More than a hundred people (we lost count) celebrated Pentecost with everyone from small children to Isobel, our oldest guest at 101, all enjoying the afternoon.
Deanery Pentecost 2014 was hosted by St Nicholas, part of the parish of Southbourne with W Thorney.
There were crafts for the children, ball games for the active of all ages, picnics in the sunshine, strolls along the harbour and a rare opportunity to admire the view across the water from Thorney towards Bosham and Chidham.
Many people visited the ancient church of St Nicholas, the Commonwealth War cemetery and German memorial.
The Revd Frank Wright, vicar of Westbourne arranged a prayer trail on the theme of marching in the light of God (see below).
This was followed by an open air Eucharist celebrated by the Revd (Maj) Tony Ingham, Army Padre.
The Revd Sarah Flashman from the parish, who is to be ordained priest later this month, assisted.
Colourful hand prints from the craft session decorated the altar cloth and Mike Prosser directed a choir from churches around the deanery.
The evening ended with wine and elderflower and canapés brought by the parishes. Thank you to everyone for making the afternoon such a success.
Prayer Stations for Pentecost 2014
We are marching in the light of God
We are marching, Oh! We are marching in the light of God.
Like an army, we march with our feet! We are here with the Army who use their feet a great deal! So these Bible gobbets and prayers use feet and marching as a theme. Please spend some time with them, praying and reflecting on ourselves and a calling to:
“Fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life.” (The Baptism Service )
1. On the second day they marched around the city once and then returned to the camp. They did this for six days. (Joshua 6:14)
This is the capture of the city of Jericho. The siege ended with the blowing of trumpets as the walls fell down. As in all territorial battles the motives and the causes were complex and we may have many questions about the taking of the homes of one people by another, whatever their belief about what they were doing at the time. The six circuits of the city seem to echo the six days of creation. Here the people and nation, as it would become, are recreated in a homeland.
Think about: Displaced people today who long to be back at home in the place they know and love.
- Those who work to relieve refugees and captives and those called to fight to restore freedom and justice.
- Her Majesty’s armed forces in their reconstruction work in the war-torn areas of the Middle East.
2. Indeed, O favourite among peoples, all his holy ones were in your charge; they marched at your heels, accepted direction from you. Deuteronomy 33:3
A ‘favourite among the peoples’ could well be someone who is elected. As a ‘favourite’ that person may be chosen because of his/her political stance, strength of character or even sex appeal! It’s always helpful to be good looking if you want to be a politician.
Think about: What being elected means. What being promoted means, especially to leadership in armed forces.
- People who are elected to office.
- People who are chosen as leaders.
- People who are charged with making difficult decisions which affect others’ lives.
3. The father said to his slaves. “Quickly, bring out a robe – the best one – and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Luke 15:22
Feet in the Old Testament are often a euphemism for genitals. In Isaiah 6 where Isaiah has a vision of heaven the angels cover their ‘feet’ with a pair of their wings. It may be that the father of the young son is calling for something to cover the son’s ignominy and embarrassment. Implied is forgiveness.
Think about: Children who are estranged from their families. Children bear a huge weight on behalf of previous generations. Think of those who are children now and will have to rebuild Syria or those who care for addicted parents.
Pray for: Forgiveness after war. Healing of memories.
4. You did not anoint my head with oil but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Luke 7:46
This is an intimate moment. Men may speculate as to how they might respond to this woman wiping their feet with her hair. It is a double image. Jesus feet may refer to the Old Testament euphemism of feet for genitals. Luke offers here an insight into the closeness of the relationship between human beings and Christ. Remember the introduction to the marriage service which says that the marriage relationship should reflect that between Christ and his church.
Think about: How we accept, or not, the service of others. Do we sometimes let our pride beat us?
- Our own relationship with Christ – do we try to keep anything back?
- Those, like the armed forces who live in close proximity to each other and who must move beyond their fear of nakedness (physical and emotional) to tackle the tasks set them.
5. ….. give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, ….. guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:79
Darkness can be terrifying. Which direction do I go in? Is it safe to stay still? If I wait long enough will it get light? Can anyone shine a light for me?
Think about: How many Anglicans does it take to change a light bulb?
- The diocesan process for vision and growth.
- Vision is vital for life and health, and to live with direction and purpose. Ask God to give it to you.
- The future is a different place. Like the past, they do things differently there. Pray for grace to accept new growth which challenges all that we do as the Church of God.
6. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Matthew 10:14
At Pentecost those who had heard and accepted the call of God in Christ were equipped with enthusiasm and courage to speak, even if no-one understood them. The result was that they were understood. They became able to say what people needed to hear without the barriers of culture and race/language. The way we act and live in our life setting ‘speaks’ to those around us of the redeeming and renewing love of God offered in the faith of Christ.
Think about: Your apostleship, that is, what is unique about your contribution to the conversation the Church has with the world.
Pray for: Sisters and brothers in Christ and their following of their calling to be God’s spokespeople marching in the world.
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
2 When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. 2 Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
5 There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world. 6 When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because all of them heard the believers talking in their own languages. 7 In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! 8 How is it, then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages? 9 We are from Parthia, Media, and Elam; from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asia, 10 from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene. Some of us are from Rome, 11 both Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism, and some of us are from Crete and Arabia—yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things that God has done!” 12 Amazed and confused, they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”
13 But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These people are drunk!”
14 Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose; it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:
17 ‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says:
I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.
Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will have dreams.
18 Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will proclaim my message.
19 I will perform miracles in the sky above
and wonders on the earth below.
There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;
20 the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will turn red as blood,
before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes.
21 And then, whoever calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.’
We are marching in the light of God
We are marching, Oh! We are marching in the light of God
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