Seventeen Mice at the Big Picnic

(Or the 13th Basket)

Once upon a time, no, really and truly, once upon a time, this is a story from many, many, many, many long mouse years ago; James and Ruth and their 15 mice-lets were very hungry; it had been a long hot summer and their usual food had shrivelled up in the hot sunshine, everything including the little stream had totally dried up—to be a country-mouse was so-not-good.

Ruth and James were very worried. They said their prayers many times a day, and the mice-lets just got thinner and thinner, and Ruth thought James’ whiskers would fall out with worry. They moved to a new home.

They moved as close as they could to the seashore and made a home in an old basket that the fishermen had thrown away, and keeping themselves as quiet as they could, crept out while the fishermen were eating their dinner and, creeping very, very close stole crumbs. (A very dangerous thing to do, because you know little church-people-persons- big people-persons don’t like mice.)

Then one morning, they heard the sound of feet, thousands of feet, plodding, plopping, plodding, plopping, some running very fast- no time to plod and plop. And there was excited shouting, lots of happy talking and even singing. And then they heard a big voice shouting for everyone to shut-up and listen, and then the mouse family heard something very wonderful. They heard a big voice, but a gentle voice and a man began to tell stories about the Kingdom of God.

Never, never had little country mice heard such lovely stories and ….

they forgot they were hungry – they just wanted to listen and listen. So, they did another very brave thing and all 17 crept under their basket home and quietly, secretly moved it closer and closer, to the front of the crowd and the pair of feet that belonged to Jesus, so that hiding beneath and lifting it ever so slightly they could hear every word.

They were there a long time, 17 Mice persons and thousand of People Persons. There were lots and lots of little people-persons all being very good and quiet, some sucked their thumbs, but everyone was very good and quiet. No one wanted to miss a word Jesus had to say.

The Sun was getting ready to go to bed, and the friends of Jesus were worried. The Mice-lets heard them whisper to Jesus about their worry.

“Look it’s getting late it will dark soon. Everyone is getting hungry. Please send them away, so they can go and buy something to eat.”

Ruth, James and Mice-lets heard their own tummy rumbles then. They had quite forgotten they were hungry. Oh No! it didn’t seem there would be any food for them today!

Somewhere far above their heads they heard Jesus say, “You give them something to eat?”

That made his friends very worried, there were not enough pennies to buy bread to feed all this great crowd of people- persons.

Jesus said, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!”

And when they came back, they said, “Five and two fish.”

Jesus said everyone was to sit down on the green grass. And everyone did, flop, flop, flop, flop all the bottoms sat down with a flop. The Mouse Family, quaked, and shivered all over with fright would someone sit on their basket-house? But a kindly hand reached down and moved their basket-house with them in it- safely out of the way, and They knew it was Jesus.

They did not see Jesus break the loaves and the fishes to share them up, but they did hear His lovely voice as He said thank you to Our Father in Heaven …. And they knew, just knew that there would be plenty for the 5000 men and their wives and little children to eat and plenty for little mice.

It was a very good picnic, the biggest picnic the Mouse Family ever knew and when all the people-persons were full-up of bread and fish, Jesus friends collected up 12 baskets of left overs, but, don’t tell, little people-person friends there was another basket besides, the 13th Basket was the Mouse Basket-House and it had lots of tiny pieces of bread tucked safely underneath – Ruth and James said, and Mouse-folk every where still remember and talk about it to this very day- and they all say it was the hand of Jesus, His very own hand that put them there.

The End.

Rosy Mouse


Story based, very loosely, on the feeding of the 5000 in the Gospel of Mark 6; 32-44) and retold by Rosy Mouse for Yvonne, the Churchwarden-her biggest fan.

Rosy Mouse and husband Fred are Wood Mice, their children an descendants are numerous and coming from an extremely long-line of Mice 🐁 with many tales to tell of illustrious forebears. Rosy will sometimes produce a story for our Church Magazine, – quite a feat for such a small creature – typing them up on the Compiling Editor’s old iPad and emailing them just in-time for photocopy day. Rosy and Fred live, quite happily, at the bottom of the Churchyard, close to the ‘Celtic Cross’ ✝️ and enjoy cake and other crumbs 🧁 left behind after coffee which always follows Sunday Services. If visiting St Giles Church please take care not to step on our mice!


We plough the fields, and scatter~

The good seed on the land,

But it is fed and watered

By God’s almighty hand:

He sends the snow in winter,

The warmth to swell the grain,

The breezes and the sunshine,

And soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us

Are sent from heaven above;

Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,

For all his love.

(M Claudius. Tr. Jane M Campbell)


Harvest Service: This coming Sunday 6th October at 10:15am.

All very welcome…

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Rightly dividing the word of God

My Peace Lily had grown and grown. So it was tapped out of the pot, soil shook from the root ball and carefully separated into 14 parts (including the parent plant)

Pressing the baby lilies into new compost and smaller pots, I recalled a verse from the N.K.J.V …2 Timothy 2:15

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”

The N.I.V. reads: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.*

Whilst the J.B. (Jerusalem Bible) says, “Do all you can to present yourself in front of God as a man who has come through his trials, and as a man who has no need to be ashamed of his life’s work and has kept a straight course with the message of truth”


Hmm!

I could vaguely remember that the Greek word translated as divide and straight (it is translated as straight in the N.R.S.V we use in church as well)! had something to do with ploughing straight furrows, so I looked it up. It actually means I cut (or carve) … and so I define….

Well, I was thinking to myself as I broke the plant-lets apart, be careful, do it right, don’t damage the roots; if you do the babies won’t grow.

It’s like that for teachers, and preachers of God’s word, if they don’t handle the scriptures properly, then their work comes to nothing, or the understanding of the those who listen, or read (not everyone could read in the days of Timothy and Paul) is not correctly informed, making it absolutely essential that teachers and preachers pass on the scriptures and their messages faithfully and accurately.

Ploughing furrows? Well teachers and preachers don’t only sow the Gospel seed and water it, they also need to prepare the ground, a good straight furrow, drawn through the soil at the right depth means the roots are going to grow straight and true, and in due time, the plants stand tall and straight.


St Giles still continues in interregnum. But still continues steadfastly to meet every Sunday at 10:15am and 6:30pm for worship and prayer. The Ladies Class still continues to meet at 2:00pm on Tuesdays, currently we are exploring Creation, this Tuesday we talked about green and growing things; all the Peace Lilies have now been re-homed.


God of the living word,

Give us the faith to receive your message,

The wisdom to know what it means,

And the courage to put it into practice.

(A New Zealand Prayer Book)

Something Old

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

St Giles Ladies Class meets Tuesday Afternoons over in the Church Hall, we pretend to know absolutely nothing about Geology, Genealogy, Zoology or any other kind of ‘ology. Theology? Well we know we always can trust God, our Heavenly Father who loving us so much sent His Son Jesus that we might have eternal life.

Today and over the next 3 weeks we have set ourselves a challenge, each of us to bring an item in the above categories… this weeks items were something old... and ranged from a copper warming pan (at least 100 years old) very few were less than that, each item had its own unique story, and carried with it personal, treasured memories,

The Ladies Class is primarily a Devotional Meeting; so how does that relate to Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…. ?

Well we reminded ourselves of the many times God, speaking through the prophets, addressed Himself to Israel as her Husband, that Jesus is the Bridegroom of the church. We reminded ourselves that God shows Himself over and over again to be a loving, defender and provider to widows and orphans and all who need someone to care for them as He was back in bible times, so He is in this present day. Amongst our little circle we have widows grateful that in times of loneliness and distress, God supports and comforts them; we have Ladies still blessed with a husband but equally grateful that God wraps them around together and blesses them together; we have those whose marriage didn’t work out but have found our Lord never lets them down, we have Ladies like me who have never married and found that Jesus is all in all.

We reminded ourselves that despite her Lords tender love, Israel often chose to go her own way, and of the times when He sent Messengers and a word to guide them back:

‘Stand at the crossroads, and see, and ask for the old paths and which is the good way? Walk in that way.”

As we go through life, we learn its lessons we learn by our mistakes and falls what the good, right and best way is; we learn from the consequences of our actions, and by the many times that the Lord helps us up and sets us on our way again, that He is to be trusted and is always worthy of our praise. We learn to sing to our Redeemer a new song but do not forget His Love of old.

Tell me the old, old story

Of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory,

Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story simply,

As to a little child;

For I am weak and weary,

And helpless and defiled.


May God bless our memories to us, and as we stand at the Cross Road point out to us the Good Way and give us strength to walk in it, following in our Saviours footsteps all the Way Home, showing us new mercies, giving us new songs to sing, always. Amen

Posted with love from, Enid, Rita, Muriel, Gwen, Christine, Ann, Iris, Carole, Vera, Barbara and Jean.

Scripture: Jeremiah 6:16

Hymn: Kate Hankey.

Prayer: St Giles Ladies Class

Messy Get Togetherness

St Giles Messy Church gets together on the first a Sunday of every month except August … and maybe when Rowley is snowed in. Everyone enjoys these Messy Times together, particularly making Cookies, sweets etc to take away home and share with family.

Some of the craft tables can be more than a little Messy, but Brian, our friendly Hall Caretaker takes it all in his stride, one week, Jean found she now had a new top dyed for ever with green acrylic paint, but she’s over that now…. one week we had a play, (about Jesus ascending on a cloud to heaven) … but Jesus got his cue a bit muddled and didn’t seem to want to leave us. To be perfectly honest us disciples didn’t want him to go either!

People of all ages are welcome at our Messy Church, we have Grandmas, Moms and dads, all we ask is that all children are in the care of a responsible grown up. We meet at 3 o’clock, make, do, play together then we have a short service at 4 o’clock. We hear a bible story, have a bit of a sing and sometimes a Dance, and then it’s time for tea together before going our way at 5 o’clock.

Messy crafts, and a successful half marathon run Mom with medal

Carole and Barbara in the Messy Kitchen ~ before it got too Messy,

Valerie trying not to make a mess

Messy Churchwarden and Chief Cookie Baker , Yvonne.

Messy Church Linda keeping a wise eye on things

Trying to count the stars, because God promises Abraham

I will shower blessings on you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore.”

Lord Jesus, we give you our hands, we give you our feet, we give you our eyes, we give You our tongues, our minds and our hearts and ask you to bless them and turn all our messes and mistakes into happy accidents that make your world a happier place. Amen

Doubt and faith. Love and Joy

Thomas called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ but he answered, ‘Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes that they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.'”

And so Thomas called the Twin became Thomas called the Doubting.

I have often, because I am made that way, felt that I would have gone away grieved to my heart that 10 of Jesus’ other friends, and Mary Magdalene had seen Jesus and I had not. Always I have felt, that I would have felt .. well left out! Why had Jesus come to the others and not to me?

There are many, many words written by scholarly Writers, much ink spent on explanations, comments including the frequent ‘ Doubt is good’ and we all doubt from time to time. But, the thought is always there ~ had I been in Thomas’ place ~ I would have wondered ‘Why did he leave me out? Doesn’t he love me?’

This possibly says more about my own feelings for my Lord than it does for Thomas, and I can easily relate to how Thomas felt 8 days later when,

The disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you.’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, look here are my hands. Give me your hand, put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him,

You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

I hear, and read no scolding for Doubting Thomas here, I do hear, and feel the love of Jesus for Thomas, and the love of Thomas for Jesus… I can see, Thomas falling at the feet of Jesus, see tears of a wounded heart made whole as well as the worship of a man who utters for the first time in the Gospel pages “My Lord and my God.” Worship for me, is bound up tightly in that word, Love. Later St Peter, left us some words on believing.

You have not seen him; and still without seeing him you believe in him and so are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described; and you are sure of the goal of your faith, that is the salvation of your souls.”

Why did I choose two little birds, mother and her little fledgeling?

Because our Lord watched over Thomas, Peter and the others for 3 years, and after dying for them and for us, after burial and Resurrection returned to teach them how to fly… true he had to tip them out of the nest on the day of Pentecost and carry them out into the streets on the wings of a mighty wind, but fly they did, including Doubting Thomas, in faith believing, in love ~ Messengers of the Gospel of peace.

A final word from Jesus

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, ‘if you had faith like a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,and it would obey you.”

The thing which bound Jesus, his disciples and us together is Love. Love does not see fault in doubting but looks to see Doubting Souls fly.


Scriptures from New Jerusalem Bible references:

John 20. 24-29, 1 Peter 1-9, Luke 17.5,7

Photo: unsure of origin but not my own.

Beware the Wolf is always around

Despite having no Incumbent in the Vicarage, St Giles carries on, with a number of us gathering on Wednesday mornings for a short Communion with Revd Carole Christensen or Revd. Barrie Roberts. These Wednesday gatherings are loved because they are quiet, tucked away in the Lady Chapel, under the watchful gaze of Mary and Joseph looking over the infant Jesus in his Manger bed. They are times to remember that we also are being “watched over” as we go about our everyday, ordinary lives. We are, after all the Good Shepherd’s sheep, in need of His comfort and care.

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 7. 15-20

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that bears good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.”

Sometimes the wolf operates from the inside, much as the serpent operated on the inside of Eden, he lies low at the back of our minds, waiting to convince us that it is perfectly alright to have a foot in both camps, one in the world and one in church. He is pretty sneaky Mr Wolf, one of his favourite lines is “Off course it’s alright to do this or that, everybody does this, these days.” Or, the one that really scares Christian folk, so much that they say nothing at all, when they see the thorns and thistles growing like wildfire, “Perhaps you ought not to think like that people will say you are a prude, worse still a bigot!”

Some Thorns and Thistles:

Jealousy, Quarrelling,

Those are probably the ones, the devil has most success with,

The Longer List: (Some really poisonous ones here) Gal 5:19-20

Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these.

Phew!

Good Fruit (of the Spirit) 5. 22-23

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

It is of course self-control that checks our inner wolf. To exercise self-control is to be tuned in to the Holy Spirit, it is to turn up the volume to listen to the Word of God and cultivate a holy deafness to the deceitful wisdom of the world, flesh and devil.

The false prophet is sneaky, and seeks to make a profit from pedalling his tacky wares, the good prophet has no other agenda than that set by the Lord, our sanctification, blessing, our place as a good tree in God’s heavenly orchard.

O Lord our God,

Grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart;

That so desiring, we may seek and find you;

And so finding may love you;

And so loving may hate those sins from which you have delivered us;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Scriptures from NRSV

Prayer: St Anselm (1109)

Photos; Upper Portion Stained Glass Window-St Giles Lady Chapel (artist Benjamin E, Warren. And Nave

Details of St Giles Services please visit our website

http://www.stgiles-church-rowley.co.uk/

The Father in the secret place

I have known just one or two people in my life, who knowing the scriptures from childhood have always persevered in keeping their ways of living as close to the scriptures as they possibly could. These would be the ones who did not use ‘planned giving envelopes’ for their weekly giving, or use Standing orders at the bank …. but gave anyway week in week out, willingly and cheerfully. They simply did not want anyone to know what they gave.

The same people could also be relied on to be generous with time spent in a quiet corner doing useful work they didn’t want praise or credit for. You may know a few people like that, but it won’t be many.

Our times are not the times of our Lord, our times are times of celebs, and the desire for at least 20 minutes fame.

Today’s Appointed Gospel Reading for Holy Communion

Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention; otherwise you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win human admiration. In truth I tell you they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand should not know what your right is doing ; your almsgiving must be in secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

When you are fasting do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you they have had their reward. But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.#1


These gentle words from our wise a Teacher, instruct us, in fact, to do the very opposite to the norms of our society. He promises no prizes for self promotion, even in generous giving, eloquent public prayer, and self denial of the hungry kind. He points out, not unkindly that people who ‘like others to know what their right hand is doing’ whether in giving or service are paid in full in this life now, in other words they do these things for public applause and get it!

Whereas, the one who gives secretly does it to meet some need in the knowledge that this is a loving duty owing to our Father, and that the Father who knows all secrets knows the true prayer our hearts are praying, and He alone answers prayer.

Maybe to ‘do all for God’ is the hardest thing a Christian is called to do. Prayer is the incense offered on the Father’s altar, the precious grains of the Prayer which the angel offers is ‘purified from self interest’ – it is the best we can give. Given not for reward but in love and for love of the One who freely gives us all good things.


One thing I have asked of the Lord,

This is what I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life;

To behold the beauty of the Lord

And to seek Him in His temple.

Lord, give us a heart like that of Jesus,

A heart, believing, true and clean,

A heart and secret room fit to receive our Royal Guest,

Cleanse us from all earthly desire and ambition that we may

Seek only your Throne and offer up our purest worship their

In the knowledge that it is only by the Blood of Jesus,

We can enter in to the Most Holy Place.

Amen


Flowers arranged by Carole Annetts/Vera Round (St Giles Flower Arrangers)

Prayer from St Giles Intercessions Team

#2 Reading from Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

New Jerusalem Bible used