This beautiful church has been the home to a worshipping Christian community nearly a 1,000 years and has welcomed visitors for all that time.
One of the earliest recorded April Fools’ hoaxes in England took place in 1689 when several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to see the lions being washed. That was the beginning of a long tradition of hoaxes and practical jokes on the day to catch out people and make them an ‘April Fool’. The more recent hoaxes have been on the TV or through the internet – the story of spaghetti farmers showing pictures of bushes with spaghetti growing on them caused a rush of people wanting to purchase bushes of their own – means that on April 1st there is a tendency to question any news item that appears. Is it an April Fools’ joke?
This year Easter day falls on the 1st April. Christians believe that Easter day celebrates the news that Jesus, crucified in a brutal and public way, rose from the dead and was seen alive, over the next few weeks, by countless people. Jesus, son of God, conquered death and gave us all hope.
On the day when many parts of the world celebrate April Fools’ Day we are made to reflect on the writing of St. Paul to the young church in Corinth. The people of Corinth prided themselves on their wisdom. They weren’t willing to believe that an almighty God could allow his Son to die a shameful death on a cross – the victim of Roman brutality. They considered the teaching of Paul and other Christians as total foolishness. Paul understood this. He wrote in his first letter to them:
‘We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.’ 1 Corinthians 1: 23 – 25
We believe that God really did send his Son to live a human life and die a shameful death to overcome the power of death. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead, on that first glorious Easter morning and through his conquering of death we have been given eternal life in fullness, richness and abundance.
So this year, on April Fools’ day, we will celebrate God’s great joke over sin and death. We will celebrate his gift to us all – that through his Son Jesus, we know not only God’s foolishness, but his eternal love and grace to us. To those who believe God does not make them April Fools, but makes them heirs to his kingdom and his beloved children.
Fund raising to maintain the medieval church of St. Mary’s is very necessary and often hard work but it can also be great fun.
The recent Burns Night Supper, in January 2018, was a wonderful night with excellent food and very fun entertainment. The talent level in Woolpit is very high. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make a great evening.
We are getting ready for the service about the Diocese of Kagera, in Tanzania, which takes place on sunday 12th March. Just wish we had the warmth of Kagera but we are truly grateful that we aren’t facing the ongoing drought that has affected that part of Africa.
Some clothes are just not warm enough to wear in St. Mary’s in Spring. come and join us but do wear a little more than a tee shirt and kanga!
2016 Woolpit to Bethlehem, Walk About Nativity.
a lovely cast of characters – from the evil Herod to the arch angel Gabriel and of course, the special baby with his parents Mary and Joseph brought the story of the Nativity to life – with the assistance of many children and a donkey called Ember. We celebrated the moment when God revealed himself and his love for us by being incarnated as a baby.
We are getting used to the idea now but I guess we will all remember for a long time our shock on the morning of Wednesday 9th November when we awoke to the news that Donald Trump was the president elect for the USA.
We had heard disturbing rhetoric from him over the course of the election campaign. Some of what he had said reminded us of the distortions and lies that had been used during our own brexit referendum and some was racist and sexist in ways that seemed utterly unsuitable for someone aspiring to high office. Yet, he touched a chord in part of the American psyche that resonated with people to the extent that a majority voted for him to become the 45th president of the USA and one of the most powerful leaders in the world. We all wonder what sort of leader he will make. Will he be able to work with others, listen and understand the needs of those whose views are different to his? Although at present he is showing a different side from his nature than the one we saw during the election campaign it is hard to believe that he will be the sort of president we want and expect: and because he is not what we expect, we are fearful.
This situation reminds me of a different country at a different time where the people also had very clear expectations of who their next leader would be and what he would be like. Two thousand years ago the people of Israel, under Roman occupation, were longing and waiting for the promised Messiah.
They dreamed that God’s anointed one would lead them to victory over their oppressors. They hoped he would be both a mighty warrior and a powerful leader and judge of their people – after all he was to be from the line of David, the fabled warrior king who made their nation great.
We know that when the promised messiah came it was as a vulnerable baby, born to a working class family, in humble circumstances – not as a prince, born in a palace. He grew up in obscurity and taught that the kingdom of God was not a mighty national state but was about living as God wants us to live – in love and compassion. He taught people to love others as God loved them and he demonstrated God’s love by dying on the cross – the shameful death of a felon – to bring forgiveness to us all. Those, whose expectations were that God would show his power through military might, found him completely unacceptable, but to those who understood that God came in humility to demonstrate his love for humanity in humility, he opened the kingdom of God and brought eternal life.
This Christmas time let us come to the manger with our hearts open for the new and wonderful way that God worked when he first sent Jesus, his Son to be our Christ, and also to the possibilities that living life according to God’s kingdom will bring.
Jesus Christ, God’s holy one, may not have been what people expected but to those who welcome him into their lives this Christmas, will find far more than anyone could have dreamt.
And, of course, keep praying for America, that their new president will be able to rise above expectations too.
In the year of the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme Remembrance Sunday is very powerful, as we remember so many men from this community who died in the course of the battle.
The service at St. Mary’s starts in the church at 10:50 am and we process to the War Memorial to join with others for an act of remembrance before returning to church for the main service. Mike Birt will be preaching this year.
At Drinkstone the service starts at 10:55am and we are pleased to welcome back the Norton Salvation Army band who will be leading our worship.
Saturday 5th November
10:30 am until 2:00 pm in Woolpit Village Hall.
Refreshments including soup, hot dogs and cakes and lots of different stalls with lovely crafts, Fair trade goods, toys, gifts, books and bric-a-brac.
for more information call Betty curry 01359 240332
Oh dear, it’s that time of year again! No, not Autumn (although it is), not the run up to Christmas (although that’s happening far too fast) but the time of year when I’m hooked to Strictly Come Dancing.
Although at the beginning of the season I may know only one or two of the names of the contestants by week four I am utterly captivated by them all. But the reality of life is that I’m not in to watch it every Saturday and Sunday evenings. I do have work to do and even a social life of sorts. So I am very grateful for iplayer which allows me to watch ‘Strictly’ at all sorts of odd time and in all manner of funny places.
I can remember a time before iplayer, set top boxes, videos etc when you didn’t get a second chance to see a favourite TV programme. If your weren’t there, in front of the TV at the right time you missed the show. Now, of course, we have many ways of catching up on things we have missed so the need to be at home at a particular time is passed. The ability to replay and relive favourite programmes is one we now take for granted. There are times we would like our lives to be like that too. To be able to rewind to experience something again, to relive a moment or, better still, to go back and do it better. I wonder what it would be like if we had something like iplayer for our lives?
Of course we have our memories. I recently heard someone on the radio say that anniversaries are when we are able to count the leaves on our tree of life. We recall not only our past joys but also the times we have failed and the mistakes we have made. So often these mistakes loom large in our memories – for some reason particularly at night.
This is where our memories differ from something like iplayer. If there is a TV program I didn’t like then I don’t bother to catch up with it later or I can skip the parts that I find disturbing. Not so with our memories. It is so often the bad bits that we play over and over again and these outweigh the good memories. It doesn’t need to be this way.
Jesus came, not to take the bad memories away but to transform them. His love for us and his death for us gives us the knowledge that we are forgiven for the bad things we have done. When these memories return we can say, ‘I have said sorry for that, God has forgiven me, now I can go on and do it better.’ Where we are reliving memories that hurt Jesus brings his healing peace and teaches us forgiveness. God doesn’t want us to carry either past memories of failure or of pain. He wants us to grow from our past and be the people he knows we can be.
iplayer allows us to watch our favourite TV moments time after time; memory enables us to relive our past; faith enables us to look at the past and improve the future. That’s so much better than a rewind or record button. That’s God’s remake option.