Pentecost: a Christian or Jewish principal feast?

"Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God. Exodus 23:14‭-‬1...
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Gifted by God

I'd like you to turn to you're left, or right, and look at the person there: if nobody is looking at you, take a look at yourself - a mirror, or just your hand will do. The individual you see is fantastic: they are uniquely gifted and can offer something back to others in a way another can not. We are all wonderfully made, as the Bible tells us in Psalm 139 - and we should be rightly grateful to a good God who would do this for us. We each bring something special to the table. In my case, perhaps failing to judge stopping distances on a motorcycle in the rain is not a good gift: but the...
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The Seven Rs

Today's blog post comes courtesy of 'greenchristian.org.uk', written by Louise Cook. Gordon Randall will be talking to us on our Patronal Festival weekend about our responsibilities over the world we live, and it's worth reminding ourselves that whilst God may have given us this world to use, we are merely stewards of his Creation. From childhood I have heard the mantra “Reduce Reuse Recycle”. So much so that I have almost forgotten the original three “R”s it is based upon – the Reading, Writing and Arithmetic of basic education. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” – sometimes with the addition of “R...
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Second Chances

Forgiven
We all know that the Bible teaches forgiveness. When asked how many times we should forgive those who wrong us, Jesus replied that we should forgive “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:22) - effectively, unconditional forgiveness. It’s not always easy to forgive of course but I endeavour to forgive those who let me down: some of my friends retort that what I might have forgiven others for is unforgivable - but as I’ve discussed before on our church website blog, there’s a freedom that comes to both the forgivee and forgiver, by letting go of a grudge and anger. However, if I were to...
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An Easter Yes

An empty tomb
I think most people reading these thoughts will have experienced loss. Be it a friend, a family member, a pet, the loss of someone close is not a trivial thing: we mourn. Mourning isn’t something we humans alone do; our pets mourn too. The film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” is a beautiful film, and even the strongest, manliest man will have a ‘bit of dust’ in their eye – it’s not tears, honest – throughout the film. A film which recounts the true story of the dog Hachikō, a dog so loyal to his master that upon the death of his master, the dog would continue to wait over nine years for him, until the d...
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Sorrow and joy: where was God?

Izzy, snaggle toothed cat
On February 17th, I excitedly started a Direct Access course. Four days, to learn how to ride a motorcycle properly - and although the end goal would be to upgrade to a bigger bike, the primary reason is just to be able to burn those horrible L plates. I took to it well, too: not to suggest I'm better than others as I've certainly lots to learn - but as the four days progressed, I was doing it all right in practice. Tuesday 20th, and my Mod1 test. This is a manoeuvres and manual control part of the test and it started perfectly: that is, until my hand slipped on the clutch for the contro...
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It’s so easy NOT to lose your head

Hiding
Helen Parry of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity considers the example of John the Baptist With thanks to the resources of parishpump.co.uk And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Mark 6:26-29 There are ...
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Keeping up with the Jones’s

Flame Lilly
A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms. Zen Shin How are you getting on then: are you where you want to be? That plan you'd laid for yourself all of those years back: has that come to fruition? Have you been looking at those you grew up with - and find yourself feeling as if you might not be doing quite as well as they have? I know I've felt like that from time to time. Reading the posts on Facebook of those I knew at school, to see the new BMW they've bought can make me jealous. To read they've just come back from another holiday abroad brings...
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Winter

For the January edition of the parish magazine, one of the newest members of our choir shared with me a number of creative writings she had done, covering the seasons.  As I look outside at a line of naked trees against a cold, grey sky, I thought it would be good to share here also, whilst we're still in the clutches of winter. By Rebecca Rickaby Silently the traveller sweeps through the great door. His boots muffled on the thick matting as he stamps his feet; knocking off the mud. Relieved of his heavy, black, fur lined cloak, trimmed with silver, He sits, his boots drawn off by willing ...
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Saints before us

Saints
If you’ve ever looked at a church calendar, you’ll no doubt be surprised at the number of saints remembered for dates throughout the year. This Sunday, the 21st, remembers two saints who have come before us specifically: Meinrad - victim of grievous bodily harm The more things change, the more they remain the same - and you could read Meinrad’s story today in the newspapers of any large city. He was born near Wurtemberg of a free peasant family, and became a monk at Reichenau (Switzerland). In 829 he moved to Einsiedeln to be a hermit, where he lived quietly for the next 25 years. Then one ...
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