All Saints

Wickham Market

March 2024

March 3rd

Are you a person who likes change?

Generally speaking it seems that most people are not that keen on change, because change is often associated with the unknown and that can bring uncertainty or even fear.

The change from Winter to Spring however is usually more welcome than the change from Autumn to Winter, so perhaps it’s not about the change as much as what the change brings.  If the change brings something good, something better than before, then we are happy and we like it.  But if it brings something worse than before, we are understandably not so keen.

What we are saying then is that we don’t like the uncertainty that change often brings.  We like certainty, consistency and freedom from fear.  We like to be sure that the things in which we place our hope will not let us down - that Spring will bring warmer weather and the next Government will be better than the last one! 

But that’s just the trouble you see, we can’t be certain of those things can we?  In fact we can really only be certain of one thing, the only thing worth placing our confidence in - that God is in control and God is good! 

Change happens, for the good and for the bad but Jesus Christ is unchanging; he is the same, yesterday, today and forever!  Of that we can be certain!


March 10th

Moonpig has just reminded me that this Sunday is Mothers’ Day, a day when the card companies, gift shops and restaurants all profit from something which originally had very little to do with saying thanks to Mum! After all, why do we need a special day to do that?!


For some people, this day can be a painful time.  Perhaps Mum is no longer around, or relationships are strained or broken.  Perhaps this day provokes painful memories of an unhappy childhood or maybe you have lost children and have no one to bring you a posy of flowers and a thank you card. 

For such people, constant reminders are unwelcome. 

So let’s just remind ourselves instead of the true origins of the day:


Mothering Sunday is really all about the ‘Mother’ Church; a term used for the church where you were born, baptised and raised.  It was a day when child servants were allowed a day off their servitude for rest and refreshment, usually meaning a return home to the ‘Mother’ Church, which is why this Sunday has also become known as ‘Refreshment Sunday’. 

It falls on the 4th Sunday of Lent which means if you’ve given up chocolate (or anything else) for Lent, you’re allowed a day off!


So rather than allowing the commercial world to dictate to us again, why not use the day just to put your feet up, relax, eat your favourite food and rest; after all, isn’t that what Sunday’s were intended for anyway?


March 17th

We have come to end of our study of the book of Hebrews but one of the final thoughts it left us with was the great cloud (or crowd) of witnesses that inspire us (Hebrews 12:1). This Sunday, 17th March, we celebrate the life of another of those many witnesses, St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland.  Patrick was actually born in England, but at the age of 16 he was kidnapped by pirates and forced to work as a shepherd in Ireland.  At some point during his captivity Patrick turned to God and eventually managed to escape his captors and return to England.  The challenges of his kidnap, escape and journey home honed his faith and gave him a deep reliance on God eventually leading to his becoming a priest and returning to Ireland as a missionary.

There are many stories (and likely, myths) attached to St Patrick but mostly he is remembered as a man who trusted God against the odds.  He didn’t crumble under the weight of his circumstances, he didn’t feel sorry for himself, he turned instead to God and turned his misfortune into opportunity.

So as we celebrate his life this week, let us primarily be inspired by his dependance on God, his dedication to evangelism and his determination to be “soaked in the Bible”.


Here is part of Saint Patricks Breastplate, a prayer attributed to Patrick:

I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me,

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak to me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield too protect me,

God’s host to save me.


March 24th

In recent times, there seems to have been an increase in the number of people publicly protesting about something.  They gather in their numbers in places where they will receive the most publicity and the biggest audiences.  Often they wear bright colours, shout through megaphones, and carry large signboards, all to bring attention to their cause.  Nearly always they wave some form of flag or banner because this is the best way to make a statement.  Throughout history, flags and banners have represented the beliefs and purposes of those who carry them. Flown as signals, rallying points and standards of identification, flags define battle lines, give direction and encouragement, and unify a group.

If you “fly your flag” you behave in a way that shows that you are proud of your country, or organisation.

If you “keep the flag flying” you continue to support something, especially when it is not popular to do so

If you “nail your flag (or colours) to the mast” it expresses a defiant refusal to surrender.

The Bible is full of references to flags and banners.

Moses built an altar and named it 'The Lord is My Banner’ (Exodus 17:15)

In the Tabernacle in the desert, each of the 12 tribes of Israel had their own banner with the tribe logo on them. (Numbers 2:34)

Psalm 20 verse 5 says “in the name of our God we will put up our flags!”

“Who is to be feared like an army with flags?” says the Song of Solomon (6:10)

And probably the most famous example of a group ‘flying their flags’ is the crowd on the road side as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  It may have been short-lived, but for that moment everyone there believed in Jesus, supported Jesus and praised Jesus!  With palm branches as their impromptu banners, they were public, loud and brave in the face of the occupying Romans!

How good it would be if today’s Church would raise it’s banner a little higher, nail it to the mast and keep it flying in the face of adversity and criticism.


March 29, 31st - Easter!

Did you know that Easter didn’t exist until around the 8th Century?  “How can that be?” you ask, “Surely Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the 1st Century?”  And of course it is or rather, it has become known as that.  Because the word Easter actually comes from ‘Eostre’ the name of a Germanic goddess associated with spring and fertility - hence bunnies (originally hares by the way) and eggs! 

The word was adopted by Christians because it symbolised rebirth and new life and so fitted with the message of resurrection.

But the early Church actually continued to observe the festival of the death of the Paschal Lamb (Jesus Christ) right up until the 4th Century when this was abandoned (under the heavy hand of Emperor Constantine of Rome) in favour of the Sunday festival of the resurrection.  The focus of the Spring feast had changed from the sacrificial death of Christ to the resurrection of Christ. 

And still today that is most people’s focus. 

Indeed some Christians even prefer not to think about ‘Good Friday’ at all.

Of course we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection!  Our hope for new life partly lies in believing we will share his resurrection and one day live eternally!  But it is important to understand that there could be no new life without first experiencing death.  Without the seed being buried in the ground, there can be no new life. The sacrifice of Jesus was what atoned for our sin and made us right with God.  He had to go through Friday in order to give us our Sunday.  It’s only right that we should understand and acknowledge the fullness of what Jesus did and not just skip to the good part!


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