Category: Reflections

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)

What would you ask Jesus?

#1 “So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened. What father among you, if his son asked for a fish, would hand him a snake? Or if he asked for an egg, hand him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

#2 “Whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. If you love me you will keep my commandments, I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete* to be with you for ever.”

When I look at this portion of the Caritas Window in the lady chapel, I see ‘Black Country Faces” ~ thin, angular faces as they would have been in the early 1900s when the window was painted, and, I sometimes ask myself:

What is the little boy asking Jesus for?


As we approach Pentecost Sunday, what are you asking Jesus to do for you?

What are you asking the Father for?


#3 Come , O Spirit of God, and make within us your dwelling place and home.

May our darkness be dispelled by your light,

And our troubles calmed by your peace;

May all evil be redeemed by your love,

All pain transformed through the suffering of Christ,

And all dying glorified in his risen life. Amen

#4 Lord, your Kingdom come on earth, your will be done as it is in Heaven. We ask for the heart of a little child, a heart that brings all needs and thanks to your knee; a heart that speaks the truth to you and says, sorry for what it does amiss; a heart that gazes up to your face and seeks out your approval and gaze of love in return; a heart that always knocks, but knows the door to your’s is always open. Send your Spirit Lord and claim us as your own. Amen

*Gk word means ‘advocate’ – ‘counsellor’ – ‘protector’

#1 Luke 11. 9-13, #John 14. 13-16, #3 Collect for Night Prayer Ascension Day to Pentecost (Common Worship) #4 One of St Giles Intercessions Team


Broken and given for you and for me

Ascension Day comes and we shall share the bread, and body of Jesus in Communion and Fellowship together. In faith, believing the church and family of Jesus share his sorrows as well as his joys, for we know, most surely that he shares ours. Some of us, know that the sadnesses and difficulties of this life are times of special blessings and it is our experience that Our Lord uses broken things:

Broken Things

God uses broken things

It takes broken soil to produce a crop,

Broken clouds to give rain.

Broken grain to give bread,

Broken bread to give strength

(Vance Havner)

I once asked what a saint was and Jesus answered me, “God’s chosen heart”

I read in my bible, “God doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I am thinking of the hearts of the apostles broken with the loss of their friend, their sense of loss as he finally returned home to Heaven, his home .. their home for he had promised. Soon comes Pentecost … soon the church will be born …. here we are but first Christ’s heart and body was broken for us. These are the words we say together, “Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread”

And this sharing is real, not illusionary, it becomes real every time we show those who are aching and suffering the compassionate heart of Christ, who gave his new life and strength when he gave us his heart.

He asks that we give him ours…that we allow him to break the soil, and to take away our sins, our many trespasses as weeds from a field, to burn away the stubble of previous years failed crops, to make us ready to receive in good soil the good seed, that will accept the good blessings of Holy Spirit rain, that good seed may become good grain and good grain, good wholesome bread that gives strength, his hidden strength to a needy world. For, just as Christ is hidden in Communion bread, so it is that he delights to be hidden in you and me. The world may not know this, but the hands the church (you and I) holds out to it, in welcome, in sincerity, in peace, in love are his hands.

Life has taught me that God’s chosen heart is never chosen because it is perfect. Rather it is chosen because His Compassionate heart loves it, and we are loved with an everlasting love. Everlasting Love is prepared to persevere with our heart until our difficult, obstinate, stony, barrenness yields good grain.

Posted in love, for all who struggle with life’s hardness and losses, that together we may know, Jesus Christ, the Son of God gave his heart and body to be broken, that our losses might turn to Eternal Gain.


Prayers for times of difficulty and brokenness:

Teach us, Good Lord,

To serve you as you deserve,

To give and not to count the cost.

To fight and not to heed the wounds,

To toil and not to seek for rest,

To labour, and not to ask for any reward,

Save that of knowing we do your will. #1

Lord, I am small, often lost, often lonely and often feel that I cannot go on. Lord I feel your arm around me, to support me, it is your hand which wipes the tears that blind, from my eyes that I may see the way ahead. Speak to me, words of comfort until I see the rain has come, and gone and left behind your blessing, Lord the dove returned to Noah with a twig from the olive tree, so that Noah might take courage, and wait. Grant me courage and perseverance Lord to wait for the promised blessing.#2

#1 St Ignatius of Loyola

#2 St Giles Intercessor

Friend to friend

Shorter days and darker mornings tell us that the Season of Advent, Christmas and New Year are near.

We are waiting, at St Giles to hear news of the new man or woman who the Lord will send as our new Spiritual leader. We wait in hope.

Waiting is often the last thing, any of us like to do, in any context.

But if we hold our times of waiting alongside the many centuries, that the Lord’s people waited in prayerful hope for the coming of Jesus our waiting pales into insignificance.

Soon the Christmas Tree will arrive, in time for the Schools’ Carol Services, many hundreds of small feet will visit and little angel voices sing out carols learnt. Cheerful, smiling faces will brighten wintry waiting days.

There is something about being together in friendship that warms the coldest day, and shortens the longest waiting one. Christian Friendship and Fellowship is to be wrapped around in the love, peace and joy of Christ.. all who have waited patiently for His knock on the heart’s door and have opened it to let Him in know this we don’t wait alone, we wait with Christ, and we cannot be disappointed Christ Himself leads us, sustains our patience, blesses our perseverance, leads us joyfully from one joy to another.

For us, who believe it is Christmas and Easter Morning every day.

All scriptures written so long ago were written so that we learning perseverance and the encouragement which the scriptures give, should have hope. Now the God of all perseverance and encouragement give us all the same purpose, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that we may together give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one heart.”

Posted for all who wait in hope…

Prayer adapted from Romans 15. 4=6 .

Summer’s End

We are coming to the end of a hot, dry summer, the soft, gentle rainfall of the last few weeks was welcome. Grass, dried as yellow straw, now starts to revive, but already the churchyard trees have shed many leaves and the thoughts of many friends will be on taking up where they left off, as holidays and seasonal breaks end.

The Hydrangea in the front garden is now fading, its blooms dusty.

Everything, loses its beauty in time. But also in time fresh new, wonderful things appear to take their place. In just a little time the gardeners will be hiding new bulbs and seeds for Spring, as treasures in the earth to be rediscovered after snow and frost. But first Autumn.

St Giles of Provence, the Saint for whom Rowley’s Parish Church was named is remembered on the 1st September. In his story Giles had a friendship with one special hind whom he loved and protected to his own hurt, the ending of his story tells us that the Lord is able to heal our hurts and use them for good.

1st September to 4th October is Creation-tide, St Francis of Assisi being remembered on the 4th October. Creation-tide and St Francis who delighted in creation and Lady Poverty bring to mind the responsibility mankind has towards all living things, the earth, the seas, all created things.

From both St Giles and St Francis we can learn the lessons of love, of kindness and generosity, but they themselves learned them from our Heavenly Teacher.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Luke 12. 6)

Yes, I know the Lord Jesus uses this to show how precious His children are to our Heavenly Father, but what earthly Father does not show his love and delight when little hands take their breakfast crumbs to feed the birds, or save a little of lunch to give them.

Marian and Brian keep a large storage box on the lady chapel steps so that we can put in our gifts to Loaves n’ fishes Food Bank – some can put in more than others; that does not matter – like the widows mite, and the cup of cold water given to one of Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 10:42).. a tin of baked beans, a block of chocolate are noticed in Heaven when they come with love from a poorer person just and count like a whole shopping bag full from a richer one, and all have a reward, no act of kindness and love goes unnoticed.

May your last days of Summer and Creation-tide be blessed as God reveals to your heart the treasures and riches of His Father’s heart. Delight in everything His hand has made and given.

For He satisfies the longing soul, (psalm 107.9) NKJ )

Fruit takes time to ripen

All good things take time. I find this to be a rule of life. Morning Tea needs a little time to brew, cakes need time to bake in the oven, Bread needs time for yeast to work .. unless of course you prefer your bread ‘flat’ … seed sown takes time … before the flowers appear or harvests are gathered in.

So it is with the fruit of the Spirit, it takes time, it takes patience. Christians, like babies and little children need time, to just sit and let the Lord’s good showers of blessing and the warmth of His presence do their work; and to allow our Heavenly Gardener to do His Work and take away the things that hinder growth.

Not very nice, at first, those little snips hurt our pride, but here’s how the writer of Hebrews puts it:

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful, nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

May all our moments and days be blessed!

(Hebrews 12:11. NKJV)

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet

My staff of faith to walk upon,

My script of joy, immortal diet,

My bottle of Salvation,

My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,

And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

(Sir Walter Raleigh [1552~1618]}

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

I read the words on a favourite paperweight and reflect on the thousands of feet which have set out on the pilgrimage of faith in the 800 plus years that a church has stood on top of Rowley’s hill, The year Walter Raleigh was born the first church building was already more than 300 years old, that church numbered amongst its worshippers, Isabella, cousin to Henry VIII, so amongst those thousands of feet, at least one pair of noble feet, but mostly those pilgrim feet were humble feet, farmers, cottagers, then miners, quarry workers, nailers and chain makers; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters; not many wealthy or wise; but all determined to be a pilgrim for Christ.

The Prayer Desk waits quietly for the next Priest in St Giles long history to take up the list of names and pray for today’s pilgrims and those who will come put on gospel shoes and take the one step that begins a journey of a thousand miles.

But before that one, first step, a prayer,

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me: for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24)

No one has ever taken, so I believe that one first step on the upward journey to where Jesus waits, without His prayer, He stands, always at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.

It is the desire of the Lord Jesus that where He is, We should be where He is ~

I say Amen and pray for all the pilgrims on the road today, and the ones who will believe because of their word, the up shoe laces before taking one step,

~~~~~ then another.

one step, then another.