2 before Lent - Morning
Matthew 6. 25-34
Does my bum look big in this?
Hand up who has ever, EVER asked this of their partner? And I
don't just mean the ladies! I know you men care about your appearance
too .... at least some do!
We all worry unduly about our appearance. I am no different.
And what about minding what brand of clothing or shoes we are
wearing? What car we drive? Which tablet or i-pad we use? How
big our TV is?
Do we really think no one will love us? Or that we are less loveable
if we don't happen to have the 'right' brand?
And it's not just about appearances.
We worry about what others may think of us. Of our intellectual
abilities. Are we clever enough?
Last week Ken reminded you that everyone here has a part to play
and that we ordained clergy cannot be left - or even trusted!
- to do everything needed to lead the church today. So, who here
(apart from Ken and Paul) would be prepared to come and stand
"up front" with me? Who would feel too scared?
Because every one would be looking? Judging? Not loving us?
What would God have to say
Some years ago I went to see
a bishop in another diocese installed. And in his Sermon, he
made reference to the extraordinary clothes that Bishops have
to wear as part of their job. You know - the pointy hat and all
that.... (wonder how much that might change when some women get
appointed????) Anyway, he acknowledged that putting on a mitre
for the first time made both him and his family fall about laughing
- well at least it proves bishops (some of em) have a sense of
humour! But the Bishop went on to say, " if you want a laugh-
anyone- just take a look in the mirror first thing in the morning
- before you have shaved or brushed your hair or anything and
say to yourself - You are the pinnacle of God's Creation!"
Let's try it now.... anyone who has a compact mirror in their
handbag, get it out..... the rest of you just imagine you have
a mirror in your hand....
Repeat with me,
"You are the pinnacle of God's creation" - very hard
not to laugh out loud...
What happens when we don't
Bit like my dog Jandi... What
do most dogs do when you put on coat and get lead?
Not her, she is often too scared to cross the threshold of the
house. Well some days I let her be - I decide that she just needs
to have space and the security of her home around her...
Some days I put on the harness and 2 leads so she knows there
is no escape!
Usually, once out she relaxes.... Enjoys the walk. Sometimes,
she remembers to be scared half way round and freezes with terror.
Tries to run home. So what do I do? Well, I have to give her
lots of praise. I encourage and sometimes have to get firm, but
above all I must use patience and a reward when we get home.
I can't give her a treat while we are out - she is too preoccupied,
being scared, to take it!
She has forgotten in her terror (a terror not of anything that
has happened since she has lived here, but of things that must
have happened when she was only a puppy); she has forgotten to
be what she is made to be - Dog.
Show picture - Jesus among
the daisies / Lillies of the field. (Stanley Spencer)
Stay with that image. See the
delight on the face of God. ( Play "It's a wonderful world").
"Jesus gazes at the daisies just because they are ... Jesus
marvels at God's creation". Stephen Cottrell
Do you think that maybe as
God is looking at us here this morning, his gaze is filled with
delight? Why not? Remember you are the pinnacle of God's creation!
He invites us to find satisfaction and fulfilment in being the
people that we are meant to be. And if, as Paul tells us, Creation
is subject to futility - I do not believe that is God's doing
- rather the responsibility is all ours, all humanity's for failing
to be the people that we are made and meant to be.
In a moment or two we will
come to God's table and receive in our hands the best possible
reminder of how much he loves us and indeed all creation. We
will take in our hands bread, once grain, growing on a hillside
or field, and drink wine, once grapes growing in a vineyard.
And in that bread and wine we will have tangible proof of how
much God loves us - that he would give himself for us - so that
we might have life in all its fullness. What else would you expect.
For you are the pinnacle of God's creation.
So when you go from here today,
will you go, believing you are lovable? That you are loved?
And if you do, what difference will it make? How might you start
convincing yourself and others that God loves us and all his
Well here's some suggestions of things you might do over the
Tell 3 people how lovely they
are to you
Find 3 things in nature to wonder at - spend time just staring.
Listen to the birds singing. Try to identify an individual song
and marvel at it.
Do a random act of kindness.
Smile at three strangers.
Write a note of friendship to go with your gift to the food bank.
Better still - volunteer.
Listen to your child playing- and delight in them.
If you feel your worries overwhelm
you, say out loud. " God loves me" 10 times and just
see how that makes you feel.
February 2014 - 2 before Lent- Revd. Preb Maureen Hobbs
Address for Sunday, 2
before Lent - Creation Sunday
This morning we were thinking all about the birds of the air
and the lilies of the field and tonight's readings are also very
focused on the miracle that is the natural world around us. So
it is not surprising that this is sometimes known as Creation
Sunday - and it comes just as the winter is ending - with all
its floods and storms and Spring is just around the corner....
Some days this week have felt positively pregnant with the promise
of better weather to come - let's hope for a more balanced year
ahead. Not too much dry weather, but please God, not so much
rain! And a bit of sunshine would be very nice wouldn't it?
Well with that in mind, I thought
you might all be in need of a bit of sunny warmth - now providing
that at 6.30pm or later on a February Sunday is a bit of a tall
order - even for me (!) but I can I hope bring a smile to your
faces with the following RAP that was written a few years ago
by a lady called Margaret Gillard - who comes from a village
called Hillfarrance in Somerset - so whether she and her church
are currently dry or under flood water, I am not sure.... It
seems sort of significant that we should have something created
by a woman - since we heard tonight how Lady Wisdom was there
beside God at the dawn of creation .... but let's just enjoy
this offering - celebrating the sheer joy of that moment... (Delivered
while the congregation clicked fingers or clapped to maintain
We believe in
God, the Maker
Of Heaven, the sun and moon and the shaker
Of stars like pepper across the skies;
Who formed - dry land and the water that
Around it, filled with fishes, and the bird
Through the air above it, and all growing
Fruit trees and flowers, according to plan,
And then, to tend them he created Man.
Think about it; imagine
in your heart;
Picture the scene at the very start.
Out of chaos the
In an empty Heaven of a lifeless Earth,
But the Spirit soared while the torrents
And God said, 'Let there be light'
And there was light!
The very first day and night met above the
And God said, 'Yes!
God said, 'It's not finished yet.
With all that water it's a bit too wet.
Over the seas and lifted high
We'll make a dome of air and we'll call
There was a second day and a second night
And God said, 'Yes!
damp,' said God on day Three
And he made dry land rise up out of the
Green plants growing to the glory of God
With leaf and scented flower and seed and
The third day passed and the third night
And God said, 'Yes! ..... All's well!
On Day Four, God
said, 'Let us raise
Lights in the sky to mark the days
And nights and seasons and months and years.'
So - the moon and the stars and the sun
The first sunrise and the first sunset
And God said, 'Yes! The best day yet!'
Day, God got up and said, 'Today it is our will
That fish swim in the seas and flying birds
the heavens fill.'
So wrens and sparrows fluttered and albatrosses
And cod and plaice and octopuses praised
The sun rose early and it went down late
And God said, 'Yes!
Day dawned and God turned his hand
To creating all the animals that live upon
The rabbit and the elephant, the cat and
And lastly, in his image, he created me
The sun rose in the East and it sank into
And God said, 'Yes! This has got to be the
God rested, to contemplate the worth
Of all he'd made in Heaven and Earth.
Let us with hand and heart and voice
Praise God in whom our souls rejoice,
And with each rising and setting sun
Say, 'Yes! Praise the Lord for all he's
Amen, alleluia, alleluia, amen!
Gillard (2004), Hillfarrance, Somerset
I hope you enjoyed that - apologies
if my delivery was not necessarily the best! And with each rising
and setting sun - as well as praising God - how would it be if
we thought to take a little more care of God's wonderful creation
that we are so lucky here in Pattingham to be able to enjoy all