Walsingham Children’s Pilgrimage 2015

At the beginning of March I took 6 members of our Xcite youth group to the Walsingham Children’s Pilgrimage and it’s fair to say they had a ball! Ever since, we leaders have been getting regular questions of ‘When can we go back?’. Here is a video of their time. The theme was ‘Spring your life’ looking at water, the well of Walsingham, and the role of water in faith and life. There were several events raising money for Wateraid – our efforts will follow shortly.

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Christingle Sermon

Reading Hebrews 1.1-3

(I had a child read for the service). Thank you for reading so clearly. It’s important that this reading especially was read clearly because it talks about all those different ways God uses to speak to us.

He gave us the bible, and all the stories in it and speaks to us through them. And we’re told that he can speak to us through prophets and visions and dreams.

And today we’re going to see if he can speak to us and tell us anything special through some objects that I have here.

(Get 5 children up to hold the objects, questioning them in turn what each of them are.)

Firstly what is this? An orange

Secondly what is this? Some ribbon

Thirdly? Four cocktail sticks

Next? Some sweets (I’ve counted them, and I’ll be checking at the end to see how many there are)

And finally?  A Candle

Now, a really difficult question: if you put all of these things together what would you make? A Christingle

As you will probably know the various things that make up the Christingle all represent something and tell us, speaks to us something about God:

The orange represents the world in which we live. The four sticks remind us of the four seasons of the year. The red ribbon reminds us of the blood of Jesus and the fact that he died on the cross for us. The sweets remind us that God gives us a lot of great gifts in our lives, and of course the candle on the top reminds us of Jesus himself – the light of the world.

And so when all those ordinary objects are put together we have something through which God can speak to us, and He can tell us through this the story of creation, and of Jesus and his love for us.

But individually those things are nothing more than what they’re meant to be – the orange is an orange, the stick is a stick, the candle is a candle and so on…

And the same can true for all of us – as we approach Christmas we can all have a good time hopefully, we can enjoy giving and receiving cards and presents, but if we leave Jesus out of Christmas then we are missing out on the real purpose of all these celebrations and we’re missing the one thing that gives meaning to it all.
(Get the kids to assemble the Christingle while you tell the story)

There’s a little story about Mary, Jesus’ mum, she had a very strange dream one night

she sees signs lit up saying Happy Christmas, she sees houses decorated, and people rushing around the shops buying lots of presents and food and drinks.

She hears of parties being arranged, and thinks how wonderful it is to see people enjoying her son Jesus’ birthday.

But then Christmas comes and she realises that people aren’t giving their presents to Jesus, and in fact, they’re not even mentioning him – She is filled with sadness as she realises that people have forgotten to thank Jesus for all he’s done for them, even on his birthday.

We must remember in the middle of all of the celebrations that we’re going to have, that Christmas is about, the light in the middle of our Christingles, it’s about Jesus coming to earth as a baby, and Jesus coming to us, as the light in our lives.

and it would be wrong to leave him out of his own celebrations,

So today God speaks to us, through our Christingles and reminds us again of the story of the world as we prepare to celebrate Jesus, light of the world coming to us. Amen

A Simple Trinity Sermon

I posted this up last month, but it seems to have walked…..so posting it again.

“God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Last week the church celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the ways god revealed himself through the apostles.

This week we celebrate the Trinity. The three ways we have encounter God, the three ways god has revealed himself to the church.

The Father The Son The Holy Spirit Many people find it hard to get their minds around the trinity, even great and clever theologians struggle, that they are one God but just three different ways we experience God. There are many images that are used to try and explain this great mystery, Water, ice, steam The peal, fruit and core of a apple The three wheels on a tricycle The chocolate, cake and orange of a Jaffa cake three things that together make part of a whole.

These images can be helpful, but they don’t fully explain how the father, son and spirit are one. There is a very long and complicated creed in the church called the Athanasian Creed, for those of you who know of it, don’t worry, i’m not going to make us say it, but there are some key lines which try to explain what the trinity is, most importantly it says “So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God.” Three parts of God.

I’m not going to try and explain this anymore, but I would like us to think for a moment about what affect this has in our lives. Trinity Sunday is about celebrating how God had revealed himself to us, and that’s one of the joys for a Christian, seeking how God is revealed in our own lives. So I wonder, how God has made his presence known in your lives this week. And I have some pieces of paper here and some pens and pencils we can use just to make a note of how God has been there in your lives. I’m not going to make you share them or show them to anyone if you don’t want. They are personal to you.

Here are some examples from people I asked on Facebook.
Energy in prayer
a situation sorting itself out,
through good times with a friend
picking flowers in the garden
laughter of their children on the beach

So we give thanks for all the ways God shows himself to the church and to us, and pray that we will always be watchful for Gods action in the world. Amen

(Preached to Dyffryn Church & Boys Brigade)

Family Service Easter 2

Has anyone ever told you something that you didn’t believe?

Sometimes its hard to believe things if you only hear about them from someone else.

Last week we celebrated Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead. And we heard that all the disciples were told about it. Today we heard the Jesus came to them and told them not be sad, but to be happy, because he brings them peace, they should be happy.

But one of his friends wasn’t there, Thomas missed this meeting with Jesus and found it hard to believe that he actually came back.

Sometimes its hard to believe things we are told.

If I told you there was something yummy hiding in our Easter garden that someone here can have, would you believe me?

Does anyone want to look?

I was telling the truth!!!!!!

You didn’t know for sure unless you went to see though, and that was the same for Thomas, he couldn’t believe his friends until he saw Jesus for himself.

Sometimes its hard to believe that God loves us, and is there for us all the time. Having faith is sometimes really hard, and sometimes we need to see before we can believe. But Jesus isn’t walking around now like he was back them with his disciples, with his friends. So how can we believe.

We can believe by looking around us, at the world God created for us, at the family and friends around us who love us and take care for us, at all the people in the past who have told us about Jesus and all the things God has done to help us. We can believe when we see people doing what Jesus taught us, loving, caring, sharing, taking care of, being a peace with others.

thomas