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In the Mediterranean, where fig trees are found growing wild they produce fruit twice a year, a crop in late spring and again in the autumn. This first year at St Peter's, we planted a Fig Tree in the Rectory garden and even though it was small by the summer we had two figs. Returning from our holiday, autumn has really taken hold and the trees are losing their leaves daily. We know that autumn is here. This is the beauty of where we live, we can see the glory of the seasons.
This is how I view ministry and the things that we do, they all have a season, some of what we do is blossoming and growing, some of what we do and always have done is dying. And when we reach winter we have to make some hard decisions. Like the trees dropping their leaves, they are bare for a while, but next spring they produce leaves, they will belong to the tree, but they will be new.
And for us that is about letting go, just as the tree lets go of its leaves and its fruit, we also have to let go, especially at this time of Covid 19, not being able to do what we want to do. We have to just trust and hope in God. As Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’ That word became flesh at Christmas and is with us always.
We now meet in Cornerstone on Tuesdays at 7.30 pm for a socially-distanced discussion
Read Acts of the Apostles 17
Paul and Silas arrive in Thessalonica and head straight to the synagogue. Paul expounds the scriptures, here we see a change in Paul, because he is interpreting and explaining that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise again from the dead.
Paul then travels to Athens and it is here that he meets the philosophers of the day and he argues in the market place. The term philosopher comes from the ancient Greek meaning, lover of wisdom. They practise philosophy which involves rational inquiry into areas that are outside of either theology or science. It is how they view the world.
Epicureans denied divine judgement, there is not enough evidence for us to tell if gods exist or not. And what would they want from us and mere humans. Stoics lived in accord with nature, which they understood to be ruled by the divine logos. In order to achieve this goal, they advocated the importance of reason and self- control.
In v18 the accusation of foreign gods is based on misunderstanding regarding Jesus and the resurrection. Resurrection, which in Greek is anatasis seems to sound like another god, or since the word is feminine a goddess. Jesus and what they thought was his divine female consort.
A babbler is someone who picks up seeds, a person who gathers new ideas, it is derogatory.
It wasn’t just about hearing an interesting person speak, it contained a double veiled threat. Paul to them was preaching of foreign divinities. Socrates had been charged like this. Athens were interested in new ideas, but divinities from elsewhere could get you into trouble.
We would like to offer support to our parishioners. Although we will not be able to have face-to-face contact , we can still offer offer pastoral care, prayer and practical help- shopping, prescriptions etc.
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Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
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