Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Full steam ahead

Great afternoon yesterday at open garden and model railway show in Little Paxton. Lots of visitors and raised £300.00. Best of all was conversations with village people. Being church doesnt only happen in church.Grateful for sunshine!


May 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Evening sunlight at Paxton Pits

Walking with Polly Greyhound round some of Paxton Pits was simply lovely.Blue sky and gentle breeze.Luscious green meadows with vetch and buttercups. Nightingales and cuckoo. Woodpeckers on the wing. And very polite dog walkers. So lucky to live on the doorstep of the reserve.


May 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Open Garden and Model Railway at Little Paxton Sunday May 26th.

Model Railway Open Day

Sunday 26th May from 2 to 5 pm 

 Once again, Pauline Keatley, supported by her family and friends, will be opening her garden in aid of CHUFT on several occasions during the summer, the first opening will be

Sunday 26th May from 2 to 5 pm.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see a radio controlled Gauge 1 model railway that takes up most of the garden and garage.

Pauline’s railway is in Boardman Close near to the church.

Look out for the Thomas The Tank Engine signs!

Entrance will be FREE, although donations to CHUFT will be most welcome.  Refreshments will be available.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A sermon for Trinity Sunday

 A  Sermon for Trinity Sunday




Holy Trinity  Minster Church at Great Paxton

 A little boy came home from church ( obviously his mother hadn’t been too!) and said that the Vicar told them God was everywhere.

 This is indeed true, said his mother.

“Is he in the oven when it’s hot?” he asked

“Yes, indeed” came the reply.

“Is he in the cupboard with the cups in?”


“Is he in the fridge when the door is closed and the light off?”


The boy thought a moment, “ Is he in the tea-bag tin?”

By now his mother was getting irritated with him and snapped “ Of course!”

 And the boy slammed the tin shut and announced triumphantly “ Got him!”

Mother has a lot more explaining to do!

 As humorous as this story may be, there is some truth in it when we reflect on how people view God. There has always been a tendency in Christian history to think that God is small enough to put into a tidy package which we  are able to control and understand completely.

 The Christian creeds evolved over the centuries after Jesus life, death, resurrection and ascension. There had often been bitter squabbles amongst early Christian theologians about the nature of God.  Conflicting teachings arose about the nature of God and  his relationship to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The creeds were an attempt to draw a line under these disputes and made black and white statements about the nature of God which, in view of the tremendous number of conflicting opinions in the early years of the Christian faith, were arguably  very necessary .

 Here is article one of the Church of England’s 39 articles written in 1553:

 “ There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the Maker  and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the  Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.”

 Quite when  credal statements and Church doctrines become an  attempt to wrap God up into tiny packages is hard to say.  Is it fair to accuse these statements of trying to create God in our own image and make him a tame, sanitized God, reducable to a few sentences? Or are they helpful in helping us to understand the nature of a God who is three persons of one substance?

Whatever that might mean!

 However we understand the doctrine of the Trinity, it  has to be said that it is the only doctrine in Christian belief which has A Feast Day  given over to it. All other Christian festivals observe a specific historical event. Pope XX11 in 1334 ordered the festival to be observed annually on the Sunday after Whitsunday, what we now call Pentecost Sunday. It has been universally observed in the Christian church ever since.


What can we make of the teaching of the Trinity?


I believe that when we speak of God as The Holy Trinity; when we refer to doctrines of the Trinity; when we worship God as Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; when we bless and greet and baptize people in the name of the triune God; we should do all this with great humility, realizing  our God is so much more than all these words can ever express.


We shall never be able to capture God; to put God in neat package of our own making. God will  always remain more than out own words and  doctrines, our beliefs and expressions of worship.  God is the Holy Wholly other God. That means that there must always be a mystery about God which is tremendous in the sense that it is awesome and overwhelming. The mysterious, Holy God is light years greater than our capacities to explain or understand God.


The Theologian  Hans Kung, in his book “ Does God  Exist” makes this point quite well by relating this story: There was a Bavarian parish priest who announced to his congregation on the Feast of The Trinity that this was so great a mystery, of which he understood nothing, that there would unfortunately be no more sermon”


I’m not so humble as him! Just a few more thoughts.


Having affirmed the deep mystery of God – reflecting that great sense of awe which  Isaiah  had in the reading – is there anything we can say of God to bring Him nearer home to us?


Yes, of course there is – in the person of Jesus Christ. Christians  believe that God came close to us in the human person – Jesus of Nazareth. When we come to know Jesus, then we come to know of God. The Holy Spirit, working in Gods Holy Word, in the sacraments, in every day life, helps us to know and see Jesus, Gods Son.

 How one plus one pus one equals one remains a mystery. The relationship that exists between the three persons, yet one Godhead, are not spelled out in detail in the bible. So, the triune God – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are known through a life of worship, and service rather than in very wordy doctrine. Although our  God language is important, all of our attempts to understand God with out minds remain partial and incomplete.


Once upon a time, so the story goes, there lived six blind men in a village.


One day the villagers told them: “ Hey, there is an elephant in the village today”

They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided that even though they could not see it, they would go and feel it anyway.


All of them went to where the elephant was. Each of them touched the elephant.


“ An elephant is like a pillar” said the first man as he felt the elephants leg.


Oh  no, “ said the second man, touching  the elephants tail, “ It is like a rope”


“ You are quite wrong, “ said the third man, “ touching the elephants trunk, “ An E is like the trunk of a tree”


“ Its like a fan” said the fourth man touching the E’s huge ear.


“ You are all wrong,” said the fifth man as he touched the belly of the elephant ,” Its id definitely like a huge wall.


“ No, it is a solid pipe “ said the sixth man, touching the E’s tusk.


So each had their own idea of what an elephant is like based on their own unique own experience.


It can be just like that with our own understanding of God.


Some of us may say God is like a Father – providing us with what we need, but maybe with elements of chastising us when we go wrong, keeping us on the straight  and narrow path.


Some of us may say God is our Mother – birthing us, nurturing us and caring for us.


How careful we have to be here of stereotypes of mother and father and how different people may have experienced their parents.


Some may say – God is like our brother, sister, friend, companion.


Some may say God is like the wind – we feel God without ever seeing what God is like but know the effect he has on our lives. Others may use images of a butterfly, a flower, a rainbow, a rock, a stone, a mountain, a thunder storm, the sea,  or fire.


For some it might be sensing God in an early morning sunrise or the quietness of a summers evening. In the smile of a young child or the tenderness of someone we are close to.  There may be many simple events that we translate as movements of God’s love.


Some may feel comfortable talking about God primarily in terms of Jesus – God’s Son. So strong may be their sense of companionship with Jesus that to them God is best expressed through Jesus language. Others may prefer Holy Spirit language, especially those deeply nurtured in the Pentecostal experience of God.


We cannot package God up into one description. There is always so much to discover about God, we must always keep exploring. Maybe this  Feast  of the Holy Trinity can help us to remember the tremendous breath and depth of God’s reality and prevent us from wrapping him up into a tidy package.

It reminds us there are many ways we can relate to and experience God – and that in Christian tradition these ways have for centuries focused on God as Father, Son and  Holy Spirit.


We are on a life-long journey of discovery of the God in whose image we are created. We are invited to share in the joy of the God who created us, who saves us, forgives  and makes us whole, who strengthens us and leads us into truth.

 Let us ask God The Father, Son and Holy Sprit to draw close to us in the coming days and strengthen in his service.


May 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts for Pentecost Sunday 2013.

Sermon for Pentecost Sunday 2013 

 Little Paxton and Great Paxton Church


 Yesterday morning upon awaking, I found that I had rolled onto my new glasses and bent the arms. No longer did they sit comfortably on the bridge of my nose, but were decidedly skew whiff – as my mum used to say.

 So off I went to Spec Savers, trying not to drive in a skew whiff fashion, and presented them to a lady there who said she would mend them for me. Unfortunately, in the process of trying to bend them back into shape, they broke completely. Very apologetically, she said that they would make me up a new pair within two hours. So, off I went into High Street, wearing no spectacles and feeling that everything and everyone around me was very blurred indeed.  Without glasses, I am short sighted. I can see shapes and moving things quite well, but not people’s faces.  I felt confident I could cross the road safely and so set off to complete several tasks and in the process of doing so met  people from our parishes to whom I explained my two hour predicament.

 Those minutes without proper vision reminded me how precious good eye sight is, with or without glasses. It is very disorientating not to be able to see well, I felt cut off to some extent from the world around me, unsafe and not really on this planet. I found I was using hearing more acutely and watching where I was talking a lot more. Ordinary, everyday life was not in focus though I knew it was all around me. My connection to other people was impaired and I can’t say I liked it much.  Once I had picked up my new pair at 12 noon everything became bright and vivid again, a bit too sharp for a while, and off I went to drive home.

 For some of the two hours I  sat quietly in a local church.  I thought about the experience of not being able to see properly, not being able to focus clearly on people or my surroundings. Not being able to fully make sense of what was going on.  I thought of a dear friend  who is going through another phase of depression which  makes it hard for her to focus on life, certainly means she can’t engage with her  work and feels she is on another planet. All the insights she usually enjoys have gone and she finds it hard to string a sentence together, to find words to express how she feels. Her usual bubbly vocabulary has for the time being left her.

 As well as being Christian Aid week this week, it has been Mental Health Awareness Week.  Many organisations working with mentally ill people have been trying to get the message across that depression and other conditions are real illnesses and people who struggle with them should not be stigmatised or be told to pull themselves together and get on with life. I listened to my friend  a lot on Friday and perhaps for the first time realised just how disabling these bouts of depression are for her.

.Whilst I reflected in the upper room  my thoughts ran to Pentecost and the extreme emotions of the Jesus followers over a period of 50 days  since Easter. I’m not suggesting for one minute that any of them suffered from what we would call now mental illness, though we can guess that they were a group of men and women who had different temperaments and personality traits.

 Pentecost as you will know means 50 days, and on Pentecost Sunday, the church remembers the coming of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ followers 50 days after his resurrection.

The Festival of Pentecost was by the way a key date in the Jewish year and many people would have gathered in the Holy city of Jerusalem to celebrate. The feast for the Jews had two meanings.

Originally it was one of the three Jewish harvest festivals and was held seven weeks of fifty days after the Passover.

 The anniversary was also thought to be the date of the giving of the Jewish commandments on Mount Sinai.

So when Jesus’ followers  were gathered together in a house waiting, as Jesus had instructed them before his ascension, they were in prayer and in anticipation.  Outside in Jerusalem, the city would have been in festival mood.

 They had endured a variety of emotions in the recent weeks as Jesus was tortured, crucified, then rose from the dead. He had appeared to many , come and gone in  highly significant ways which had left them in no doubt he had overcome death. Then he disappeared  in a cloud on an hill top and left them waiting. It was as if they could understand many things, but the final revelation of God’s plan was not in sharp focus.

They were hiding away from the outside world, they had no words to say or speeches to make beyond their own number. They were fearful and uncertain though hope must have been in their hearts as they waited for power from on high.

Then, as St Luke records in Acts:

 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

 It is as if the whole experience was so overwhelming that Luke struggled with the words to describe what happened and used  the picture language of doves and fire instead.

But, as we read, one of the effects of the coming of The Holy Spirit was that Jesus’ followers dramatically found their tongues, literally and could speak in many languages, the barrier of foreign tongues being broken down. It was their leader Peter who spoke on behalf of them all, and told them that God’s prophesy, revealed through the prophet Joel, that God would pour out his spirit upon his people had come true. It isn’t long before he is doing the earliest preaching that we have in the Christian Church – telling others the Good News – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Greek word for Gospel or Good News is euangelion – from which we derive the word “evangelical”

 For those early followers of Jesus, on the day of Pentecost, everything suddenly came into sharp focus. In God’s power they saw directly into the truth of things, the last pieces of the puzzle of God’s saving act in Jesus life, death and resurrection were put in place. No longer would they hide away. They found their voice when they found the power of the Holy Spirit flooding their lives. We can read the outcome of this life changing and life giving day in the Acts of the Apostles and the other letters of the NT.

 Subsequent theology of the Holy Spirit offers many different pictures and images of how we too can engage as Christians in this life transforming power of God. The Greek word for Spirit in  Acts is “ parakletos”   and this can be translated variously as:

 counsellor (as in the passage in John 14 ), advocate, encourager, comforter, and helper.

 We are all at different stage in our life with various abilities and strengths. Each of us in our own way have our vulnerabilities and hopes and fears. Each of us will be in a different place in our understanding of faith and how God works in our life. Each of us may have a need for healing in body, mind or spirit – or indeed or three.

My thoughts today on this Pentecost Sunday conclude with three hopes.


Firstly  that each of us may find comfort and encouragement from the same spirit that so empowered Jesus’ followers on the first Pentecost. That in prayer and worship each of us may find the presence of God more clearly focused in our hearts and minds.  That we are encouraged to share his presence with others in the way we live our everyday lives.


My second ongoing hope is that as a group of Christians in this place we may continue to focus on what we believe God is calling us to be and do here. 

 My final hope is that in our prayers and practical support we gently encourage those we know who struggle with the highs and lows of life.

  All it might need is for us to be with someone, giving our time and presence in a gentle way.

 In God’s time and grace perhaps the care we give may help someone to find 

God’s love for them comes more clearly into focus.


 Spirit of God, as strong as the wind

Gentle as is the dove

Give us your joy and give us your peace

Show to us Jesus’ love.


O God we come to celebrate

That your holy spirit is present deep within us

And at the heart of all life.

Forgive us when we forget your gift of love

And draw us into your presence.


May 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments