Welcome to the website of Bro Ardudwy Ministry Area.
20 hours ago
How do you feel about the lockdown conditions being changed? How swiftly will you move out of self-isolation? For some it will be immediate, travelling more than 5 miles as soon as it is permitted, forming extended bubbles, but I suspect for others it will feel daunting and unsafe. Today I want to share a post lockdown story with you. It is from reflections I am writing called ‘Viewed another way’.
Two miracles for the price of one? Mark 5:25-34 A Sick Woman’s Story
She reached out and touched me in the way that older people do when they think you are not paying attention to what they are saying. The fact that she could touch me was in itself a miracle because for twelve long years she had been unclean.
Speaking quietly, she told me that for four thousand three hundred and eight days she had not existed in the eyes of her family or former friends and neighbours. They would have no contact with her in case her illness caused them to become ritually unclean. No one would eat at the same table as her to eat, they would not sit on a chair where she had been or use the bed where she slept. No one would put their arms round her to comfort her in her pain and distress in case they were contaminated by her. She was worthless and had spent all she had chasing cures but there were none.
She continued I lived a second hand sort of life, so I knew about the man they called ‘Teacher’, I had heard about what he had done for others, if only!
I knew that he was expected, I could hear the shouts of the crowd that were gathered waiting for him. I watched it all from a distance wishing, hoping. It was when the ruler of the synagogue approached him and the surrounding crowd fell back in respect I took a chance, a big gamble. If I had been discovered the mob may well have lynched me. To make ‘The Healer’ unclean would have been despicable in their eyes so I had to be very careful. I knew that he could cure me, I decided if I touched the very edge of his garment that would surely not count as contact, so I would be healed and he would remain clean.
What happened next was my worst nightmare. He turned around and asked ‘Who touched me?’ Even the men who were his constant companions were incredulous. He just looked round with searching eyes and repeated the question, and I’m sure he knew. Had I made him unclean was he so pure and all knowing that the merest touch from one such as me could damage his powers?
At the instant that all this was occurring I realised that I had been freed from my suffering. This gave me the courage to speak out and come forward. I was trembling I was so afraid. I was afraid of what the crowd might do to me and also that once he found out about me that he might undo what had happened to me.
I fell at his feet and between my tears explained the situation. He spoke to me. calling me ‘daughter’. He said that it was my faith that had healed me and instead of the recriminations that I expected for what I had done bade me ‘Go in peace and be free from my suffering’
I wonder if he knew that the suffering from which he had freed me was more than the physical one borne out of the illness. He had given me a far great freedom, one that perhaps meant more than the lack of pain, with just one word DAUGHTER he had given me freedom from the isolation and from the mental suffering associated with being a nonperson.
Lord, let us remember that everyone has worth in your eyes.
That it is possible for just one word from us to free someone from their isolation.That one word may just the miracle that person needs for their healing It’s not too much for you to ask of us is it? … See MoreSee Less
2 days ago
As we listen to the news we are constantly reminded of how the systems and structures of Governments throughout the world struggle and fail to serve the people they represent.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. John 17:15
We live in a less than ideal world. We read and hear about the greed, the injustices, the collapsing economies, the spread of Covid 19 , it all adds up to make us feel the world is a dangerous place to be living in . The human instinct to danger is fight or flight.
Neither one, however, really changes the situation. One adds to violence and increases the danger. The other creates and opens a space and a place for the danger to exist. Either way someone will get hurt, life may be lost. The events and circumstances that we perceive as dangerous are real but they also reveal the wounds and brokenness that stand in opposition to the life, love, and ways of God.
This opposition is what St. John means by “the world.”
“The world” refers to the many different operating systems that we use to order human life: our social, cultural, political, and economic structures. That is the world into which Jesus sent his disciples and it remains the world in which we live and practice our faith.
Jesus knows that the human ordering of life is often contrary and even opposed to God’s ordering of life. That concern is the subject of his prayer in John 17. The darkness has descended: the darkness of Jesus’ impending death, the darkness of not knowing the way, and the darkness of the world.
Jesus neither runs from nor fights the danger of the world. He offers a different way. He loves and prays. He lays down his life in love. He prays for us, the ones who will continue his life and work in the world. We live in the world, but as Paul writes we do not belong to it. We belong to Jesus and the Father.
Jesus prays that his joy may be made complete in us in the midst of the world and its dangers. To find that joy mean laying down our life to witness Christ’s love to the world. That’s not easy to do. Our protection is not found in escaping or avoiding the danger. The protection comes through sanctification. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth,” Jesus prays.
Our protection is in being made holy and wholly God’s. That is what keeps us safe in the midst of the conflict. We neither give up nor buy in. Instead, our lives are transformed. We live according to and reveal God’s system for the world: things like love, mercy, forgiveness, beauty, wisdom, generosity.
Jesus’s words ask that we live, act, and work with God in answering his prayer by actively participating in Jesus’ prayer. Shaping our life to be increasingly like his. The real issue is not about what’s out there in the world but about what’s in here, in our hearts so while we might give an “amen” to Jesus’ prayer we must also examine our own hearts and ask ourselves some hard questions.
Jesus entrusts us to his Father’s protection even as he entrusted himself to the Father. To do anything less denies us God’s protection. “Holy Father, protect them,” Jesus prays. In large part the answer to Jesus’ prayer rests in our hands, our hearts, and our “amen,” not just a spoken amen but a lived amen.
Live the amen. Offer forgiveness rather than retribution, mercy instead of condemnation, and compassion rather than indifference. See life through the lens of beauty and not cynicism. Choose unity over individualism and God’s ways over personal agendas. In those moments you are the amen to Jesus’ prayer, your heart is healed, and the world is different. … See MoreSee Less
3 days ago
As a child did you listen to the sound of the sea through a sea-shell? Do you remember the indistinct rushing sound it made?
Often as we grow older our hearing deteriorates, I am totally deaf in one ear, that makes hearing in crowded spaces very difficult, I rely greatly on lip reading. That aside I wonder how good are we at listening? Do we always hear what is actually being said?
Do we hear what the Holy Spirit has to say to us?
The choir sang the words ‘Weak and sinful though we be’
But the congregation heard ‘We can sing though full we be’
Are we like that congregation just hearing what we hope is being said, doing what we hope is being asking of us because it fits into our agenda? Sometimes it might be a case of not clearly understanding rather than not hearing. We may actually not want to hear the message and so replace them with a phrase that meets with our approval.
This is evensong we have just had Sunday high tea, but we can sing no problem!
Ephesians 4 tells us that we do not all have the same role, there are different jobs to be done and each has a special function.
1 Corinthians 12 tells us that God, through the Holy Spirit, gives every Christian unique spiritual gifts with which to serve his church. God wants each of us to discover and use our gifts. If we are where God wants us to be, we will find that God is there before us. Sometimes it means we have to give up something we think we are good at, because God knows we will be better use to the Gospel Mission if we are doing something else.
That said, God does not want us to hide our light under a bushel, God wants us to be out in the open, we have been given the gifts in the first place so who are we to hide them from others or not use them? We need not be afraid to do something new or have any fear of falling flat on our faces if we do , because if we working for God in the way God wants our loving supportive God will always be there for us.
Rev. John Samuel Bewley Monsell’s hymn ‘Fight the good fight’ gives us the key to what is on offer when we truly walk in God’s way. The struggle to bring in the Kingdom must be with all our might, but in whose strength are we working, God’s and we are not alone because ‘Christ is our strength and Christ our Light’ .
So, having discovered which gifts God is asking us to offer, let us eagerly use them for God’s purpose and guided by the Holy Spirit use them to build up his church.
This little rhyme is taken from Our Daily Bread.
God gives each Christian special gifts so that the church can function well
And if we all do our part then its Gospel will excel … See MoreSee Less
4 days ago
Yesterday I was reading an article in the Church Times on how churches can never return to how they were before lockdown if they are to survive and serve their communities. For some people the very word change is threatening, especially when it is connected to church, ‘we’ve always done it this way’, ‘well if you do that I won’t be attending’ and so on. But if we are honest change is part of all of our lives, from the babe in the womb to the infant in arms, through growing up and the pain of teenage years and so on. As Christians we are the Body of Christ in the world today. I suggest that in the same way that we change whilst remaining ourselves to become the person we are today so the church must change to become who we need to be tomorrow but that it will not mean losing our identity.
Continuing to sort through my writings I came across these which both have the theme of change. The first was a meditation on the change from the Parish System to Ministry Areas, the second written during one Advent on trusting in God’s call and to allow myself to be vulnerable in what he was asking of me.
It is in the ending of one thing that God begins another- considering the birth of our Ministry Area. Bro Ardudwy will merge five traditional Parishes each with a unique identity into a single unit. A change of name but not of purpose. Some changes to how we function are inevitable but not to the Gospel we preach. Being a Ministry Area honours the past whilst introducing a shift of emphasis in the way we serve, Team Ministry, Collaborative, owned by all, Serving all. We recognise it is vital if we are to be a church fit for purpose in the 21st Century.
The main role of DNA in the cell is the long-term storage of information. The new life that has been created will forever be shaped by what went before. This new life will carry within it the history and for ever be connected to the past by its DNA. It is with this change called birth that what has been the life system to this point can nurture, support and embrace the new rather than both parent and child die. Written in 2014
Let it be according to your will
The sun is shining through the window and its warmth is embracing me-surrounding me- in the light the words softly whispered ‘Will you come and serve me, I have a job only you can to do in my service?’
My Gabriel moment
Do I like Mary want to question him? No, I am ready to answer but unlike Mary my YES is not one of confident expectation, but of vulnerable trust.
To be able to say YES to God I must be clay in the potter’s hands
To be moulded according to the craftsman’s design
According to another’s will with no ability to have any effect on the outcome.
May our prayer as individual and as the Body of Christ the church be
Lord I am yours, take me, shape me, change and use me as you will. … See MoreSee Less
5 days ago
Well we have reached the half way point of 2020. How would you sum up the year so far? Have you found it to be challenging, or one of new opportunities? What have you learned about yourself, or about other people? Sometimes I find that I read something that immediately asks the question how does that relate to being Christian, is there anything to be learned from this ?
I was speaking on Sunday about how the Apostles each had their own individual personality but how important it was for them to hold the shared Vision of Christ’s Kingdom. I am sure that as a team they drew on each other’s strengths to enable that to happen.
Then I read an article how to live in harmony in lockdown and about the four different types of people and how to best interact with them. I wondered which of the Apostles might have fitted into each category. I did not get far with that because in truth, apart from their names, we know so little factual information about most of them. This led me to thinking about how people, including ourselves, fit into our church family and whether we take the time to get to know which people work in which way. God has a task for everyone, but it is useless putting a square peg in a round hole, so do we ask the right people to do the right jobs? But before we start pigeon-holing other people, we need first to know which we are and how that might affect the way in which we react to God’s call to us to be part of the team called the church that we are members of. See if you can identify yourself from the brief descriptions below:
The get-it-done, extroverted personality is called the mobiliser. This personality is your list-maker, matter-of-fact person. The best way to approach them is to ask for specific help. Give them the bullet version of any story you are relaying. Explain to them the end result you are looking for and allow them to find the solution.
The stabiliser personality is solid, loyal, and can be a rock to others. Even though an introvert, they love people yet tend to like to do their own thing. Not idle or lazy, they are just slow and easy-going. The calmness makes them good in stressful situations, although they prefer to avoid conflict and keep things peaceful. They are dreamers, and can see what others miss, given a job they need clear directions and if it is ever to get done a time for completion.
The socialiser personality is the life-of-the-party person who loves to have a good time. But of all the personalities, this one has the hardest time staying on task. Socialisers love to do things the fun way, are great storytellers, and especially love attention, but because of their outgoing personality do draw people to them and often have the ability to get people to come on board and help.
The organiser personality is a deep thinker often taking longer to process things.
When asked a question, they might think for several minutes before speaking. They will work methodically through a task accomplishing one step of a project at a time. Good listeners are often organizers. They care about others deeply and want to hear what they are saying. They are usually the ones who can identify with others and often the first to comfort others when they are sad. They need to have some space from time to time to recharge and regroup themselves.
And when you have done that see if your hole is the right shape for you, if not talk to someone about it. When we are all being used according to our individual gifts and strengths then like the Apostles, we will make a real difference to the Kingdom. … See MoreSee Less
6 days ago
Another wet day, so you may not actually be thinking it is a very good morning. The kind of day when perhaps you want to get the DVD’s or videos out (no I do not have Sky or any other sort of box that you can find them on) and watch some old television shows maybe a comedy to make you laugh.
So who remembers the Likely Lads?
The show’s humour derived largely from the tensions between Terry’s cynical, , working class personality and Bob’s ambition to better himself and be a person of influence. They were street-wise, yet they stumbled into one scrape after another as they struggled to enjoy the life in the Sixties on their meagre incomes.
Today is the Feast day of Saints Peter and Paul
A day when we remember two of the most unlikely lads that God ever chose to fulfil his purposes.
Yes unlikely they may have been but the reason for today’s Feast is that it is the day when we recall that they both gave their lives for the Gospel.
The celebration is of Ancient Christian origin, the date selected being the anniversary of either their death or the translation of their relics to under the high altar of St Peter’s Basilica.
Two very different characters, Peter called by Jesus to follow him but time and again Peter demonstrates that his faith is imperfect. He says things that make Jesus react strongly: he denies that Jesus’ coming death should ever be allowed to happen (Matthew 16:22), tells Jesus at the Last Supper that He will never wash his feet (John 13:8), and denies association with Jesus three times, even after Jesus predicted that he would do so (Luke 22:61)
Paul was an educated Jew and a member of the Pharisee party, and Roman citizen. in Acts 7:58 he is recorded as being present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen. Saul/later to be called Paul persecuted the Christians savagely, but was dramatically converted after seeing Jesus in a vision on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:4). From that time on, Saul, who was now known as Paul, poured the same energy with which he persecuted Christ’s followers into bringing the Gospel of Jesus to many people.
Peter and Paul represent two extremely different ways to discipleship. Peter learned slowly, made many mistakes along the way, but always experienced the compassionate forgiveness and encouragement of Jesus.
Paul, on the other hand, came to faith immediately and never backed away from his zeal for Christ after that. They did not always agree with each other but their passion for the Gospel message is plain to see, in the end it cost them both their lives.
The church, like Peter and Paul, do not always agree with each other but what must be plain for all to see is our shared passion and zeal for the Gospel.
As individuals and the church like Peter, we sometimes fail but continue to grow in understanding as God brings us to new places of awareness.
Like Paul, we must always be prepared to reach out to people bringing to them the message of God’s love for each and every one of them. … See MoreSee Less