This Week 22nd – 28th April

Mon 22 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Mon 22 Apr Easter Monday walk Marsden to Slaithwaite (10:40am at Leeds Train Station outside Boots)
Tue 23 Apr @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 24 Apr @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Thu 25 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 26 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 26 Apr @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sun 28 Apr @10.30am Sunday morning worship and APCM (our Annual General Meeting)

See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’

Sermon by Paul Magnall – Palm Sunday 14 April 2019

Notes from the sermon by Paul Magnall on Palm Sunday 14th April 2019

Readings

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at “What do we value?” One way of identifying what people value is to see what they invest in. In what they invest their

  • Money
  • Time
  • Energy

But how do we know if we are investing in the right things? A popular way of deciding what might be the right thing to do is to ask WWJD or What Would Jesus Do? So this morning I am going to ask the question WWYV or What Would Jesus Value and contrast Him with some of the other major players in the Easter story.

Palm Sunday highlights a clash of powers, cultures, forces, movements that climax on Easter Friday through to Easter Sunday. To know what these powers valued we need to look at what they invested in and what they trusted.

So, let’s go to Palm Sunday nearly 2000 years ago.

Matthew 21:1-17

The geographical context of this story is Jerusalem. On the whole Jesus has avoided the big cities and towns in his ministry so far. He has travelled the countryside popping up in one place and another and then disappearing into the quiet and the wilderness with his close disciples. The crowds build up and then he disappears again. The authorities feel threatened by his message and seek to arrest or kill him and then he disappears out of their reach.

But now it is his time. He goes to Jerusalem for the Passover, the BIG religious festival of the Jews where they celebrate their exit from the Egyptian empire and their freedom from slavery.

Central to this are the religious leaders, mainly the Pharisees.

The Romans were the conquerors. They were in charge and everyone knew it. A big Jewish religious festival celebrating freedom from empire meant there was a huge probability of trouble, protests against the Romans, even an uprising. So Pontius Pilate, governor of the region, would leave his base in Caesarea with a substantial force of soldiers to travel to Jerusalem to keep the peace. Caesarea was a nice Roman town on the Mediterranean coast, not a crowded, smelly, provincial city. And so Pilate arrives along a Roman road from the west to enter by the West Gate of Jerusalem, the entrance lined by local people forced to stand and cheer their Roman conquerors.

Another group, ever present, and one of the reasons the Romans left their nice coastal resort were the rebels. There were lots of different rebel groups who wanted to throw the Romans out of Judea and claim it back as God’s own country. Their big uprising would come later but for now they were a thorn in the Romans’ side, appearing, causing mischief and then disappearing again. They could be anywhere! They couldn’t quite get their act together but one day they would and that would lead to a major catastrophe with the destruction of the Temple.

And so to Jesus. As I said earlier, he had travelled the countryside and avoided the big centres of population. But now it was time, a nursing donkey and it’s baby donkey were organised, Jesus gathered his disciples and followers and rode into Jerusalem via one of the Eastern gates – both of which have huge significance which I haven’t time to go into here. And instead of long faced locals being forced to cheer he was surrounded by people who were genuine in their cheering. Such a contrast to the Imperial forces entering the West Gate – do you think Jesus was making a big point here?

So, what did these different participants in the Palm Sunday story value? What did they invest in?

The religious leaders, the Pharisees

  • They valued the law. They invested their time in studying the scriptures in order to determine how to be pure and set apart for God. They wanted to be as white as snow and get every detail right. They believed that if everyone in Israel was pure then God would drive out the Romans and Jerusalem would be restored to its former glory. (And we know what Jesus thought of this – he called the religious leaders whitened sepulchres and condemned the way that they imposed their moral correctness onto the rest of society creating a burden for the already downtrodden)
  • They valued the Temple – the centre of worship, the place where God dwelt amongst them. This for them was the place to be. And having Jesus talk about the Temple being demolished and rebuilt in three days was a threat to them.
  • They valued peace. Even if it was Pax Romana. The Romans were clever, they allowed the Jews to have their religion as long as the religious leaders kept the peace. And the Pharisees were rewarded for keeping the peace with money and land (something that was actually against the Jewish law … but then they just reinterpreted the law!)
  • They valued order, hierarchy, control, everyone in their place and theirs was at the top.
  • The outcome was that the religious leaders kept their place and privileges, the Jewish faith and practice was tolerated by the Romans, order is kept but the poor and weak are trampled on and kept in their place. The prophet’s words of justice, mercy and humility are ignored. (The next few chapters of the Easter story after the entrance into Jerusalem are about Jesus challenging the religious leaders and what they valued).

So, to the Romans.

  • They valued Empire, power and control. Their empire dominated the known world. They invested in their military so that they could control the nations that they had conquered and could defend and even expand their borders. They invested in roads and transport so that they could move their troops quickly to any trouble spots. I can imagine Caesar reclining on his couch when a messenger arrives.

“The English are revolting!”

“I know” says Caesar “they never wash!”

“No” says the messenger, “Theresa Maydica has declared something called Brexit and they are going to leave the Empire”

“Quick” commands Caesar, “Send our legionnaires Merkel and Tusk to stop them!”

  • The Romans valued the wealth of the nations that they controlled. In Judea alone they invested in the fishing industry, vineyards and olive production just to name a few. Fisherman like Simon Peter and his brothers would have to provide the Romans with fish who barrelled them up in brine and transported them along their excellent transport system to the markets in Rome. Land was grabbed from local farmers to turn into vineyards to make wine for Roman consumption. When we read about miracles and parables involving fish or wine they may well have had a much deeper, social or political meaning!

The Rebels or Zealots

  • They valued freedom from Roman control, they wanted their country back. Different groups had different ideas of how to do this but they all invested their time and energy in finding ways to subvert and overthrow the Romans, usually at huge expense to life as the Romans would just string them up on crosses if they captured them, or send them to the amphitheatres to fight lions or gladiators, or even demolish whole villages.

And so to Jesus. What Did Jesus Value? What did he invest in?

  • People. Jesus seems to have spent a lot of time with ordinary people, sick, poor, people on the edge of society, the needy, those who knew that something was missing in their lives, people who were hungry for something better, who hungered for justice and peace (see the Beatitudes).
  • Jesus invested in these people by listening to them, caring for them, loving them, by bringing God to them. As Jesus said to John the Baptist when asked if he was the one that God had sent “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Luke 7:22 NIV
  • Jesus invested in ordinary people and valued them for who they were in the sight of God – part of God’s creation.

I believe Jesus had a vision, a dream of what the world should and could be like (Martin Luther King caught some of that dream). How the creator God had planned it to be like. Jesus wanted to share that dream by showing it happening, letting people know it was possible even with the forces of empire and domination against them. He was investing in what God had invested in when she created the Universe. It is a dream or vision that the prophets saw and spoke of ….

Micah 4:1-4

What Jesus was investing in is what he described as the Kingdom of God, not a place where the 1% live in ultra-luxury at the expense of the 99% (is there a parable there?) but where we all live together in the “Joy of Enough”, where there are no wars for control of oil fields, there are no climate refugees, no children picking rubbish off landfill sites, where we don’t have more plastic than fish in the ocean, people dying from polluted air or water. “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid”

As Jan said last week, God is passionate about Her creation, about us, about the world in which we live. This is why God invests in us!

 

On the sixth day God saw what he had created, what he had invested in and it was very good.

God so loved what He had invested in He sent His only son….

Jesus believed so totally in the Creator’s investment in us, in the whole of creation that he came and invested his whole life, even to death, for you, for me, for the whole of God’s creation.

Do we know our value?


Notes:

Some websites about Palm Sunday and the Eastern Gates. Apparently there are two Eastern Gates, the Golden or Mercy Gate (see websites below) and the “lamb” gate through which the lambs were taken to the temple for sacrifice. Both gates brimming with significance that we never seem to hear about on Palm Sunday!

Through The Eastern Gate

In through the Back Door

Shaken to the Core

 

 

This Week 15th – 21st April

Mon 15 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Mon-Wed 15-17 April @ 7pm Holy Communion and Holy Week Reflections at St Chad’s Headingley
Tue 16 Apr @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 17 Apr @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Wed 17 Apr @ 7.30pm Last of the ‘Broken’ Lent Course – at St Michael’s Headingley Parish Hall
Thu 18 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Thurs 18 Apr @ 7.30pm Maundy Thursday Eucharist and meal at All Hallows- hosting St Michael’s and St Chad’s
Fri 19 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 19 Apr @ 12noon Good Friday Stations of the Cross
Fri 19 Apr @ 7-10pm Rainbow Junktion Bengali Bistro / Toilet opening / raising money for latrines in La Concha, Nicaragua
Sat 20 Apr @ 6pm pre-gig Grace Petrie bistro – booking essential
Sat 20 Apr @ 7.45pm Grace Petrie and Jamie Fletcher Live at All Hallows – booking essential
Easter Sunday 21 Apr @ 6am Dawn vigil, Eucharist and breakfast at St Michael’s Headingley
Sun 21 Apr @10.30am Easter Sunday morning worship

See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’

Bengali Bistro and toilet “christening”!

In celebration and thanksgiving for All Hallows’ bright shiny new toilets (hurray!), we’re christening them with a curry night of delicious Bengali food on Friday 19th April (non-spicy option also available) and fundraising for our friends in La Concha, Nicaragua at the same time.

All Hallows has a long standing link with La Concha, a beautiful area of Nicaragua near the Masaya volcano. Many families there don’t have basic sanitation. Leeds Central America Solidarity group works with the Nicaraguan Community Movement to provide families with the materials for building a latrine and support to do so. Nicaragua has had a very tough time recently and as always, it’s the poorest who are hit hardest. Having adequate toilet facilities can literally be a matter of life and death – it’s not just important for the family themselves, but for the whole community.

Come and support our community cafe by having a delicious 3 course pay-as-you-feel dinner. Proceeds will be split 50/50 between the latrines and the Rainbow Junktion cafe.

Vegan and gluten free options will be available but please let us know if you have any allergies.

Tickets are free to book and then you pay what you feel the evening was worth on the night. If you book and then can’t make it please cancel your ticket as these nights are usually fully booked.

Sunday 14th April 2019

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day when we celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem at the beginning of what we call Easter or Holy Week. You can read about the entrance into Jerusalem in Matthew 21. Paul Magnall will be sharing his thoughts on Palm Sunday and Micah 4:1-4 with us in our meeting at 10:30am. We will also be thinking a bit about whether we invest our money in fossil fuels or not.

 

The Theatre Workshop

Last Saturday George from Reboot the Roots led another great workshop using techniques from the Theatre of the Oppressed.  Games, forming and dialoguing about group body sculpts and thinking about how we all interpret situations differently happened in the morning and in afternoon we used our own situations of oppression to think about how we can challenge and change difficult encounters. How are we all both oppressors and oppressed? It was great fun but more importantly left us all thoughtful and open to how we have the power to make a difference for ourselves and others in oppressive encounters. Thank you George and all participants.

George is running another Forum Theatre workshop focusing on Gender issues on May 4 and  there are still spaces available. A donation of £10 covers costs. To book contact George at ReboottheRoots.org.uk

Sermon by Dr Jan Betts 7 April 2019

Notes from the sermon by Dr Jan Betts 7 April 2019

In the name of God, passionate creator, redeemer, sustainer.

Today is Passion Sunday. It’s traditionally about the beginning of the last two weeks of Jesus’ human life and the suffering which went with it.

But when we think of the word passion we don’t usually go to the word suffering. We think of things we care about very deeply, which we’re really, really committed to, and today I want to link those two meanings, of our deepest convictions and desires and Jesus’ suffering.

Passion v Enthusiasm

But when I talked to various people about the question of what makes them passionate we came up with the difference between passion and enthusiasm. People said they were passionate about things like curry or being in the mountains. I’ll talk travel or gardening or books with enthusiasm. But passionate?  I wouldn’t go to the wall about whether Jane Austen is a better writer than J K Rowling. But I would take a lot of abuse if someone disrespected me or other women as a woman, or if someone disrespected a homeless person. Passion, we decided was something else. It’s when you would be willing to really fight for something, where you feel anger and massive delight and hurt and you can be illogical or cruel or be willing to be abused for it.  That’s a bit different to enthusiasm. Passion is a kind of hunger. It’s about what is at my heart. And I could and do dream of being quite violent towards someone who has offended my passions and I can and do give way over the odds of myself to someone I am passionate about. Our passions, show us what is important to us, where we are wounded and where we laugh and love and feel alive and joyful and free.

We’re not often invited to think about either our passions in the light of our faith. But we do have longings and passions, because we’re made in the image of a passionate God.

Invitations to passion

There are some wonderful spiritual traditions which do ask us about our desires and passions. St Ignatius of Loyola has a series of quite gruelling exercises which are all about ‘what is that you desire’ and which take people  into some very tough places. The author of the Song of Solomon celebrates our physical passions. Alan Ecclestone, a committed passionate Marxist priest, wrote that it is the job of prayer – and so the job of life – to refuse to be disengaged, to be constantly passionately committed.

So point one. Our passions show us where we are focused. What we long for. We are right to listen to our desires and to ponder what our passions are, where is the heart of us. If we could ask God to do one thing what would it be?

Let’s listen to a passionate fearless woman …

John 12 1-8

Jesus sorts out our passions

Mary was the one who went and listened to Jesus when Martha was cooking. She was passionate to know and follow what he said, to treasure time with him.  Jesus said this was good and smiled at her and I bet in this story they also both enjoyed the wonderful small of the perfume – perhaps quite a sexy moment? Women must have loved Jesus passionately, even if he was unavailable – Mary Magdalene in the garden was desolate. But Jesus was there to show them that passion needs to be focused not on possessing but on giving. ‘Mary, he’s saying  I know we like each other but there’s another way, a better way and you have learned this, which is why you have done this to me now…..’

And now a man of a very different type but with his head and his passions turned around 180’ by Jesus

Philippians 3 4b-11

Jesus ministry so often pinpointed people’s passions and challenged them. The rich young ruler – you think your passion is to serve God but let me ask you what you won’t give up, let me turn your passion for being a good Jewish man into being a follower of life? The woman at the well – you think you want security with a man but let me offer you a different more challenging kind of security and see if that’s what you want? To the fishermen – you want to fish – but let me make you different fishermen and see what happens… Zaccheus you want money, you think, but let me show you what can be done with money when you don’t want it more than anything. Then here to Saul – your passion is to make people keep the law, to explain it to them as a Pharisee would, but let me offer your passion a different direction, a direction of life? Over and over Jesus found the passion and challenged it to be turned from self-serving, feeding our own hunger, to the service of others and of God. He challenged people to lose their slavery to passions which hurt them and others to passions which freed them for love.

What we want passionately is so often not bad in itself but we can often try to meet those longings in wrong, self-focused, disordered ways.  How can we find the good in our passions? We can want things – but not at someone else’s expense. Satisfying our passions at someone else’s expense leads to abuse. Often this happens because we are looking for security in the wrong place. We get scared and then we get focused on our own needs alone.  Asking God to align our desires with hers, to trust her to make them rightly ordered, is the first commandment.

And it’s tough. None of these biblical examples found it easy to give up their scared passion and just go for the one which led to a more risky life focused on giving as well as receiving. Even Jesus was terrified in Gethsemane. He felt abandoned on the cross. Wanting to be aligned with his Father’s will was utterly awful for him. But as he had said all through his ministry, this way of loving passion to be about his father’s business, the business of the kingdom, was the only way.

So point two: Good passion is focused on the good of all, on the spreading of God’s love for all including ourselves, not on possessing others in any way. We need before God and with God, to sort out our orderly passion from the disorderly. NOT necessarily the right from the wrong. And it’s not easy.

I said we are made in the image of a passionate God.

So point three and most importantly: what is God passionate about. Because this is what enables us to be rightly passionate.

God is passionate about you, about me and about all creation. God is passionate about helping us to live as she wants us to live.  That’s what connects our two meanings of passion, the joyful love which leads to suffering.  Following the passionate way of Jesus is sometimes about suffering and abuse, as well as about freedom and joy because it’s not the disordered way of satisfying our own passions above others, of always in whatever way seeking our own passions. The two go together.

And we get managing our passions wrong. BUT God the passionate father/mother is always standing watching for us, day after day waiting for us to appear at the turn in the road leading back to the house where we belong. Always, all the time, God wants us to be in relationship with her, doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly and having fun. The passionate love shared between the trinity and all creation was what led to Jesus human passion, and suffering and then to resurrection. God trusts us to be passionate about being part of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, about loving fully and being alive to our passions. What are our passions and how can Jesus turn them for us into passions which free us rather than enslave us, get rid of our fears not feed them?

In the next two weeks we read with horror of the way in which political agendas were played out in first century Palestine to kill this man who stood for fearless passionate love, truth, life, and light? He was real and he was killed for it. And that still happens. We pray for peace but we pray also for those who are passionate about the way of Jesus and suffering for it to know God’s sustaining love as they hold to that passion. And we pray for each other to be challenges as we follow Jesus’ hard journey this Lent, and to be released into our own joyful passion for God.

Paul’s prayer:  Ephesians 3 14 – 19

This Week 8th – 14th April

Mon 8 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 9 Apr @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 10 Apr @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Wed 10 Apr @ 7.30pm and every Wednesday until 17 April – ‘Broken’ Lent Course – at St Michael’s Headingley Parish Hall
Thu 11 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 12 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 12 Apr @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sat 13 Apr @ 6-10pm Rainbow Reggae
Sun 14 Apr @10.30am Palm Sunday morning worship

See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’

This Week 1st – 7th April

Mon 1 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Tue 2 Apr @7:30-9pm Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Wed 3 Apr @12-2pm OWLS lunch
Wed 3 Apr @ 7.30pm and every Wednesday until 17 April – ‘Broken’ Lent Course – at St Michael’s Headingley Parish Hall
Thu 4 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 5 Apr @11-3 Rainbow Junktion Cafe
Fri 5 Apr @11:30am Bible Study at church (0113 2297546 for further info)
Sat 6 Apr @ 9:30am-6pm Theatre of the Oppressed
Sun 7 Apr @10.30am Lent Sunday morning worship – Taize style service followed by a shared lunch

See our calendar for more details of what is happening at All Hallows’

Earth Hour

This Sunday British Summer Time begins and the clocks spring forward meaning that you get an hour less in bed and, if you don’t remember, you might be an hour late for church!

It is also the time when we are invited to celebrate Earth Hour from 8:30pm on Saturday evening. Millions of people around the world will be switching their lights and other electrical appliances off for an hour and using the time to celebrate our planet and it’s huge variety of life. It is a chance to reflect on the impact we have on our fellow inhabitants and how we might change so that we walk more lightly on Planet Earth.

You can find more about Earth Hour at https://www.earthhour.org and do let us know what you get up to in your Earth Hour celebration!