Two Titles

“Christ conquered death bringing new life to all” or “New life dims the Cross”

 

 

 

 

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Mary and her son

Mother

John 19;25-27

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,here is your son,”

27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

James set out a warning !!! My sermon for today.

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James 3.13-4.3,7-8a

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for* those who make peace.

4Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet* something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

I had an encounter with the devil this week, don’t be worried. He was crouched at the feet of a bishop in a stain glass window at St Andrews church in West Stafford, Dorset. I think it was the first time I’ve actually seen the devil depicted in a stained glass window.It was most opportune as the epistle this morning talks about the devil.

James warns us of the power of the devil this morning, how the devil sneaks in in a quiet way. James suggest in v 14-16

“But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.

Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.

For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.

And in the gospel this morning we hear of to disciples arguing with one another as to who was the greatest. Not really an attribute that Jesus would expect to hear from one of his disciples. Would James consider they were thinking in earthly terms and not in heavenly terms, I think so So does the devil exist., is the devil trying to come between us and our faith.

C.S Lewis wrote about the Devil in his humorous fiction ‘The Screwtape Letters’.These letters consist of imaginary letters from a senior devil to a junior devil, instructing him how to tempt a young man away from Christianity. Eventually they fail, and are consumed with wrath as their intended victim passes triumphantly into heaven.

But in the course of the book we learn about what we’re up against if we wish to remain strong in our face and resist the call of atheism.

It is a hilariously funny book yet; like all best humour it makes a serious point. Many of its readers have laughed at the jokes but have they ever ask themselves whether they believe that the devil exists or not.

Some Christians will dismiss the question as decided already. Jesus believed in devils they answer, so we have no right to do disagree with him. They point to passages in Matthews Gospel, where Jesus meets to men that are possessed by demons and begins the task of casting them out. The Bible tells us that Jesus spoke to the Demons, even if it was only one word GO !!

This proves some say that devils are real.

But others will reply there is no scientific proof that Demons exist.

Whereas it has been shown over and over again and when identical symptoms to those of the so-called demoniacs are treated as a physical physiological illness they can be killed.

If Jesus had said, you are suffering from a psychosomatic illness nobody would have understood. Whereas if he used the language and terminology which the patient knew it will be effective in ridding him of his belief that he was incurable and allow the idea that God loved him to have its therapeutic effect.

In the forward of ‘The Screwtape letters’ Lewis said that if asked whether he believed in the devil, with a capital D, he would reply No if you meant a, power opposite and equal to God existing in its own right from eternity. ‘God has no opposites’ he wrote. But he did believe that some angels had rejected God, and become his enemies.

It is quite proper to call these fallen Angels Devils with a smaller D. But Satan their leader is the opposite of the Archangel Michael, not of God.This belief is not essential to his faith, wrote CS Lewis, but he will hold to it until someone can prove it to be untrue –  and it is much harder to prove that anything does not exist than to prove it does.

The 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire was saying the same thing when he wrote

‘ My dear brothers,   never forget when you hear people praise the progress of the Enlightenment, that the devil’s best trick it Is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist’

James remind  us in v17-18 that the wisdom we need comes from above.

‘But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.’

And in v7 he tells how we should do it

‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded’.

We need to be on our guard for the devil slips in so quietly and we allow it by thinking of earthly matters and no heavenly matters.

The River

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The river, it doth flow gently,

Onwards to the sea.

Silently it moves,

Serenely

According to its mood.

Harbouring life

Concealing its power.

It gives  so much

It is life giving,

In more ways than one.

It has the power to do so much

Sustain life

Destroy life

The river mirrors life’s journeys

Its twists

Its turns

The ebb and flow of the tide.

Its dry times, where very little flows

Its times of plenty, where the water rises

and there is too much to cope with.

The Good Shepherd leads us

beside still waters

he can’t always keep them calm

but he is with us through the twists and turns

during the ebb and flow of life

believe and be saved,

by  his life giving water.

Margaret Preuss-Higham

Faith and sunglasses

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Where do you wear your faith,

around your neck,

on a chain,

in your heart,

on your sleeve.

Where do you wear your sunglasses,

Over your eyes or on your head.

Over your eyes they have a use

On you head they have a use.

Both have a place in life

24/7

365 days a year.

Don’t wear your faith for show

Don’t let sunglasses stop you seeing the world how is it.

The sun isn’t always out

but faith should always be out,

not hidden behind dark glasses.

Margaret P Higham

PEACE BE WITH YOU – WHAT DID JESUS MEAN?

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Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”   Luke 24;36

Peace be with you but what did Jesus mean when he said this.

On Tuesday I went for a sermon prep walk, down to the coast guards cottages at Langton Herring on the Fleet in Dorset. It  was  so peaceful with an air of tranquility. It was so so peaceful, I cant really explain how I felt.Suddenly something spooked the birds and they started tweeting. In a field nearby a pheasant was calling and I suddenly became aware of the sound my feet were making as I walked along the gravel path  but this didn’t transcend the peace and tranquility. It was if the noises were God drawing my attention to the surroundings, say “hello, take a look, enjoy ,be inspired by the beautiful world that surrounds you”
I felt the sun on my face and just could’t stop but think what a beautiful part of the world, and how fortunate I am that God has placed me here.

His gift to me.

But it got me thinking ,what did Jesus mean. Was it just a greeting, Shalom, to his friends, is traveling companions or was it something deeper.

“Peace be with you” Those words are profound – through his gift of peace Jesus is healing their memories. They had vivid memories of their time with him, as fellow travelers on the road, but not all of their memories were good. There was the Garden of Gethsemane of course, the memory of how they had deserted Jesus, leaving him to face his trial and execution alone. And uppermost in Peter’s memory would have been the scene outside the high priest’s house when he had denied any knowledge of Jesus, and had sworn and cursed at the mention of his name. A memory that would have cut him to the quick, sickening him every time he thought about it, perhaps making him wonder whether he could go on living with himself. The sort of memory that only God’s forgiveness can heal.

And now the risen Jesus is with them, offering not anger at their betrayal, desertion and denial, but peace, healing and a new beginning. Their memories can’t be forgotten or wiped out; we know that in our own lives – yet they can be taken up, healed, and held in God’s peace. The power that bad memories have to blight and diminish lives is replaced by a greater power; the power of God’s forgiveness, won through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That power, that peace, set them free and it can do the same for us today.

Then I thought about  Philippians 4:7 where we have a wonderful promise: “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It is important to note the context of this promise, because that’s where we find the condition: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” God’s peace is promised to guard those who pray—with thanksgiving—about everything. This peace will transcend our ability to understand it.

The believer who places his or her full confidence in a loving God and is thankful in every circumstance will possess a
supernatural peace. An inner calm will dominate the heart. The faithful believer will know peace—his heart and mind are “guarded” by it—despite the tempest raging without. No one, especially those outside of Christ, will be able to fathom that peace. To most, it will remain a mystery how someone can be so serene in the midst of turmoil.

The peace that comes from being in a right relationship with God is not the peace of this world. The world’s peace depends on having favorable circumstances: if things are going well, then we feel peaceful; when things go awry, the peace quickly dissipates. Jesus made the distinction between His peace and the world’s vacillating peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27).

God’s supernatural peace surpasses natural understanding.

God’s supernatural peace is beyond our understanding.

God’s supernatural peace is personal to us all.

God’s supernatural peace is at the heart of out relationship with him.

God’s supernatural peace is for us all

Amen

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The Fleet, Weymouth ,Dorset

Restored

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Restored

What was it he said? Ah, yes I recall

“Knock down this temple in three days,

it will rise,

it will return”

And so it was,

It could not be broken

Stone rolled away

Cloth discarded

Tomb empty

“Why do you weep” said he

“My Lord has gone” Said she

She could not see, She could not hear

Through her tears, Through her sorrow

“Mary” said he

She heard

“Rabboni” said she

The temple restored

An earthly friendship resumed

For but a short while

Christ is Risen

Alleluia Alleluia

Margaret Preuss-Higham

John 20;15 & 16

Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”