turn the other cheek and love our neighbours – even when we don’t want to.
We come to church to worship and to try harder and still we don’t get it right.
And we are often thought of by the outside world in less than favourable terms.
This may sound a bit of a gloomy opener for a Sunday morning sermon.
Instead of my usual light-hearted little story about my motor car or the rectory or some amusing anecdote, I’ve filled you with the depressing notion that faith is no picnic.
I’m afraid that sometimes it isn’t.
And in today’s gospel story we hear something of the cost of discipleship, as James and John demand a reward for following Jesus. The other disciples, we hear, are angry with James and John. As one biblical commentator puts it, “not because their own attitudes were any different but because the two brothers had stolen a march on them.”
Their reward, they are all told, is to suffer as Jesus suffers and if they want a hint of greatness, they have to be a slave to all.
Hardly an uplifting story, is it? Especially as just moments before Jesus has, for the third time in Mark, told them all about his forthcoming death and resurrection and they’ve clearly just ignored all that he’s just said.
Indeed, Jesus highlights the ignorance of these sons of Zebedee: “You do not know what you are asking” he says.
Son no wonder it’s a bit depressing we have ignorant disciples who have not listened and have, as a result, totally missed the point.
But perhaps we can sympathise a little bit. For many of us faith is something that comes to us later in life – it takes a while to recognise the presence of God in our lives, a while to work out that sense of the spiritual so many of us all seem to feel is about the God they talk about in the church we never went into. It takes a while for things to slip into place and even when they do we often hold back something of ourselves – we find it difficult, as do the first disciples, to commit our lives to the divine.
And let’s not forget, we know the end of the story, we know the joy of the resurrection. Easter was yet to come for those men who had given up their lives to follow a man who is banging on again about how he’s going to die.
So as much as today’s gospel reading is a reminder of the cost of discipleship – it is also a reminder of the joy of faith and the journey of faith that we are all on.
So my message today is not to lose heart, not to give up being the people of God, not to stop caring about your church or your community – just because other people might not get it yet and might not want to know. I urge you not to worry too much about how many people even come to church – having a faith is about sharing God’s love but that isn’t always the same as growing congregation numbers and paying into the system.
Just by keeping the faith, putting God in your lives, you are showing others the way as they journey through the spiritual journey we are all on. That means simply letting those know around you that you are lucky enough to know Him in your lives.
My job, as a priest is to encourage you and the communities of our parishes, to follow Jesus. And to execute my duties as a priest I am called, primarily, to pray for people’s souls.
My challenge to you this week is to join me in that task.
To think of those outside our church communities as the Sons of Zebedee and the other disciples who slightly miss the point and don’t know the full story.
To pray, not just in church on a Sunday, but during the week, and in your moments of stillness, for those around you, for those who don’t know Jesus, for those yet to know the joy of faith.
Because from prayer comes everything else and not least the deepening of your own faith and understanding of God.
It is as simple as that and it is how we, as his 21st century followers, serve the Son of Man who came not to serve but to serve.
God of all grace, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry
with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.
Texts from Coventry Cathedral’s Tablets of the Word
🎼 NADIA LASSERSON & FRIENDS 🎼
Admission Free – A retiring collection for Save the Children
Next week –
Sunday 31st October
Fourth Sunday Before Advent/All Saints’ Day
BENEFICE SERVICE FOR ALL SAINTS’ – 31ST OCTOBER
Church of England and Diocese Online Worship
Church of England website
Church of England Facebook page
Church of England YouTube channel
St Edmundsbury Cathedral Facebook Page
Bible Sunday – 24th October
All Souls’/Remembering the Loved Service
Aldeburgh Parish Church
Weekly Benefice Newsletter
Message from Ken Smith – Aldeburgh
Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays
Pilgrims Quiz on Zoom – Saturday 27th October (not 20th)
Our next Pilgrim Breakfast and Ramble is on
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
The Trussel Trust Organisation