The Gospel reading for today is Luke 17:20-25; which includes this verse from Jesus:
“The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
When we think of the Kingdom of God, or heaven, we are often drawn to think of it in environmental terms. A realm perhaps in the sky, full of clouds and angels and sunshine. That is not childish thought as we may also assume – it is the product actually of what many of our oft used Bible passages and hymns tell us! We can look to the hymn; ‘Lo, he comes with clouds descending’, or passages such as Jesus’ ascension to heaven, his baptism, the various occasions where angels speak in heralding the incarnation. We can also look to the creation accounts themselves. And much of that is to do with how humans, us, interpret what is unknown. How do we make sense of something that is clearly evident – and yet impossible to understand? The answer is that we subconsciously detach ourselves from it. In other words – yes it exists, but it must be in a different place. Before the advent of flight that invariably meant placing it in the sky – or the heavens…
Jesus challenges us to break down that detachment and instead understand that the Kingdom of Heaven is not ‘over there’, but in fact it is all around us. ‘The Kingdom of God is in your midst’.
Something that makes most people pause and take note of is the appearance of rainbows in the sky. Children in particular are fascinated by them. There is something otherworldly about them – the shape, the colours, the fact that it has to be both raining and sunny for them to be there at all.
And be there they most certainly are! You can photograph them, watch them, but what you can’t do is place them. They appear over a certain place – but if you move, they do too – because in reality it is an optical illusion of sunlight shining through the rain and reaching your eyes. They are there, but not there; here but not here. They are only visible because you are standing in the right place where those conditions ARE.
Attached here is a link to a little newsletter I wrote this week about some of the Good News we have in the Benefice at the moment. The rainbows if you like that appear amongst us. It is a snapshot, and I wrote it on impulse as I was suddenly aware that in the midst of what has been a challenging time we do have much to be thankful, and even joyous, about. I know that there are many rainbows that I have missed, and you will probably read it and have an entirely different list in your head. And that is great!! I hope that is true!! Because if that is the case then you too are seeing the kingdom of God in our midst and I ask that you also shout that from the rooftops!
SERVICES COMING UP
Saturday 18th November – WILD CHURCH
Wild Church meets outside St John’s this Saturday at 3pm. This month we are going on a gentle, short, autumn walk followed by warming refreshments in the church rooms. All Welcome!
Sunday 19th November
10am – Family Service; St Stephen’s, Winsham
1030am – Holy Communion & Sunday School; St John the Evangelist, Tatworth
Tuesday 21st November – 9:30am Morning Celtic Prayer; St John’s Tatworth
Sunday 26th November – Christ the King
8am – Holy Communion; St John’s Tatworth
10am – Holy Communion; St Mary’s, Thorncombe
6:30pm – BCP Evening Prayer; St Michael & All Angels, Chaffcombe
6:30pm – Service of Light; St Stephen’s, Winsham
Tuesday 28th November – 9:30am Morning Celtic Prayer; St John’s Tatworth
We celebrate with baby Ernest as he is baptised this Sunday in St John’s! Congratulations Ernest, parents Hannah and Dean, and all his family!
Please hold in your prayers all you know who are struggling in any way, in body, mind or spirit. We are asked to pray by name for:
Dave Boyland; Terri Boyland; Wendy Cotton; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Margaret Bandy; Di Nicholls; Hester Down; Stella Hutchison; Andrew de Pury; Cyril Larcombe; Lynn Ranson; Keith Legge; Ron Bone We remember all those who we love but see no longer, and particularly at this time Peter Harper (funeral is St Stephen’s, Winsham on Monday 27th at 12pm) , and hold all those in mourning in our prayers.
A Collect for Christ the King (26th November):
God the Father,help us to hear the call of Christ the King and to follow in his service, whose kingdom has no end; for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, one glory.
The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
3 Home Farm
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