Sunday’s service was all age worship for the start of Lent. We went ‘into the desert’ where Jesus (and many of God’s people) have been tried and tested, and have grown in faith. We explored the desert (the sandpit!), we made space for quiet and contemplation, we made unleavened bread (pancakes), and we made prayer chains to help us give these 40 days of Lent to God.
Click on any picture to start the slide show. Also see Part 1
Readings: Luke 4 – Jesus in the desert testing his ‘Chosen One’ vocation vs. the Exodus story with the Israelites in the desert testing their ‘Chosen People’ vocation.
Heston took us through the parallel stories of the Israelites leaving Egypt and wandering in the desert for 40 years, and Jesus being tempted by the devil in his 40 day fast in the wilderness. The desert sand tray and water effects were all very effective!
Whereas the Israelites failed to keep faith with God, and created the Golden Calf whilst Moses was up Mount Sinai receiving the the Ten Commandments, Jesus turned the devil away and resisted all the temptations.
The two pictures can seem to tell an unattractive story. The people having a great time worshiping the calf are about to be thumped by Moses, whereas Jesus’s victory over the devil involves huge self denial.
The two images show the opposite reactions to this time of testing in the desert. The point that came through to me was that Jesus won through; whereas the Israelites lost heart, he showed he was stronger than the temptations of the world. But I wanted to show that he really was hungry…..if he hadn’t been, it wouldn’t have been a real victory at all.
Jesus being tempted to turn stones into bread in the wilderness
The Golden Calf….can you spot Moses?
Pictures by Ted Schofield, inspired by Sunday’s service.
On the 2nd February the Rev David Randolph Horn shared with us his thoughts on Luke 5:1-16. In the congregation that day was a really gifted artist, Ted Schofield, who felt inspired to produce the following pictures:
A couple of weeks ago the Year 8 girls of Sheffield Girls High School came to Leeds to visit a synagogue and All Hallows’ Church. Inspired by their visit they decided to have a logo competition to creat a logo that captured the inclusive nature of All Hallows’ Church. Below is the amazing competition winning logo created by Hannah.The girls have also been fundraising for us by making and selling cakes. Thank you to all of the amazing girls!
‘You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.’
Isaiah 58:12 The Message version
I love this version of Isaiah 58:12, it is so “Permaculture” but also speaks so much about what I think our faith is about. The whole of Isaiah 58 speaks of how we should live – the kind of “fasting” we should exercise, we are called to “loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke”.
If we were to change the word fasting to “voting” then perhaps this would give us an indication of some of the things we should be taking into consideration when we choose who to vote for in this coming election. Which party or parties are going to work towards these things, towards justice, a loosening of burdens and release from oppression, who is going to promote sharing food with the hungry, sheltering the homeless and clothing the naked. Which party is going to help us restore, rebuild and renovate so that our communities are “livable again”?
Permaculture is based on the ethics “Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share”. As I have said here before, for me, these fit so well with my Christian faith and I use them to help me make every day decisions like “what do I buy (or not)” and “who do I vote for”. In these coming elections let us try to steer clear of the media hype, the fear mongering and name calling and let us apply our understanding of our faith to making a decision who to vote for.
If you would like to meet for a conversation around this topic over the next few weeks do let me know.
This morning, our guest, Adam Aslam shared our Remembrance Day service and shared with us some little known facts. As many as 400,000 Muslims made up one-third of the Indian Army of 1.3 million, along with 100,000 Sikhs, and up to 800,000 Hindu soldiers who fought on the British side from 1914 to 1918.
Further research shows that over 62 000 Indian soldiers were killed in action, obviously many more were injured and Brighton Pavilion was used as a hospital for Indian soldiers. Eight Indians received the Victoria Cross!
But Muslims from other countries such as the North African states also fought and so the total number Muslim soldiers was over 885 000 soldiers of whom at least 89 000 died.
Of course, many Indian soldiers and Muslims from all nations also fought on the side of the Allies during the Second World War. A little research using Google reveals some amazing stories that we are so ignorant about. Sadly, my research also uncovered some websites that were hostile to this information and are trying to stir up fear, suspicion, doubt and even hatred.
During this anti-Islamaphobia month, and beyond, I think it would be good for us to explore some of the amazing stories of these people who left their homes on the other side of the world and came to fight alongside our ancestors and for us to work on breaking down the fear and suspicion that so many people have for our Muslim brothers and sisters.
This Sunday we received a most wonderful present from our Muslim friends. The beautiful calligraphy above says All Hallows’ Church. It is rainbow coloured and has received much admiration already. People have commented on the colours, the shape (a tear) and that it looks like music – all of which we think fits All Hallows so well! We plan to put it in pride of place on the back wall of our worship space so that we see it as we go back out into the world.
What do you think of it?
This evening we are recording the unofficial #TeamRefugees Olympic anthem at All Hallows. We are packed out with people who have the most amazing voices singing as one!
Click on the photos for a closer look!
We believe in a light that scatters darkness.
It tears through every shadow in our world,
and leaves a clarity brighter than the sun,
and we name that light: God!
We believe in a love that crushes hatred,
and leaves a space for forgiveness,
to rebuild, redesign, and re-create our world,
and we name that love: God!
We believe in a faith that rips through injustice
revealing a different vision for our world:
of freedom, fairness, and future,
and we name that truth: God!
We believe in a hope that rattles oppressors,
shaping the intent of the Creator
for a people destined for love,
and we name that hope: God!
We believe in a time towards which all history travels,
where all our lives will be held,
and bound into eternity,
and we name that time: God!
Do everything readily and cheerfully, joyful bearers of God’s light-giving Way. Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. (Philippians 2:14-16)