Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crowns

Christ the King was the theme for this sunday in the church calendar the week before the start of Advent. Preparing for the sermon I spent a fair bit of time on youtube looking up clips. Type in coronation and you come across a assortment of things from coronation street to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to Narnia and the Lion King. There are many different symbols of a kings power They include the crowns, sceptres, orbs, rings, swords

I really love it when the congregation become part of the sermon and shout out what they are thinking.  They question I asked 

What do you think of when you see a  crown.  

Ok so theres always one and the pub was mentioned :)

A crown is a symbol of power and authority.
Now there was a young prince who had a idea about what power and authority meant  when he became the King of the Beasts. In the film the "Lion King?" the young prince Simba sings the song  "I Just Can't Wait to Be King."  one of the reasons why Simba was so anxious to become king was that he didn't want anyone telling him what to do. He didn't want to hear anyone saying, "do this" or "stop that." He wanted to be free to run around all day doing everything his way.
It wasn't just that Simba didn't want anyone to tell him what to do, he was also looking forward to telling everyone else what to do. Just listen to what he says! "I'm gonna be a mighty king so enemies beware! I'm gonna be the mane event like no king was before. I'm brushing up on looking down. I'm working on my ROAR! Oh, I just can't wait to be king!"


A King ruling telling people what to do we see in a lot of films and on the TV no one daring to tell them what to do..

But the Kingship of Christ is so very much different to this picture and the symbols are somewhat different.....

Crown not of gold or silver but of Thorns
This is a reminder of Good Friday, but that wasn’t really a great day for Jesus, was it?  I mean, he was arrested, he was yelled at and hurt, and things just got worse.  Not exactly the glorious kind of day that we usually hear about with kings.

  palm branch or palm cross

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem  People where lining the street and cheering for him, and putting palm branches and cloaks on the ground in front of him.  yet he entered on a donkey a borrowed one not a large powerful horse decked out in the Kings colours.

the bowl and towel? 

Jesus took of his shirt knelt down and did what the lowest servant in the house would be expected to do.  Thats not the behaviour of a King...  They should have been washing his feet. I’m come on anyone who’s a rich have servants to do this sort of thing to, well they did at downtown Abbey and they weren’t Kings and Queens

When we look at Jesus He’s not the kind of King that we typically think of or expect.  He had no elaborate decorated crown and robe. No palace or carriage. The signs of His Authority and Kingdom turn our image upside-down

 The important things in Jesus’ kingdom are not wealth and power, but love and mercy.  In that kingdom Jesus makes the perfect king.  Jesus is even the king over death!  Yes, he died on Good Friday, but he was raised to life on Easter!  So, on this Christ the King Sunday we celebrate the Kingdom of God, and the promise of mercy and love for all.

So as we draw toward advent and the celebration of Christ stepping into the world what image of Him do you carry is it still one of a harmless innocent baby or of the Servant King 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Laying down picking up



Pick up sticks, and age old game that I introduced to one of the junior schools that I go into. It's strange how in the age of the Xbox and other interactive gadgets  this simple game has captured the imagination of so many children. I started with two boxes of these sticks and have since expanded to six. 

To play pick up sticks you first have to lay them down.  Theres two ways of this. Laying the down as precisely as you can so they land neatly. That isn't always the easiest of things. They fall how they want to no matter how you try to get them to land . The other option is just letting go and dropping them not caring how they land. 

It's is not just with this children's game we put things down in these two ways. Our gifts, talents, Ministry , Call and even friends and family. 

We can lay things on a alter before God to leave them in His care gently with care not knowing if or when we may return to lift them back up again. The other option is to almost just drop them like the sticks, not bothering. Laying things down comes through differing reasons but how we respond to the reasons really matters. 
 Its possible that both of these actions are done through anger or despair through struggle. 

Sometime ago it the second option seemed the best choice, not just throwing it down but throwing back at God rather than to  lay things down through prayer. The process was one of not wanting to use or have the call and gifts to go with that. At the time there seemed no way out of the situation that was engulfing  everything. There was no joy or life in the gift something that was once enjoyed now was a chore. 

This week the gift and call that was thrown down in anger and hurt was gently if somewhat scarily given back. 

Picking that gift back up started with the preparation a couple of weeks ago. What was amazing was the way in which the enjoyment of the preparation that revitalises and refreshes came flooding back. 

 This week a fresh and new understanding of the words of Jesus 'I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly' (John 10:10) opened up for the first time since throwing down that gift and call once again life felt truly full.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Orchestra Unwrapped




Theres more excitement and noise than you'd expect then as the lights dim they cheer eagerly as the musicians enter.. Its not the usually audiance in DMH nor the welcome for a orchrister. Today that welcomed Philharmonia Orchestra. The auditorium was packed with children from all over leicester. I went along with Scraptoft Valley Primary School 
so what is it all about 
Orchestra Unwrapped is a uniquely ambitious project, offering every 7-11 year old child in Leicester the opportunity to hear the world-class Philharmonia Orchestra. The project will offer children, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, access to music education through a dynamic programme of interactive schools concerts, bespoke educational materials for the classroom, and online learning guides, all adhering to the National Curriculum.
This project is a national first, because it will reach every Key Stage 2 child in the City, and as Resident Orchestra at De Montfort Hall the Philharmonia is launching this initiative in Leicester.  We hope that will make a real difference to children across the City.
Throughout the performance everything is explained how the music works, the names for different styles and ways of playing.

the large screen and video images show the musicians and conductor close up. 

As part of the project the children had been learning Merlin, and so to that we turned as the story narrated from the stage a little symbol appears on the screen and everyone stand we are the choir. and it sounded wonderful. 

They clapped in the wrong places and and giggled and laughed there way through the concert and it was fantastic. 



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Holy Island


Last week I had the opportunity to go on retreat to Holy Island. A place I've wanted to visit for a while now. Living on the island you are bound by seasons bound by the rhythm of the tide. For a short time each day when at low tide you can walk and drive across the sea bed to the island. each day pilgrims and visitors make the journey. 

on the oppersite side of the Island to where most of the tourists stay is a pebble beach. ten's of little piles of rocks mark the way like the one above. Evidence of pilgrims  past   show us the way forward along the path. a connection with the saints of old lay scattered on the side of the path as wind, rain and tide displace the pile that once stood.

Throughout history these markers have been built to represent promise, hope and encounter with God, a way of remembering.

a question echoed on the incoming waves how do you mark the good things that God has done in your life, those markers that guide and remind of HIS faithfulness Grace and Love .....


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

exploring My Patch

Yesterday I managed to get out and explore a new part of my Patch and wandered off towards the feilds I walk past most days. What i love about being here more than anything is the differences. Stand at the top of the hill outside the church and look one way, you see the houses of the two estates and down towards the village. Turn and look the other and theres fields.  Walk through the estate and the noise of traffic and life being lived in its many forms can be heard and smelt. But walk the other way the very different sound and smell of life takes shape. 

Yesterday was cool but nice perfect exploring weather.. There was part of me that began remember the time a group of us would head off to explore the local woods as kids. Walking through the quite was great. exploring the different tracks that cut back and circled going nowhere at times It didn't matter.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WALSINGHAM YOUTH PILGRIMAGE 2012


50/55Phone a friend or ask the audience they are the choices ( life lines) when playing the game who wants to be a millionaire.  They are also the choices that went with the question leading up to the summer holidays. For the first time we planned to take a group of 10 young people to the youth pilgrimage at Walsingham. There's nothing new in taking a group of young people camping or on a camp durring the summer holidays. leading upto the week away I'd used all my life lines on just one question how will they find they week,  - answer at the bottom of the post :)

“More than Gold or Silver” was the theme of the week building on the olympics that were taking place. 


on a bright monday morning saw Y@AS (Youth@All Saints) heading off for the first time to the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage. And  Joining up with around 700 other young people from the UK and much further afield.


The week was one of many firsts,  as a group it was our first major event. This was a time of many firsts.As leaders it was the first time of being away together.The first time of being a leader.For some it was the first time of campingIt was a first in number of ways: putting up tents  for most ( two of the girls managed to have 3 tents and not manage to put any of them up!) The week was mix with fun and laughter and seriousness. We celebrated Mass in a Big Top and we had Supper with Bishop Lindsay. 

Midway through the week there was a washing-up mutiny ( due to the priests group seeing Him doing the washing up and doing a runner 20 mins later and a run round the site they finally turned up to help) and also a trip to the beach. There was  VERY late first-night/early morning (you know who you were who wen to bed at 2:30am and were up again by 4am)and I did get my own back on them :) . We walked the Holy Mile together, finishing at the Shrine as the day slowly drew to a close – it was a powerful experience for all, as was the all-night Vigil.



Within the week was also a opportunity to just be together and get to know each other in stronger ways.

How best to really sum up the week the words of two of the young people:


 ”Walsingham; life changing, memorable amazing.”  Mollie


 ”My week away at walsingham was memorable, dramatic, and life changing! I wish to go again next year: D “  Maisie

I need not have worried by midway through the week they were all plotting/ planning how to come back next year :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

looking back, moving Forward

It's hard to believe that at the end of this week I'll have been in post as the Youth Missioner in this patch for a year...  There's been so much happening in what seem to be all to short a time. Two MA papers submitted and passed with great grades. Moved house again. started a Youth group, a weeks youth pilgrimage, 2 baptisms and 4 taking communion for the first time, a house group started. two holiday clubs planned one completed and one starts in the morning. Trips to olympic warm up games ( we saw Mexico the Gold medalist play). and a weekend brake to Turin. There plenty more I've missed I'm sure of that.

Theres been learning curves some steep, laughter and pain.  whats for the coming year. that together in this little patch in a corner of Leicester we continue to build on the foundations of this year. that we continue to press on together...

None of what has happened this year could have happened in our own strength.  One of the passages that has been a constant this year was psalm 37: 3-7


Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;

It's so easy to have plans and ideas that we think are great or good. If we are not seeking after Gods will and vision for the place that we are called to it's like building on sand with no foundation. yet when we seek him and those plans are ideas come from HIM then those projects and plans will move forward not always with amazing here and now celebrations. rather with the laying of seeds in the lives of others.

Monday, July 23, 2012

MA

My patch has bee quiet again recently, One of the last things I've wanted to do is spend time writing. Why well, the third paper for my MA has been the paper from hell.. The essay title I had chosen was and is something that I'm interested in.  The paper and research just wouldn't come together.  The paper was handed in at the end of June and last week it wasn't as bad as I had Thought..


One more paper and the dissertation to go and thats it the long wait for the final marks and then..  Hopefully Graduation...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Interesting

I was telling the Godly Play Holy family today at Kids Club we got to the time of wondering

Me: I wonder which of these you could remove and the story still work.
Kid 1: grown up Jesus..
Kid 2: if you remove grown up Jesus then take away baby Jesus too. There would be no need for Him. You need both.





Love the way these young lives question and think...



Monday, May 07, 2012

click here for answers


If only it was as simple as that, 

I don't know if you remember there was a real crazy several years ago for those 8balls you asked it a question it gave you a answer. That sorta fitted your question.  

Yesterday during the youth time before we rejoined the service for a baptism and the Communion. We and a interesting time of question and discussion. We're using the UCB word4u2day as a ay of introducing daily time with God and getting them to read the bible in small steps. It's a challenge to for me to make sure I am reading the notes they have. The notes from yesterday we did together.  During the week the questions or things that they want to talk about or share from there reading they make a note off and bring with them on a sunday or Thursday and we loo at them together. The questions are getting back to basics things we would take for granted. The simplest question this week was, Why are capitals used for He Him and  His when theres no full stop.  The answer the group came up with well is a written way of kneeling or  standing to show  respect and honour .   I like that don't know about you :). What I truly love about this group is they come as they are, they ask questions, they think about  they share and expect that back from each other...  and from whoever is leading... Asking questions is learning. Not every question thats asked will get a press here response, but working out the answer together weighing cup different ways of thinking and making it their own as they grapple with the questions they own. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Godly Play

I've spent today playing... Theres different sides to leading Godly Play. One of the things that I really like is finding and building the stories.

I've always liked arts and crafts so this really leaps out for me.  Theres always a story behind a picture a painting a statue or carving. Each person who comes to look at it contemplate it adds to the story.

That is very true in Godly play each story we ask I wonder, theres no right no wrong as we enter into the story and journey together.  And I mean together in a real tangible way.

The stories are used in two ways, occasionally as part of the sunday morning, and mainly in our monthly Kids Club we all come together leaders and clubbers. As we ask I wonder there is a look that comes over the whole group, as they play through the story in there imagination...

Today's story makes 6 we now have..

Advent
Good Shepherd
Good Samaritan
Mustard Seed
Holy Family
Mystery of Pentecost

And the parable of the sower in a work in progress.

The latest Box ready 

Mystery of Pentecost

Friday, April 13, 2012

There's a song we sing from time to time. It goes something like this in part....

Brother let me be your servant let me be as Christ to you

It is easier for us to serve another. To be there to give a lift take a meal offer a place to stay. To care, but. E able to not do anything. It is far harder to be the person on the receiving end of that care. So much harder to be the one who is allowing the other to be as Christ and serve. Why is that, that we would never see it as putting ourselves out to be there for another, yet we feel a burden in the way so often

What brings this thought, in part the maunday Thursday service as the Priest kneels to wash the feet of parishioners. The same way in which Jesus knelt to was the disciples feet.


Partly as this week I've not felt well, now this isn't fun I don't like not being able to do things. I'm deffinatly the worst patient ESP when doctors and tests are involved. The dummy doesnt just get thrown out its sent into orbit. That happened a few times this week (hangs head)

Let me serve you from offers of a room so as not to be alone, and SMS and calls those word of the song from others has been so real.

The real challenge is the words LET ME BE AS we I have to allow others to come alongside to be Jesus with skin on..... and definitely need a dose of grace to do that.

Tough lessons for each of us to learn.

And thankful that even in the impression of a teenager throwing out the dummy some. Ery special people carried on being just that Jesus with skin on.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Expedition Force

ASK!! and Y@AS for a week this week.. well a four day week.  Today was the first day of our holiday club. A club for those who attend our Kids club once a month on a saturday.. that's until some of the youth club asked if they could come... and so today we had 17 4-13's in church,crafts, games,drama song,story and fun. 

It wasn't the usual type of holiday club because of the mix.. two boys came along and they had a great time with a pair of secateurs and branches i'm not sure the trees did :). As they helped prepare for the easter garden.

a few minuets of quite after a game was the moment that was for me the moment of the day to day as we sat together with a box of plastic eggs in a box.. Resurrection eggs - each day we choose three eggs, in each of the eggs has a bible passage and a little something. Today the three eggs chosen were


   5. Piece of rope, twine, or thick string (a scourge) 
“Pilate wanted to please the crowd, so he    set Barabbas free for
them. Then he had Jesus whipped and handed Him over to be
crucified.” Mark 15:15
11. Rock 
“Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and
placed it in his own new tomb, which he had just recently dug
out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the
entrance to the tomb and went away.” Matthew 27:59-60

12. Nothing (the tomb is empty)
“He is not here. He has risen just as He said.” Matthew 28:6


before we opened the folded paper I wonder what the thing inside your egg has to do with the story..Hands shot up..  as the first egg was opened. A rock - " it's just a guess but could it have any thing to do with the stone and the grave. The next was empty lots of ideas as to why it might be a empty egg. 

In a simple way today we started a new expedition together. and we journey through Holy week. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

palm sunday

Palm sunday has to be one of the days of the year for me that I look forward too. Here in the new patch there lots of firsts and today was another of these. There was no little white stallion leading the procession or causing church wardens a near heart attack when the vicar brought him right into the church. Walking the short walk from the village hall to the church in the cool but sunny spring morning. 

 two of the young people joined us this morning and it was their first time so a lot of excitement and questions and parts of the gospel story falling into place. they came out this week with the best description of a disciple I've heard in a while at house group on Thursday. 

those people you know the ones that were with Jesus they just followed him his footsteps like and learnt things then past them on so we can do it...

such a simple but wonderful way to explain what we so often over complicate. Today there were more great moments of laughter and excited comments on the front row as they turned and commented about recognising parts of the service from the gospel story we have been looking at over lent. 




Saturday, March 17, 2012

too rich to die to poor to live

In the near future. You don't age past 25. Life is paid out a minute at a time. The rich can live forever. The poor die young.

As many people know My patch and reading don't go all that well. So movies tend to be my patch's time out. I do read but it takes time. Thursday night the young adults choose to watch in time as the movie. It has a very challenging story line as wel as many of the conversations. 

see the official trailer  

"Please take me home. I can't do that. Why? To keep me alive. How can you live with yourself watching people die right next to you. You don't watch. You close your eyes."

How oftern do we do just this close our eyes to whats going on in the world turn the page of the news paper, flick over the tv when a appeal advert comes on or the news shows shomtehing disterbing. thats if we actually even notice it..
what do we close our eyes too in the communities we live in. 

we are called to be Jesus with skin on to be HIS hand and HIS feet how can we do that if our eyes are closed.....


Friday, March 02, 2012

silent week




After the recent move things to slowly be coming together and stuff from boxes are finding homes. But there won\t be much blogging while I get settled in.. Though it's good to have tv and internet back... The few days last week without hearing or seeing what was going on not just in the world but in the local news was really strange... so it was great to get the odd bit of snail mail even if it was mainly junk...  But thinking back with so much information at our fingertips on demand. The latest updates to our smart phones, just how much do we really take in about whats happening. Why are we so interested is it just a new kind of voyeurism? 
are we becoming immune to the struggles? 
a fast food culture to being in contact we expect instant responces on bbm or email.. how many time a minute do we check our phones ? getting upset if someone doesn't reply in the time we expect...

do we treat prayer in the same way? guilty as charged maybe?. do we give up all to easy if the response isn't there straight away, impatience creeping in. 

A friend once challenged in a sermon is God saying to you what the iceberg said to the titanic. Stop slow down? 

Time and again God tells us to stop and wait on him, to be still and know  Isaiah tells us that the Lord..



He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.


(Isaiah 40:29-31)

Just a thought from a week without any news...
  is it time you let a snail over take you.......