A German Shepherd, Doberman and a cat have entered heaven.
All three are faced with God who wants to know what they believe in.
The German shepherd says: "I believe in discipline training and loyalty to my master."
"Good," says God. "Then sit down on my right side. Doberman, what do you believe in?"
The Doberman answers: "I believe in the love, care and protection of my master."
Ah," said God. "You may sit to my left."
Then he looks at the cat and asks, "And what do you believe in?"
The cat answers: "I believe you're sitting in my seat."
Laughter is so good for the spirit, that involuntary escape of joy creates warmth and actually triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. We certainly all need some of that!
C. S Lewis talked about ‘Joy being the laughter of heaven’ a gift from God to us. The ultimate laughter being experienced in the joy of reunion. In his books, whenever the children return to Narnia, there is always great hugging, laughing and noise! It is almost palpable that radiating warmth and great bubbles of excitement surrounding each person as they meet a friend or loved one again, after a prolonged separation. We see this now as people previously isolated begin slowly meeting up again in our churches, pubs, green spaces and gardens - mostly without the hugging and kissing- but still with eyes lit up, huge smiles and bubbling bursts of laughter!
Imagine what that ultimate joyous reunion in heaven will be like!
In this continued time of uncertainty, may there be bubbles upon bubbles of joy in your reunions physical or virtual.
Gosh. Doesn’t it feel like the world has shifted. Still reeling from the pandemic and its tragic human and economic cost we have been challenged by the ongoing pain of injustice and inequality. We knew it was there but seeing it played out on our screens has sharpened our awareness and for many awakened a desire for change; for a fairer, just, more inclusive and equal society where no one faces discrimination, where children don’t go to bed or wake up hungry, where mental health and community services are properly resourced, where everyone has a home, our list could go on and on.
Jesus in his life and teachings crossed boundaries racial and social, he preached on the least being first, on searching out and caring for the one in need because the other 99 were doing OK. He said simply ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ and that is a huge unquantifiable lot of love!
These are uncertain times but lockdown has shown us the power of communities pulling together and caring for each other. We can make a difference.
Bishop Desmond Tutu said ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’
How wonderful is that. Let us overwhelm the world together!
Love and Blessings,
It is ascension as I write this. Someone posted saying ‘Ascension is when Jesus goes to work from home!’ Very fitting for the season we find ourselves in. Jesus leaves his humanness behind to become fully God again. Or does he? I am not so sure. We are all part of our experiences the good and the difficult, they help build our understanding of the world and ourselves within it. I think Jesus took ‘us’ and his experience of humanity back into the very heart of God and it grew God’s heart.
St. Augustine of Hippo said that God, as Trinity (the three in one), exists eternally as a community of love. And we too are part of this community of love, with God and with one another.
These times have shown just how interconnected all of humanity is, and how the beauty of a community of love can play out between neighbours and between strangers. A holy dance indeed, long may it continue.
Smile Corner 😊
(Classic misprints - Diocese of Salisbury)
Next weekend's Fasting & Prayer Conference in Whitby includes all meals.
Sunday morning sermon: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.'
Sunday evening sermon: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
It was a baby mosquito's first day to fly out from home.
When the mosquito came back home later that day, the father mosquito asked, "How was your journey?" The baby mosquito replied, "It went great. Everyone was clapping for me!"
A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer:
Bartender ‘Sorry we don’t serve food here!’
What did the spider do on the computer?
Made a website!
Please do let us have your best jokes or funny stories, thank-you.
Easter this year has felt a little muted, and lonely, not its full sunshine. It’s made me consider Jesus’ resurrection, which for those who loved him came with bewilderment and deep uncertainty. Sometime in the night or predawn hours of that morning, a mystery beyond human comprehension transpired. No sunlight illuminated the event. No human witnessed it. There wasn’t a trumpet blast or an organ thunder. It’s holy fulness stays shielded from our eyes.
All we can know is that in an ancient tomb on a dark night God worked to bring life out of death. Somehow, from a place of loss and misery, grief and pain, God enacted resurrection. It took everyone even those who knew and loved Jesus by surprise, in the most mysterious of ways. And we learn the glorious truth that Jesus breathes light out of darkness, hope out of despair and life out of death.
Lingering at the tomb we can find a glimmer of light, a hope even in the deepest pains, even when all feels lost and impossible to navigate. We learn God is there with us and that Easter day comes, with a new dawn, a new path of life and a smile.
Easter Blessings to you all,
Weekly reflections can be followed on our church website www.raddesley.com or direct to your inbox if you email me Nikkimann40@hotmail.co.uk
I am here if you would like to talk 07738 266057 (Nikki) and the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day:
The 40 days of Lent correspond with Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. Where Jesus, God in human form, is tested. Why? Perhaps so he can look at each one of us who struggles with sin, addiction, overwork, the inability to say ‘no’, and say ‘yeah it’s tough’!
Throughout Jesus’ life he met intimately with those who were struggling and publicly identifies with them saying ‘whatever you do for the one who struggles, you do it for me’. There is no judgement, no commendation but rather a touching, intimate connection one on one, and in so doing, Jesus reveals their infinite dignity, before the face of God.
Can you imagine, that even when you don’t feel able, worthy enough to look up at God, God is already sitting with you.
As we reflect this Lent on what it is in our lives we might need to amend, get help or support, know that we don’t do it alone. We have the very one who created us rooting for us and thankfully they have a whole army of angels behind them!
In these 40 days, may you find stillness, may you find healing, may you find God.
Explore God in Lent
We will be running a Lent Course starting Sunday 22 March at 7pm in The Rectory and Monday 23 March at 10am at Clare Farm in Dullingham. All welcome.
Considering Baptism or Confirmation?
Baptism: Open to all, any age, no entry requirements
Confirmation: Open to those (aged 11–111) interested in exploring God and faith
To discuss either of the above do contact me, I would be delighted to hear from you. Revd Nikki email@example.com text 07738 266057
I don’t know if anyone else feels special significance in beginning a new decade? Maybe because I am a zero baby and counting the years in tens is easy, or turning 50 next week has made be rather contemplative! I spoke this week of the Magi journeying to the now child Jesus. They set off not quite knowing where the star would guide them, but acutely aware this star was life changing and held such special significance and probability of revelation that it was worth utterly uprooting themselves for. So convinced in it, they take the costly, kingly and prophetic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to lay at the feet of the one they are guided to.
They had a misdirection, stopping first at King Herod’s palace close to Bethlehem, understood they sought something more, and five miles on, beneath the star, they find the Christ child and kneel in awe and wonder.
I imagine their bursting smiles of joy on their journey back in experiencing this special one and being part of such a moment in history. Giving up their familiar, taking the long, dangerous journey had been worthwhile. The revelation had come to them and they had to follow it!
I wonder what discomfort I am ready to face this decade in deeper search of God’s signs and revelations, in choosing to make a difference to climate change, in better self-care of mental, physical and spiritual health.
May God bless your decades footsteps with good health and revelation of God’s wonder x
The old year is worn and tired.
Time now to kiss it goodbye.
Take with you its wisdom –
the authority and power of all that you have learned.
Remember the past year with love,
but let go of its despair.
Live the year that lies ahead
with fresh energy and hope.
Be strong, have courage.
It is time now for something new.
This month we commemorate once again the sacrifice made by an unimaginably vast number of people who served, supported and died during the wars. You could not have lived through the WWII and been unaffected, it was a local, national and global catastrophe. But as the number of people who lived through the horror is fading, are the lessons learned in blood fading from memory as well? As we see a rise in the far right and extremism, an increased acceptability of divisive language and the rejection and dehumanisation of those considered ‘other’ or ‘lesser’ to ourselves.
In praying for peace, in committing ourselves to peace, we’re committing to reject hatred, intolerance, violence and war. We commit to live out a better future.
Remembrance is a time to honour those who made and continue to make great sacrifices in war but also to pray and commit to the costliness of peace.
And remember if it all feels too cyclical and too much God says:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Gospel of John 16:33
Peace be with you,
We are currently having a beautiful and vibrant late summer celebrating harvest, but I can’t quite let go of the ‘Beast from the East’ winter weather warnings. So our chimney has been swept, eco coal and oil ordered I just need to root out my cosy PJ’s and hot water bottle! When you have the means to keep warm, cuddling up on a cold winters day can be restoring, it is as if mother nature gives us permission to slow down and do the human form of hibernating!
Mother nature also sets us a good example in autumn, throwing down its leaves, it’s summer baggage, ready to take the time to rest, and nurture from within until spring. For those who find darker days energy and mood zapping, full hibernation I imagine sounds positively inviting.
I give thanks for our changing seasons where hopefully we all have months which better feed our spirit and energy. God has given us beauty, diversity and subtleness, to enjoy, to consider, to point to the presence of the One who loves us unchangingly through-out the ages and through all seasons.
May you feel the warmth of God’s love envelope you no matter what season of life you are experiencing,
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Over the summer I had the experience of being late and the noisy one in Church, well Merlin (our dog) and RJ (our grandson) made the noise! And the welcome and the kindness of the congregation to us all as I moved from the front to the back of the church again was wonderful. But I felt disruptive and vulnerable even in ‘my’ own church.
Looking at my eldest feeding his new son next to my youngest my heart swelled, but I was also reminded of taking him as a toddler to a local Baptist Church. I had returned to Church after a number of years so he could be brought up in a church. During the service my son a gorgeous boisterous toddler was ‘Shushed’ and asked to sit down by the woman next to me. I sat out the service not listening to a word, saying in my head ‘We’re not coming back again’. Once the service was over I rushed to the exit where the minister put out his hand and said how lovely it was to see us and especially to have a toddler there. I tearfully told him what had happened, he gently moved us to the side and said how sorry he was and that wasn’t the welcome of his church, encouraging us to come again. Tentatively we entered the following week and two people rushed up immediately saying ‘Oh do sit with us’. They were the kindest people smiling and interacting with my son and we stayed for many years.
So now twenty years later here I was being reminded of that time, thinking how others probably still feel coming into church even if we say (and truly mean) how welcome they and their children are. And it feels really important to say
Noisy, late you are always welcome!
P.S. Pet Service Sunday 13 October 10.30am Dullingham ~ Noisy animals welcome!
Late summer approaches, and with it the hope (for me at least!) that summer will stretch deep into Autumn. August I often feel has a different rhythm, bringing with it a change of pace for many. With holidays home or away, looking out on or pottering in the garden and time spent pondering the forthcoming change of season. I thought a poem might reflect this mood and came across this beautiful one by Revd Tom Troeger which emphasises the welcome of Christ, and I hope of our churches too, to everyone.
Do come and join us soon:
Look who gathers at Christ’s table! See the stories that they bring.
Some are weeping, some are laughing, some have songs they want to sing.
Others ask why they’re invited, burdened by the wrongs they’ve done.
Christ insists that all are welcome. There is room for everyone.
Bring your joy and bring your sadness, and prepare to be surprised
by the host whose hands are wounded, who will open up your eyes
when he blesses bread and breaks it — truth and manna from above!
and then passes wine that wakens in your heart the very taste of love.
Late Summer Blessings,
Revd Nikki Mann
Nikki is the Priest in Charge of the Raddesley Benefice (which consists of 6 churches) in Cambridgeshire