|Pen and Ink Reflections||
When I was a child I was a member of the Tufty Club. Quite possibly I still am. I’m not sure the membership ever really lapses. Certainly almost every child of my generation in the UK was encouraged to be a member. For Tufty (or Tufty Fluffytail to give him his full name) was the brainchild of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. He was, and still is, a squirrel created to tell stories and messages and be the emblem for the road safety of children. So all kinds of merchandise has been produced around Tufty, including films, games, and badges. At one stage there were indeed as many as 24 500 registered Tufty Clubs in the UK, mostly based in schools. All of which was great fun as well as learning for children, not least red-headed children like me who loved Tufty’s life, colour and native character. Sadly, the native European red squirrel is today under serious threat of extinction in the UK, due to the advance of the larger, aggressive, North American grey squirrels and the continuing loss o habitats. Yet Tufty’s message – to ‘stop, look and listen’ – lives us on today. For it is good advice not only for children and road safety, but also for all our lives and spiritual journeys. It is indeed close to the heart of today’s Gospel story and Jesus’ own words for Martha and Mary…
I wonder how you like the postcard our sisters and brothers at St Mark’s Buderim give out. On one side, it has this little picture of part of a little time-keeper, with sand trickling through it. The main words are from a Spanish proverb, and they say: ‘How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward.’ Do you like that? At the bottom, there are then a few more words, which say: ‘Do nothing and change your life, at St Mark’s Anglican Church, Buderim.’ Not quite the usual advertisement for a Church, is it? It certainly makes us think, and it challenges many of our assumptions. Yet I think it is right on the money, especially for this season of Lent. The question is: how will you and I respond?…
by Jon Inkpin, for Pentecost 12A
What do you make of religious experience – not religious ideas, religious morals, religious activities, but religious experience? Does it make you awkward, uncomfortable, even embarrassed? Many secular people find it to be so. Even many Christians avoid talking about it. To a degree, this is understandable. Religious experience can be very intimate and personal. It is not always something we want to hawk about and have discussed in public. It is after all a holy thing, and St Paul warned us not to throw holy things before the ignorant, the swinish, lest they be trampled underfoot. It can also be misused, like those Christians, and others, who sometimes tell us that unless we have their kind of religious experience – perhaps their kind of conversion or charismatic experience – then we are not Christians, or acceptable to God, at all. All that, as I say, is understandable. Yet, if it keeps us from religious experience, or reflecting on our religious experience, then it is a huge problem. For, as we see in today’s great story of Moses and the burning bush, religious experience is central to our Faith. Encountering the living God is not an embarrassing extra to life. It is at the heart of our being and our becoming. For, as Saint Augustine said, our hearts are ultimately restless until they find their rest in God...
for Trinity Sunday 15 June 2014 by Jon Inkpin and Penny Jones
What kind of heretics are we? I sometimes ponder this question when Trinity Sunday comes around. Like the early church theologian Basil the Great, I suspect that whenever we speak of God we are risking heresy. For though we can know aspects of the energies of God, none of us know God in God-self. This because the doctrine of God as Holy Trinity is a proclamation of what is vital in our shared Christian Faith. Yet it is also an invitation to humility in the face of God’s indescribable mystery. As human beings we can, and often should, speak of our experience of God. At our very best however, we are little more than small children dipping out toes into the astonishing ocean of God’s love. We see so little and what we do see is very partial. We must humble ourselves to know more of the fullness of God. Sadly Christians are not always so humble. We have thus often ended up fighting over the very thing – God – which can bring us together. Can we do better?...
sermons and reflections from Penny Jones & Jo Inkpin,