Peter Shaw

What are the firm foundations on which we build? What is rock solid for us going forward over the next few weeks? 

We are about to start a sermon series on Firm Foundations exploring 'who am I?', 'where do I belong?' and 'what am I living for?'. We will be exploring why it is important that we are children of God adopted into God's family, and what it means to be a citizen of both heaven and earth.

As we start a new term at work, school, church and in our community what are the foundations that we want to build on further?  How might we use the gifts God has given us to bring purpose, hope and new life to others?  How can we be both innocent children of God receptive to the nourishing care of a God who loves and cherishes us, and responsible adult citizens of both earth and heaven bringing the wisdom and insight God has given us?

C S Lewis wrote, 'Christ wants a child's heart but a grown-up’s head.  He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate and teachable, as good children are: but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first class fighting trim.' (Mere Christianity).

 

Simon Taylor

Welcome to the Summer! We’re doing less as a church through the summer because it is good to step back and have space in the activities which make us a church family. We’re still gathering each Sunday but the times and locations vary so check the website week by week. For example, we’ll be at the bandstand in Godalming on Sunday 13th August, 10.00am

The summer is a great time to look around and invite members of the church family round for drinks, a BBQ or just meet up for conversation. Also, there will be visitors at worship through the summer so do look out for people you don’t know and offer a good BHC welcome. You never know, you could be welcoming angels! (Hebrews 13:2).

We might not realise it, but being welcoming, even to people who disagree with us, marks us out as different. We might assume that everyone acts as we do, but this is simply not the case.

We were on a French campsite with some other members of the church family. A couple nearby were really friendly. We all chatted over the next few days and all seemed to be going well. Then we noticed that they had a Christian style fish shaped piece of plastic on the back of their car. This symbol is an ichthus sign meaning ‘Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour’. It was used as a secret sign by Christians who were persecuted. We did the usual careful, English thing of asking an oblique question about the fish. They responded aggressively “Look carefully. It has legs drawn on it. We’re Darwinians.” They walked away immediately and scowled at us for the rest of the week. There were no more friendships or chats.

 Who might you welcome into your home or in worship in Jesus Name through this summer?

 

Dudley Hilton

Responsibility – that’s something of an underused word these days. Everyone seems fixated on rights – human rights, rights of ethnic minorities, women’s rights, consumers’ rights and so on. None of which is wrong of itself; it’s just that in wider society the concept of responsibility seems to have become marginalised, subordinated totally to the demand for individual rights to be recognised above all else. 

Last week we looked at the freedom that comes from turning to Christ and recognising and accepting the truth that God loves each one of us, and that nothing can ever change that.  Paradoxically (or so it seems; in reality it is not at all paradoxical!), as we become more aware of this freedom, so we become more aware of the responsibility that comes with it.

And it is quite a responsibility, as today’s passages make clear. The parable of the talents in Matthew’s gospel talks of our responsibility to use the gifts we have been entrusted with well, and not hide them in the ground. In it the “good and faithful servant” is contrasted with the “wicked, lazy servant”. The Corinthians passage talks of being “responsible to God” and “remaining in the situation in which God has called you.”

Challenging stuff – which, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the USA in his 1961 Inaugural Address, might be summed up as “Ask not what God can do for you – ask what you can do for God”. Challenging, yes – but paradoxically (or not!) also strangely liberating...

Gertrud Sollars

Jesus got into hot water with the Jews by suggesting that they might not be free –

“We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone!”

They forgot that they had been slaves of the Egyptians until God rescued them in the Exodus, and again they were slaves of the Babylonians during the Exile.

Even at the time of Jesus, they were, as a people, enslaved to the Romans and not in control of their own affairs – they were taxed to the hilt, they were subject to forced labour, and a Roman soldier could pick a person off the street and command him to carry his kit to the next staging post. An unpalatable truth, which might just explain why they reacted so angrily.

Today we are equally precious about considering ourselves to be free. We feel sorry for those who can’t choose where to live, what work to do or how to worship, and we are justifiably appalled by oppressive regimes like that in North Korea. But how free are we ourselves? E.g. how free are we to reject consumerism? Who dictates what we wear? How much are we in control of our time? On the news this week we saw the horrendous example of girls as young as nine seeking cosmetic surgery in order to conform to a particular ideal. If this is freedom, I’m not sure I want it.

Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” The truth is that God loves me, he is for me, and nothing can ever change that. That is truly liberating.

 

Mark Williams

Why do I feel like this?
 

Am I alone in feeling that my time is constantly squeezed leading to compromise and a feeling of letting someone (possibly everyone) down? Has the world so ensnared me that my priorities are wrong and the things I allow to consume my time have grown too powerful?  Is my perspective wrong? 

I was wrestling with these thoughts this morning when “ping” went my mobile phone (ironically the conduit by which much of the above sentiment is conveyed) and today’s bible verse appears; Jeremiah 17:  5- 8. Go on, read it. It hit me square between the eyes.

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him”.  

I feel like a child whose toy train had come off the tracks and whose father is coming to pick up the train and set me going again.

Next week will be different…

 

Peter Shaw

Today is Patronal Festival at Busbridge Church when we remember the contribution of John the Baptist.  Hambledon Church is named after the disciple Peter so the Benefice has two remarkable figures it holds in veneration.  Both John the Baptist and Peter pointed to Jesus as Master and Lord. 

John said he was not worthy to undo the sandals on Jesus’ feet.  He baptised Jesus and encouraged others to follow him.  Peter spoke up for Jesus at Pentecost and as leader of the young church.  Both John and Peter used the freedom they had to speak out.  Both took their responsibilities seriously and faced opposition and criticism. John was prepared to speak out describing the Pharisees as a 'brood of vipers'.

For two Sundays in July we will be looking at the theme of 'Freedom and Responsibility'. John and Peter used the freedoms they had to bring a voice that pointed to the relevance of the words and actions of Jesus. 

Jesus tells his disciples 'the truth will set you free'.  What is this freedom about?  A freedom from being enslaved by the expectations of others and our own self delusions.  A freedom that comes from the perspective of eternity that is grounded in a God who loves us and “sets us free so we are free indeed"

May we be inspired by John the Baptist and Peter as our Church patrons in the way they combined exercising freedom with a clear sense of living out their responsibilities.

 

Alan Harvey

What do you make of opening of the prodigal son story? The son who asked his still-alive father for his inheritance. Just couldn’t wait, breaking a key social taboo. And the brother who didn’t ask – presumably receiving nothing at the time. He just stayed on with Dad.

Today, things are more complicated. The bank of (again, still-alive!) Mum and Dad can be a source to help out the young, what with the housing market being the way it is. How generous - how even-handed - should older parents be, given the varying needs of youngsters, and a landscape that can dramatically shift? Many years ago, I heard of a live-at-home daughter who was left a bungalow in its entirety by her parents ‘because she would never marry’. But soon after they died, she did! Subsequent requests from her brother for a cut of the cake fell on deaf ears. Perhaps we in turn wrestle - as donors or recipients - with what we should do, or expect? 

It’s far from straightforward. For those of us who are fathers, on Father’s Day, maybe we struggle knowing we have not always been that role model of fair-minded generosity. We have to live with our own imperfections.

Fortunately we have the assurance of an understanding, loving heavenly Father who is outrageously generous in both grace and provision. As the song says: “Thank you, O my Father, for giving us your Son, and leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.”

 

Clare Haddad

Today is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate our personal and powerful God who we know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

There is great mystery in the Trinity and illustrations such as H2O in its three forms of water, ice and steam can be useful but only in a limited way because our God, quite apart from being the creator of H2O, is a personal and relational God.

We can all too easily underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Last Sunday (Pentecost) many of us went to the Beacon event “Thy Kingdom Come” at the Cathedral. Justin Welby did a whistle stop tour of Cathedrals including Guildford.  It was the day after the London Bridge massacre and Archbishop Welby spoke inspirationally on the radio from a Beacon service:

 “Come Holy Spirit: The strongest power in the world is the love of Jesus Christ. It is more powerful than the evil of terror or the profound wickedness of the terrorist. It is invisible to most rulers, it has no Twitter account and does not show up on Facebook. It has overcome more nations than armies, changed more lives than the finest orators and drawn more people into true community than all the social media that there is, has been or ever could be. It breaks down barriers between races, it tears down the frontiers between nations, it overcomes the oppressions between genders and classes and capacity or wealth or education.”   

 

David Jenkins

Some thoughts about cars…

What was your first car? You might think it a strange question, but I remember my first car with great affection. I even have its number on the tip of my tongue SNK 17D whereas I have to stop and think if you wanted the number of my present car. The car had a revolutionary design. It was a Wedgwood blue Triumph Herald with a sub-chassis and a bonnet, which folded forward to give you full access to the engine. Maintaining most of the working parts was easy and for this reason it was a good car to use for gaining mechanical experience. You could even sit on the front wheel while you worked on the engine, they don’t make them like that any more! For all its good points it had one major failing, in a word RUST. No matter how much care you took over the bodywork it just seemed to rust away before youreyes. Re-sprays and under seal could hold it at bay but it always came back again so with some sadness it had to go.

Like a car the Christian Church is made up of different parts, that is to say, you and me and we are given different gifts. Like the components of a car we are all called upon to make the whole thing work efficiently. In todays reading we hear about some of the gifts; Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Working Miracles, Prophesy, distinguishing between Spirits, Tongues and The interpretation of Tongues, all for the common good. Now you might ask where are some of these gifts in our church? Could it be that they are there but somehow they have been allowed to get rusty?

 

Andy Spencer

What sort of world do we live in when a child of 8, along with 21 other people, is slaughtered in the name of a religion?

What is the world coming to when the lives of thousands are turned upside down by the aftermath of such an atrocity?

Good as our security services are, they cannot possibly detect every would-be terrorist act. We have to be vigilant too.

At one of our services last week, Ian described his working day and the good conversations he had with colleagues of other faiths and none. When asked for his favourite bible verse, he quoted Micah 6 verse 8:

What does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Those words take us beyond ourselves to our relationships with those we meet day by day and with God. They take us on to our frontline where we put them into practice. While it is natural to seek justice for those directly affected last Monday, we are required to act justly as we seek fairness and equality for all, particularly the weak and powerless.

To love mercy is to show kindness as in love, loyalty and faithfulness to those with whom we have a relationship.

To walk humbly with our God is to love him in the same way he loves us. A tall order, but with his help we can, and together we can make a difference. There is an old Chinese proverb: change the world begin with me.

The ball is in our court!

 

Frances Shaw

Small things make a difference. Trying to get home from the other side of Guildford when the A3 and all surrounding roads were gridlocked, I decided to sit it out in a café. I had checked the traffic on my phone so often that the battery ran out. Some people at the next table, seeing my frustration, offered me their phone to make a call – probably a small thing to them, but a big thing for me.

Someone called Edward Lorenz coined what is known as the ‘butterfly effect’-  the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences. The name comes from his suggestion that a massive storm might have its roots in the faraway flapping of a tiny butterfly's wings.

Apparently this is only the first part of what Lorenz actually said. He went on to say that although science might suggest that any prediction is possible as long as we have enough information, in reality, the larger meaning of the butterfly effect is not that we can readily track such connections, but that we can't.

We tend to think that the world should be comprehensible, that everything happens for a reason, and we can pinpoint all those reasons, however small they may be. But nature, and human nature in particular, defies this expectation.

We may not think our ‘flapping’ makes any difference at all. On the other hand, it may set off a ‘storm’. God calls us to be faithful and to leave the ‘completion’ to Him (Phil. 1.6).

As Bishop Festo Kivengere once said, ‘I’m just an ordinary Christian. There are no extraordinary Christians anywhere, just ordinary ones saved by an extraordinary Saviour’.

 

James Ellin

A TYPICAL MONDAY MORNING

(Office/school/college/friend’s house etc etc)

 

THEM: ‘Oh hi, how are you? Did you have a good weekend?’

YOU: ‘Oh hey, yeah, really great weekend thanks’

THEM: ‘ ‘Really great’ huh? Why, what did you get up to that was so great?’

YOU: [SQUIRMING SLIGHTLY] ‘Ermm...haha...well...ummm...I spent time with some friends and family and erm...ummm...haha...cough...went to church...cough...’

THEM: ‘You go to church do you? Oh right, never realised you were a church goer! Wow, I mean, that’s good...for you...I mean, so you go regularly?’

YOU: Well, I mean, haha, ummm...well basically we umm...sort of erm....go every now and then yes....’

THEM: ‘Oh right! Wow, so...are you a er...a ummm...Christian then?’

YOU: [PAUSE]... [NERVOUS LAUGHTER] ...well...err....ummm.....

...cue ‘Eastenders’ style drum roll

What would you say?

What have you said in answer to this question?

This week...Nicodemus gets a lesson from Jesus in ‘spiritual biology…’

and undergoes massive transformation ending up willing to stand up and stand

out even in the face of opposition.

What would it take for the same to happen to you?

 

Catherine McBride

Does the word ‘evangelist’, for you, conjure up pictures of preachers on soap boxes on street corners, or slick charismatic personalities wooing the crowds at big-stage venues?

Does the word ‘evangelism’ get you really excited or does it send you running for cover? Are you thrilled that we’re about to start a sermon series which will get us thinking about how and where we share our faith or are you thinking “help, get me out of here!”?

If we’re honest, many of us think that evangelists are other people and evangelism is something other people do, in other places – it couldn’t possibly be something that we do, where we are. But what if that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be: not deep theologians or big personalities, but ordinary people…like us, doing ordinary things in ordinary places… like the gym, or the classroom, or the office, or the school-gate, or the coffee shop; talking to our ordinary families and friends about real, ordinary stuff - stuff that happens to everyone, like stress or exams or losing someone or being ill or worrying about the future? What if being an evangelist really means being someone ordinary who simply has some extraordinarily good news for their friends who are going through ‘stuff’?

What if evangelism starts by just sharing your own good news, about how knowing Jesus has helped you through similar ups and downs?

Here’s the bottom line: God can use any of us, anywhere, to be his Good News people. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

 

Dudley Hilton

How confusing... Last week we were being told of the perils of indifference and this week we have to practise it! Confusing indeed – but not quite so much when you allow for their different contexts. Then it becomes apparent that last week’s indifference isn't the same as this week’s.

Last week was about the “neither hot nor cold” indifference of the Laodiceans, the “so what, I don’t care” approach to life. This week, though, it is used in the context that five centuries ago Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Jesuits and one of the spiritual greats) used it when he told us that we should strive for “a complete indifference with regard to all created things”.

This does not negate our responsibility for stewardship of creation, but means that we make ourselves truly free by depending entirely on God, trusting him completely. If we do, what we want – and what others want of us – gets relegated to second place behind what God wants us to do and be.

This does of course mean that we have to start listening to God, and - harder still - acting on what we hear him say. But as Paul said to the Philippians two thousand or so years ago:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Andy Spencer

When Jesus was on earth, his words and actions were not those of someone who was indifferent to people’s situations. He was filled with compassion for the crowds who came to hear him, for their physical needs and for their healing. In the story of the Good Samaritan, he compares those who are indifferent to the suffering of the man who had been robbed with the Samaritan who helped the man. Likewise on the cross Jesus cared about his mother.

On the world stage today, how can we not be indifferent to what is going on? On a more local level where people are suffering or in need, how can we ignore them?

John Donne wrote that...

No man is an island,
entire of itself,
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.

Elie Wiesel, who suffered in the Holocaust and saw family members tortured and killed, called indifference a sin.

Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven leaving us to carry on his work of loving and caring for all because now he has no body on earth but ours to do his work. As Edmund Burke said “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Therefore let us not be indifferent to our needy world but seek to know God’s will and be involved in his way forward.

 

Simon Taylor

18th C Coptic painting in Aby Sarga Church, Old Cairo: “Christ’s Resurrection: He breaks the gates of Hell  and saves Adam, Eve and the Prophets”

I grew up in a church which didn’t really focus muchon Palm Sunday, Lent or other moments of what is called ‘the Christian year’.  They were seen as human creations that could become rituals getting in the way of true worship – what mattered was Sunday, each Sunday, every Sunday. It took me many years to begin to see that we all have our own rituals and remembrances – the obvious one being birthdays, and they serve a purpose. Treated well and at their best, key moments in the Christian year are about bringing us closer to the Lord and deeper discipleship.

So, I wonder where you were last Sunday morning? To jog memories, it was Palm Sunday and there were two walks around Busbridge and Hambledon village to help us remember the start of Jesus’ final week. Why do we do such things? Because marking such moments helps us to recalibrate our priorities and put Christ at the centre of Easter in a decisive way. For this reason, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are huge events in many countries.

For us, they can be but one choice in many busy moments – a matter of weighing our options and deciding if we’ll be part of this moment of remembering and celebrating as God’s family.

For many Christians meeting to remember and celebrate is a matter of a careful decision as it marks them out for their faith in Christ.

Last Sunday morning, while we were wandering around peaceful suburbs and idyllic countryside two groups of Coptic Christians found themselves in a very different situation – just because they gathered in the name of Christ. So, this weekend we join as one with Egyptian Coptic Christians in the powerful words of Christian assurance over the emptiness of fear:

Pikhristos Aftonf!  Khen oumethmi aftonf!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

As we gather to live this exciting Truth, see you on...

· Good Friday service for the whole family (9.30am, Busbridge)

· Good Friday, with over 100 of the church on the amazing church family Hot Cross Bun Adventure Walk (starts 2.15pm prompt at Hambledon Church, walking to Busbridge Church)

· Easter Saturday for the outreach focused Easter Garden service and egg hunt (3.00pm, Busbridge)

· Easter Sunday morning at Hambledon and Busbridge; 9.00am & 10.30am

· And don’t forget there is an extra special Unplugged Easter Celebration (6.30pm) – do come and support the younger people in their growing faith

For more details and other chances to gather, see the church website www.bhcgodalming.org.

Simon Taylor

 

David Mace

I have been struck this year by how easy it is simply to miss important bits of the Easter story if one just relies on what we look at in church on Sundays. For example, this Sunday we are looking at the Palm Sunday story. Last Sunday we were looking at 2 Timothy, next Sunday it is Easter and we will be saying ‘He is risen. He is risen, indeed!’ and we will have missed all the events in between.

Of course if we came to church on Good Friday we would look at the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and the crucifixion itself and if we came to the Maundy Thursday evening service we would think about the events of the day leading up to Jesus’ arrest.

Even if one reads daily notes one is not necessarily any further on. Jill and I find ourselves this week in Matthew’s gospel reading about Jesus walking on the water on the Sea of Galilee!

So, we are in danger of the vivid and important events of the Easter season slipping by us unnoticed. Might I therefore suggest to you that you take time in the next week to research and answer the following questions?

What important event happened the night before the triumphal entry into Jerusalem?

Who was involved? What was the significance of it?

What did Jesus get up to in the days following Palm Sunday? Where did he stay?

What important part of the church’s life was instituted on the evening before Jesus’ arrest? What did Jesus promise the disciples? What did Jesus command the disciples?

Clues: John 12: 1-11; Luke 20 and 21; Luke 22: 19-20; John 14: 25-27; 16: 5-16; 15:17.

 

Liz Cooke

2 Timothy 4:1-8

These are some of the last words from Paul that we have. What a powerful charge he gives to Timothy!

Pause for a moment to put yourself in the situation of both Paul and Timothy...

If you were a long standing and faithful servant of the Lord, with something of value to share with someone younger or less experienced than you, what would your instructions be? Would they be similar to those of Paul to Timothy?

If you were in a position of leadership, even if it is over just a few in a small group, how would the responsibilities and characteristics that Paul requires of a leader relate to you?

Most of us are under leadership. Paul addresses some of the difficulties our leaders might face. Think about how we could make their job easier.

He also shows some of the problems we might cause, not only for our church leaders but for those around us.

In this year of spiritual awakening in Busbridge&Hambledon, pray that our understanding will go deep, that our eyes will be opened to see how God’s word applies to our lives and our church. Pray that we might come to understand that nothing is too hard for God. Pray for your group, that every one of them will be equipped and ready to respond. What a charge Paul has given us! What truth we have to think about, take in and make our own!

 

Margot Spencer

Timothy was a very fortunate young man.  The son of a Greek father and Jewish mother, he was blessed with a rich heritage. His mother and grandmother were both godly women, who taught him the Old Testament scriptures and also, one imagines, prepared him to recognise the Messiah when he came. We can be sure that they prayed regularly for him and it would appear that, when Paul brought the gospel to their community, all three put their faith in Christ.

If we have children, grandchildren or Godchildren (of whatever age) it is our privilege and our responsibility to pray for them, to teach them God’s word and to share our faith with them. All of us – mothers and others – are called to play our part in this and we must never underestimate the effect it may have.

It’s important and life-changing, both for us and for those we pray for. It builds the next generation into men and women of faith - and that will have eternal significance.

The baptism service poses the question:

Will you pray for these children,

draw them by your example into the community of faith

and walk with them in the way of Christ?

We respond: With the help of God, we will.

 

Jeannie Postill

How would you describe the following professions...?

 

Soldier          Athlete          Farmer

 

How do they differ?

What do they have in common?

Would you consider any of them to include an element of suffering?

 

If you HAD to choose – which profession would you prefer and why?

 

2 Timothy 2: 1 – 13

 

According to the Scripture reading this Sunday the Christian is to incorporate

something of all 3 ‘callings’!

Which would you rate as the most important/significant for you?

 

How can we follow all 3 ‘callings’ at the same time?!

...Listen to the Sermon!