Table talk…

When we sit down to eat dinner at home we often have a ‘Highs and Lows’ conversation during which quite simply all of us share our highs and lows of the day. Sometimes what gets shared is very trivial, sometimes funny, sometimes sad and sometimes deep and meaningful. Sometimes there is lots to say – sometimes not much. Sometimes our highs and lows might be the same but usually they are all different. Nearly always everyone has both a high and a low. Each day –and indeed life – is a mixture of the good, the bad, the mundane and the extraordinary. And so at these meal times we’re reminded of the messy mixture of life and also that we are all different. Of course all are welcome at the table regardless of the day they’ve had or the mood they are in.

Jesus loved meal times…. the Gospels are full of examples of him eating and drinking with people. On Sunday evenings during Lent we’ll be exploring this theme with the help of Tim Chester’s book, ‘A Meal with Jesus’. At each service we’ll be reflecting on a different meal time in which people met with and learnt from Jesus. I do hope you’ll be able to join us as we explore, reflect and worship together and that during Lent we’ll find ourselves once again drawn in and welcomed to sit at the table with Jesus. Keep an eye out for details of venues and times in church.

The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the man delivering only one and a half pots full of water to the house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After 2 years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The bearer said to the pot “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

Pause for thought…

Shrove Tuesday past, pancakes tossed and races run. Lent, for Christians, is a time to prepare for the events of Easter through self-denial, prayer, repenting, and giving. What will we learn as a result?

‘Tossing’ can be likened to something to celebrate – tossing our hat in the air – and surely as Christians we have much to be thankful about “for the Lord is good and his love endures for ever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100).

Taking a toss however can be a painful experience and this is where Lent comes in. A time to see what has gone wrong, how we have gone wrong, how we have given in to temptations that have weakened our faith and how we are reminded of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness.

Perhaps our world has become a wilderness and we hunger for that which will satisfy us but instead life is hard to live and understand. We may feel that we are very much standing on the edge of a precipice and about to fall. We may on the other hand be feeling that we are unimportant and deserve higher recognition. Remember, “no temptation has seized you except what is common to man” and take comfort “God is faithful” and “he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Cor 10:13).

Let me finish by taking the word LENT, a word that has a meaning of spring and new life and perhaps that is what you are seeking. Then the idea that Lent is a time of FAST. F – face the truth about yourself in God’s sight; A – Arming yourself with the whole Armour of God is necessary; S – Scriptures, remembering that in His trial with the devil, Christ’s answer and victory was in the words “It is written.” T– take time, more time perhaps in reading the Bible and more time in prayer.

Men Alive Group Film Night

Have you ever thought about cruising up a Norwegian fjord, going on a steam train ride in Australia, driving over sand dunes in a 4×4, having a relaxing stroll round Pallington Lakes looking at sculptures, or travelling on a horse drawn canal boat in North Wales?

Well, we did all that a couple of Mondays ago when about 15 men from St Johns gathered to enjoy an evening of videos shot and edited by John De La Mare. Showing videos from the early days of his hobby up to more recent offerings which showed how he has perfected his filming and editing skills, the quality of which the BBC would be proud.

It was a great evening, enjoyed by all who were there, and thanks must go to John for the hard work he put into his presentation.

John Downer