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Richard on August 24th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 27 August 2017.

Richard on August 7th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 13 August 2017.

Richard on August 2nd, 2017

Congratulations to Ronald Blythe. Photographs from his CBE investiture can be viewed online at:

https://ronaldblythecbe.shutterfly.com

Richard on August 2nd, 2017

Having left July, named after Julius Caesar in 44BC, we enter August – named after Augustus, of course. That’s him on the right.

Augustus was born Gaius Octavius, as was his father who had been Governor of Macedonia. He came to Julius Caesar’s notice after he had been put in charge of the Greek Games in 46BC, and then so impressed Caesar that he was formally adopted as his son and was named as his heir and the major beneficiary of his will. Julius Caesar was of course assassinated on the Ides of March 44BC, and Gaius eventually succeeded him. By 27BC, the Senate had given him new names – Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus – so as well as the Caesar he was the first Emperor; the name Augustus means great and worthy; and Divi Filius actually means ‘Son of God’ – which he could claim because Julius Caesar had been posthumously declared to have been a god!

After an eventful reign, Augustus died in 14AD. One of the events we remember is that he was on the throne at the time of Jesus’ birth, as stated in Luke Chapter 2 verse 1.

Jesus, even as a baby, was a threat to the Romans, because the Wise Men had declared that he would be a King, and Herod, in charge of the Roman state of Judea, tried to have him killed. He grew to be a threat to Jews too, as many couldn’t accept that he could be the Messiah (Saviour) whom they had been expecting for so long. And imagine how the Romans reacted when Jesus was declared to be the Son of God – that was the Emperor’s title!

The life of Jesus was firmly rooted in the politics as well as the religion of those times. He preached and answered questions on matters of obedience to the authorities and paying taxes, and was obedient to the end of his life on earth – including his Roman execution. Neither can we avoid the politics and religion of the modern world, as we seek to be part of an ordered, moral world. We can ignore politics, but we are still governed – and we can ignore religion, but God exists and his kingdom will endure when earthly kingdoms cease.

I see the value of being involved in both religion and politics, in other words being a person of faith and order, as that’s the way to be a positive influence on life around us.

We remember Augustus because his month is on our calendars, mobile phones, newspapers…. and on every date we are reminded of the years which have passed since Jesus was born. It’s good to remember our history, and even better to know the certainty of an eternal future.

Yours in Jesus

Richard on August 2nd, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 6 August 2017.

Richard on July 27th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 30 July 2017.

Richard on July 19th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 23 July 2017.

Richard on July 12th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 16 July 2017.

Richard on July 7th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 9 July 2017.

Richard on June 30th, 2017

Heading off to the sun

It’s holiday time – or it soon will be, for most of us; and many will be heading off to foreign parts to enjoy the sunshine. I’ve also just read the announcement about the Parker Solar Probe, a mission which is to be launched next year, aiming to swoop to within four million miles of the sun’s surface to provide lots of new data on the way the sun affects the earth. That brings a new meaning to ‘heading off to the sun’! The probe needs to withstand temperatures of 1400oC whilst keeping the internal equipment at 70oC. I gather going at night is not an option!

As the sun is central to life on earth in every way, it’s hardly surprising that there have been ‘sun worshippers’ for thousands of years before package holidays were invented. It’s easy to see why – it could be said that the sun is the one reliable source of heat, necessary for life, food, and even the regulation of work & sleep patterns. It is the most powerful object around. But that’s what it is – an object, like everything else – and we now know that it is one of many billions of suns in the known universe. To me, and to all who accept the existence of a Creator, it is an amazing indication of God’s greatness and power. So why worship an object in creation? Let’s worship the Creator.

The sun is mentioned 170 times in the Bible. 32 of those are in the book of Ecclesiastes, where King Solomon says that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. The message is that everything we do is visible to God, who rules above all and that He only can have a balanced view of life, as it relates to nations and individuals. Jesus said that our heavenly Father ‘causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good’ indicating his nature of justice and love (Matthew 5:45). And in Revelation we read that there’ll be no need for a sun in heaven, because of the glory of God.

So let me ask: how big is your God? As we pray, we realise that He has the power to answer – and that in Jesus He proved His ultimate concern for people whom we may consider insignificant. Such as ourselves! Plus, just as the sun constantly bathes the world in in warmth and light, so there is no place or situation on earth that is beyond His influence. As we take time out from our work, why not make it your mission to journey to God – who is there for us any time of the day or night.

Yours in Jesus