Message from The Revd James Marston
With our thoughts still with Ro and Mark, as he remains in Cornwall, we have seen the benefice pulling together in order that the life of the church continue as best it can. I know Mark is grateful and thanks goes to all the churchwardens, PCC members and congregations for their understanding and support.
This week I point you to the notice about the benefice service later this month. If you are hoping to attend this celebration do let your churchwarden know or email our parish administrator Claire at email@example.com as it is imperative we know the numbers to be able to seat you all safely.
It has been jointly agreed by all of the churches that the best way forward is to bring your own picnic for the bring and share (if we are allowed to go ahead). Each church will also bring two pack up picnics for our guests. It will be more of a “bring and don’t share” but we think we have a plan!
We won’t be holding the zoom coffee morning next week but don’t forget there is Holy Communion each Wednesday in Aldeburgh church if you would like to see a member of the clergy team. Sunday services continue as does midweek online compline and the online fellowship of Pilgrims Together.
Just to remind you I am on leave next week and the following week, though suspect I’ll be looking at emails once in a while. Then I start my cathedral placement for most of July.
Lord, you have taught us that all our doings
without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig
from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live;
in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind.
All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.
2 Corinthians 5.6-10 [11-13] 14-17
So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’ With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
Sermon for 13th June – Second Sunday after Trinity,
The Revd James Marston
May speak in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“He did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.”
I sometimes think, that for all of us, a quick word with Jesus in private would make all the difference when it comes to biblical interpretation of what he was getting at. Not least because we all learn in different ways – some of us like to read things, others hear, some like a visual explanation or a practical one demonstration.
I’m not going to throw mustard seeds around the church, or draw you a picture, but I do remember hearing a sermon on this text which left me none the wiser, partly because the scientific analysis provided by the speaker in question covered in such forensic detail the relative size of seed to bush alongside a dense treatise on agricultural practices in first century Palestine that I tuned out and started thinking about my lunch and the likelihood of whether mustard would feature in it.
Archbishop Michael Ramsey wrote, in his book The Christian Priest Today, that “First the priest is the teacher and preacher, and as such he is the man of theology…his study need not be vast in extent, but it will be deep in integrity not in order that he be erudite but that he be simple.”
So, in that spirit and in my simple view Jesus is only saying that from small acorns mighty oaks grow. And he’s saying the Kingdom of God shares this characteristic.
Which begs the obvious question what the Kingdom is Of God. Well, we know that it is central to much of Jesus’ teaching, we know it is not Kingdom in a political sense but the spiritual realm over which God reigns, we know that it is now and not yet, and we know it’s something which we strive for and hope for and build together here in community and that we’d like to see it and be part of. It is, of course, something of a mystery, perhaps best described as the reunion of mankind with God or the fulfilment of God’s will.
From which further obvious questions arise – what is God’s will? How will we know? How do we find out?
These questions, this curiosity we all have about God are part and parcel of our journey of faith. The answers may not always be as forthcoming or as clear as we expect or as we might like them. But asking questions, developing our curiosity, is one of the crucial ways in which we get to know God and his place in our lives, as well as discerning His will for us.
And we can, as St Paul says be confident as we walk in faith rather than with sight and that the love of Christ urges us on as we journey together.
Today we welcome young Freddie, through his baptism, into not only our church family here in Aldeburgh and our benefice but also into that journey of faith. Today is the beginning of his fellowship of Jesus. And we can be confident of God’s grace in Freddie’s life in the years to come.
As we baptise Freddie, with the water as well as the loud and joyful responses the liturgy requires, we are reminded of our own journey of faith, our own baptism in the fellowship of Jesus and, indeed, our own ability, through prayer, to speak to him in private whenever we need to.
From small acorns mighty oaks grow and it is delight and honour for us to be sowing the seed of faith today.
Loving Father, we thank you for feeding us at the supper of your Son:
sustain us with your Spirit, that we may serve you here on earth
until our joy is complete in heaven, and we share in the eternal banquet
with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sunday 20th June
Third Sunday after Trinity
PLEASE NOTE – Benefice Service on the 27th
If you are hoping to attend this Benefice service on the 27th, could you please let your church warden know, or email Claire firstname.lastname@example.org. It is really important that we know how many to expect, so you can all be seated safely. We do have limited seating due to the current precautions that have to be made. The last thing we want to do is to have to turn people away on the day. Your cooperation is very much appreciated.
Benefice Service – 27th June at Aldeburgh Church
We hope to have get together lunch after the Benefice Service on the 27th of June to celebrate Jo and James significant milestones in their ministries. Providing everything goes to plan with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, after much discussion with church members within the benefice, the general feel is that we should perhaps think about a bring and NOT share lunch and bring our own picnics, as Covid is still very much in our minds. Perhaps each church could put together two picnic pack ups for our visitors on the day?
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.
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. 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.
✞ Friston Sunday Services on Zoom ✞
Friston will be holding a live Zoom service for all those who
Please contact email@example.com for the links
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
✞ Pilgrims Together on Wednesdays ✞
The Pilgrims worship together every Wednesday.
Please contact email@example.com for the links
Postponed until Autumn