Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Help for the Vicar

In these days of multi parish Benefices and over worked clergy it is good to know help is at hand.
I have trained my greyhound Polly to assist with admin not least filing and proof reading.She is also good at destressing people by allowing them to stroke her ears.
I think every Vicar should be given one and that way greyhounds who need  a home will find one and the clergy person will have a companion and helpmate around the parish. Simples! They would also need to be allowed on clergy study days and even conferences.

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Polly hard at work on some PCC.minutes

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another picture from Little Paxton Flower Festival

Here are the ringers decorating one of the original bell wheels.

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June 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Little Paxton Church Flower Festival June 15th – June 16th

If you are anywhere near PE19 6QW do come to Little Paxton Flower Festival Celebrating Village Life.There are many simple but very pretty and fun  displays which include an old bell wheel, dancing boot and pearls. Open 11.00am to 4pm each day…..well worth a visit! £2.00 to come and tower open each day to view bells.

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June 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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!

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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.

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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

 

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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?”

“Certainly”

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

“Naturally”

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.

Amen.

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.

Amen

May 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sermon for Easter Three from Little Paxton Church

Thanks to our ALM  Nick Gellatly for letting me blog the sermon he has prepared for tomorrow’s 9.15am Eucharist at Little Paxton  Church.

It is based on John 21 v 1-19.

The picture below is Nick taking part in our Rededication service in September 2012.

 

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Sermon

 Simon who was called Peter – the first time Jesus laid eyes on him, he took one good look and said, “So you’re Simon” (John 1:42), and said that from then on he’d call him Cephas, which is Aramaic for Peter, which is Greek for rock.

 

There’s no nonsense about a rock, and generally it’s there to stay. You can’t do much to change a rock and you can depend on it about as much as you can depend on anything. So Jesus called him the Rock, and it stuck with him the rest of his life. Peter the Rock. He could stop fishing for fish, Jesus told him. He’d been promoted. From now on people were to be his business. Now he could start fishing for them.

 

There was a lot of discussion about who Jesus was and who he wasn’t, until one day he brought it up himself. Some said he was John the Baptist come back from the grav, or maybe Elijah, or Jeremiah. Then Jesus put it to them straight: “Who do YOU say that I am?” Nobody wanted to stick his neck out until the question washed up against the rock that was Peter. “You’re the Christ,” he said, “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16: 15 -16).

 

You could be stoned to death forcashing things like that, but Peter said it anyway. He was the rock upon whom Jesus to build his church. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom,” (Matthew 16:17-19). It was another promotion.

 

Not long afterwards, Jesus was saying that to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, wasn’t going to be a bed of roses and the time wasn’t far off when he’d suffer and be killed. Peter couldn’t take it. “God forbid, Lord. This shall never happen,” he said, and that’s when Jesus tore into him. “Get behind me, Satan,” he said because the rock that Peter was at that point was blocking the grim road that Jesus knew he had to take because God wanted it that way, and that was that. “You’re not on God’s side but men’s,” he said. (Matthew 16:21-23).

 

It wasn’t the last  mistake Peter made either – the day he saw Jesus walking on the water and tried to walk out to him, he was just about to go under for the third time because rocks have never been much good at floating when Jesus came to the rescue (Matthew 14:28-31). And when Jesus was talking about forgiveness, Peter asked how many times you were supposed to forgive — seven times maybe?–and Jesus turned on him and said that after you’d forgiven him seventy times seven you were just starting to get warmed up (Matthew 18:21-22).

 

And then there were those final, miserable days just before the end. At their last supper, when Jesus started to wash the disciples’ feet, it was Peter who protested-“You wash my feet!”-and when Jesus explained that it showed how they were all part of each other and servants together, Peter said, “Lord, not my feet only but my hands and my head!” (John 13:5-11). At that same sad meal, Jesus said he would have to be going soon, and because Peter didn’t get what he meant or couldn’t face it, he asked about it, and Jesus explained what he meant was that he was going where nobody on earth could follow him. Peter finally got the point then and asked why he couldn’t follow. “I’ll lay down my life for you,” he said, and then Jesus said to him the hardest thing Peter had ever heard him say. “Listen, listen,” he said, “the cock won’t crow till you’ve betrayed me three times” (John 13:36-38), and that’s the way it was, of course–Peter sitting out there in the high priest’s courtyard keeping warm by the fire while, inside, the ghastly interrogation was in process, and then the girl coming up to ask him three times if he wasn’t one of them and his replying each time that he didn’t know what in God’s name she was talking about. And then, as the  cock’s crowing squawked the rising sun, the tears ran down Peter’s face like rain down a rock (Matthew 26:69-75).

 

According to Paul, the first person Jesus came back to see after Easter morning was Peter. What they said, nobody will ever know but their last conversation on this earth, however, is reported in the Gospel of John.

 

lt was on the beach, at daybreak. Some of the other disciples were there (see NATHANIEL), and Jesus cooked them breakfast. When it was over, he said to Peter (only again he called him Simon, son of John, because if ever he meant business, this was it), “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” and Peter said he did. Then Jesus asked the same question a second time and then once again, and each time Peter said he loved him-three times in all, to make up for the other three times.

 

Then Jesus said, “Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep,” and you get the feeling that this time Peter didn’t miss the point (John 21:9-19). From fisher of fish to fisher of people to keeper of the keys to shepherd. It was the Rock’s final promotion, and from that day forward he never let the head office down again.

 

Amen.

 

 

April 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Holy Week and Easter in St James Church Little Paxton and The wider Benefice

  1. Tower in winter light

Tuesday March 26th  2pm-4pm  Church Open for Quiet Prayer with ” Prayer Points” – 6 prayer stations where there are images and words to help us pray.

Compline at 7pm.

Wednesday March 27th – Holy Communion at 10.00am

2pm – 4pm –  Church Open with Prayer Points.

Compline at 7pm.

Thursday March 28th – Maundy Thursday

7.30pm at Diddington Church. Remembering the Passover Meal and Holy Communion.

Friday March 29th – Good Friday

10.30am – 12 noon – Good Friday Workshop  for children in Little Paxton Church

1pm – Devotional service at Little Paxton

7pm Devotional service at Great Paxton.

Saturday March 30th – Easter Eve

7pm Easter  Vigil at  Little Paxton Church : homily by Rev Jesse Zink

Sunday March 31st – Easter Day

9.15am – Family Eucharist at Little Paxton

10.45am – Family Eucharist at Great Paxton

12 noon – Family Eucharist at Diddington.

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