Living simply that others might simply live

We had an excellent follow-up to our rowdy debate in the Crown last week, with Colin and Michele leading us for the first time.  In fact it was so well prepared and so challenging that we’re continuing with it next week in the Crown.  We were given questionnaires, in advance, on our habits such as recycling, buying fairly traded produce, considering air miles etc which started us off with plenty to think about and discuss. Then the really challenging bit… How were we at ThirdSpace (as individuals and as a church) espousing simplicity in our:

Worship

Theology

Church management

Personal lifestyle

Local community and

Global community?

That’s why we’re continuing next week!  Stretching stuff that’s essential for us if we’re to take our value of ‘Justice’ seriously.

Loved the closing blessing of the evening:

A Blessing

God’s blessing be upon us as we leave and return changed to our homes.

May we strengthen and encourage one another in our shared vision.

And may the blessing of our adventurous Creator God go with us.

And may the blessing of the Son, who showed us how to live, re-shape us.

And may the blessing of the dancing Spirit joyfully enable us in our renewed living.

Amen.

Source: Hope in God’s Future: Christian Discipleship in the Context of Climate Change Report & Study Guide, Methodist Publishing 2009

And here’s Colin and Michele’s resource list and recommended books:

BOOKS

 Saving Planet Earth, Colin A Russell

 Planet Wise, Dave Bookless, IVP 2008

 Christianity, Climate Change & Sustainable Living, Nick Spencer & Robert White, SPCK 2007

 When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, ed RJ Berry, Apollos 2007

 The Rough Guide to Ethical Living, Duncan Clark, Rough Guides 2006

 Kingfisher’s Fire, Peter Harris, Monarch 2008

 L is for Lifestyle, Ruth Valerio, IVP 2004

 The Busy Christian’s Guide to busyness, Tim Chester, IVP 2006

 Glory Days: Living the Whole of your life for Jesus, Julian Hardyman, IVP2006

 For the Beauty of the Earth, Steven Bourma Prediger, Baker Academic 2001

 Celebrating Community: God’s Gift for today’s world, eds Chris Edmondson & Emma Ineson, DLT 2006

 Caring for Creation: Biblical and Theological Perspectives, ed Sarah Tillett, BRF 2005

 Silent Fields: The long decline of a Nations Wildlife, R Lovegrove, Oxfod Press 2007

 RESOURCES

 

Join us at the Crown on Wednesday?  If nothing else we’ll all be needing company, if not a pint, for consolation after the match!

5 things you can’t live without

This was the task we set ourselves last Wednesday night at the pub. It ‘s a scene setter for our next 6 weeks theme – Living More Simply. Taking my inspiration from the world cup refs, I got to chuck out anything I thought was too general (as in ‘culture and art’- sorry Colin)  or just verging on the pretentious….and red cards would be distributed for swearing… ( I know this sounds very undemocratic, but what a sense of power!)

In pre-pub discussions with P, I was quite relieved to know he wouldn’t be able to make it -top of his list?? – moist toilet tissue…honestly, how superficial can you get?  Disappointingly, my fellow Third Space buddies had no problem with such wordly matters, – knickers, underpants and toilet paper featured high on the essential lists of quite a few of us.

Discussion ( a polite names for arguments) ranged around whether a laptop was one ‘thing’ , why it just wasn’t possible to live without a car and whether some of us really could start a fire by rubbing sticks together…

After much debate, we (kind of ) agreed on the following 5 corporate things we just couldn’t so without

matches (just in case the stick rubbing doesn’t work)

books

music

land ( a garden to you and me)

sanitation ( but you’ll have to use your left hand- the toilet paper didn’t make it)

I suppose we did descend into post -apocalyptic living a bit, (or post rapture, depending on your theology) but it was an interesting exercise, and harder than you think, and as I’m the ref, I’m cunningly going to hide my mascara in the box of matches.

Let us know what your 5 are.

Echoes of God’s love

We had a moving time together at the bandstand this morning reflecting on one of the ‘Morning Bell’ messages from Ian Adams this week (which give pointers to prayer each day). Based on the poetry of R S Thomas, the Friday morning message was ‘Listen today for echoes of God. Follow them ))))’  So we reflected on how God constantly reaches out to speak to us of his presence and goodness and love. These we wrote on arches of card. We read Psalm 8 in The Message which ends with words of God’s echoes in his creation and an extract from John Ortberg’s ‘God is closer than you think’ which speaks of every act of nature being God waving ‘hello’. Next we  coloured squares of printed paper – with no knowledge of the image – and pieced them together to discover the face of Christ. We know that it is through each other and when we are together that God speaks most clearly of his reality and love and community… Laying down the card arches of recognition of echoes of God in our lives, and seeing these emanating from the face of Christ, created a powerful image.

We wrote things we knew that spoke to us

From there we moved to the magnificent weeping Beech Tree at the Royal Bank of Scotland – pretty central to town – where Steve led us with the following words as we shared bread and wine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divine Entanglement with Bread and Wine

 Look up, all around, entangled and surrounded, mind-blowingly all enveloping – God’s breathing, God’s love sweeping down and curling around.

Acknowledged blessing and unacknowledged blessing, love noticed and unnoticed, blessings overt and covert. Incidences and coincidences and God-incidences too complex for us to sort through and untangle. We are caught – in the web. God behind us, God in us, God before us.

Surrounded and enveloped by God’s care, those blessings obvious to us now and those blessings only to be known about in the future and those blessings perhaps never to be known by us.

God at work in us and in those around us and in those we love and despair of. God’s love touching us, our ground, our lives through His humanity and love incarnated in Jesus.

We are surrounded in our space and time by roots, by branches, by leaves, by this living and growing 360 degree, multi dimensional, 24/7, God who loves. We are not tree hugging, but we are God- hugged.

And so while we are still indifferent, ignorant, hostile, unblissfully unaware, God loves us and in our hands we hold the bread and wine which expresses, encapsulates and enfleshes that Jesus love.

So why us? Why are we invited to this banquet under this umbrella of God’s love? Because we deserve it, merit it, lead good lives and have good theology? No, because God loves because he loves because he loves….

And so together as one body within God’s enveloping, connected with the worldwide family, we eat bread.

And so together as one body within God’s enveloping, connected with the worldwide family, we drink wine.

And so we have communed with God in this banquet but we do not now take our leave of Him. These roots and branches encircle and will not let us go even though we depart from this holy ground. He goes before us, marks our steps and our way.

And so we pray for all:

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore.

AMEN!

Divine entanglement Showering provision and protection

Fantastic!

Seeking the Kingdom. Sunday 23rd May.

Last Sunday we started our time together with a treasure hunt. We remembered what had been said when we were playing hide and seek, that God seeks us out and finds us. Remembering the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son we set off to find them using the clues we were given. Then we had readings from Matthew 6 : 33 and 13 : 44 and 45 which talk about the Kingdom being like a treasure.  The challenge was – do we seek the Kingdom with as much enthusiasm as we had looked for the treasure during the treasure hunt.

We then spent time reflecting on the Kingdom of God.
Seeking The Kingdom.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33 NLT)
Why is seeking the Kingdom of God so important to us as Christians, and in particular to us in Third Space?
Please reflect on the following:
“The Kingdom is a present dimension of the world we live in, a world where God is actively present and at work, but it is also a coming reality, not here in fullness. Seeing the Kingdom in its present form and not insisting that it take its final form ahead of schedule is a critical balance for the follower of Jesus.
One of Jesus’ most important teachings about the Kingdom is its presence in the last, least, lost, little and obscure. This signals a huge change of perspective for the Christian living in post-evangelical times. We must be sensitive to the presence of the Kingdom in places that our movement treats as unimportant, even “God forsaken.”
We are commanded to actively seek the Kingdom, not just wonder where it might be and talk about possibilities. We are to look for it like a person looks for a lost valuable or a hidden treasure. Wherever Christians are, they are not commanded to wait until the Kingdom comes to them or they are suddenly transformed to the place of seeing the Kingdom. It is in seeking it, in the world as well as in the community of believers, that the Kingdom is discovered.”
Thoughts on seeking the kingdom thanks to internetmonk.com

Grayden found some brilliant liturgy from Jonny Baker which we used as we shared the bread and wine and closed in prayer.

It would not have been God’s table.
On their own the bread and wine are nothing.
To become a foretaste and a promise of love made real,
of the Kingdom in it’s fullness and the world made whole,
they need a story and a people who believe…..
It would not have been God’s table if they hadn’t all been gathered around it:
the betrayer and the friend,
the faithful and the fickle,
the power-hungry and the justice seeker.
When Jesus poured the wine and broke the bread:
when everyone could eat –
the outcast and the beloved,
the arrogant and the gracious,
the wrong doer and the wronged –
the table became a foretaste of love made real,
of the Kingdom in it’s fullness and the world made whole.
And the promise is that when we are together,
when we tell the story, when we break the bread and pour the wine,
we will discover a foretaste of love made real,
of the Kingdom in it’s fullness and the world made whole!
From jonnybaker: worship trick 8.

A  BLESSING.
May the extravagant love of God the father
fill our hearts and minds, and his embrace hold us
when we feel unworthy to be called his son or daughter.
May the friendship of Jesus our brother
rid us of any notion that we are nothing
and may we find our home with him in his Kingdom.
May the Spirit of life release us from a world of duty
so that a new joy wells up in our lives.
Let us go and reconfigure the world
in our friendships
in our work places
in our families
in our streets
and in our world.
AMEN.
From jonnybaker: worship trick 87.


Day 50

Steve and I went to Oxford for the Day 50 event on Saturday. It was  a day of celebrating the integration of CMS and SAMS as well as  CMS as an acknowledged community. And there was plenty to celebrate, with the inevitable humbling experience of meeting and hearing people from around the world, who told their stories of what God is doing elsewhere and made us realise again how the Church is so much bigger than we ever think. The new website ‘We are saying yes’ was launched too – a great idea which I can see us using. The website has a number of suggestions as to how we might take simple steps to live out our faith in new or more practical ways,. The idea is that we  sign up to having a go at one of them and then record our story of what happened! It was also exciting to hear Jonny Baker say more about the training of Pioneer leaders starting in September.

I said a little on stage during the ‘ONE mission SHOW’ about what we’re up to in ThirdSpace – though there was very little time to say much. Ian was there as our Mentor (still not sure what your title should be Ian!) and he said a little about his role in supporting small missional communities like ours. It was excellent to see him again and we should be seeing him soon in the next half term in Matlock.

Best bits:  Seeing and catching up with Ian again – always supportive and affirming… Chatting with Jonny Baker and seeing his somewhat contraversial installation – which we loved! Hearing extraordinary, ordinary people, who are serving God so fatihfully…  Being in the presence of so many people who have faithfully prayed for and served CMS and SAMS for so many years… Meeting old friends unxpectedly… Realising I enthused about our kids leading us in sharing bread and wine in a room full of Anglican priests, bishops and archbishop!!! Realising afresh that what we’re doing in ThirdSpace is thrilling and wonderful and radical and the best place to be! Well done all those who organised the day – it was a privilege to be part of it.

Wendy

Post-election prayer

What a wonderful evening we had last night, with Brigid leading us after a brief time around the table with cheese and wine (taking some final footage for our video which CMS has requested).  Brigid led us inan extremely challenging, thought-provoking and poignant time of  reflection and prayer, leading us through Psalm 139 and sharing thoughts from John Henry Newman and others about the way we view things and speak. With differing political allegiences in the group, it was a sensitivly led evening after the events of the last week, and the resignaton of Gordon Brown and the appointment of the coalition government the night before. Here are some of the words shared, though we all appreciated, as much as anything,  the silence and reflection and open prayer for country and ourselves and for Tony, Frances and Charlotte once again.

John Henry Newman

There are ten thousand ways of looking at this world, but only one right way. The man of pleasure has his way, the man of gain his, and the man of intellect his.  Poor men and rich men, governors and governed, prosperous and discontented, learned and unlearned, each has his own way of looking at the things which come before him, and each has a wrong way. There is but one right way; it is the way in which God looks at the world. Aim at looking at it in God’s way. Aim at seeing things as God sees them. Aim at forming judgments about persons, events, ranks, fortunes, changes, objects, such as God forms. Aim at looking at this life as God looks at it. Aim at looking at the life to come, and the world unseen as God does. Aim at seeing the king in his beauty. All things that we see are but shadows to us, and delusions, unless we enter into what they really mean.

Celtic Parables – Robert Van Weyer

Never mock what others say.

Perhaps their words are full of nonsense.

Perhaps they are trying to puff themselves up.

Perhaps they like hearing the sound of their voices.

Perhaps they are trying to deceive their hearers.

Perhaps they are foolish and dim.

Perhaps they are more clever than wise.

Yet amidst the useless clay

You may find jewels beyond price.

The word of God is in every heart,

And can speak through every voice.

17th Century Nun’s prayer

Give me the ability to see good in unexpected places, talents in unexpected people, and give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.

(She also said, I discovered later: Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion… with my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but you know Lord that I want a few friends at the end…. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken). Am I alone in finding those words alarmingly easy to identify with?

May Day walk

A few of us got out to enjoy sunny, if cold, weather. Just loved the views and the company up on Stanton Moor. Great to have Natasha back and to meet Kevin this weekend and really good to get to know Colin and Michele better. I foresee more walks and more pub lunches – though perhaps one with quicker service!

How should we decide where to put our X ?

Wednesday night at the Crown on the eve of the General Election Grayden led a discussion on how we should decide where to put our X.

We looked at three Old Testament prophets, Amos, Micah and Isaiah in order to see what lessons we could learn to apply to politics in Britain in 2010.

What were the subjects that the prophets spoke about? – Land, labour, capital, wages, debt, taxes, justice, equity, immigrants, courts, other peoples and races, economic divisions and social injustice – all relevant for today.

From Amos we learned that it is bad for society when the distribution of wealth is becoming more and more unequal.

The lessons from Isaiah are that people who work should not be poor and that we are all called to seek justice.

The lesson we learn from Micah for international relations is that if we want peace we must work for justice.

After that we discussed the following questions.

1. What do you think of my comment that “people who work should not be poor”?

2. Is the widening earnings gap between the very rich and the rest bad for society?

3. Do we need a new ethical option, conservative in personal values, radical for social justice?

4. Why have so many people lost the concept of “the common good”?

Ten people discussed two of the forbidden subjects – religion and politics and we all still remain firm friends!

May Day Celebration

Barbara and Grayden led a May Day Celebration at the Bandstand.

Barbara had been reading The Heavenly Party by Michele Guinness. She asked the question – what has happened to the Hebraic celebratory spirit that Jesus would have experienced throughout his life?

We used brilliant liturgy based on ideas from Seasonofcreation.com

Affirmation

We believe that God creates all things, renews all things and celebrates over creation.

We believe Earth is a precious sanctuary, a sacred planet filled with God’s presence,

a home for us to share and to care for.

We believe that God became fully human, became a part of Earth,

shared family life, and celebrated with friends and community.

Suffered and died on a cross for all humanity and for all creation.

We believe that the risen Jesus is the Christ at the centre of creation

reconciling all things to God,

renewing all creation and filling the cosmos.

We believe the Spirit renews life in creation,

groans in empathy with a suffering creation,

and waits with us for the renewal of creation.

We believe that with the Cosmic Christ we will rise,

And with the Creator God we will celebrate the new creation.

Celebration

Creator God as we reflect on the wonders of the cosmos

and the beauty of the earth it causes us to worship you.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

We celebrate the earth, our precious home, gleaming blue in space.

We will praise you O Lord; we celebrate and rejoice in you.

We celebrate the wonder and beauty of creation,

and call upon the hills and rivers,

trees and flowers,

and all living things to praise you.

You are worthy, O Lord our God to receive

worship and honour and praise,

for you created all things and by your will they were created

and have their being. Amen.

Reflection

Creator God as we reflect on the wonders of the cosmos

and the beauty of the earth it causes us to worship you.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

We celebrate the earth, our precious home, gleaming blue in space.

We will praise you O Lord; we celebrate and rejoice in you.

We celebrate the wonder and beauty of creation,

and call upon the hills and rivers,

trees and flowers,

and all living things to praise you.

You are worthy, O Lord our God to receive

worship and honour and praise,

for you created all things and by your will they were created

and have their being. Amen.

New at the bandstand

Excited to have our laminated posters up on four sides of the bandstand for the benefit of passers-by who wonder who we are!

We may be church without… a building… but we aren’t without gargoyles!