farewell to the vicar

Today was the last service for Father Peter at our Church. Tomorrow he will board a plane back to the UK to start his hard earned retirement in Scotland. Peter has been with us 8 years, and many are sorry to see him go. He and his wife are also very sad to leave us. Switzerland is of course a beautiful country, slap in the middle of Europe with a top standard of living. They return to a country that is divided, and where many people live lives of quiet desperation. Little wonder they turn their frustrations onto the foreigner among them.

Actually that was a part of  the sermon today. Sermons are available on our website if you want to take a listen. It was a good one today, so hopefully will be listed soon on the site

Vicar2-1024x576For the council we now have to start the search for a replacement. This is quite a process with the main focus being on finding out what our congregation like in our Church, and where they see us in the future. Then we need to draw up a profile of our ideal candidate plus ran an advert. The Diocese filter the applications based on our profile, and then at some point 2 people of our Parish along with other Church officials will conduct the interviews in London. Interviews are not expected before November, with the new Priest not expected to start before 1 March. The UK will have a new Prime Minister before we even do the interviews – seems strange really.

In the meantime we will have a series of Locums coming over, staying in the house, taking some services and enjoying Switzerland. Generally locums tend to be retired priests, but they always bring some variety and new wind to the Church, which can only be good. It might help us focus on what sort of Priest is the right one for us, or maybe what to avoid. We are not expecting a huge amount of candidates however, but we do not have to, as long as we get the right one.

So remember to pray for our departing Priest Peter, and his wife Shareene, and then to pray for the council as they go through the search process, and pray for the locums as they come to us. We need a lot of prayer.

 

Forgiveness and Compassion

What do you think? Do forgiveness and compassion go hand in hand? Without compassion is it ever possible to really forgive someone else? For sure if you hold a grudge or cannot forgive, then it is not possible to feel compassion for that other person.

As Christians we are called upon to show compassion to others, and to forgive others. There are several bible passages where Jesus demonstrates both and calls upon his followers to do likewise.

So why do so many find it so hard? Whether Christian or non Christian, a lot of people cannot forgive. It could be something as simple as an perceived or deliberate insult, or as major as being raped or violated or having a loved one killed by someone else.

Tribal conflicts carry on for generations because of some long ago dispute that nobody can forgive, or nobody is allowed to forgive. Revenge attacks are carried out from one side to the other in a never ending spiral of violence, all because the people involved cannot forgive, and have no compassion left for anybody else.

As Christians  we forgive so as to be holy in Gods sight, for Jesus himself commanded us not to come bearing gifts to the alter if we had a grudge against our brother. We have to make peace with our brother before we can come to the alter. And by truly forgiving another and making peace with him, we make peace within ourselves. Otherwise it is not true forgiveness. We cannot put provisos into our forgiveness.

But whether Christian or non Christian we need to remember that forgiving and moving on often does more for our own peace of mind than it may do for the person or people we forgive. We forgive to give ourselves peace. Often the person we are forgiving might not even know or care if they are forgiven. They might not even know what they have done wrong, they might be dead. We forgive for us. We show compassion not only to others, but mainly to ourselves. We cannot carry grudges through life or even fail to forgive ourselves for our own failings, without those grudges and bad feelings having consequences on ourselves. The consequences of not forgiving and instead adding another grudge to the baggage we carry around in life, is to weigh ourselves down, to never allow ourselves to be truly happy. How can we be happy if we have all these grudges to carry with us? It is not possible. Carry enough of them around and they will start to fester within you like a cancer, colouring all your decisions, affecting your ability to trust or love others, altering your whole outlook on life, and possibly leading to real health issues as well.

Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. Only a strong person who knows what is important in life can forgive, and maybe that is why so many people struggle with forgiveness. They feel that they should not forgive, to do so would be to allow the other person to win, it would be weak, whereas as we see, it is the opposite. It demonstrates that the other person cannot win in taking our happiness, it gives the power back to us, as only he who has been wronged has the power to forgive another.

EmilysQuotes.Com-forgiveness-hope-compassion-gratitude-thankful-inspirational-advice-life-being-a-good-person-Zig-Ziglar

 

 

 

 

 

A nickel for your harp

Ever heard of a Nyckelharpa? If you have perhaps you are Swedish, or you were at our super fundraising evening with the Swedish congregation last night. The Swedes share our premises as in they meet once a month in our Church, and have been doing for many years. They were more than happy to agree to host an evening for us in our Church hall.

swedishFor Fr35 per head, less for children, the happy guests got a three course meal of typical Swedish food, as well as live musical entertainment from members of their group. Even their vicar played the guitar and sang along – he is a cool vicar. Another guy was playing the Nyckelharpa, which apparently he had even made himself. The songs were all sung in Swedish, but a good number of the 60 to 70 guests could understand them. Some people had come along specifically because they were learning the Swedish language and wanted to hear more.

For the rest of us, we stuck to english, or maybe swiss german, with the odd Skål and tack thrown in for effect.

Our enormous thanks go to the people of the Swedish congregation who put on a great evening, and worked very hard, before and after, plus donated all the food. Tack så mycket , vi har haft det mycket. Plus in total we raised Chf 2688 for our appeal fun.

If you would like to hear the sound of a Nyckelharpa then check out this video from Griselda Sanderson on youtube, where she demonstrates first the principles of playing one and then plays it. It sounds great.

The conversion of Paul

The final reading in our series of 9 prayers.

Come Holy Spirit meet us at our crossroads

wp-1462463759280.jpg

Acts 9. 10-19

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias” he answered, “here i am Lord”. The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered; “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name”.  So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said; “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

Blazing God, your light is dangerous to us! You close our eyes so that we may open them afresh on a new world where grace and truth replace stones and hatred and we are dazzled by the bright love of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Philip and the Ethiopian

number 8 in our series of prayers.

Come Holy Spirit meet us at our crossroads.

wp-1462463717666.jpg

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Now there was an Ethiopian come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home, seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The the Spirit said to Philip “Go over to this chariot and join it” So Philip ran up to it and asked; ” Do you understand what zou are reading?” He answered; “How can I, unless someone guides me?”  Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him.’

The Eunuch asked Philip; “About whom, may i ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”  Starting with this scripture Philip proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

Acts 8, 26-38 abridged.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

respond with prayer and action

Traveller God, you are also on the dusty road. Sometimes we find ourselves alongside those with questions, the excluded and sad, those seeking new life. Sometimes we ourselves are those people. Teach us not to delay a moment longer but to offer and receive the water of life and with it, new perspectives on the journey in the company of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Jesus and the child’s offering

Look and be curious – number 7 of our prayer series

wp-1462463682790.jpg

Come Holy Spirit meet us at our crossroads.

Read the text with an open mind

Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him. Jesus said to Philip. “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “make the people sit down”. Now there was a great deal of grass in the place, so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.

John 6.3, 5-13

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

Providing God, help us ot recognise what children and young people are bringing to your Church so that the hungry may be fed. May we lose nothing of their openness and engagement and may we too discover a childlike joy sharing your gifts with all who are in need and blessing them in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Jesus in the temple

number 6 in our 9 prayer series

wp-1462463656473.jpg

from Luke 2. 41-52

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a days journey. They they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”

He said to them “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Fathers house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favour.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

God who dwells in temple and heart, when we are rushing around anxiously without you, when we forget to seek you in the obvious place, still us; sit us down in your presence, amaze us with your wisdom and show us where our true focus should really be – on Jesus Christ your son, our Lord. Amen

 

 

 

The visitation of Mary

Tuesday, day 5 of our 9 day prayer series

wp-1462463624609.jpg

from Luke 1. 28-31,34-35,37-38

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The Angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now you will concieve in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you; threfore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. For nothing will be impossible with God.”  Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

As Gabriel visited Mary, you visit us with news that we carry the life of your son within us.As you have sent him through the Holy Spirit, may we, like Mary, birth and welcome him into  the many homes from which we come. May it be as you have said, so that he can be known to our world as Jesus Christ, child of Mary, child of God. Amen

 

The Valley of Dry Bones

Monday 9th May, day 4 of our 9 days of prayer series

Wait with prayerful expectation – Come Holy Spirit, meet us at our crossroads

wp-1462463588986.jpg

From Ezekiel 37:1-6,10

The hand of the Lord came down upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them, there were many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “Oh Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them: Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath into you, and you shall live: and you shall know that I am the LORD.

I prophesised as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Listen for a word with a willing heart.

Respond with prayer and action

O breath of God, life giving spirit, when all seems lost, when all the bones are dry, grant us the vision and the courage to speak your words so that those who have lost life might find it once more; and if we ourselves have come apart, reconfigure us and stand us on our feet in the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord, your broken and resurrected son. Amen

The Exiles – seeking refuge

8th May, Day 3 of our 9 days of prayer series.

Come Holy Spirit,  meet us at our crossroads

wp-1462463567815.jpg

These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and live in them; plant Gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf. For surely I know the plans that I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Jeramiah 29 1, 4-7,11

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

God of the displaced, we give thanks that when we are insecure, you offer us security,

when we are abandoned, you come to find us. You invite us to embed ourselves in community, to discover that you, already among us, enable the flourishing of all that is good. We pray in the name of Jeshua of Bethlehem, of Egypt, of Nazareth, of ……..

enter names of other places like Syria, Calais, etc

Amen