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Space For Faith

Space For Faith

Author: Karen Griffiths

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Space for Faith - all about Christianity. Devon UK Ecumenical group - Christians being and working together, and sharing the joy of the love of God.
4 Episodes
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Idolatry, Identity and Christianity - Who are you? Sermon by Karen Griffiths on 15 September
Homily by Fr. Simon
My experience of Holy Week 2019. hope everyone has had a Blessed Holy Week. This week has made such an impression on me and feel I have grown as a Christian. Up to now Easter has been about weighing up my desire for copious amounts of Easter eggs versus how much weight gain this would involve… Now it means something entirely different.My week has been full of images, words, light, dark, silence, contemplation and joy. A week of focussing on Christ with like minded friends. My week started on Monday and to be honest I did not have a clue what to expect – and the words ‘Holy Week’ had no inner meaning to me other than the facts stated in the Bible.Monday’s Stations of the Cross was not a good start for me. The reason? I was focussing on me instead of Christ. Walking around the church and standing at each Station was hard for me with my back and I had to sit down quite a bit. I was totally embroiled with my embarrassment of having to sit down instead of focusing on what I should have – Christ’s journey towards Crucifixion. It was all about ‘me’ instead of being all about ‘Him’.This ‘all about me’ sentiment stayed with me until Thursday’s Midnight Vigil and the Altar of Repose. Something then changed inside of me. As I sat in silence I was totally immersed in the vision of the Altar of Repose – the beauty, the sadness, the dark, the light, the stillness, the movement... The ‘facts’ then changed to ‘feelings.’ Holy Week and the Crucifixion truly entered my heart.On Friday the Church had a different atmosphere. One of emptiness – I think due to lack of Cross, Altar and Altar dressings. The afternoon started with a repeat of the Stations of the Cross. This time is was not about me but entirely about Jesus Christ. Yes I had to sit – but what does that matter. The important thing was that I was there. This time I was able to truly focus on Christ’s journey.The second part of the service was an hour of meditating on Christ’s last 7 words. The silence and contemplation on these words initiated another shift inside of me and further embedded Jesus into my heart. Interestingly I adopted the position of sitting with my hands on my knees for the duration and it felt so right. Prior to this I have always tried to firmly grasp my hands together – perhaps, or perhaps not, this helped to open my heart.The final part was the Veneration of the Cross – the placing of a ribbon on and kissing the Cross. Whilst stood waiting I suddenly felt the desire to do the sign of the Cross – so did this when it was my turn. I’m not a demonstrative person, and I don’t know where this came from, and incidentally I think I got it wrong, but hey…. Then we come to Easter Sunday – oh what joy – He is Risen! An early 6am start with bonfire and lighting of the Paschal Candle. Some very interesting images produced by the flames of the bonfire - I did not notice this until I examined the photos afterwards. Maybe significant, maybe not, but still awesome! Then there was the point in the service that it was proclaimed that Christ is Risen – and sunlight streamed into the Church! My mood changed from sadness, silence and contemplation to one of joyous celebration. That joy has stayed ever since.What a truly amazing Holy Week - so many emotions - so much sharing. This has truly changed my Christian life. I entered Holy Week with Jesus living in books and stories. I ended Holy Week with Jesus living in my heart and a feeling of deep joy. It feels wonderful! Thank you to all my friends for sharing this week with me.https://www.spaceforfaith.co.uk/blog/holy-week-adventure
Sermon on Trinity Sunday 16 June 2019 - Hi……. Well this is my first ever Reflection…. Oh and guess what… it is Trinity Sunday… which I have heard is the Sunday people try to avoid doing and pass to whoever they can…  I am that ‘whoever they can’ person!…. I have to say this is the hardest thing I have ever had to write - full respect to Fr. Simon who produces two a week and to Wendy and others who undertake them regularly. I would like to thank Yvonne for her valuable advice and for stopping me reading my first attempt which was an essay rather than a Reflection…. I would also like to thank you all for welcoming me to St Anne’s. As you know I am quite a newbie to this - and I have to say it has changed my life in every way. Every day I thank Jesus for bringing me to him.As you have probably gathered, with today being Trinity Sunday I am going to talk about the Trinity….. And I actually feel so privileged to be given the opportunity to talk about such a wonderful subject - the heart of Christianity - the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.Whilst doing my research I read that the most important thing you can do when writing a Reflection is to Pray. Pray before you start, Pray during, and Pray once written. So I did a lot of Praying.  But did the words just come flowing? No not at all! … but I did manage to write something. I think this could be how God works in these situations. He does not hand things to us on a plate, rather he makes us work but with a guiding hand.Anyhow here is my attempt so please bear with me! Humanity has met and known God in three different forms:God the Father: revealed by the Old Testament to be Creator, Lord, Father and Judge.God the Son: who lived on earth amongst usGod the Holy Spirit: who fills us with new life and powerBut what and who are the Trinity exactly? There are many analogies describing the relationship between the three Holy Persons, but none seem to really get to the heart of the true relationship between the three parts and the one whole.How could the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each be God without there being either three Gods or only one person?  We have:Exactly one GodThree really distinct Persons - Father, Son, and Holy SpiritAnd each of the Persons is GodMathematically and logically this does not work so perhaps this is beyond our human understanding. A mystery…..Of course God exists in a different realm to ourselves - one without time or space…. So there are things beyond our comprehension - and perhaps the Trinity is one of those things...But perhaps God also has a good reason for the Trinity being a mystery If we had a complete understanding of God and the Trinity, could humanity perhaps adopt the wrong idea of God, for example in terms of being a patriarchal or hierarchical God?And of course it provides a model for human relationships, both as individuals and in communitySo what can we take from the relationship between God, the Son and the Holy Spirit?In the ikon of the Holy Trinity by Rublev, the three persons continually gaze at each other, a circle of love, a divine dance. Throughout the pages of the New Testament we see a respectful, selfless, loving relationship. The Father displays His Son as the pre-eminent one, the Son glorifies the Father, the Spirit empowers the Son in his human incarnation and the Son gives the Spirit to his followers.A relationship of mutual love and respect.Our reading today of Romans 5  contains such beauty, and shows the ways in which God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit interact with one another and act on behalf of us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory ……. And verse 5 continues with the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.What beautiful words and what comfort this brings to us all. Jesus was crucified to give us peace with God. Peace with God is offered to us all - and what do we have to do to have this peace? Do we have to be perfect people? Do we have to do special acts?No …… all we have to do is have faith in Jesus Christ and we have peace with GodA state of Grace with the promise of salvation in Gods’ GloryBut does that mean we are free to do anything we like regardless of the consequences?No not at all - this is not what happens when we are in a state of Grace. Grace is the key to this. Filled with the Holy Spirit and Grace all we want to do is please God - voluntarily. We have been given God’s gracious gift of salvation through Jesus and we surely want to please Him. In Romans 6:15 Paul says we are not ‘under law’ but ‘under grace’ And perhaps today is a good time to remind ourselves of Jesus’ reply to the Scribe in Mark 12 when asked which commandment is the most important of all. Jesus replied:Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”Can we do this? I am certain we love God with all our souls, minds and strength. And loving our neighbours as ourselves is fine for those neighbours who we like. But what about those neighbours who act against us or we just can’t see eye to eye with? A bit harder - but remember Grace and the Holy Spirit will help us.Personally I have found that forgiveness a great asset. When others hurt me, once I forgive them the hurt eases. Perhaps this is the work of the Holy Spirit in helping us to forgive and thus able to obey the commandment to ‘Love thy neighbour as yourself’Grace.. What a wonderful word… and such a wonderful feeling to know that whatever happens in our lives we are always in a state of Grace with God. Our lives are full of good and bad times, and all things in between.  When I have bad times I have a ‘time out’ and just spend a minute thinking of God and the Trinity and what that means to me. It may not change the bad times but it changes me and how I feel.On a different note, as well as it being Trinity Sunday it is also Fathers’ Day today. So a huge Happy Fathers Day to all FathersWhilst not a Christian festival as such, I hope you will agree that Fathers, and indeed all those who take on the duties of being a Father need to be celebrated for the role they play in life - in nurturing and providing role models for future generationsAnd whilst women had their role on D-Day - with the recent 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings perhaps in addition to giving thanks to our own fathers - we can also give thanks and prayers to those fathers who lost their lives on D-Day - along with those who were denied the chance of ever becoming fathers in the future.   And perhaps whilst war and God are not a natural companion, I believe that if we look at the relationship between all those who took part in D-Day, we can see such love and respect for one another. God bless all of them, Thank you for listening to me today and have a super Sunday. God Bless you all.Amen
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