Thursday, 30 May 2013

Moving



My blog has moved over to word  press as I can link all the social media I use together this is my new blog  

http://psychodelicelephants.com/


Thank you for following my journey so far
Sian

Monday, 4 March 2013

My First Sermon








The Title of this blog sounds like a child's board book but on the 3rd of March I preached my first sermon.

To give you a little of the context, the Sunday service was one of the last event of a faith sharing weekend I had been on in connection with my degree course.

The parish of Benwell is a diverse and multi cultural parish with three churches in one parish so our team was split up into two's and three's.  The weekend contained many events including coffee mornings, talent shows, a prayer afternoon in a school and messy church.

My sermon was based on Isaiah 55 1-9.  Which was one of the lectionary reading for the day.


Isaiah 55 1-9
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the 
Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendour.”
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the 
Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the 
Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.


Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O 
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.  Amen        Psalm 19:14

In our Old Testament reading from Isaiah it seems like the prophet is contradicting himself when he says “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money,    come, buy and eat!  How can anybody who has no money buy and eat!  How can anybody buy Wine and Milk without spending any money? 
Isaiah was prophesying to people in exile, people in the desert He was offering them Life.  Life to people in a desert is water. Water is a basic necessity of Human life, we used it for everything washing, cleaning, and drinking.   Here Isaiah is prophesying that one day the people in exile will not only have the basics but they will have abundant water and not just water.  They will have Luxury they will be able to have Milk and even Wine.

But this still doesn’t make sense how can people with no money buy, eat and drink.  
Isaiah is telling us that God has already paid the price for us.  He is inviting us into an everlasting relationship with him he gives us a life enriching, nourishing words.  Just like he did with David God is now creating that with us.   
Let’s look at this scenario in a modern context.  As an example The prophet is telling us that God won’t just pay our rent for us but he will give us a house to live in forever.  He is telling us that if we put our trust in him, instead of material things that perish and fade away, we may perhaps see a little of God’s purposes and plans for us but we have to trust.

The prophet goes on to say that we need to seek God when he is to be found and just like the little Sketch like some of us did on Friday night.  God is to be found close.  For those of us who weren’t at the show on Friday night the basic story was that a man fed up with his inability to see God in the midst of his surroundings.  Goes on a journey to try and find God only to discover that God was where he started. 
This is what we have tried to show over this weekend that God is here in this parish.  He is working away underneath the surface as the end of the passage of Isaiah says God’s plans “are bigger than ours the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think”.   Many of us me including me have a tendency to put God into a box we try to anticipates God’s plan.  We make God too small instead of allowing him to simply just be.
If we read a little further than today’s lectionary reading we would see that it goes on to say, the word which has been planted shall not be returned to God empty.  So we as a team are hoping that we have helped you this weekend to show you that God is in Benwell and that you as a church are able to water the seed and nurture  it to make it blossom into flower and fruit.

You all have it in you to go and be Christ’s light in your community.  As it says in Matthew 5 “You are the light of the world”.  Even in the darkness one little light can still shine out and break that despair.  Perhaps this weekend has set a little spark glowing and you as a community can fan that spark into a flame.  This flame will then be able to be passed out from this church into Benwell as you show Christ love for each and every one of us. 
There are simple ways of showing God’s Love, 

So we are almost at the end of our weekend with you here in Benwell.  We have had a fantastic talent show, coffee mornings and many other things that have been going on in the other Churches.  For us coming from Theological college this has been brilliant a chance to put into practice what we are learning in lecture halls, The book learning becomes real.  A real way to show you all how to tell your story so that you can bring other people into the fellowship of this Church. 

There are simple ways of showing God’s Love, A friendly smile as you walk down the street and talking to your next door neighbour.   So I set you a challenge each of you do one thing this week  to show God’s love be it small or big it doesn't matter.  What is important is that you start sowing seeds or fanning sparks into life so that Heaven breaks through into this place.

Here I am Lord, Body and soul.
Grant that with your Love
I may be enough
To reach the world
And small enough to be at one with you
Amen 





Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Stepping out

Today I start induction week at Cranmer Hall.

I have been trying to fill my morning with stuff as I don't start till midday!

I have taken the children to school bought a new car seat which will make live easier for the person who is going to look after this children whilst I am in lectures!  Bought a new pair of walking shoes that will help me physical get to college no matter what the weather is.

I decide to use up so more time and wind a beautiful skein of hand dyed wool into a ball that arrived yesterday!  Whilst winding it I happen to glance at the magnetic board at the back of my desk and a postcard of a stained glass window caught my eye.

The window is in Burford Church in Oxfordshire and although i have never visited this particular place I was sent this postcard by a very dear friend.






This post card is of Christ Calling James and John to follow him!  


Jesus called James and John to leave behind there old way of life and follow him.  To stop being only fishers of fish and to start to be fisher of men.  We don't ever stop being one thing but God uses those gifts that we already have developed and gives them a new purpose and new meaning within him.


Today I step out of "my boat" my little confined space which for years as only revolved around children and go to start the process of studying.  Hopefully as I studying alongside others and learn from others I will become for tuned into God's purpose for me!


This feels like the start of a new journey and as a famous Chinese Philospher said A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!


Today is my first step!



Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Calm before the storm







Well the title say it all really in two days time the packers come they will come and pack all our earthly possessions up (apart from a few essentials that we will need )  they will they transport them the 350 ish miles up to Durham where the new chapter of our lives will begin!

At the moment I am very apprehensive about packers every move I have ever done we have done the packing.  I have a very strange feeling a feeling as if we aren't ready to move probably because the house still has stuff everywhere, pictures are still on the walls and we are not swamped under half a ton of boxes!

I am sure that the packers know exactly what they are doing  after all that is what they do for a job!  but I am not in control I just have to sit back and let them get on with it.  

Sometimes our Christian lives can be a bit like this  sometimes we just have to sit back and let God's plan work it's self out! Giving over control to someone else can be hard but then we need realise that God always has the best plan for us no matter what happens.

See you on the other side!




Friday, 13 July 2012

Just Being!

Sorry everybody I disappeared for a while.  Life got in the way of blogging!


End of term stuff , school productions, broken cars, birthday parties and organizing all got in the way!


With one week to go until the children break up things are starting to wind down in that area of our lives while the move is starting to feel real.  Viewing on this house so that someone new can rent it, organizing packers and movers and working out dates when we can move up to Durham to start a new chapter of our lives.


A couple of days ago the letting agents put a "To Let" sign up in the garden  It now feels real to many people in the village where we have lived and worked for the past two years.  I didn't think I had made much of a difference.  


Yes, Chris has made a difference in my eyes as he has created new projects here, refreshed old ones and given new life to existing ones. But I think that I do very little in this village!  


Lots of people have said to me in the past month and half since we have know the Chris is going off to train how much they are going to miss us as a family.  


This has made me think perhaps sometimes we don't need to do anything specific to show the love of Christ!  We don't need big actions or grand gestures because perhaps they come from man not God.  


Sometimes the best way of showing love is just by being!  





Tuesday, 12 June 2012

And So it Begins.......................................

Do you remember that waiting I was talking about in my last post!

Well we waited and waited for what felt like for ever and eventually we got an answer.

The question which was asked was Does God want Chris( my husband) to go and train to be a vicar?



And the answer which came back after he had to go off to something called BAP (Bishop's Advisory Panel) was a resounding YES!

And so it begins time for a change time to move into another chapter of our lives.

Time for a move.
Time to change schools for the boys!
Time for the smallest one to start school.
Time for Chris to go back to college to train and time for me to start a degree.

Now I have toyed long and hard with starting a new blog to cover this new Chapter of our lives but this morning a thought came to me!

We are shaped by our past.
Our past makes us what we are now.
So for good or bad our past make us who we are.

God uses our past experiences to shape us and help us reach out to people in our future!

So there we are  I think a new blog name is not to be and for the moment I will stick with the old one.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Waiting for.........................................








We are not very good at waiting in the modern world!

Everything is instant from drive through takeaways to short snappy tweets.  Life seems to speed passed us and when we need to wait for something we get impatient and grumpy.


Whilst modern technology is brillaint and has many wonderful uses.  Sometimes we need to slow down, take stock and reasses our stituations!  Sometimes we need to wait.

Everything here is up the air at the moment we don't know what we are goign to be doing from September and we won't now until the end of this month. Now I am finding this particularly difficult as I am a person who likes to plan.  I like to know who is where and what we are doing! In short  like to be in control and the things that are happening here at the moment are completely out of my control.


This waiting is a mix of nervous, scared, excitement and being terrified!  My emotions are all over the place and I can't concentrate on anything every two minutes my brain seems to be changing it's mind on what I think will happen, which is very silly as I have no earthly way of knowing what will happen until we have been told.




Perhaps this is what the Disciples felt like after Jesus returned to his father in heaven.

At Church today we celebrated Accession (even though it was on Thursday).  Ascension marks the day when Jesus went up to his father in a cloud!  The disciples left all alone on the earth had to just wait,  Jesus had promised that he would send a new helper but the disciples didn't fully understand this until ten days later when the The Holy Spirit appeared like tongues of flames on the Day of Pentecost!   The disciples  waited and faithfully prayed to God and eventually when the time God's the Holy Spirit came and the Church began!  I pray for myself that in the next couple of days that I can indeed keep calm and patience and wait on God for his timing to be right.  In his time not mine!