Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther
It’s July! It’s the summer, though there are days when that is rather hard to believe. But in the hope that summer will arrive properly very soon we are beginning some outdoor worship. From this Sunday Aldringham’s 11.00am services will take place outdoors if at all possible. My BBC Weather app. is currently (Friday morning) saying ‘light rain showers and a gentle breeze’. The forecast will probably change several times before Sunday morning, and we all know of the existence of our local ‘microclimates’ but whatever happens we will give it our best shot. And if we are outdoors we can sing – and we will!
I am also going to experiment by making this service the recorded one that will, all being well, be available online from 3pm on Sunday. Recording outdoors is slightly more hazardous than indoors so I apologise in advance if things don’t quite work as well as we would hope – but ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’!
This is also the weekend when ordinations take place in our cathedral, both to the diaconate and the priesthood. Emma and Martin Steadman, from Friston, and I have been lucky enough to sing (and in Emma’s case play the harp too) at the Compline services that have been held over the last few evenings in our cathedral for the ordinands as part of their pre-ordination retreat. It has been a real privilege and we should all hold the 13 ordinands, and the 17 deacons about to be priested, in our prayers.
We had a wonderful benefice service last Sunday in Aldeburgh church as we welcomed Archdeacon Jeanette and celebrated with Jo and James. Once again, my thanks to everyone who contributed in any way to the service and to the refreshments afterwards. I know that both Jo and James were thrilled with the day and extend their thanks too.
Finally, I head to Cornwall once again this coming week to take my brother’s funeral at the crematorium in Bodmin. It is on Wednesday afternoon at 2.30 and your prayers would be very much appreciated.
With my love and prayers, as ever
Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is
governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you
in holiness and truth to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Jesus said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you. And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants are impudent and stubborn. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.
2 Corinthians 12.2-10
I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Jesus left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Sermon for 4th July – Fifth Sunday after Trinity,
by The Revd Johanna Mabey
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
I was spoilt for choice on what to talk about this morning…and I ummed and ahhed about it for a long time, but our second reading from 2 Corinthians stood out to me – and most especially the image of strength out of weakness.
I’m giving away my age now, but as Max Bygraves used to say, ‘I wanna tell you a story’…
ONCE upon a time, in the far, far east – lived a great emperor, in a great palace, which was gorgeously stocked with the richest of goods. It was early spring, and the season of royal visits, when kings and princes called on one another and admired each other’s choicest possessions, gave wonderful gifts, and enjoyed bountiful banquets. And this year was special, because the visitors would see the investiture of the emperor’s beloved son, Kintsukuroi, as Crown Prince of the empire.
The emperor was excited because he had a new and beautiful bowl to show to his friends, specially made for him by the finest of craftsmen. Imagine, then, his horror when, on going to his cabinet, he discovered that the bowl was broken apart into a hundred pieces. How could it have happened? No one knew. What could be done about it before the first visitors arrived? No one could offer any idea; for the time was too short to start again and make another one.
The emperor was dismayed, sad that he couldn’t show off his beautiful bowl, but even sadder that something so beautiful should have broken. He retired into his private apartments with only his beloved son to share his sorrow, and they talked long into the night together.
NEXT morning, the emperor woke to the sound of a great commotion. His senior ministers demanded to see him urgently. The cabinet of treasures had been broken into, and this time the great new golden diadem that had been made for his beloved son, ready for the investiture, was quite simply gone — along with the pieces of the broken bowl, although who cared about those, now?
What’s more, the thief had been seen, but not recognised, since he was covered in dirt and scars, with nothing to distinguish him from a thousand other down-and-outs who hung around the palace; for the emperor — to the annoyance of his ministers — refused to turn them out, but shared his food with them.
No one knew for sure where the thief had gone, but he had, they thought, run off towards the prince’s apartments. There, the doors were most unusually locked, and there was no answer to the ministers’ knocking, although they could hear sounds inside. Would the emperor give his permission for them to break down the door?
They dare not act without it.
The emperor was silent for many minutes. On his face, his ministers saw sadness, but not anger; lament, but also love. What was going on? Eventually the emperor spoke. “Leave the prince and his apartments alone. If he is ready to rule, he must be allowed to act. His will and my will are as one.”
The ministers were not at all sure what this meant, but the message was clear: they were to do precisely nothing.
So the day passed. The emperor remained in his private apartments.
Those of the prince remained locked, although smoke could be seen coming out of the chimney, and a fire had obviously been lit. Eventually, the ministers tired of their waiting, and went to bed. The important guests were expected the very next day.
IMAGINE their surprise in the morning, when they went to the treasure cabinet to prepare its items for display and found the precious bowl back in its place, whole again, but glistening with veins of gold where the cracks had been.
Its beauty seemed all the greater. And, beside it, the prince’s crown: a slim band, now, but speaking in its simplicity of a strength, an authority all the more striking because it had given itself away, and given glory to another, but was itself the greater for it. The investiture could go ahead.
A smile of secret understanding passed between the emperor and the son, whose newly scarred hands had shown him worthy to come into the kingdom.
“Kintsukuroi” means “to repair with gold” in Japanese,
It’s the art of repairing pottery with gold and understanding that the piece is the more beautiful for having been broken.
I have real an example of this here today – please do come and look at it more closely after the service … it was gifted to my parents by a complete stranger in a rather wonderful and completely unexpected way when we visited Japan in 2009… but that’s another story!
Beauty and strength in broken places…
We heard that in St Paul’s words just now – as he reflected on his own brokenness.
Three times Paul petitioned God to relieve him of the issues that plagued him, and three times God reminded His servant that he had been gifted with all he needed to cope.
On this 4th of July, perhaps it’s appropriate to quote the famous American author, Ernest Hemingway who said, ‘life breaks all of us, but some of us are strong in the broken places.’
That’s the paradox…
strength often comes from great sacrifice, tragedy, and pain.
God knows us all so well; he knows our weaknesses.
Paul tells us that it’s in these periods of suffering that we’re drawn to God and reminded of His promises.
God will supply our needs; and His grace will always be sufficient.
Life can break us all, but then God makes us stronger and more beautiful in the broken places.
The Fable of Kintsukuroi taken from The Church Times (04.08.17)
As told by The Rt Revd David Thomson (retired Bishop of Huntingdon).
Grant, O Lord, we beseech you,
that the course of this world may be so peaceably
ordered by your governance, that your Church may
joyfully serve you in all godly quietness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sunday 11th July
Sixth Sunday after Trinity
Benefice Holy Communion with Revd Johanna Mabey’s Licensing to Priest – 27th June
Here are a few photos of Jo’s special day. Don’t forget you can watch the service on the Alde Sandlings Youtube Channel.
Sorry, cancelled on the 6th July
Weekly Benefice Newsletter
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
The Trussel Trust Organisation
Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year 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.
Please 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
✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞
Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
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✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
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