Year A 2007/2008

Lectionary

The full text of the readings for Sunday are available in our Sunday's Readings section.

Other Resources

Textweek The Text This Week - Revised Common Lectionary, Scripture Study and Worship Links

Online Revised Common Lectionary Vanderbilt Divinity Library

Other Thoughts      Year B      Year C      

Sunday, 9.15am Holy Communion

Before entering the sanctuary or the vestry…
Please allow the Choir to complete the ‘postlude’ and any additional songs that are part of our offering in worship – Our holding the sacred space is part of our common union - our being together in communion.

Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost 16 November 2008

Corporate, and self-made Slaves all over the world are keeping awake…
Awake to the dying and rising of Wall Street as they seek to invest and multiply in accord with the precepts of their faith…..
Matthew’s Gospel provides little good news as these trustworthy slaves seek investments that will keep them out of the forces of recession….. There is already much weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
It is however a parable………. And the good news is to be found when we substitute the ‘currency of Life” for the “currency of the day”….
What have you be given… with what are you gifted……. What is your calling toward the abundance of God’s creation?.... Whatever our gift… we are called to realise it … and to make it real on behalf of the Giver…..
We are all called to the continuing work
of the Divine in the world….

And it is in Giving that we receive

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"Let me not wrap, stack, box, bag, tie, tag, bundle, seal, keep Christmas.
Christmas kept is liable to mould.
Let me give Christmas away, unwrapped, by exuberant armfuls.
Let me share, dance, live Christmas unpretentiously, merrily, responsibly with overflowing hands, tireless steps and sparkling eyes.
Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again."
Linda Felver

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it is in Giving that we receive

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As we begin to be drawn in to the consumer gravity of Christmas – as we start to write out our gift list and/or wish list –May we remember St Paul’s

It is in Giving that WE Receive

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"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity - it is an act of justice" Nelson Mandela.

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‘Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you
stop opening presents and listen.’ Bobby - age 7

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and
little stars come out of you.’ Karen - age 7

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May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.
John O'Donohue

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We pray with Thanksgiving for the community of 1914-1918 and for all they have given to us.
We Honour the giving of life to an orientation in Hope and Faith
Hope – that this would be the war to end all wars
Faith – that “our men & women” would come home and complete the building of the church that they had already begun.
Lest we forget
And as our planning approval application is considered by Fremantle Council… so we acknowledge that ……. We will remember Them……..

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Saint Cecilia’s Feast Day is celebrated on 22nd November. Cecilia is the Patron Saint of Musicians and of Church Music, and therefore of ‘OUR’ choir. May she smile upon them as they help to hold the sacred space.

If music be the food of love, play on.
Shakesepeare - Twelfth Night

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Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 9 November 2008

Incline your hearts to the LORD

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“Long ago your ancestors…. served other gods”
I too remember those times…. Delightfully irresponsible….. The attraction of acquiring all that seemed important…. Much of the time I served no other God…. than Self…..
“incline your hearts to the LORD….The LORD our God
we will serve”
And I remember this covenant and my part in it…… sometimes I forget…. Sometimes I seek to renegotiate…. But thankfully I do remember….

“you do love all the brothers and sisters….. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more”
And that too makes sense for the Love that we reveal creates in Love…. There is, there must be more!
Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
A simple but stunning reminder….. to live as if the God in all life matters…. To Live in the Divine presence…. To live beyond the distractions of the world into a new tomorrow

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Gospel Reflection
The Gospel this week asks something very simple of us – and yet in our modern culture it is so difficult to actually realise. We live in a world that is profaned by distraction and secularised with denial – a world that dumbs down any sense or acknowledgement of the Divine in our lives.
The Gospel calls us to attentiveness and to awareness. We are asked to be awake to the revelation of the divine in each and every moment. Soon we will begin our journey through advent and this may be an opportunity for us to reflect and to re-awaken in ourselves that Spirit of expectation that enables us to rejoice in the coming of the Christ.

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ll appeared New, and Strange at first,
inexpressibly Rare
and Delightful
and Beautiful.
Is it not Strange that an Infant
should be Heir of the World,
and see those Mysteries
which the Books of the Learned
never unfold?
Thomas Traherne (1636–1674)

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Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.
Frederick Buechner

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“I will ask you to join the work of remaking this nation [the East Wall] the only way it’s been done in America [at St Paul’s] – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”

Barack Obama, President-Elect of USA (adapted)

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We were born to make manifest
The glory of God
That is within us.
It’s not just some of us
It’s within everyone.
And as we let our light shine
We unconsciously give other people
Permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear
Our presence automatically liberates others. Nelson Mandela

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Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
Martin Luther King, August 1963

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Seeing ourselves in the Story
‘This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace, to reclaim the [American Dream] /Spirit of St Paul's and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one, that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you.’
Barack Obama, President-Elect of USA (adapted)

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nd so we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies…
And take upon’s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies
Shakespeare – King Lear

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 2 November 2008

The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Our ‘greatness’ is to found in serving others – in the giving of ourselves to the “other”
In our modern world our greatness is usually measured in terms of status and acquisitions – what we have got – rather than by what we give.

St Paul’s is a great community – for it is created in our giving to each other

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You big, bright, beautiful God,
this is my day for flying!
I reach out to the bigness of you,
I touch the brightness of you
and I feel the beauty of you
in the centre of my living.
You are sun to my Icarus,
candle to my moth.
Today I fly and am dissolved in you.
Joy Cowley, in A Time to Pray

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God of passionate life, who sends the sparks,
who lights the inner blaze and tends the flame,
fill us with your radiance.
Enkindle us with your love.
May the truth we seek and accept
shine through all we are and do.
God of passionate life,
stir up the embers of our joy.
Joyce Rupp

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Remember, Remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot…
May we ignite the fireworks of Divine Love

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How good Lord to be here
And to ‘know’
all that is given so freely and so generously to enable the ‘here’ to be

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I, the highest and fiery power, have kindled every living spark .....
I flame above the beauty of the fields; I shine in the waters, in the sun,
the moon and the stars, I burn. And by means of the airy wind, I stir
everything into quickness with a certain invisible life that sustains all.
I, the fiery power, lie hidden in these things and they blaze from me.
Hildegard of Bingen

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November
1.All Saints……. we remember and we recall…. The footsteps of the Holy who lead the way… …. For it is this path that we tread and this journey that we continue…..
2. All Souls….. we remember and recall…. Those close to us, those who gave us life and who shaped our lives…. For it is one story and we too have a part to play and an inheritance to give
5. Guy Fawkes…. We remember and recall…. All who seek to bring about change… For we have faith in the Divine… the very process of Dying and Rising….
As we remember and recall… we can contemplate the orientation of “November”…. A season that takes us into the light…. And toward the Nativity of Divine incarnation……
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another

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There is something in the universe that calls us to recklessness and extravagance. We see it in the work of great artists, composers, explorers…. A burning passion kindles them into life, into heroic achievement, into love, into laughter and daring. We could let ourselves be ignited by the same recklessness that lies at the heart of the universe, challenging us to live recklessly and not be held back by our fears… to burn with joy that we are rather than that we are not.
Richard Holloway, Doubts and Loves

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May we ignite the fireworks of Divine Love

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Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 26 October 2008

'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' Jesus

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Love Love Love
Love is all you need
The Beatles

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Lead a life worthy of God

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Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.

In the Old Testament reading today the baton is passed from Moses to Joshua.... and we are reminded that we are part of a Divine story, an important part! We take our place in the unfolding of Creation, and in the unfolding of the Divine promise... Our actions, and our orientation will in time also be handed on to future generations...
Although our culture puts us in the centre of the universe, almost to the exclusion of others, the Divine orientation asks us to see ourselves forever in relation to God and to our neighbours....
Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.

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We believe in a bright and amazing God,
who has been to the depths of despair on our behalf;
who has risen in splendour and majesty;
who decorates the universe
with sparkling water, clear white light,
twinkling stars and sharp colours,
over and over again.
Iona Abbey Worship Book

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And into that gate they shall enter, and in that house they shall dwell, where there shall be no Cloud nor Sun,
no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light,
no noise nor silence but one equal music,
no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession,
no foes nor friends, but one equal communion and identity,
no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity
John Donne (1660)

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Greed has got us into this mess. Only a change of heart will get us out.
"You pay peanuts," someone said, "you get monkeys." So we paid truffles and got pigs. We would have been better off with the monkeys.
John Cameron “For some, enough is never enough” in The Age.com.au

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Building up the Body….
....our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not deserted us ....... He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins [Ezra 9:8]
The roof is just the beginning……. The East wall is our main commitment…. And when we’ve completed that task…. which still needs some $200,000….. we will be further transformed as a living community takes shape as part of the St Paul’s precinct……..
At Last …. We might be creating a sustainable future and an Icon of community in a world of individual consumers……

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All Saints & All Souls
Saturday 1st November
All Saints’ Day
Sunday 2nd November
All Souls’ Day
Remember we are but dust – and to dust we shall return

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You, neighbour God, if sometimes in the night
I rouse you with loud knocking, I do so
only because I seldom hear you breathe
and know you are alone.
And should you need a drink, no one is there
to reach it to you, groping in the dark.
Always I hearken. Give but a small sign.
I am quite near.
Between us there is but a narrow wall,
and by sheer chance; for it would take
merely a call from your lips or from mine
to break it down,
and that without a sound. Rainer Maria Rilke

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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

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The difference between earth and heaven is that here we are dispersed, there we shall ever be united together.
Thomas Traherne  (c.1660)

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Lead a life worthy of God

 

Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost 19 October 2008

Give to God the things that are God's

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"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

In a prayerful dialogue, Moses encounters the Divine as a real and living presence.... it is in this encounter he finds his true sense of self and purpose... and knows himself as a part of God’s people. Paul gives thanks for the “an example to all” that is evidenced by the church in Thessalonica……. And the gospel invites us to look at the orientation of our Giving….
We too might find our truth and life’s fullness as we identify the orientation of our Giving….

“Tell me to what you attend, and I will tell you who you are”

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Mine is the strength of the hills that endure and crumble,
bleeding slow fertile dust to the valley floor.
I am the fire in the leaf that crisps and falls
and rots into the roots of the rioting trees.
I am the mystery, rising, surfacing
out of the seas………
John V. Taylor

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Prayer is like watching for the
Kingfisher. All you can do is
Be there where he is like to appear and
Wait.
Often nothing happens
There is space, silence and
Expectancy.
No visible signs, only the
Knowledge that he’s been there
And may come again.
Ann Lewin

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Bounty follows the Nature of God
As Light doth the sun.
Being therefore infinitely Bountiful
He is infinitely willing to Give all Things.
Thomas Traherne

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Investing in a Sustainable Future
Beaconsfield has changed over the years…. From humble beginnings we are now part of lifestyle community that has many advantages over the much of the ‘suburban’ metropolitan spread…..
The Median House Price for Beaconsfield is now $750,000, the average rental in Beaconsfield is $390 per week……. And with the projected increase in energy costs, a coastal life style and access to the City of Fremantle is likely to attract more and more into our wider community…
The presence of St Paul’s in the heart of the Beaconsfield community continues to call the wider community to an acknowledgement of “all that is Good” ……. And as we Build on our foundations, so too we renew and re-create the very presence of the Divine in this place.

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The difference between earth and heaven is that here we are dispersed, there we shall ever be united together.
Thomas Traherne  (c.1660)

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Global Credit Crisis
Practical advice from of old.............
Serve a living and true God, and….the Child from heaven, whom is raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

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Yesterday I saw a daisy
Like a shining mirror of the dawn.
Saunders Lewis

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Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost 11 October 2008

“Moses implores…. And the Lord changed his mind”

The Old Testament text might well create one of those perplexing ‘contradictions’ we come across as we seek to understand the Holy Scriptures…..
Why does the Almighty, all knowing, unchanging God… have a change of mind (arguably a change of heart) in response to the imploring of Moses?

This is hard to fathom if we have retained an understanding of God as the one who sees and controls everything…. It is more easily understood if we can appreciate a dynamic relationship between Divinity and humanity….. Love is such a dynamic….. and love’s passion is the outworking of those engaged in the process of Love…..
Today we have an opportunity to contemplate ourselves as part of, an integral to, the Divine unfolding of creation…
Tomorrow is a creation in which we all participate…… please don’t leave it up to God.

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A BLESSING
May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
~ John O'Donohue ~

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Who can love any Thing that God made too much? His infinite Goodness and Wisdom and Power and Glory are in it. What a World this would be, were every thing Beloved as it ought to be!
Thomas Traherne

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I think we need more
Of the wordless
In our lives.
We need more stillness,
More of a sense of wonder,
A feeling for the mystery of life.
Ben Okri

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We are children of God
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God
That is within us.
It’s not just some of us
It’s within everyone.
And as we let our light shine
We unconsciously give other people
Permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear
Our presence automatically liberates others
Nelson Mandela

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I know that bush,
Moses; there are many of them
in Wales in the autumn, braziers,
where the imagination
warms itself. I have put off
pride and, knowing the ground
holy, lingered to wonder
how it is that I do not burn
and yet am consumed.
R S Thomas, Welsh poet

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“The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the church.’
St Symeon of Thessalonica

 

Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost 5 October 2008


I wonder at the maker who can be
Before I am and yet a child of me. Sidney Carter

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The Ten Commandments..
provide a simple formula for living a life that acknowledges God and that honours those we live with, in family and community…. However, their very simplicity has, to some extent, been their undoing…..
Used as a checklist to confirm one’s “Good Christian Standing”, they leave us much freedom….
If, however, we contemplate their breadth and their depth, alongside the body of Holy Scriptures that further reveal life’s orientation, then we engage ourselves in a Divine quest, and constantly (in Brother Lawrence’s words) have to

Practice [living in] the presence of God.

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“The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the church.’ St Symeon of Thessalonica

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Come, Holy Spirit, Come
as fire in the mind and joy in the heart;
making us see the saint in each other,
and gathering us into a hallowed unity
where difference is valued, division reconciled,
and love does not accept less than perfect justice,
a compelling harmony

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Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost 28 September 2008

Today we use the Blue service sheets “A community Service”
Our service is led by members of the community and we receive the sacred elements from the ‘Reserved Sacrament”
It is an opportunity for us to know that WE hold the Sacred in Community.
We are the church and we are the becoming of the church.
It is also an opportunity for us to contemplate the place of the priest in our community, to question, to appreciate and to understand both the role of the priest and also our role in the making of this community and of ourselves as the Body of Christ.

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Where is Everyone?
57 of our Community are at Nanga for our Community Week-End…. As we celebrate Eucharist here, so they gather in the bush setting
We are One Body

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“Is the lord among us or not”
The same action that parted the Red Sea (the waters of Chaos) – the action of creation – now brings forth water from rock!
As we walk from the ‘Wilderness of Sin’ what leads us to the living water is an affirmation that we walk in the presence of the Divine….
It is a journey of self-realisation that in its fullest sense follows Paul’s orientation….
“Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others”
A realization of self that reaches out to embrace all… so that we know ourselves as part of the whole…

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Come, Holy Spirit, Come
as fire in the mind and joy in the heart;
making us see the saint in each other,
and gathering us into a hallowed unity
where difference is valued, division reconciled,
and love does not accept less than perfect justice,
a compelling harmony

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You are above me, O God,
you are within.
You are in all things
yet contained in no thing.
Teach me to seek you in all that has life
that I may see you as the Light of life.
Teach me to search for you in my own depths
that I may find you in every living soul.

Sounds of the Eternal: a Celtic Psalter, J. Philip Newell

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Is the Lord among us or not

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Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost 21 September 2008

Expectations shape our world – at least give shape to our view of the world..
Should we expect the Second Coming?
Should we expect “The Lord to Provide”?
Should we expect to receive what others receive? (blessings only – of course)
Or…. Can we
“Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”
Knowing that even in life’s wholeness the Divine Presence will fill us and nourish us…

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The last will be first, and the first will be last

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You never Enjoy the World aright, till the Sea it self floweth in your Veins, till you are Clothed with the Heavens, and Crowned with the Stars: and Perceive your self to be the Sole Heir of the whole World: and more than so, because Men [humanity] are in it who are evry one Sole Heirs as well as you.

Till you can Sing and Rejoyce and Delight in God, as Misers do in Gold, and Kings in Scepters, you never Enjoy the World.
Centuries of Meditation I.29, Thomas Traherne (1637-1674)

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Love flies, runs and leaps for joy.
It is free and unrestrained.
Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.
Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil,
attempts things beyond its strength.
Love is not fickle and sentimental,
nor is it intent on vanities.
Like a living flame and a burning torch,
it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.
Thomas a Kempis – 13th century

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

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Stained Glass Design for the East Wall
Letters have gone out to eight prospective designers...... And they have been given the following timetable......
1.Monday Oct 6th: Letting us know if you’re interested
2.Sunday Oct 26th : Getting practical advice
3.Monday Nov 24th: Submitting your proposal
4.Sun Nov 30th: Presenting your proposal to the St Paul’s Community

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Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost 14 September 2008

May the angel of God go before us

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The “parting of the Red (Reed) sea”, another miracle of divine intervention……. or another telling of the creation story…. The dividing of the waters of chaos to create a path of dry land.. a path of freedom and a way forward….

A path clouded to some, and yet a path illuminated by the Divine, the cloud of unknowing….

Together, as church, we seek to discern this very path… looking for signs of the divine that will lead us more fully ‘into Christ’…. And like those in the Old Testament narrative it is a community journey….

May the angel of God go before us

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Forgiveness... In the concentration camp of Ravensbruck, this extraordinary prayer was left by the body of a dead child:
‘Oh Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgement let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness’
Stephanie Dowrick “Forgiveness and other acts of Love” p.33

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“Returning to the grace of that image which was established in you from the beginning”. (Gregory of Nyssa)
“Gregory in fact saw it as our lifelong task to find out what part of the divine image God has chosen to reveal in us. Like other early monks he suggests that we can best do this by realistically determining how God has made us – what our primary faults and temptations are as well as our gifts – not that we might better ‘know ourselves’, or in modern parlance ‘feel good about ourselves’, but in order that we might become instruments of divine grace for other people, and eventually return to God. Kathleen Norris ‘The Cloister Walk

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I, the highest and fiery power, have kindled every living spark.....
I flame above the beauty of the fields; I shine in the waters, in the sun,
the moon and the stars, I burn. And by means of the airy wind, I stir
everything into quickness with a certain invisible life that sustains all.
I, the fiery power, lie hidden in these things and they blaze from me.
Hildegard of Bingen

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Wanted: Midwives to assist in giving birth to tomorrow. Apply within.

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A New Way … A Living Way
We often hear that “The Church” is dwindling and becoming less relevant in people’s lives….. Here at St Paul’s, with the building works already in progress and those almost ready for planning application, we have nine ‘Families’ that will be living within the church precinct and there’s room for 2 or 3 more……
We will be entering a new experience of Church as some members commit to a long-term experience of ‘Living’ as an integral part of the fabric of the parish….. A new sense of Community… As part of the ‘Re-Development’ we will establish a “St Paul’s Foundation”, a financial ‘Trust’ that will be administered by the St Paul’s community for extending our ministry within and beyond the parish boundaries…. As the failure of our established institutional structures and our systems of government becomes ever more apparent, we have an opportunity to ‘Realise Ourselves’ as the leaven in the lump and to become the community leader that is integral to our calling, our Faith, our Hope and our Love.

 

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 24 August 2008

Since Pentecost we have encountered, through the Old Testament, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph… archetypes in the history of God’s faithful people. To some, these are generational figures who are the founding fathers of a chosen race….
More fully, they illuminate and illustrate the Divine Life in all people….

Today Moses is introduced…..

As Luke and Matthew wrote back into the life of Jesus a ‘birth narrative’ to establish significance and illustrate divine attributes… so too for Moses…..
Paul (Romans12:1-8) appeals to us to see ourselves fully in relation to God and to one another….

An opportunity for us to consider our own ‘birth narrative’….

We share in creation’s unfolding

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I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
‘Fluent’ – John O’Donohue

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The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. G.K. Chesterton

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Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 17 August 2008

Continuing from last week…. The Joseph ‘story’ has some Christological parallels. Today we hear that, through Joseph, salvation is found for the family of Jacob, the chosen….

Beginning, Becoming and the fulfilment of promise are all described in reference to God’s purpose for ‘his’ people… or more fully, the divine in all Life.

Early commentators (like Paul) and many theologians try and wrap the mysteries of Holy Scripture into a neat well-tied package. However, as we listen to the Gospel verses 12-28 we might be aware and open to the possibility of a response to the Divine that of itself alters the divine intent!

We participate in the Divine unfolding of Creation

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To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower;
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake

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The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden. G.K. Chesterton

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The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. G.K. Chesterton

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We seek life in the unity of divine love

 

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 10 August 2008

Today we are introduced to Joseph… and another telling of the Divine Story through the next generation of Abraham’s descendents…. Joseph, a shepherd, with a special father/son relationship… clothed in the father’s making and hated by his contemporaries…. Echoes of the Gospel narrative!

An illustration showing that the Divine Story is told, and unfolds, in every age, every generation….

Today we might glimpse ourselves and the telling of our own story with the same echoes…

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“The Word is near YOU, on your lips and in your heart”

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All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
to arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
A Morning Offering - John O’Donohue

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I, the highest and fiery power, have kindled every living spark .....
I flame above the beauty of the fields; I shine in the waters, in the sun,
the moon and the stars, I burn. And by means of the airy wind, I stir
everything into quickness with a certain invisible life that sustains all.
I, the fiery power, lie hidden in these things and they blaze from me.
Hildegard of Bingen

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Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer
This Thursday at 8pm and every month on the 2nd Thursday of the month we meet for an hour of silence to contemplate the word of God… A shared contemplation of a sentence from the Holy Scriptures.. A time to “Be still and know that I AM God”.

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"You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
In our day-to-day lives there is much reason to doubt...... Which suggests that we must invest more of ourselves in seeking and developing an ability to recognise the Divine presence in the chaos, and to participate in transformation.

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It is in Giving that we Receive
Giving of our Time…… Giving of our Talents… and Giving of our Financial resources… Together we create… and that which we create honours the Divine Presence….. and in our honouring so we too receive.

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Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost 3 August 2008


The Lord’s Prayer
To give us the opportunity to reflect on this prayer, the prayer will be ‘restated’ by the Liturgical Assistant after we have joined together in sharing the prayer during the service. It also provides us with a reminder (or with permission) to revisit our traditional understandings… and to see the ancient wisdom of our tradition in a contemporary context.

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Each day is a secret story woven around the radiant heart of wonder
John O’Donohue

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And all ate and were filled

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Jacob wrestles with God, alone… and at night…. This could almost be a scene from a Transylvanian horror film, where the innocent victim is attacked by a dark creature of the night….
However, when we hear the echo of Gethsemane the scene becomes more understandable….

The dark and the light are two ever-present realities… and Love, the Divine force, is perhaps all that separates the two….

The ‘Feeding of the 5000’ brings the dark and the light to play in terms of ‘Abundance’ and ‘Scarcity’, two more ever-present realities!

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From the moment you put a piece of bread in your mouth you are part of the world... Who made the bread? Where did it come from? You are in relationship with the guy who made this stuff. And what is your relationship to him? Do you deserve to be eating this stuff ... do you have a right to it? That is the world and that is no illusion.
Thomas Merton

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God is both other than I am and also the same .... the source from
which I continually flow. In my deep union with the mystery of another person and on the mystery of my own being, what I find is God. Harry Williams

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The swiftest things are the softest things. A bird is active because a bird is soft. A stone is helpless because a stone is hard. The stone by its nature goes downward, because hardness is weakness. A bird can of its nature go upwards; fragility is force.
G.K. Chesterton

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Through human lips
Christ is speaking
Through human hands
Christ is healing
Through our hearts
Christ is loving
Through us all
Christ is working.
So behold the truth:
God is living, loving
speaking and healing
through Christ our Saviour.
(The Everywhere Christ, Richard Becher)

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Each day is a secret story woven around the radiant heart of wonder
John O’Donohue

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Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost 27 July 2008


Paul speaks of ‘Prayer’ beyond words, and coming from ‘ the mind of the Spirit that is found in the heart’….. likewise, when teaching about the Kingdom of heaven, Jesus uses metaphors… Mustard seed, Yeast, Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Value, Net Full of Fish…

These are images of the ‘everyday’ and yet also beyond words…. These examples lead us toward a contemplative paradigm, a way of seeing that is a world apart from the TV jingle and bumper sticker view of life that we inhabit…

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Pray without Ceasing

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Our hearts rejoice in the Glory of Divine Love

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Silence
Let silence be placed around us now, like a mantle.
Let us enter into it,
as through a small secret door;
to emerge into an acre of peace,
where stillness reigns and God is present.

May this mantle of silence become
a cloak of understanding
to warm our hearts this day.
(Adapt.Kate McIlhagga/ghs)

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What’s it Worth?
Stevie Wonder is coming to Perth. And tickets to the concert are only $199.00…… Two coffees and a cake in Fremantle costs around $12.00…. What value do we place on our Sunday worship and on maintaining a Spiritual presence in the community?

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God keeps the interstices
in our knowledge, the darkness between the stars.
His are the echoes
We follow, the foot prints he has
just left.
R. S. Thomas

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Tenth Sunday after Pentecost 20th July 2008

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the second best
time is now.
(Chinese proverb)
When all are one and one is all……..
………….And she's buying a stairway to heaven

 

Some of us will hear Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to heaven” in the Old Testament reading, and some will recall pictures from childhood illustrated bibles showing dramatically and literally the shimmering steps between the sleeping Jacob and the Gates of Heaven…. All of us (most probably!) no longer look to the sky for Beth-el (the house of God)….

This dramatic narrative is a invitation to contemplate the nearness of the Kingdom of God.. and the movement from here to there and from there to here…

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Silence
Let silence be placed around us now, like a mantle.
Let us enter into it,
as through a small secret door;
to emerge into an acre of peace,
where stillness reigns and God is present.

May this mantle of silence become
a cloak of understanding
to warm our hearts this day.
(Adapt.Kate McIlhagga/ghs)

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How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

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The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.

Worship need not cease.
It can echo in our lives,
in our words,
in our deeds,
in our moods,
in our dreams.
Carry worship with you wherever you may go.
Be a blessing in your going out and your coming in.
G B. McKeeman

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It is because of God's graciousness that human beings are called, through community, to co-author their stories in the light of the divine narrative. Co-authorship, as we mean it, here recognises God's active participation in shaping the stories we fashion to give meaning to our lives.
Co-authorship with God is reflected in the human narrative when the families we establish are informed by hospitality and compassion; when our work in the world seeks to eradicate injustice and engender respect for the other; or when we determine to live a reflective life in which our personal spirituality mirrors the presence of God.’

From Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals. Weaving Together the Human and the Divine, Herbert Anderson and Edward Foley.

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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost 13 July 2008

Bibles, legends, history are signposts: they are pointing to the
future, not the past. Do not embrace the past or it will turn into an idol:

Your holy hearsay is not evidence
Give me the good news in the present tense ...
So shut the Bible up and show me how
The Christ you talk about is living now.
Sydney Carter

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Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

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“To set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace”

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as being associated with Physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are satisfied. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. (Wikipedia)

The pyramids base levels include Security, Sustenance and Shelter…..
Consider our Fears for border security, our endemic obesity and our building of ever bigger ‘McMansions’….. Little wonder we are culturally driven from setting our minds to higher things

To the Spirit of Life and Peace

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It is said children still have a sense of wonder and that later one becomes blunted. Nonsense. A child takes for granted, and most people get no further; only an old person, who thinks, is aware of the wondrous.
Victor Klemperer

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To go in the dark with a light is to
know the light.
To know the dark, go dark.
Go without sight, and find that the dark, too,
blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.
Wendell Berry

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Things that look quiet and still, like a glass of water with a covered top that has been sitting for several days, are active all the time; the atoms are leaving the surface, bouncing round inside and coming back. What looks still to our crude eyes is a wild and dynamic dance.
(Physicist, Richard Feynman)

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Eighth Sunday after Pentecost 6 July 2008

Blessing

May the God who dances in creation,
  who embraces us with human love,
  who shakes our lives like thunder,
  bless us and drive us out with power
  to fill the world with justice.
  and the blessing of God,
  the eternal goodwill of God,
  the shalom of God,
  the wildness and warmth of God
  be among us and between us now and always,
  Amen
The St Hilda Community

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My yoke is easy, and my burden is light

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But to what will I compare this generation?

A good question and a valuable source of reflection begins today’s Gospel reading. What are the hallmarks of our Generation(s) – where are we heading and what are we achieving?

Why is the gap between rich and poor growing in the world today?

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate

Another opportunity to reflect on the balance we have in our lives – for somehow this will contribute to the balance experienced in the world.

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It is said children still have a sense of wonder and that later one becomes blunted. Nonsense. A child takes for granted, and most people get no further; only an old person, who thinks, is aware of the wondrous.
Victor Klemperer

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‘We are the bees of the invisible’ - Rainer Maria Rilke
Perhaps we are also the spiders of the invisible, connected to each other by an invisible web!

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So what do you believe in?
Nothing fixed or final,
all the while I
travel a miracle. I doubt,
and yet
I walk upon the water
Sydney Carter

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To go in the dark with a light is to
know the light.
To know the dark, go dark.
Go without sight, and find that the dark, too,
blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.
Wendell Berry

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I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
‘Fluent’ – John O’Donohue

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Seventh Sunday after Pentecost 29 June 2008

HeartSong Tonight
An extra HeartSong this month as there are 5 Sundays in the month, at 7pm

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Feast of St Peter & St Paul

Today is the “Feast day of St Paul”, the patron saint of our Church Community in Beaconsfield… We might take a moment to reflect on all that this church means to us….. become aware of the foundations and the traditions on which we build… and also become aware of our commitment to the future unfolding of THIS Divine Story…..

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Feast of St Peter & St Paul
The Scriptures do not record the deaths of Peter or Paul, but from an early date it has been said that they were martyred at Rome at the command of the Emperor Nero, and buried there. As a Roman citizen, Paul would probably have been beheaded with a sword. It is said of Peter that he was crucified head downward.

St. Augustine writes (Sermon 295): Both apostles share the same feast day, … even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.


(http://satucket.com/lectionary/Peter&Paul.htm)

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Today we use the Blue service sheets “A Community Service”
Our service is led by members of the community and we receive the sacred elements from the ‘Reserved Sacrament”
It is an opportunity for us to know that WE hold the Sacred in Community.
We are the church and we are the becoming of the church.
It is also an opportunity for us to contemplate the place of the priest in our community, to question, to appreciate and to understand both the role of the priest and also our role in the making of this community and of ourselves as the Body of Christ.

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After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him … "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you…..” 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away…. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!... Do not lay your hand on the boy; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." … Abraham called that place "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided." Genesis 22:1-14

As we look deeper into “the testing of Abraham” we see the reality of Easter.
Father and Son may a three day journey – through the valley of the shadow of death
The Son trusting the Father
The Father offering all in trust and in faith
And the Divine true to the Divine promise

"God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son."

Here is the paradox of life:
It is in Giving that we Receive

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Unanticipated invitations to travel are dancing lessons from God.
Kurt Vonnegut

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In essentials, unity;
in nonessentials, diversity;
in all things, charity.
St. Augustine of Hippo

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You are clay in MY hands - Jeremiah 18:6
Forever shaped in the hands of the Divine…
The Divine touch forever in touch with our becoming

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Character makes life immortal, it survives even death. Some say knowledge is power, but it is not true. Character is Power. Even the acquisition of knowledge demands a good character. So everyone must learn to attain a flawless character, without any trace of evil. Qualities that make a flawless character are Love, Patience, Forbearance, Steadfastness, Charity. These are the highest, these have to be revered. Sathya Sai Baba

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‘We are the bees of the invisible’ - Rainer Maria Rilke

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I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
‘Fluent’ – John O’Donohue

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So what do you believe in?
Nothing fixed or final,
all the while I
travel a miracle. I doubt,
and yet
I walk upon the water
Sydney Carter

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Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 22 June 2008

A HOLE IN A FLUTE
I am
A hole in a flute
That the Christ’s breath moves through:
Listen to this
Music.
I am the concert
From the mouth of every Creature
Singing with the myriad
Chords.
Hafiz

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O Lord, I lift up my soul

As we contemplate the reality (and the making real) of this Divine prayer, we might appreciate that it requires an active movement on our part…. Toward higher things…..
And therefore we should not be surprised to hear, in the words of Christ….

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword

A sword that will encourage, or enable us to cut away from the worldly gravity that keeps us in our domestic/cultural paradigm... Perhaps also the same sword that pierced Christ’s side on the cross and so hastened a death that was the pathway to resurrection.....

Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it

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When you practice the attitude that God is everywhere as the witness of every act of yours, that God is in every being you meet and serve, then, you will certainly be rewarded by a Vision of the Lord.
Sathya Sai Baba (sent by Lia)

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Cease wretch to mourn to weep:
Sip up the sun.
We dance along death's icy rim,
But is the dance less fun?
Anonymous

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From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world like a mole, a plough.

And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined house once stood.
Yehuda Amachai

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Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 15 June 2008

i thank you God for most this amazing day:
  for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
  
(I who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;
 this is the birthday of life and of love and wings;
and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)
  
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted  from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
 
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
e.e.cummings

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“The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.”
We too can expect to have an encounter with the Divine
And as we sit together in the ‘heat’ of the day, giving thanks, sharing our hopes and wondering, perhaps even laughing, at the possibility of what we might birth…… we might look to each other for the Divine to be revealed…. And also be aware that others look to us with the same expectation….
AGM’s give us another opportunity to experience again the world that Christ knew so well
he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest."

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"In Praise and Thanksgiving,"
"In a world that assumes the status is quo, that things have to be the way they are and that we must not assume too much about improving them, the doxologies of God's people are fundamental indicators that wonders have not ceased, that possibilities not yet dreamt of will happen, and that hope is an authentic stance."

Patrick D. Miller, Jr., Princeton Theological School. Theology Today, 1988.

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Take heart, your faith has made you well.
Matthew 19:21

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From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world like a mole, a plough.

And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined house once stood.
Yehuda Amachai

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Hopes and Fears, Doubts and Loves

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Religious Consolation

One size fits all. The shape or coloration
of the god or high heaven matters less
than that there is one, somehow, somewhere, hearing
the hasty prayer and chalking up the mite
the widow brings to the temple. A child
alone with horrid verities cries out
for there to be a limit, a warm wall
whose stones give back an answer, however faint.

Strange, the extravagance of it—who needs
those eighteen-armed black Kalis, those musty saints
whose bones and bleeding wounds appall good taste,
those joss sticks, houris, gilded Buddhas, books
Moroni etched in tedious detail?
We do; we need more worlds. This one will fail.
John Updike from Americana and Other Poems. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

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Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 8 June 2008

Landlocked in Fur

I was meditating with my cat the other day and all of a sudden she shouted “What happened?” I knew exactly what she meant, but encouraged her: “Tell me more, dear,” and she soulfully meowed, “Well I was mingled with the sky. I was comets whizzing here and there. I was suns in heat, hell – I was galaxies. But now look – I am landlocked in fur.” To this I said, “I know exactly what you mean” What to say about conversation between mystics? Tukaram 17th century Indian

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"Go …… to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1
"Follow me…… ." Matthew 9:9

We hear in the readings today a call into movement......
One of the many fears in our modern culture is our fear of change/movement, a fear created so that we hang on
to what we have... and mistrust those who might change the status quo.
The Divine Call to Abram is revealed again through Christ
There is another ‘world’ that waits for US to bring about its revelation...
Our Faith can overcome our Fear

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being fully convinced that God was able to do
what he had promised
Romans 4:21

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God is Love and those who live in love Live in God
Flowers for this Sunday are in honour of Susan and David's 6th wedding anniversary
And God lives in Them

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At its heart, the journey of life is a pilgrimage through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul.
John O'Donohue
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Take heart, your faith has made you well.
Matthew 19:21

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Third Sunday after Pentecost 1 June 2008

"Those of us who, like Noah, are no experts
must begin the building of the Earth as Ark.
We must turn away from metaphors of military and economic warfare.
We must consciously permeate every aspect of our lives
with the effort to preserve life on this planet.
All this so that we can fulfill the promise of the Rainbow Covenant."
"Rainbow Sign: Learning from the Story of the Flood,"
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center.

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Be still, and know that I am God

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"Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."

The flood narrative is one of the ‘well-known’ bible stories….. It is also common to many religious traditions and the version we read today has ‘borrowed’ from previous stories that can be found in Ancient
Near-Eastern texts…..
“The Flood” has been (and is) most widely interpreted in terms of God’s punishment of sinful humanity… an understandable,
simple, interpretation…….
This is however primarily a Re-Creation story…… A story of overwhelming forces and the power of all that water might symbolize….
In a landscape overwhelmed by flood waters, there are no signposts, no food, no life…. The resources are all within the ARK… the community…
It is (is it) the very same ‘process’ we have ritualized in baptism……
In baptism, the heavens are opened, not with the rain of Flood waters, but to the Spirit of the Divine.

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Alternative Theologies
If you ‘Google’ Noah & the Flood, there are many websites that promote the Creationist/literal view of scripture. They have answers to all the relevant life questions that we seek from scripture… By way of example:
Were Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?
The history of God’s creation (told in Genesis 1 and 2) tells us that all the land-dwelling creatures were made on Day 6 of Creation Week—the same day God made Adam and Eve. ……… Also, two of every kind (seven of some) of land animal boarded the Ark. ………We also find many dinosaurs that were trapped and fossilized in Flood sediment. Widespread legends of encounters with dragons give another indication that at least some dinosaurs survived the Flood. The only way this could happen is if they were on the Ark.

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Those who hunt for flowers will find flowers;
And those who love weeds will find weeds.
Henry Ward Beecher

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Second Sunday after Pentecost 25 May 2008

 

When we dote upon the perfections and beauties
of some one creature, we do not love that too much,
but other things too little.
Never was any thing in this world loved too much,
but many things have been loved in a false way,
and in all too short a measure.
Thomas Traherne: Centuries of Meditation

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We are called from darkness into life……

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Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow

And reflect on the place you (we) have, and the part you (we) play in the divine unfolding of creation…. How much of our life direction (how much of our Time, Gifts and Money) is given to “Shining as a light in the world to the glory of God”?

What can we learn from today’s readings…… What do we see of our life reflected in today’s scriptures?

No one can serve two masters
You cannot serve God and wealth
However, in the Divine Life we will have our cake and eat it…..
Consumed and communed in Divine Love

May our hearts always Dance with flames of Loving desire – the divine flames of Love

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Rublev’s Hospitality

It was a cold winter in Russia,
far from the Oak of Mamre,
generations after Abram’s
hospitality. But Rublev saw
the moment’s luminosity, moved
by the dance at its heart, that
leaned those angels towards each other.

As gathered stillness beyond place or
time (light flaming his brushes like
candles, writing colours resonant as
prayer), he depicted love. And also as
unfinished story, precious detail, even
leaving, in the foreground between circled
Trinity, an inviting space for you, for me.
© Annamaria Weldon 2008
(reproduced here with Anna’s permission)

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Meister Eckhart says, I have been asked what God is doing in heaven. I answer; He has been giving his Son birth eternally, is giving him birth now and will go on giving him birth forever.........

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A people of Pentecost….
We and all people are spirit-filled, filled with the Divine. The flame of Pentecost is within. The opportunity, the call of Pentecost is to find an expression of that flame, so that we might shine as a light in the world.

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Those who hunt for flowers will find flowers;
And those who love weeds will find weeds.
Henry Ward Beecher

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WHEN we hear the names, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, we sense that in the mystery of God there must be a wondrous community. It is the one name of God in which "the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit" are so different that they are named successively, yet bound together with the conjunction "and." - The Triune God: Rich in Relationships - Jürgen Moltmann

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Numbers
Two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.
11,000, the number of commercial flights in the US every eight hours.
426,000, the number of cell phones retired in the US every day.
1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour.
29,569, to the number of gun-related deaths in the US in 2004.
60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds.
$12.5 million, the amount the US government spends every hour on the war in Iraq.
One Million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours.
Source Perthnow Gallery
Numbers 14:19
Forgive the iniquity of this people……

 

Trinity Sunday 18 May 2008

Let us praise God the Creator,
who is filled with glory and power - with holiness and splendour;
Let us worship God the Saviour,
who is filled with love and compassion - with justice and peace;
Let us experience God the Spirit,
who fills us with faith and joy - with love and eternal life.

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Love God with your whole Heart and your neighbour as yourself

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Superman, the movie, employs the concept of the Trinity to give Superman a supernatural origin… “the father becomes the son, and the son becomes the father”.
H2O, a trinity of Ice, Water and Steam…. “I am the living water”
Light a trinity of three primary colours (rainbow)…….
“I am the light of the world”
These are simple examples that give us entry points to exploring the complex understanding that the doctrine of the Trinity seeks to illuminate…..
However, the primary entry point, and our point of experiential understanding is relationship
God is Love

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A people of Pentecost….
We and all people are spirit-filled, filled with the Divine. The flame of Pentecost is within. The opportunity, the call of Pentecost is to find an expression of that flame, so that we might shine as a light in the world.

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Faith, Hope & Love
Nothing worth doing is completed in one lifetime,
therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any context of history,
therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, no matter how virtuous, can be accomplished alone,
therefore, we must be saved by love. Reinhold Niebuhr

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The trinity is the largest embrace in the universe…. All of us live within the circle of the Trinity. No one or no thing can fall out of this circle. In God there is no outside… regardless of how numbed, ordinary or dull a life might seem to itself or to others, each life is urgent with divinity… Each of us is born out of a different place in the circle of God’s heart. This is the reason why each individual is unique; each comes from a different nest in the divine. It is towards this nest that our deepest longing tends: it is only here that the soul can discover her true poise and rhythm.
From “The Priestliness of the Human Heart” by John O’Donohue

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"Was Pentecost a miracle of speaking,
or one of hearing and understanding?"
The Journey with Jesus: Notes to Myself, Daniel B. Clendenin,

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in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
The word "Trinity" is not found in the Bible, and the only trinitarian-like passage is Matthew 28:19, which we hear in today’s gospel is more liturgical than theological The Holy Spirit, although spoken of in the Bible, was not clearly part of the Trinity until the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. and was accepted as equal to the other two personae of the Trinity only in 381 A.D. at the Council of Constantinople.
We should not get distracted by the mathematics of the Trinity for in the words of Paul Tillich the Trinity "does not affirm the logical nonsense that three is one and one is three; it describes in dialectical terms the inner movement of the divine life as an eternal separation from itself and return to Itself."
Trinitarian theology enables us to contemplate God as a dynamic ‘dance’ of love – a God who is relationship in relationship. This is quite a development from the earlier glimpses of God as ‘Father’ in heaven.
Creator, Redeemer & Sanctifier

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WHEN we hear the names, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, we sense that in the mystery of God there must be a wondrous community. It is the one name of God in which "the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit" are so different that they are named successively, yet bound together with the conjunction "and." - The Triune God: Rich in Relationships - Jürgen Moltmann

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Trinity.. the Ultimate Cubic equation!
In Algebra algebra, casus irreducibilis ( Latin for "the irreducible case") is one of the cases that may arise in attempting to solve a cubic equation with integer coefficients with roots that are expressed with HYPERLINK Nth root radicals. Specifically, if a cubic polynomial is Irreducible polynomial irreducible over the rational numbers and has three Real numbers real roots, then in order to express the roots with radicals, one must introduce Complex numbers, complex-valued expressions, even though the resulting expressions are ultimately real-valued.
(Links to Wikipedia)

May our hearts always Dance with flames of Loving desire – the divine flames of Love

Day of Pentecost 11 May 2008

Receive the Holy Spirit

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All were amazed. Amazed, astonished and perplexed.

Pentecost is traditionally viewed as the 'Birthday of the Church'.. and we should receive that tradition with caution.. Birthdays focus on a date of beginning, they suggest a lifespan and they look backwards to a time past.

Pentecost is an eternal moment in, and of, creation... A moment that is characterised by when "they were all together in one place", we might glimpse this eternal moment when we all come together Sunday by Sunday to make Eucharist. to experience Holy Communion.

Rather than look back, let us look toward tomorrow, aware of the gifts and the opportunities that they represent, knowing that the Divine has breathed on us.

"Receive the Holy Spirit".

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The Passion of Red
The night breaks when the red fire of dawn is kindled and the world glows again in the beauty of colour. Red is the colour of birth and is probably the colour in which the universe was born of the Big Bang, the primal red explosion out of which the cosmos emerged. Our earth was born in a red fire. The heart of the earth is a wild fire-dance of red magma. When a volcano erupts we begin to understand that ground is only vaguely solid. The torrential red rivers that flow from a volcano reveal what a tenuous foundation ground is... John O’Donohue, Divine Beauty

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"Was Pentecost a miracle of speaking,
or one of hearing and understanding?"
The Journey with Jesus: Notes to Myself, Daniel B. Clendenin,

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The gift of wisdom corresponds to the virtue of charity.
The gift of understanding corresponds to the virtue of faith.
The gift of knowledge corresponds to the virtue of faith.
The gift of counsel corresponds to the virtue of prudence.
The gift of fortitude corresponds to the virtue of fortitude.
The gift of piety corresponds to the virtue of justice.
The gift of fear of the Lord corresponds to the virtue of hope.
(Thomas Aquinas commenting on the gifts referred to in Isaiah)

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Flame-dancing Spirit
Come sweep us off our feet
And Dance us through our days.
Surprise us with your rhythms;
dare us to try new steps,
explore new patterns
and new partnerships.
Release us from old routines
to swing in abandoned joy
and fearful adventure.
And in the intervals,
rest us in your still centre.
Amen
Esther de Waal

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Global Warming
May the flame of Pentecost
Create a Global Warming
And receive the attention
Of all who seek Life... Amen

 

Seventh Sunday of Easter 4 May 2008

In Praise of Fire
In the beginning, the Word was red,
and the sound was thunder.

Let us praise the pure essence of fire
that burns within,
without thought of time,
releasing the earth’s long-enduring memory
in a powder of ashes left for the wind to decipher.

As fire cleanses dross,
May the flame of passion burn away what is false.
And may we discover beneath our fear
Embers of anger to kindle justice. John O’Donohue (adapted)

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As we contemplate the “Ascension of our Lord” we might hear the same question asked of us that was asked of the disciples in today’s reading from Acts....
Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?

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Birth, Dying and, to some extent, Rising from the dead provide us with signposts for our spiritual life and in turn inform our growth and development into our full humanity… However, we seem to have more difficulty with ‘Ascending’ to heaven….
Surely the meaning that the narrative of the ‘Ascension’ conveys is vital to our movement into being alive in Christ… We too must rise above the self-centeredness of ‘worldly gravity’ and ascend into the Divine habitation… into that place where God abides with us and we abide in God…. It is a movement that is familiar in some Eastern Traditions and that is becoming more evidenced as we push the boundaries of theoretical physics…..
We might remember…

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And into that gate they shall enter, and in that house they shall dwell, where there shall be no cloud nor sun, no darkness or dazzling, but one equal light,
no noise nor silence, but one equal music,
no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession,
no foes nor friends, but one equal communion and identity,
no ends nor beginnings but one equal eternity.
‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
And then consider again our orientation.

John Donne

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Let peace break out!
St Hilda Community

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May Christ's peace invade, flood and shake the foundations of our hearts and lives, in this Community, in our daily lives, in our witness to the world;

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Sixth Sunday of Easter 27 April 2008


"In the terrible midnight of war [people] have knocked on the door of the church to ask for the bread of peace, but the church has often disappointed them.... In a world gone mad with arms build-up, chauvinistic passions and imperialistic exploitation, the church has either endorsed these activities or remained appallingly silent.... A weary world, pleading desperately for peace, has often found the church morally sanctioning war."
----Martin Luther King, Jr. (In his sermon, "A Knock at Midnight.")

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I AM the resurrection and the Life

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“all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind”

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In the revelation of Easter everything Changes... and so all is changed...... And we can appreciate with the insights of Quantum Physics that this is a reality for “those who have eyes to see and ears to hear”.... For others... nothing changes......
Some still believe the Earth is flat... Some believe that women cannot become priests.... and some believe that “I AM the resurrection and the Life”

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As we move toward Pentecost, the readings encourage us to see, and so to realise the resurrection, the new life of Easter......

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“When the power of love overcomes the love of power then the world will know peace”
Jimi Hendrix

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Pray that our journey toward Pentecost may be inspired by the divine orientation of Easter

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If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
John F. Kennedy

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Each day is a secret story woven around the radiant heart of wonder.
John O’Donohue

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And into that gate they shall enter, and in that house they shall dwell, where there shall be no cloud nor sun, no darkness or dazzling, but one equal light,
no noise nor silence, but one equal music,
no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession,
no foes nor friends, but one equal communion and identity,
no ends nor beginnings but one equal eternity. John Donne

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ANZAC DAY
Over 330,000 Australians served overseas in the War of 1914-18. Of those, nearly 60,000 died, 152,000 were wounded, and 4,000 were taken prisoner The National Archives of Australia

The Ode of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

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May Christ's peace invade, flood and shake the foundations of our hearts and lives, in this Community, in our daily lives, in our witness to the world;
Let peace break out!
St Hilda Community

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Fifth Sunday of Easter 20 April 2008

We will remember them.
The Community of St Paul’s is a holder of community memory.... We hold the re-membering of the Stories in the Hebrew Scriptures, we re-member the Revelation of Christ... and we hold and build on the stories that the Life of our community......
It is in our Giving that we Receive
We can only remember as a community if we continue to build ourselves into community.. As we contemplate the sacrifice of lives for the common good... please also consider how much Life there is when we Give of ourselves.

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ANZAC DAY
Over 330,000 Australians served overseas in the War of 1914-18. Of those, nearly 60,000 died, 152,000 were wounded, and 4,000 were taken prisoner The National Archives of Australia

The Ode of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

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Giving
Elton John has been reported as the most generous “giver” among his rich & famous peers – giving 12.5% of his fortune to charitable works. We all have opportunities to give – but, often in fear we hold on too much – just in case. Please remember St Paul’s in your will – when you are no longer hanging on to your fortune it can still be employed in doing great things.

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Believe in God
The “stoning of Stephen’, proto-martyr ... Do we receive this narrative as encouragement or warning....
It is quite difficult in the present age to understand the phenomenon of Martyr.... Although it has again found ‘faith’ in the guise of ‘suicide bombers’...... Stephen’s dying has many parallels with the Easter narrative... and so grounds the Easter event into the every-day....
If Jesus can have Easter – so can we (Stephen)
And there is a tremendous ‘upside’ to the offer of martyrdom......

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Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these

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This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me it’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw

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Humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling. Michael Mayne

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‘Such a pleasure to be part of the congregation of St. Paul's’ - Ruth and Dee

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Fourth Sunday of Easter 13 April 2008

Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it onto future generations. This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. George Bernard Shaw

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I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly

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We find in today’s readings a wonderful affirmation of humanity in the voice of the Divine. And so we are affirmed and called into life’s fullness.....
The gate... and the gate-keeper have an eternal openness to our ‘arrival’..... for our part, as we stand on the post-Easter doorstep, we might ask...
To what are we devoted?...... Where do we find ourselves ‘together’?..... And what do share in our giving to the ‘common’?...... For as we reflect on where we stand, where we are.... so too we glimpse the opportunities (gateways) that lie before us.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

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Pray that our journey toward Pentecost may be inspired by the divine orientation of Easter

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Our sense of touch connects us to the world in an intimate way. The world of touch brings us out of the anonymity of distance into the
intimacy of belonging. Hands are beautiful
John O’Donohue - Anam Cara

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I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

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At its heart, the journey of life is a pilgrimage through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul.
John O'Donohue

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“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them." - Rabindranath Tagore

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Third Sunday of Easter 6 April 2008

Rejoice and be glad, for the Lord is truly risen

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With you is the source of life, O God.
You are the beginning of all that is.
From your life the fire of the rising sun streams forth.
You are the life-flow of creation's rivers,
the sap of blood in our veins, earth's fecundity,
the fruiting of trees, creatures' birthing,
the conception of new thought, desire's origin.
All these are of you, O God, and I am of you.
You are the morning's freshness

Sounds of the Eternal: Celtic Psalter, Philip Newell.

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Gaude et laetare, Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia

Do we know what it means? Are we walking away from Easter, talking about it and wondering about it?
Each and every Easter is a call into life…. And what we read in the account of the early church (Acts of the Apostles) toady is a process for engaging in that very promise, our calling into life...
"Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”
Repent – Turn toward a newness in Life.. turn toward the Divine Life
Be Baptised – Own, and live the promises of our faith
Forgiven – Dwell not on all that is past – rather reconcile, and re-create
Receive – be open to receiving that which is the Divine gift to all…….

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Rejoice and be glad, For the Lord is truly risen. Alleluia.

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Pray that our journey toward Pentecost may be a inspired by the divine orientation of Easter

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At its heart, the journey of life is a pilgrimage through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul.
John O'Donohue

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We live and love in God’s peculiar light -Michelangelo

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50 days for our delight for Christ is risen as all things tell.
Good Christian - see ye rise as well
As children of the resurrection we share in the experience of the first disciples.... wondering our way to the gift of Pentecost.....

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Second Sunday after Easter 30 March 2008

The Cross is the Abyss of Wonders, the Centre of Desires, the School of Virtue, the House of Wisdom, the Throne of Love, the Theatre of Joys and the Place of Sorrows; it is the Root of Happiness, and the Gate of Heaven.

... That Centre of Eternity, That Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God! There we are Entertained with the Wonder of all Ages. There we enter into the Heart of the Universe.
Thomas Traherne (1637-1674) Centuries of Meditation I. 58, 55

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Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray

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Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray
These words had a ‘grave’ meaning when we sung them on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
However, as we contemplate the same words, in light of Easter Sunday, they mean something quite different...
They call us to be together, to continue, and to participate in the creation of new life in the Divine – to change the world......
And the world will be changed.......
“if every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our [US] country’s oil consumption by over 1.1million barrels of oil every week.” (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver)

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Today we use the Blue service sheets “A community Service”
Our service is led by members of the community and we receive the sacred elements from the ‘Reserved Sacrament”
It is an opportunity for us to know that WE hold the Sacred in Community.
We are the church and we are the becoming of the church.
It is also an opportunity for us to contemplate the place of the priest in our community, to question, to appreciate and to understand both the role of the priest and also our role in the making of this community and of ourselves as the Body of Christ

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‘I AM the resurrection and the life’ says the Lord
‘Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet will they live’
John 11.25

50 days for our delight for Christ is risen
as all things tell.
Good Christian - see ye rise as well

As children of the resurrection we share in the experience of the first disciples.... wondering our way to the gift of Pentecost.....

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‘When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."’

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The existence of evil remains a mystery to me:
I prefer that mystery to any explanation of it that I know. Edwin Muir

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That Cross is a tree set on fire with invisible flame, that Illuminateth all the World. The Flame is Love. The love in His Bosom who died on it. In the light of which we see how to possess all the Things in Heaven and Earth after his Similitude. For he that suffered on it, was the Son of God as you are: tho He seemed a Mortal Man. He had Acquaintance and Relations as you have, but he was a lover of Men and Angels. Was he not the Son of God and Heir of the Whole World? To this poor Bleeding Naked Man did all the Corn and Wine and Oil, and Gold and Silver in the World minister in an Invisible manner, even as he was exposed Lying and Dying upon the Cross.
Thomas Traherne (1637-1674) Centuries of Meditation I.,56,60.

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The Paschal Candle – The New light of Easter

New life where Death has stalked

This year's Paschal Candle represents regeneration and the transformation of suffering in its central image of Cross as Tree of Life. That which was an instrument of torture and death has become an outpouring of life, sprouting roots and branches, leaves and fruit. This is no less than the central promise of the gospel, and if the good news doesn't extend to the most horrendous and hidden corners of life, concretely, tangibly, then how good is it? The tree is red, for fire and spirit, and made of wax embedded into lines gouged out of the candle, poured then scraped clean.
This felt like an appropriate technique.

The Α (Alpha) and (Omega) from the Greek alphabet, typically presented on the Paschal Candle, are here instead as ? (Aleph) and
? (Tav), the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Reminders that the Divine Reality encompasses and transcends language, rationality and what we think we know about the world. at the top and bottom is Immanuel in its original Hebrew, which as you know means: God (is) with us.
Elohim God [is] with us" consists of two Hebrew words: El El, meaning 'God) and (Immanu, meaning 'with us');
Please talk to Lucy if you've any questions. May this candle be remembrance of Christ's light in our midst and indeed shining from our inmost recesses.

 

Palm Sunday 16 March 2008


Our focus today is on the ‘triumphal Entry’ of our Lord into Jerusalem… it is another beginning and so we read the whole Gospel narrative of the passion. We have an opportunity to know again the story that we will encounter during Holy Week and Easter. As we journey together through Holy week, and in particular through the great three days, we have the opportunity to “see’ for ourselves in the same way that the disciples saw, and to understand the enormity of turning toward Jerusalem, and of facing that truth that the crowds do not yet see.

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Holy Week
As much as possible this week I seek to spend time at the Church and not rushing from one appointment to another…. There is much to reflect on, and my Lent Journal – largely inspired by the Lenten Readings – calls for a re-reading and refinement of thoughts….
Two Funerals during the week, and Two weddings (and a baptism) on Easter Monday have already filled the week, so please be patient if your phone calls and emails do not get answered till the resurrection has been realised. Peter

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May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,

To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all
the unfinished and unsolved

Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
to stir towards your senses
And grow stronger in your heart.

John O'Donohue

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And here in dust and dirt, O here
The lilies of His love appear. 
George Herbert

The existence of evil remains a mystery to me:
I prefer that mystery to any explanation of it that I know.
Edwin Muir

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We emerge from the ‘wilderness’ of Lent into the majesty of Holy Week
A week in which we ‘follow’ Christ….
Maundy Thursday heralds the Triduum - the three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. The Church meets during those three days to re-member and to re-collect... We also meet to celebrate what it is that Christ reveals... The documents from Vatican Council II tell us:
"Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore the Easter Triduum of the passion and resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year."
In ‘our’ celebration of Easter we find out for ourselves the Divine revelation

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May you encounter the divine this Easter

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Reconciliation
Confession and absolution is part of our Church tradition - if you would like to make your personal confession prior to Easter, please make a time with Peter.

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LENT Readings
The Lent readings have offered us much to reflect on and for Lent 5 Richard Holloway sums up a position that asks more of us than we might ask of ‘The Church”……
" He[Jesus] did more than question the received order; he treated it as though it did not exist; he acted as if his own vision of the welcoming father were already a universal reality"

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People think God has only become a human being there - in his historical incarnation - but that is not so; for God is here - in this very place – just as much incarnate as in a human being long ago. And this is why God had become a human being: that God might give birth to you as the
only begotten Son, and as no less.
Meister Eckhart – 13th century mystic

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ” Margaret Mead

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Fifth Sunday of Lent 9 March 2008

I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live

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I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
The process of creation, love’s formative breath, is ‘spoken’ to the very driest of ‘bones’...
Is this the voice we long to hear?.......... As we approach Easter we’re drawn into the Divine promise of Life, Renewal, Birth, Re-Creation and Resurrection......
I AM making all things new

We are also wandering in the wilderness of Lent..... and/or seeking to determine the divine reality from the worldly temptations of everyday life.....
Take time to breathe.... and to be open.... be aware of all that breathes life and light into our very being and our becoming.

I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live

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Pray that our LENTEN journey may be a divine orientation

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February 29th – leap year and a leap of faith for this community, and the day final settlement of the purchase of 166 Hampton Road took place. The walls that divide are coming down so that we can feel community growing and emerging all around our church. Thanks to Rodger Philpott and others in the St Paul’s congregation who have made this vision a reality.

"If our knowledge is like a small island set in an ocean of inexhaustible mystery, then the growth of the island does not lessen the size or mystery of the sea, it just increases the length of the shore a little. And perhaps we are most human, most what we are called to be, when we have one foot on
that shore of what we know and one foot in the mysterious, unknown ocean.” Michael Mayne – Learning to Dance

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How much of our sight is filled with the emptiness of tomorrow, looking with wonder at all that we don’t understand? (From last week’s sermon)

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Be Still and Know that I AM God
Please be honouring to those who desire the stillness and prayerful silence as we begin and during the Eucharist. Conversations can always take place outside of the church, or later after the service.

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People think God has only become a human being there - in his historical incarnation - but that is not so; for God is here - in this very place – just as much incarnate as in a human being long ago. And this is why God had become a human being: that God might give birth to you as the
only begotten Son, and as no less.
Meister Eckhart – 13th century mystic

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ” Margaret Mead

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The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago;
the second best time is now.
Chinese saying

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And here in dust and dirt, O here
The lilies of His love appear. 
George Herbert

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Refreshment Sunday Fourth Sunday in Lent 2 March 2008

Refreshment Sunday (Reprinted from the Chipping Norton News)
When I was a child my brother and I would cycle to Chesterton Woods to pick primroses for our mother – she wanted no truck with the new-fangled Mother’s Day which had arrived from the USA with the Yanks just a few years before. She ensured that we knew the origins of the day – Mid-Lent Sunday as it was on this day that the devout parishioners went to the Mother Church of the parish, or the Cathedral of the diocese, to make their offerings. Sometime during the seventeenth century the day became the festival of human motherhood when the whole family met together and apprentices and servants were given the day off – probably the only holiday in the year – and took flowers gathered from the hedgerows and, sometimes the gift of a simnel cake to their mothers from their employers.

Simnel cakes had been known from mediaeval times and the word simnel probably derived from the latin word ‘simila’, meaning fine, wheaten flour from which the cakes were made. Simnel-style cakes are now also eaten at Easter when eleven balls of marzipan are placed around the top layer to represent the eleven true disciples but the really good cake has a layer of delicious sticky marzipan in the centre and it was this variety that my mother made so the long bike ride was well rewarded.

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Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead

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The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.

Our view of the world is as much about how we see as it is
about what is to be seen.

‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’

Our faith calls us to look beyond the pharasaical world – the world that is presented to us in the media and by our community and church leaders,
to look beyond the world revealed ‘in Christ’.
Our Lenten journey toward Easter is the journey of the Exodus, the journey of the Refugee.

It is a journey toward freedom
and new life.

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Pray that our LENTEN journey may be a divine orientation

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We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the Eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
John O’Donohue

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In my mother's womb
you knew me, O God.
In my father's birth
and in the birth of his father
were my beginnings.
At the inception of time and even before time began
your love conceived of my being.

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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was
more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

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May you learn to see your self
With the same delight,
Pride and expectation
With which God sees you in every moment.
John O’Donohue

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Philip Newell - Sounds of the Eternal, a Celtic Psalter

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Third Sunday in Lent 24 February 2008

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
As we move toward Easter we might more fully realise that the Giving of ourselves is the fullest realisation of the divine gift to us. As Church we re-member and we give thanks for God’s blessings, and we commit to both realising and retelling the promise of life that is revealed in Jesus. Please reflect through the forty days of Lent on that vision, that promise, that calls to you. Reflect on that which you give to this community and that which you ask from this community. To realise our fullness and our wholeness we have been given a new paradigm in Jesus - to follow him is to know that It is in Giving that We Receive.

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…the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Divine in spirit and truth

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As we engage and encounter our LENTen journey…. Do we find ourselves thirsting?….. Do we become aware of our Hunger?..... In the gospel dialogue we have Jesus asking for a drink… and yet also declaring himself as the source of ‘living water’…….. These apparent contradictions illuminate the full Humanity and the Full Divinity that is revealed in Christ….
What is revealed in us? ……. If we declare ourselves as human and Jesus as Divine are we not creating a separation that is at odds with today’s Gospel.
What might it mean to contemplate the revelation of integration that is evidenced in today’s gospel,

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"Is the LORD among us or not?"

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May you experience a blessed and Holy Lent

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H2O - reflections
Water, Water Everywhere and not a drop to Drink……
A drop in the Ocean
Why in WA do we let all our rainwater run off to the sea?
Why are we afraid of recycled water?
Raindrops keep falling on my head.
Water & Sun creating Rainbows

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Holy Spirit,
You nurture us and You want us to grow.
Lead us in Your wild dance,
So that we may tread unfamiliar paths
Singing gladly,
And find fulfilment for the dreams
That fit Your knowing of us
Ionan Abbey Worship Book.

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Memory [is] the place where our vanished days secretly gather and acknowledge that the passionate heart never ages.
John O’Donohue – Anam Cara

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Second Sunday in Lent 17 February 2008


Someone I cared for
Someone I cared for
put it to me: Who
do you think you are?
I went down the list
of all the many
possibilities
carefully — did it
twice — but couldn't find
a plausible one.
That was when I knew
for the first time who
in fact I wasn't.
Cid Corman, from And The Word. © Coffee House Press, 1987

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Whoever believes in him may have eternal life

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"Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.”

We might be somewhat wary of this “call”… for it challenges us to rework our perspective and to be open to a movement that is devoid of the certainty we seek for our security……
And yet it does hold some echo of the “Adam & Eve” narrative and their movement from the garden.
The gospel also contains an echo of the readings from the previous two weeks….
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
As we explore the Scriptures… so our questions take shape…… and what we once saw so clearly may become quite blurred….
The Sanctuary of Eden where we walk in innocence and ignorance is perhaps the very tomb from which the promise of Easter will emerge…….. As I listen to the Divine voice…. do I hear the serpent call?

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Pray that our LENTEN journey may be a divine orientation

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My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. Thomas Merton

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At its heart, the journey of life is a pilgrimage through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul.
John O'Donohue

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We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow.

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How can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
A good question comes out of the gospel dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus…. It is a question that we can ask today and ask of the many different ‘prophets” that call to us.
“How can you believe” - that bombing/invading Iraq leads to world Peace?
“How can you believe” - that turning away refugees leads to loving our neighbour?
“How can you believe” - that hoarding for my retirement opens opportunities for our youth?
“How can you believe” - that politicians are honest?
“How can you believe” - that church leaders understand sexuality and relationships?
“How can you believe” – that charging for tertiary education shows that we value our youth
“How can you believe” - that Jesus is Lord - that the meek shall inherit - that God is Love?

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First Sunday in Lent 10 February 2008

From the fragmented world of our everyday lives
We gather together in search of wholeness.
By many cares and preoccupations
by diverse and separate aims
are we separated from one another
and divided within ourselves
Yet we know that no branch is utterly severed
From the Tree of Life that sustains us all.
Prayers of the St Hilda's Community

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The free gift of grace abounds for the many

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At its heart, the journey of life is a pilgrimage through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul.
John O'Donohue

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A delightful paradox: to find the abundance of Divine promise we begin with the season of fasting… However, we all know that feeling of space and freshness when we ‘spring clean’ and that perhaps gives us a clue to the Lenten journey we have embarked upon.

Lent gives us an opportunity to look again at ourselves and that which consumes us. In the prayers of Ash Wednesday as last year’s palm crosses are consumed by fire - we pray that we may be consumed by God’s love.

Lent asks us to bring our faith into the foreground and to see again the promises of our Lord through the vision of God’s abundant love. It is an opportunity to see differently and perhaps even to be differently.

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We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow.

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Be like a flowing river,
Silent in the night.
Be not afraid of the dark.
If there are stars in the sky, reflect them back.
If there are clouds in the sky,
Remember, clouds, like the river, are water,
So gladly reflect them back too
In your own tranquil depths.
Manuel Bandeira

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The free gift of grace abounds for the many

 

Transfiguration Sunday 3 February 2008

HeartSong 8.30pm tonight
Singing and chanting in our
candlelit Sacred Space

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‘What we play is life’
Louis Armstrong

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Ash Wednesday - Imposition of Ashes
On Wednesday 6.30am & 6.30pm – Ash Wednesday - We come before the altar for the “Imposition of Ashes” – We are marked with ashes (ending) and so are marked for beginning. During LENT we have (another) 40 days to consider/prepare/realise/discern/engage/encounter OUR transfiguration.
In marking and being marked at the beginning of LENT we acknowledge a new journey, a new purpose and a new orientation.

If you have Palm Crosses from last year please bring them as the palms are burnt to create the ashes…..

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Come up to me

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Come up to me
We receive that invitation, again, from Isaiah… A Divine invitation for us to move toward ‘higher’ things, ‘higher’ places…….

Jesus…. led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.

As (or If) we move toward ‘higher’ things, so we are changed, refashioned, re-created, renewed, resurrected….. TRANSFIGURED
No wonder we get short of breath when we climb mountains…for as we move toward the heavens so we find the view is breathtaking……….
This feast day, before Lent, is a real temptation. May we wrestle with its mystery through the 40 days ahead……..

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth

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Lent is a time for clarity, as when the bare boughs of winter
show us the shape of the tree in austere beauty. Let us clear
away the clutter of our lives in order to see the underlying pattern.
The St Hilda Community

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We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow.

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Liturgical Changes in LENT
The crosses will be covered, removed or veiled. There will be fewer candles in the church, and no flowers in the sanctuary. We will omit the singing of the Gloria from our Sunday liturgy. We are quieter – more reflective…..
We still give thanks and celebrate our Lord’s living presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist - And at the same time we listen in our deepest prayers for that which is asked of us…. The gift that was given at Christmas desires and seeks the divine – that which is birthed in us seeks to find rest in God.
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Third Sunday in Epiphany 27 January 2008

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness
on them light has shined

Both the Old Testament reading from Isaiah and the Gospel of Matthew speak of a ‘movement’, from darkness into light……

We might therefore reflect on the movement of our lives…… not just the movement through the years… but rather those movements that shape us and form us, physically and spiritually……

During Lent we ‘journey’ in the wilderness seeking. What? Perhaps we cannot begin to find the answer until we become aware of the question which again asks us to reflect on our movement…

Where are we heading…where are we going?

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From last week’s sermon:
‘In every way you have been enriched in Christ … you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.’ Read more

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In the words of Jesus, [thus] a divine question: ‘What are you looking for?’

What are you looking for?

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It is in Giving that we Receive
Giving in love is the work of creation - it is our creative activity. God’s divine giving is also made real in the word made flesh, these encounters between Creator & Creature and between Divinity & Humanity enable us to see how we are to encounter each other. As we consider our call to “be” the body of Christ and also to bear witness to the oneness of God for all people, we can look again at the gifts we have, and the gifts that we have to share. Our community of St Paul’s is a community of faith, a faith that is realised in loving action. In the year ahead it would be wonderful if we could extend our ministry - and to realise ourselves as co-creators with God - this we can do in giving of ourselves to each other.

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All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
to arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
A Morning Offering - John O’Donohue

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We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
John O’Donohue

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HOPE - 2008 - PEACE - 2008 - JOY - 2008 - LOVE
Be blessed and be a blessing in the year ahead

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Second Sunday in Epiphany 20 January 2008


The Glory of God is in being fully Human and to be
fully human is to glorify God. - St Irenaeus

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HOPE - 2008 - PEACE - 2008 - JOY - 2008 - LOVE
Be blessed and be a blessing in the year ahead

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Living in the Shadows
THE INVASION of IRAQ – estimated over 100,000 civilian deaths
The cost of the US led invasion of Iraq - $228million per day
STARVATION caused by Greed – 40,000 children die each day
POVERTY – Australia takes 75% of East Timor’s Oil revenues
AFRICA – 600 die each day from AIDS – because we will not give them medication
May we bring Light to those who live in darkness

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I delight to do your will, O God; your love is within my heart

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Come and see……
A desire deep inside heard this call and so I came and I sought….
The LORD called me before I was born… and named me
And said to me, "You are my servant, in whom I will be glorified."
And I wondered how could this be……
I am my self and how could I glorify anything, let alone anyone…
A desire deep inside heard this doubt and opened to new possibilities….
In every way you have been enriched
God is faithful; and you were called into the fellowship of Christ our Lord.
A desire deep inside heard this call and so I came and I sought….
What are you looking for?
Here is the Lamb of God
A desire deep inside heard this call and glimpsed its light….
I delight to do your will, O God; your love is within my heart

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All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
to arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
A Morning Offering - John O’Donohue

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From last week’s sermon:
'Entertain the possibility that you could be the source of divine joy; the source of divine joy is within you.' Read the rest

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The Baptism of our Lord 13 January 2008

Here is my servant, in whom my soul delights

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"Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way
to fulfil all righteousness."

And how might we “fulfil all righteousness” in this day and age and in our world? The Baptism of Jesus confirms that revelation of the Nativity and so it symbolises the full humanity of Jesus - the total involvement of the Divine in humanity. It marks the beginning of Christ’s ‘Ministry’, and so too our Ministry, both as Baptised and as members of The Body of Christ.

Isaiah sees the power of the Divine gift given to all; in Christ we can expect ‘to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.’

And St Peter sees the same power in terms of “doing good and healing all who were oppressed”. So as we unwrap the gift of Christmas let us not diminish that for which we have been anointed, but rather be faithful to our calling:

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen,
in whom my soul delights

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What comes forth from the St Paul’s community…
During Lent it would be good to acknowledge the various “ministries” that are fed by our Communion: School Chaplains, Voluntary Work, Pastoral Care, etc, etc…. Reflect on YOUR ministry in the wider community and we’ll add these all to a list in the hall during Lent……. It might give us an appreciation of our growing place in the wider community….

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"The Glory of God is in being fully Human and to be
fully human is to glorify God"
St Irenaeus

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January: Traditionally many take holiday; we’re probably therefore a little more relaxed. At St Paul’s we have fewer activities (probably saving our energy for the wilderness of Lent). It is therefore a good time to catch up with one another, and to call on those whom you’ve missed seeing. It is also a time for setting in place the diary events that will shape our year, and planning for our commitments in the year ahead. Please give some thought to the Time, Talents and Money that you will contribute to the ongoing life of St Paul’s and to our restoration of the East Wall… 2008 should be quite a year for building (up the Body of Christ).

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Directions for 2008
“Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”
(Micah 6:8)

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Our journey continues…..
Advent provided us with some guidance toward Christmas… and soon we will begin our Lenten journey (6th February) toward the Easter mystery…. Please consider forming a small group of fellow travellers…. or maybe even one other companion… to share your Lent journey with.
There will be a file of materials available that look at “Core Stories” and that can be used for Lent reflections and (as with Advent) you might like to introduce other sources for our reflection….

Will your ADVENT group become a LENT group?
Who will you journey with through 2008?
Who will you Give to and Receive from in 2008?
Who will help you, and Who will you help as Companions on the way?

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'Vocation' is distorted by two disastrous misunderstandings:
a secularized idea of 'career'
and a monastic concept of the religious life.
Both are less than the biblical idea of vocation...
Vocation is about being raised from the dead,
made alive to the reality that we do not merely exist,
but are 'called forth' to a divine purpose."
"The Meaning of Vocation," A.J. Conyers,
The Centre for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, 2004.

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“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.”
Forgive us for listening to - and believing - voices that call us worthless
and unlovable.
“I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Forgive us when we feel imprisoned by our fears - fear of pain,
of loneliness, of death.
“When you pass through trying times which threaten to engulf you, I will be with you.”
Forgive our negative feelings about ourselves and other people.
“You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you.”
Loving and merciful God, forgive us when we allow our fears and our
worries to stifle your voice of love. Help us to hear your words of love
reverberate in every corner of our being so that we know that we too are
your beloved, on whom your favour rests. Amen

 

The Epiphany of our Lord 6 January 2008

HOPE - 2008 - PEACE - 2008 - JOY - 2008 - LOVE

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Be blessed and be a blessing in the year ahead

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επιφ?νεια t Epiphany

"appearance" or "manifestation"
As we welcome the New Year and celebrate the "shining forth" or revelation of the Divinity in Humanity through the person Jesus Christ….. We might enact the ritual (in spirit) of Hindus and smash a coconut before the shrine of Ganesha at the entrance to the temple……[see below]
As we realise the import of the nativity, as we experience the revelation of the light, and as we prepare for the year ahead…. may we remove all obstacles and be open to God.

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Smashing coconuts……
At the entrance of the temple is the figure of the god Ganesh, the elephant god…. his fundamental characteristic is his power to remove obstacles… Whenever (devotees) want to undertake a journey, they pray to Ganesh to remove the obstacles. So on entering a temple they break a coconut before the shrine of Ganesh… a beautiful action. A coconut has a hard, rough, exterior, but inside there is a white substance and sweet milk. The outer nutshell is the external self, the ego (i.e., devotees break their ego). Inside is the pure white substance, the sweet milk, symbolising the divine life within. So they try to remove all obstacles from the mind and make it open to God.

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Three wishes I ask of the King
when I shall depart from my body:
may I have nothing to confess,
may I have no enemy,
may I have nothing.

Donald Nicholl – The testing of Hearts: A Pilgrims Journal

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Epiphany
The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in the year 361, by Ammianus Marcellinus St. Epiphanius says that the January 6 is hemera genethlion toutestin epiphanion (Christ's "Birthday; that is, His Epiphany"). He also asserts that the miracle at Cana occurred on the same calendar day.
Epiphany is celebrated by both the Eastern and Western Churches, but a major difference between them is over precisely which historical events the feast commemorates. For Western Christians the feast primarily commemorates the coming of the Magi, while in the East the feast celebrates the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan. However, in both cases the essence of the feast is the same: the manifestation of Christ to the world (whether as an infant or in the Jordan), and the Mystery of the Incarnation. By the year 534 the Western Church had separated out the celebration of December 25, reserving January 6 as a commemoration of the coming of the Magi. The East continued to celebrate January 6 as a composite feast, only later adopting December 25 to commemorate both Jesus' birth and the coming of the Magi, but leaving January 6 as a commemoration of his Baptism. However, comprehensively and unanimously today, the epiphany day is symbolic of God's Incarnation in Jesus Christ and the star that led the Magi to the the Holy Child with the three gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh; all symbolic of the different facets of Jesus’ Life on earth.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

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Epiphany - Chalking the door
The custom of chalking the door, which seems to be familiar in some parts of Europe is reported as follows:. On Epiphany, children dress as the three kings and go door to door, sometimes singing a carol, and collecting donations for a good cause. On each house that welcomes them they write in chalk on the lintel over the front door the year and the initials of the 3 kings:

20 C M B 08

C,M,B stand for Caspar, Melchior & Balthasar of course, however these initials have also been interpreted as the latin phrase "Christus mansionem benedicat" ("May Christ bless this house").
The ‘chalking” is left on all year, and therefore serves as a reminder to those within of the constant presence and indwelling of Christ, and also to visitors that this home is a place where Christ may be found

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Those who wish to chalk their doors this year may like to do so with the following prayer, and make it an Epiphany ritual today - 6th January
May Christ bless this house.
May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find
Christ living among us;
and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet,
that same Jesus who is Lord for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Man at the Gate


I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
“Give me a light that I may
Tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied, “Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than the light
And safer than a known way!”

So I went forth and finding the hand of God.
Trod gladly into the light. (M. Louise Haskins)

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January: Traditionally many take holiday; we’re probably therefore a little more relaxed. At St Paul’s we have fewer activities (probably saving our energy for the wilderness of Lent). It is therefore a good time to catch up with one another, and to call on those whom you’ve missed seeing. It is also a time for setting in place the diary events that will shape our year, and planning for our commitments in the year ahead. Please give some thought to the Time, Talents and Money that you will contribute to the ongoing life of St Paul’s and to our restoration of the East Wall… 2008 should be quite a year for building (up the Body of Christ).

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Recipe for a Happy New Year – From Lia Johnson
Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancour and hate; cleanse them completely from every clinging spite, pick off all the specks of pettiness and littleness - in short, see that these months are freed from all the past. Have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time. Cut these months into thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time. Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavour of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving oil out of the salad dressing), prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humour.

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First Sunday after Christmas 30 December 2007

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

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May the blessing of light be upon you,
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great fire
and strangers may warm themselves,
as well as friends.
And may the light shine out of the eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer to come in
out of the storm

(Celtic Blessing)

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Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.

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As we move into 2008, so we move into a new era, a new page in history and a new chapter in the yearbook of our lives…….
An opportunity to review and reflect…….. What is our vision of tomorrow… and to what do we orientate our lives…. What gives me life and in what way do I contribute to the life of all…
Christmas reveals Emmanuel… God with us….. And calls us to reveal ourselves with God.

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It was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

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HOPE - PEACE - JOY – LOVE

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Three great Questions as we move into 2008
The same questions we have looked at before:
How does my spiritual practice and daily life serve the earth?
How does my spiritual practice and daily life affect the poorest third of humanity?
How does my spiritual practice and daily life affect the generations to come in the future?

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Sacred Space, Liturgy & our Community @ Worship
As we seek to offer our best in worship these guidelines may be helpful.

1. Silence before worship enables us to be ‘gathered’ into the introit sung by the choir
2. Conversations with others are often our way of avoiding those more divine words that search for us.
3. The sanctuary ‘space’ is ‘held’ by those who lead our worship; please keep to a minimum any movement in this space and, at the end of our service, please wait until the choir have finished singing before entering.
4. NOTICES are an important part of our community story… however please use the service sheet to convey notices so that we can minimise the number that have to be given in church.

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2008 New Year’s Reflections

How will I contribute to the formation of the Divine Life in this community during the year ahead.

Where can I help others to enjoy life and to be fully alive

What do I wish for as a part of the Church

What will I do different from last year.. and what will stay the same

We have much ahead of us in building on new foundations…. where does this give me new opportunities

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HOPE - 2008 - PEACE - 2008 - JOY - 2008 - LOVE
Be blessed and be a blessing in the year ahead

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2008 New Year’s Resolutions
Some biblical resolutions worth considering:
(Deu 30:19) “Choose life, so that you and your children may live"
(Job 42:6) "Repent in dust and ashes.""
(Psa 37:7) "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently”
(Mic 6:8) Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."
(Mat 3:8) "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
(Mat 6:33) "Seek first the kingdom and God’s righteousness.”
(Mat 22:37-39) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, Love your neighbour as yourself."
(Mat 28:19) "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"
(Mark 13:34-35) "Keep watch.”
(Rom 12:1) "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”
(Rom 12:2)“.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect."
(2Cor 13:11)Put things in order agree with one another, live in peace.
(Phil 1:27)Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,
(James 3:18) "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of
righteousness."
(James 4:8) "Come near to God and he will come near to you, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
(2 Pet 3:11-12) "Live holy and godly lives as you look forward to
the day of God and speed its coming.”
(Rev 22:17) "Take the water of life as a gift."

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent 23 December 2007

Peace on Earth – Goodwill to All

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Divine gift of Love,
by your heavenly star,
you guided those who were wise
to your beloved Child, the birth of
Divine Revelation.
May your blessing come to rest on our home and all of us.
Make our lives wise with your wisdom,
true to your teaching,
and enlivened by your love.
May your Word made flesh
make a home among us.
Amen

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As our Advent pilgrimage draws to completion,
grant us the courage to share your love.
Love for the unexpected challenge in our lives,
Love for the vulnerable one in our midst.
Love for the presence of God in all creation.

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Today the Nativity, the story of Divine revelation is shared (enacted) by members of the community – a glimpse of us being Church.

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ADVENT Liturgy

A candle is burning, a flame warm and bright,
A candle of Hope in December’s dark night.
While angels sing blessings from heaven’s starry sky,
Our hearts we prepare now, for Jesus is nigh.

A candle is burning, a candle of Peace,
A candle to signal that conflict must cease.
For Jesus is coming to show us the way,
A message of peace humbly laid in the hay.

A candle is burning, a candle of Joy,
A candle to welcome brave Mary’s new boy.
Our hearts fill with wonder, and eyes light and glow
Like sun in the garden that makes the plants grow.

A candle is burning, a candle of Love,
A candle to point us to heaven above.
A baby for Christmas, a wonderful birth,
For Jesus is bringing God’s love to our earth.

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We acknowledge our oneness as we sing of the coming of the Divine

O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home,
Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.

O come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind,
O bid our sad divisions cease, and be for us the Prince of Peace.

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It is in Giving that We Receive
The Angel Tree
The Christmas Bowl
My Christmas giving to St Paul’s
Me… and my being a Gift to this Community
Thank you for all that you are – and for all that you Give
& Thanks also to us and for all that we call forth from each other
HOPE - PEACE - JOY – LOVE

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O come, O come Emmanuel….. The Advent anthem continues to echo as we ‘Come” to Christmas. Can we realize the enormity of “Emmanuel" which means, "God is with us”?

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Mary provides an icon of birth…. The God-Bearer… The one who accepts the Divine Call and the one who receives the Divine Gift… She is an icon of ourselves.. as individuals and as Church.

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As we enjoy the Abundance of Christmas, it enables us to experience the abundance of Life…. and from this place of appreciation we can Give from the abundance of all that we have Received.

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Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine,
that we may have Life

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Third Sunday of Advent 16 December 2007


ADVENT Liturgy
We invite young ones from the community to join in lighting the ADVENT Candle – and together Pray for the HOPE, PEACE & JOY that it represents

A candle is burning, a flame warm and bright,
A candle of Hope in December’s dark night.
While angels sing blessings from heaven’s starry sky,
Our hearts we prepare now, for Jesus is nigh.

A candle is burning, a candle of Peace,
A candle to signal that conflict must cease.
For Jesus is coming to show us the way,
A message of peace humbly laid in the hay.

A candle is burning, a candle of Joy,
A candle to welcome brave Mary’s new boy.
Our hearts fill with wonder, and eyes light and glow
Like sun in the garden that makes the plants grow.

 


We acknowledge our oneness as we join in the Advent anthem that names the coming of the Divine

O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O great God of might, who to your tribes an Sinai’s height
in ancient times once gave the law in cloud, and majesty, and awe.

O come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind,
O bid our sad divisions cease, and be for us the prince of Peace

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ADVENT Candles
HOPE - we lit the first Advent candle, representing our mothers and fathers in faith from ancient times and distant places, matriarchs and patriarchs who sought God and were found by God.
As spiritual children of Sarah and Abraham, we thank God for their other children, Jews and Muslims, and in a world of many faiths we pray for grace to cherish the disclosure of God in the Child of Bethlehem and the Christ of the Cross.
The second candle – PEACE -for all God’s prophets, those who see the truth and have courage to tell the truth. Their witness is almost always very costly, and often they pay the price with their lives. The prophets are candles in our darkness, little lights and little Christs, flames gathering to a singular brilliance in the birth of the Light of the world.
Today…We light our THIRD Advent candle JOY - The Candle of John the Baptiser - The one who pointed to and prepared the way for Our Lord. It is the candle for Joy - that experience that enables us to glimpse Isaiah’s vision. And it heralds the “kingdom of beasts” an acknowledgement that share with and in God’s creation from the greatest to the least
Take time to dream to find the vision of which you are a part
Adapted from Advent Candlelighting by Rev’d David Wood

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Your Christmas Gift to St Paul’s

As a parish community ALL of our expenses come directly from our giving – we receive no financial support from the wider church for any of our parish endeavours.
Peter’s pay, the running costs of Church, Hall and Rectory, our worship resources, service sheet production, the maintenance of our grounds and buildings AND the repair, renovation and maintenance of our wonderful heritage buildings, TOGETHER WITH our outreach and support of school chaplains, charity groups, those in urgent need and donations to “other’ welfare agencies….. ALL comes from our giving

Please place your gift in an envelope clearly marked CHRISTMAS GIFT to St Paul’s

include your name and state if you require a TAX receipt
if the gift is an additional donation to the east Wall restoration

AND
Please add a note that describes St Paul’s gift to YOU – What it is that you receive from this wonderful community that
WE ARE.

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How Good Lord, to be Here!
and to Prepare the way of the Lord in loving communion.

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When we are disappointed, or our expectations of God’s Kingdom are not met, perhaps it is because we are not looking for the signs of the Kingdom that are all around us.

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May the blessing of light be upon you,
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great fire
and strangers may warm themselves,
as well as friends.
And may the light shine out of the eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer to come in
out of the storm

(Celtic Blessing)

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Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God

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For the second Sunday in succession we hear again of John the Baptiser. We can see from today’s reading that it was important for the gospel writers to ensure that readers(or hearers) were made aware that John was not The One - but rather pointed to The One. John is an important ‘prototype’ for us in our ,movement into wholeness and fullness – into Christ. Likewise for our Psalm today we’ll read the “Song of Mary” and again we encounter a dialogue with the divine that empowers an acceptance of bearing Christ to the world – another ‘prototype!… How might we be like John and/or Mary for both are integral to the revealing of that which will be introduced by angels. The voice of angels heralds the divine word - incarnate - the gift of Christmas - And it is the response of the hearers of the Word - that makes real that which God breathes into being.

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Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy

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Lectionary Commentary and Preaching Paths (Advent C2), by Dennis Bratcher, at The Christian Resource Institute.
"There is a newness with God in which He will remove the obstacles to proper relationship. He will not allow barriers to block His revelation to "all flesh." No matter how sinful, the call still comes, "Turn around!" But the most wonderful part is that the highway back home has already been built."

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HeartSong 8.30pm tonight
Singing and chanting in our
candlelit sacred space

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Open to joy,
I come each day
to a world full of wonder.
G. Dean

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‘What we play is life’
Louis Armstrong

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I would like to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
John O’Donohue

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"Christmas is the Nativity of Consciousness. It is a time for us all, we who have lost touch with the tale, to rediscover the wondrous, the miraculous, the unspeakable; the wild, the odd, the strange; the impossible world of the child, the improbable faith of the believer."
"The Crime of Christmas," Commentary, Animating Illustrations, Quotations,
and Children’s Sermon. Homiletics Online, 1991.

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In December's *Episcopal Life* there is a reflection by Anne McConney about individualism as a virtue -- her concluding paragraph says: "Far from threatening community, individuals save and protect it, for community does not exist to preserve itself: It exists to grow and nourish individuals capable of love and the vast integrity of spirit that is love's legacy." Perhaps that is the message of the voice crying in the wilderness.

 

Second Sunday of Advent 9 December 2007

Compassionate Friends’ Sunday

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ADVENT Candles
Last Sunday – HOPE - we lit the first Advent candle, representing our mothers and fathers in faith from ancient times and distant places, matriarchs and patriarchs who sought God and were found by God.
As spiritual children of Sarah and Abraham, we thank God for their other children, Jews and Muslims, and in a world of many faiths we pray for grace to cherish the disclosure of God in the Child of Bethlehem and the Christ of the Cross.
Today we light a second candle – PEACE -for all God’s prophets, those who see the truth and have courage to tell the truth. Their witness is almost always very costly, and often they pay the price with their lives. The prophets are candles in our darkness, little lights and little Christs, flames gathering to a singular brilliance in the birth of the Light of the world.
Adapted from Advent Candlelighting by Rev David Wood Π

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We acknowledge our oneness as we join in the Advent anthem that names the coming of the Divine

O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

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Children who have died call us to look at the nature of life and to see the eternal nature of life. Today we remember those close to us who have died young. In faith we give thanks for their lives, for the love they gave and received, for all they shared with us, and for their eternal light. We look to the eternal light of the Christ-child, the gift of love that we receive as God gives his child into our care. So too we know the eternal light of those children who we remember today.
Love is forever born; we are created for life that stretches beyond our temporal seeing and so we also rejoice that our children forever shine.

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How Good Lord to be Here!
and to Prepare the way of the Lord in loving communion

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Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silence of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity.
It is right and duty.
Oscar A. Romero

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Peace on Earth – Goodwill to All

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O God we need a star
by which to set our journey through this world.
Help us to see in the baby born at Bethlehem
the eternal star which will lead us
to the place where truth and love and mercy meet.
So we may kneel with shepherds and kings
and find heart’s joy and heart’s peace
in Jesus Christ the Light
George Appleton

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Statement of Human Dignity and Rights:
“Dignity is not bestowed by persons or institutions … Dignity is rather a given, universally shared reality … Human dignity is grounded in God’s creativity … God’s faithfulness to the creation is the heart of human dignity … Human dignity, however, requires human rights for its embodiment, protection and full flowering … Without human rights, human dignity cannot be historically realised in action.”
(Jurgen Moltman, “On Human Dignity” 1984)

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Peace on Earth – Goodwill to All

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In our ADVENT preparation we are encouraged with the words of Isaiah…. We are given a vision of amazing potential… a vision that points not to the future but to the possibility and the potential within ourselves…….
As we prepare for the season of ‘Birth’ we also prepare for the season of giving… and can appreciate that both are creative activities…. Divine activities……. John the Baptist provides us with a ‘Christian Prototype’ - one whose mission and ministry was born “in the wilderness” and who gives us an image of the Christian in Advent - pointing forward to the one who is to come - to the renewal and the birthing of that which is divine - May we see ourselves in the image of John and know our call to make known the ways of our Lord.
We are conditioned to see our ‘Christlikeness’ as forever out of reach…. maybe we need to stretch a little more… or maybe we need to look with more confidence….. Maybe we need to consider further the Divine revelation:
“And a little child shall lead them”

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"The Bible is not naïve; it knows full well the pain inherent in the created order -even when that order is working as it should: "The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God" (Psalm 104:21). So how do we get to Isaiah's peaceable kingdom-and when?" - Frederick J. Gaiser

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First Sunday of Advent 2 December 2007


HeartSong 8.00pm tonight
Singing and chanting to welcome to Advent and the new liturgical year in our candlelit sacred space

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Next Sunday in communion with “Compassionate Friends” we will have the opportunity to light candles in honour of all children who have died…
that their light may always shine.

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A Prophetic Chant
And everyone ‘neath the vine and fig tree
Shall live in peace and be unafraid
And into plowshares turn their swords
nations shall make war no more

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ADVENT - Advent Sunday School Activities build and draw us toward Christmas - Please try and join in this ADVENTure every week

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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

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O God we need a star
by which to set our journey through this world.
Help us to see in the baby born at Bethlehem
the eternal star which will lead us
to the place where truth and love and mercy meet.
So we may kneel with shepherds and kings
and find heart’s joy and heart’s peace
in Jesus Christ the Light
George Appleton

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The Promise of Advent

Stir up our hearts, we beseech you, to prepare ourselves to receive your Son. When he comes and knocks, may he find us not sleeping in sin, but awake to righteousness, ceaselessly rejoicing in his love. May our hearts and minds be so purified, that we may be ready to receive his promise of eternal life. The Gelasian Sacramentary c.500

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What shall I Give?
Christmas is an obvious time for us to reflect on our Giving and Receiving
There is an expectation, implicit in Christmas, that we shall once again Receive God’s promise, and realise the trust that is Given to us, a trust that we can contribute to the abundance of creation by the sharing of ourselves…. The community of St Paul’s is a community of faith, a faith that is realised in loving action…. Please reflect on your Giving to the continued ministry of this community so that we may become the realisation of promise.

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‘Christ has no body on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion is
to look out to the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.’
Teresa of Avila

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Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming

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“He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for
many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against
nation, neither shall they learn war any more”

The vision of Isaiah orientates us to a worldview that is very different from that which we accept as the status quo. As we experience the ADVENTure that will take us toward the coming of the Christ-child, we too might envision what we might see in the reality that God gave us a divine child to nurture and to behold. The constant force of ‘worldly gravity’ pulls us toward a self-sufficiency in which we can fool ourselves that we are the most significant force in the universe. Each Christmas we have the opportunity to see anew the very reality that is given to us in the Child of God - We have an opportunity to orient ourselves and to rebirth a divine promise that will change our world and so change the world. The vision of Isaiah is the Word made Flesh, a new paradigm born in love freely given to all peoples - Imagine this advent what part you play in the nativity. [St Paul’s 2004]

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