Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Birthdays, a concert, a very long cycle ride and 10 days of prayer

May promises to be a busy month with Birthdays, a Concert, 10 days of prayer and ten days of cycling as we see the launch of our “Give a Penny to Spend a Penny Appeal”.

From 1st May to 13th May, Church Warden and keen cyclist, Duncan MacKenzie, is going to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for Wadworth Church! He will cover a 1000 miles in 13 days.

“IRON MAN” Duncan says
"We had one pinnacle blown down onto the roof and there are other restoration works needed now. Not only that but we would like to put in a toilet and give better access to the church for all. This costs money. How about sponsoring me a penny a mile?"

You can give by seeing Duncan or going to
http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/duncanmackenzie

Also in aid of the Church Restoration Project, we have a concert on the 8th May at 7:30 PM in St John the Baptist Wadworth by Tickhill & District Male Voice Choir. Please come along it should be a good evening.

Now birthdays come and birthdays go, but May is always a good Birthday month in the Vicarage with both me and Jane being May babies! This year the vicar hits the BIG 50. The other big birthday in May is the Churches’ Birthday which we celebrate at Pentecost.

Pentecost, when God sent the Holy Spirit afresh on the Apostles in Jerusalem with a force and power which kick started the Church and propelled the belief in Jesus Christ as God’s son and saviour of the world from just a few followers in Jerusalem to 2000 years later, a third of the population of the planet, several billion people.

We celebrate Pentecost on the 23rd May this year. The previous ten days we are answering the Bishops of Sheffield call to 10 days of prayer for a renewal of vision, resources and blessing on the churches in our area.

Locally we are answering the call to prayer in a number of ways and events which are given later in the magazine. I would like to call you attention to one or two of them now.

Since Pentecost in 2008 I have felt God asking us as a Parish to focus on the book of Acts and we have done this by reading through and studying the Acts in our afternoon services. During the week of prayer we shall be using Acts as our theme for worship.

We have a total of 7 events in the 10 days, starting on Ascension Day on the 13th May. Throughout the 10 days we shall add different pictures about the events in Acts at each service building to Pentecost Sunday where we can see the whole story of Acts in Art.

In particular on the evening of the 18th May we shall have a prayer workshop, with different ideas to help people pray. This will include different pictures to help people reflect further on the stories and events in Acts. During the evening we shall have short prayers and reflective music to assist people in their prayer. Basically you can come and do your own thing and explore different ways of praying. So even if you don’t normally come to church then come along an explore with us. People can come and go through out the evening as there will be natural breaks for people to leave discreetly.

On Wednesday the 19th May we are taking the prayer on to the streets of the Parish with a prayer walk around Woodfield Plantation, you can either pray your own prayers or cards will be provided. We will be meet on Wellington Road at 6:30 PM.

On Friday night at St Katherine’s Loversall we are going to a have service with a difference, again based round the book of Acts. If you think church is boring and not for you, then come along and see how different a church service can be but still retain our Christian Heritage.

So come along and help us pray for Renewal of Vision, Resources and Blessing.

Alun

Friday, April 9, 2010

He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Jesus' death and burial are carefully documented. Jesus is actually dead. Jesus' disciples are sure of it. They have seen the soldiers finally pierce his side so that water and blood run out. They have handled his lifeless corpse. They have anointed it and wrapped it carefully and laid him in a tomb blocked by a heavy stone. The Gospel writers give us this detail so that we can know with certainty that Jesus' resurrection is no error, no mistaken identity, no fluke.
It is no wonder then that the disciples were frightened (in the upper room together), running away from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. They were down cast, tired, weary and frightened. Their leader, Jesus was dead, horribly and painfully executed. We, who known what happened, approach Easter differently. If you are like me, Easter is eagerly anticipated, there is no apprehension, just joy as we celebrate the Resurrection.
However, we can use how the disciples responded to a dawning understanding of what was happening around them to good effect in helping our own confidence in our faith as we live our life.
The empty tomb at Easter reminds us that nothing is able to separate us from God's love — not even death. So many of us find absence difficult, yet the fact that Jesus was not present led some of the disciples “to see and believe”.
Thomas on the other hand, reminds us that it is ok to wrestle with our own personal faith, to have doubts ,to seek, but unlike for Thomas, absolute proof 2000 years later is an unattainable truth. The disciples at the tomb believed because there was nothing in the tomb, Jesus was missing. Thomas believed because he could see and feel the holes in Jesus's flesh. What convinces us, emptiness or presence?
Faithful disciples travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus had just seen the Lord. Before they recognised Jesus, they had been just as despondent as their Jerusalem counterparts, who were hiding in a locked room. The faithful Emmaus friends ran immediately back to Jerusalem to break the pall of despair: "Jesus is alive!" While they were speaking, the living Lord appeared to confirm that their faith had not been in vain.
The weary faithful travellers on the road to Emmaus remind us that in our weariness we find Jesus there, at the table, breaking bread with us. We find Jesus in the most unexpected places.
Through the Sundays of Easter, let us use the stories of resurrection to remind us of our faith and that we belong to a cloud of witnesses that grows every year.

There continue to be many despondent disciples hiding behind locked doors, waiting for an encouraging word, waiting for some way to know that their faith has not been in vain. The Easter season is a time for us to encourage one another with words of faith and testimony: The Lord has risen indeed! Alleluia!