On Saturday I spent the day hiding 50 of these Jesus rocks across the villages of the Beaminster Area Team. (more…)
Those of you who have ever done any bible study with me will know that I often say as a first question – what jumps out at you, what makes you go hmm?
For me, in this passage, it is the interesting verb in verse 24, how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, or as an alternative translation suggests, love and beautiful work. The response to the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us, the ridding us of the shame and guilt of sin, the faithful promise that we are considered holy and clean in his sight, the response to that gift is a life of love and good works, meeting together and encouraging each other.
But provoke, it seems a hard word to be associated with gentle actions such as love and good deeds. Normally we might see provoke as something negative – eg don’t provoke your brother. Indeed, the word, paroxusmos, appears in Acts 15:39 to describe exactly that – a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas so sharp, cut so deeply, that it made them go their separate ways.
We might translate paroxusmus as provoke, cut sharply, stir up, stimulate, agitate. And I wonder why the author of Hebrews chooses it in relation to good works and love? Perhaps to emphasise how important these actions are to us as Christians. They aren’t an optional extra, but they are the things that should be stirred up, provoked, agitated in us as a response to the sacrifice Jesus has made for us. V 12 “But when Christ has offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God and since then has been waiting until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” Our action in a response to Christ’s loving action for us is to love others. What a perfect way to defeat enemies, with love and good deeds.
As we watch our country’s’ leadership dissolve into confusion and as we hear of the UN envoy reporting on the dire poverty he found in our country, it should provoke us to action. We are confident that the work of salvation has been achieved once for all in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our response is the work of the Kingdom now. We must love our neighbours and love God and be provoked to action that is transformative, provoked to love and beautiful deeds.
It is our response to the saving power of Christ that provokes us to staff the food bank, collect food and distribute it to those who are hungry. Even in a town like Beaminster people are hungry now, today?
It is our response to Jesus’ sacrifice that provokes us to donate money to Broadwindsor school to buy new books for the library because there is no money in the school budget, cut repeatedly, year after year, to buy books?
It is Jesus’ love that provokes us to take a deep breath before responding to an email from a church treasurer who declares that the focus on prayer during our year of sabbatical is just an excuse for doing nothing?
It is Jesus’ love that provokes us to teach and pray about stewardship when members of a PCC refuse to agree to give any church money away to support other charities?
It is just as well that Christ has offered the sacrifice for my sin because this week I have sinned many times because I am angry at a government that punishes the poorest in society, I am angry at repeated funding cuts to local services, I am angry that I am accused of doing nothing in my work, I am angry that fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are so selfish that they will not share resources to help others. I have not thought good things about any of those people. Yet despite my sinful thoughts and sinful conversations I will pick up again, I will make my confession, I will approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with my heart sprinkled clean from an evil conscience. I will hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.
We are saved from our sin because of what Jesus has done for us. The curtain of the temple has been torn in two, we have confidence to enter into the holiest place. We are set free from the burden of sin, shame and guilt. We don’t need to constantly make sacrifices for our sin, we instead respond to the one sacrifice made on our behalf. Our response is to be provoked to love and good deeds, to encouraging one another and meeting together. We must do this not because we have always done it, or because we want to preserve the Church of England, or because if we don’t do it we are afraid no one else will, or because it makes us look good. We do it because our hearts and lives are transformed by the saving love and action of Jesus Christ. He is patiently waiting for his enemies to be made a footstool under his feet. We must get to work, provoked to love and good deeds, revealing God’s Kingdom: a place of love, forgiveness, beauty, peace, justice, equality and joy.
Hebrews 10: 11-25 – read the text at The Bible Gateway.
The first in our ten week series on the Way of Life that we hold in common as part of the Community of the Annunciation.
How do we seek to grow in knowledge?
Our primary source of knowledge about God is the Bible. Reading the bible regularly is a great way to increase our knowledge and understanding of God. You could start at the beginning and finish at the end, but I would lay money on you giving up somewhere around Leviticus. Perhaps a better place to start is in the New Testament, with a Gospel. You could devote a few minutes every day at a suitable time or find a longer period on a quieter day. There are many different daily reading bible notes that could help you, or perhaps reading the bible in a year, which is available as an app.
Another place to start is with the Pew News each week – look up the readings you haven’t heard in church on Sunday and read them, alongside the readings you have heard. Ask yourself what jumps out at you? What intrigues you?
Going deeper you could seek out a bible study group or join us on Saturday at 9:00 in St Mary’s Beaminster where we discuss the readings for the next day.
What other reading do you do about spiritual matters? You could look up Sarum College bookshop who have a monthly newsletter with new titles reviewed and suggested https://www.sarumcollegebookshop.co.uk/ or browse locally in Good Books in Bridport.
We have a spiritual book-club running in the team. We meet three times a year to share a book we are reading. Currently we are reading Fruitfulness on the Front Line by Mark Greene. We will meet on 12th November at 11:00 or 15th November at 20:00 in St Mary’s Church Beaminster to discuss the book. Or borrow something from the Rector’s bookshelves in St Mary’s Beaminster.
Increasing in knowledge isn’t limited to reading though. There are many podcasts, documentaries and radio programmes about faith. Every week Bishop Mike and Bishop Martin from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich do a vlog about the upcoming lectionary readings. Their videos are available through the diocesan website, link here http://www.cofesuffolk.org/
There are also a number of small groups in the team that can offer a forum for talking about the Bible and sharing knowledge about God. And we hope that our weekly sermons deepen understanding and throw up questions – we are always happy to chat to you after we have preached.
Happy adventuring as you seek to grow in knowledge.
The next Spiritual book club will take place in November. There will be two sessions, Monday 12th November at 11:00 and Thursday 15th November at 20:00. Both sessions will be at St Mary’s Church Beaminster. You only need to attend one session. We will be reading and discussing Fruitfulness on the Frontline by Mark Greene which is a practical guide to how we live out our faith every day.
Messy Church continues Saturday 10th November at 16:00 at St Mary’s Beaminster. Do join us to explore a bible story in creative and messy ways.
Join us on Saturday 24th November, 10:00-12:00 at St Mary’s Beaminster to paint pebbles in preparation for the Christmas Crib service and outreach. All ages welcome. Bring a black sharpie if you have one and an apron. More details on the website.
Christmas outreach – a date for your diaries. Join us in the Square, Beaminster on Saturday 22nd December from 10:00 to sing carols, share coffee and sweets, and to offer an opportunity for prayer. Come and bless Beaminster.
Saturday morning prayer breakfast. Last month I described our Thursday evening prayer as part of the Community of the Annunciation. We also meet regularly on a Saturday morning at St Mary’s Beaminster. We gather at 9:00 with coffee and croissants and share how God has renewed our hope that week. Next, we read the bible passages set for Sunday and discuss them together. Then we have a time of silent prayer, a time of praying out loud and conclude our time together with the collect and Lord’s Prayer. It is a great way to start the weekend and helps us connect more deeply into the bible passages for the Sunday services. All are welcome to join us any Saturday.
Following a fascinating week of philosophy and theology at St George’s House Windsor I wanted to pose some questions we were discussing. Is there such a thing as “the common good” and “the public sphere”? How might we define them? How should we as Christians act in response to the common good and public sphere? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.
Tea church – might that be for me?
I wonder if you come to Messy Church with your children? Perhaps you hang out on the blue carpet on Wednesday or come to 10.15@Salway Ash once a month. We have lots going on for families now in the team but I wondered whether there is room for something for us parents? Tea church might fill that gap for you?
There will be tea and cake when you arrive – come and sit round a table and chat. Then we will have some cards on the table with some questions to get our chat focusing on some more spiritual issues. You don’t need to know lots about God or faith but you perhaps want to find out more, to ask questions, to seek for yourself?
We will then look at a passage of the bible together and ask what is might mean for us, today. Then we will pray together, sharing some of the things that concern us and asking God to be involved in them and change things.
The event takes place from 16:00 to 17:00. An hour out of the day for you. You are welcome to bring children if you want to – but also welcome to come on your own if you prefer.
Have a think, get in touch if you want to know more and perhaps we will see you at 16:00 on Sunday 28th October at St Mary’s Church Beaminster.
As part of our prayer community, The Community of the Annunciation, we share a common way of life. This way of life is a framework for our spiritual development, not a set of rules to live by. As Simon Reed suggests in his book Creating Community: Ancient ways for modern churches “A Way of Life is simply an external structure which surrounds and supports our life in God.”
We are invited to use the ten different headings to reflect on our own spiritual journey and what our aims or challenges might be. The ten headings are focused as questions. They are:
How are we seeking to grow in knowledge?
How do we experience companionship on our spiritual journey?
What are our personal rhythms of prayer, work and rest?
What are our guiding principles of money and possessions?
What steps do we take to care for the environment?
How do we help others find healing?
What do we do to enable the Holy Spirit to guide us?
How doe we support others through prayer?
How do we show welcome and hospitality to other people?
How do we help others find faith in Jesus?
These headings give us food for thought in our own lives and in the life of our church communities too. Over the next few months I will write a reflection on each heading once a week and invite you to post your suggestions and comments via our Facebook page.
If you want to know more do get hold of a copy of Simon’s book via the Sarum Bookshop.
Summer holidays are nearly upon us and although we are having fantastic weather this year, it isn’t always easy finding activities to keep everyone amused which don’t cost too much. We have a solution for you.
The Beaminster Team churches are hosting four holiday club days in Toller Porcorum, Mosterton, Salway Ash and Drimpton. We have booked the village hall, organised a bouncy castle via Dorset Action Van, planned activities and simple crafts, collected some toys, baked a couple of cakes, and roped in some help. You just need to come and join us.
We are providing four different days gently themed around a bible story. Each village hall has outdoor and indoor space and all you need to do is turn up, perhaps bring a picnic blanket and any favourite toys, and join in.
We will have drinks and cake available all day and will host a “make your own sandwich” activity to feed you all for lunch. We will begin each day with a story and end each day with a prayer, but beyond that is is up to you. Join in or just chill, stay half an hour or all day.
This isn’t a drop your kids activity, sadly we can’t manage the numbers, however children aged ten and over may be signed in via a permission slip available on the day. Or perhaps you could join up with other families and bring a group of children together?
The dates and times are:
31 July 10.00-14.00 Toller Porcorum Village Hall
9 August 10.00-14.00 Mosterton Village Hall
13 August 11.30-15.00 Salway Ash Village Hall (note different time here)
20 August 10.00-14.00 Drimpton Village Hall
We also have Walk in Wednesday happening every week, with a craft table, toys, Lego, art and music. 10.00-15.00 St Mary’s Church, Beaminster.
Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information.
We look forward to seeing you.
Update: Sorry folks. This even will not be going ahead after all on this date.
We believe that God calls all of us to serve him using the gifts he has given us. We each have different gifts and together we are the body of Christ. Yet often we serve in church or in community because we can do the job, not because we feel it is our calling. Whilst we might be capable, it is when we are truly doing what God has called us to that ministry flourishes and we flourish.
If you would like to discern or come to understand what God is calling you to do then perhaps our vocations afternoon is for you. Or perhaps you feel you are trapped in a role that isn’t really the right one and you would like to find the courage to take on something new. Perhaps you work full time and would like to work out how to best serve God in your workplace. Or perhaps you aren’t sure about vocation at all, but think it might be interesting to explore.
You are all welcome on Sunday 17th June from 13:00-17:00 at Litton Cheney Village hall to spend some time with others, listening, praying and chatting. Bring something to share for lunch, we will provide drinks and cake.
If you would like to come please let Jo or David know via email or phone or comment here.
On Tuesday 15th May Mountjoy School celebrated the Royal Wedding with an entire day devoted to wedding festivities. We were invited to conduct the wedding in a celebration at school in the afternoon.
I went down, in borrowed cope from the Beaminster vestment cupboard, to pretend to be the Archbishop of Canterbury for the day. The bride and groom were wonderful led in by a carriage of wheelchairs adorned with foam woggle horses. A ring bearer carried the pipe cleaner ring and the bride was attended by a matron of honour, the groom by his best man.
We promised to support the bride and groom with enthusiastic cries of “we will”, vows were read and prayers were said, both for all who had participated in the wedding day and for Harry and Meghan on their special day this coming Saturday.
Mr and Mrs Mountjoy were greeted with great enthusiasm and a disco reception followed with decorated cup cakes. All in all a must enjoyable wedding celebration. Thank you Mountjoy for inviting me.
Visit the Mountjoy School Website.
Thy Kingdom Come Day 1 #Pledge2Pray
We visit our primary schools every week and our other schools regularly or at their invitation.
Today in collective worship we were thinking about patience and how we wait patiently. Abraham and Sarah waited patiently to become parents and God was faithful to them.
Pray for our schools, for all that work in education, for children and staff. Pray for patience and peace in our learning communities. Pray for faith to grow and be nurtured. Pray for all those who find the school environment challenging. Amen
On Saturday 12th May at 4pm we will gather in St Mary’s Church, Beaminster for the latest Messy Church celebration.
The theme is God 24/7 and we will be thinking about how we are called to live as Christians all day every day.
Lots of fun and games including making bracelets, decorating biscuits, Rudi’s science experiment, Big feet walking, tea light holders and a mega prayer paper chain.