St Matthew’s Church Otterbourne Sunday 3rd October 2021 at 6.00pm followed by Harvest Supper in the Village Hall
The image of Shepherd and sheep is a powerful one, it’s comforting and picturesque – it’s not particularly exciting, or, on the face of it, particularly emboldening, and it doesn’t say much for we who are the sheep, but when times are hard it’s nice to know that there is someone else in charge.
I wonder if there is, like Paul, a new name we need to be considering, or like Simon Peter an old name we need to learn how to fill.
This is the message of grace to a tired and sick world. Simply that in Jesus God could communicate who he is and that in following his way, believing in his truth, sharing his life, brings a more abundant live. A living relationship with God through him who described himself as ‘the way, the truth and the life’.
Parish Communion and Washing of Feet – All Saints’, Compton
10am walk from Shawford Down Wayside Cross
to Compton church for 10.30am service
12 noon – 3pm St Matthew’s church words, images
and music for Good Friday
9.30am Family Communion – All Saints’, Hursley
9.30am Family Communion – St Matthew’s, Otterbourne
11.00am Family Communion – All Saints’, Compton
In Mark’s account we hear that Jesus rode into Jerusalem after giving his disciples detailed instructions on where to find a colt for him to use. This arrival into Jerusalem is to be no casual affair, Jesus has been walking to Jerusalem ever since his transfiguration on the mountain to the north of Israel.
Sunday 3rd April at 6pm at St Matthew’s, Otterbourne
Worship is an odd and puzzling concept, it just means to ‘give worth,’ but of course it’s much more than that. It is the start of relationship; it is the beginning of communication, it is the first “I am here”, that gives God a chance to in turn respond to us. Of course, that means that worship implies an openness of mind, a conscious vulnerability to God; and we know from our human relationships that it is only by making ourselves vulnerable that deep and significant relationships can be made.
In so many operas it’s the arias that we remember – those brilliant flashes of song and melody, moments of magic which stay in the mind for days and months and years afterwards. In the opera of the Gospels the parable of the prodigal son is an aria of the highest quality, and the greatest wisdom, we all know it so well that we could pretty well recite it completely. And we should know it that well, it has so much to teach us – and not just as children hearing it the first time it in Sunday school or at an assembly, it can and should inform every stage of our lives. For at different stages and on different occasions, we can see the story from each different point of view
Rarely have events in the world been so coincidently related to the Gospel reading appointed for the day – or so horrific.
Rather than the cruelty of a tyrant like Pilate or the random destructiveness of a tower of Siloam, we have the bombardment of cities full of children and the elderly. We have the work of evil, and just as they did 2,000 years ago, people ask ‘Why?’ ‘Why? What did they do to deserve this aggression?’
What a metaphor to choose, a mother hen! Where’s the biblical precedent for that? Wouldn’t the mighty eagle of Exodus, or Hosea’s stealthy leopard been far more appropriate, or how about the proud Lion of Judah? Compared to any of those a mother hen that does not inspire much confidence. But a hen is how Jesus chose to describe the way that he would relate to the people of Jerusalem. They longed for a champion, they longed for somebody who would take matters in hand, lead them to death or glory. How disappointing to be offered a hen.
We will once again be running a Lent course this year. The subject is Paradise Lost by John Milton. Before you think I’ve gone mad or hopelessly descended into intellectual irrelevance let me tell you that we have the aid of a very helpful BBC abridgement with Sir Ian McKellen taking the part of Milton […]
Monday 7th March in the church room from 10am-11.30am. Everyone welcome.
Shrove Tuesday was St David’s day. St David was born around 520 AD and his lifetime’s work was the establishment of some 12 monastic communities, including Glastonbury and Menevia, now known as St David’s. His regime was specially strict, based on the Egyptian monastic model. The life of his monks consisted of hard manual labour – they kept no oxen to help them plough, a frugal diet of bread and water and vegetables, and much prayer and study.
Do you remember, the Beatles sang:
Help.I need somebody
(Help) not just anybody
(Help) you know I need someone, help .
Beware, beware, beware – there’s danger about. Danger from too much knowledge, and too little sense, too much learning and too little understanding, too much talk and too little thought. Danger from a thousand years of mistranslation and biased interpretation. Watch out there’s Genesis about.
St Luke’s gospel contains much the same material as Mark’s and Matthew’s. Luke and Matthew clearly added to Mark’s efforts material they found in another source, but on top of that they each seem to have their own material and each uses what they have in common in different ways, in different contexts and with differing ideas of what they mean. That is what makes the synoptic gospels so endlessly interesting – their similarities and their differences are a cause of endless fascination.
One way or another the last couple of years have given many of us a bit of a battering. So what restores you? What feeds your inner man or woman? What gives you the heart to face the new day? What energises you? What keeps you going?
Why do we make a fuss of this passage in Luke’s gospel, why do we give it a special day, light lots of candles and keep the crib out till now? Because this is the last story of Jesus’ infancy and with it we turn from considering Jesus’ birth towards Lent and the journey to the cross. Simeon’s words were prophetic as he holds the baby he foresees the suffering to come, and so do we.
At St Matthew’s Otterbourne on the first Sunday of every month at 6.00pm, we hold a service of Book of Common Prayer Choral Evensong.
Monday 7th February in the church room from 10am-11.30am. Everyone welcome.