St Peter's Church
Celebrating 50 years in
(1965 - 2015)
A BIG THANK-YOU
ALL WHO CAME & SUPPORTED OUR CELEBRATIONS
of the weeks events are available on a photo CD
200 photos by Derek Boardman)
£3 - see the order form in Church.
forget the 50th Anniversary booklets & photo CD are still available in Church (£3 each or both or £5)
update from Wednesday 1st July
If you enjoyed are "Praise 50" event on Wednesday 1st July
and would like to find out more about Dave Hopwood
please see the
Update from Sunday 28th June 2015
Read below the sermon given by Rev
Alison Fry on 28th June 2015 as we celebrated Peter the Apostle at the start of our Anniversary week.
(A PDF version is available from the Sermons Archive page)
St Peter 2015 (B)
Jesus said he would give
St Peter the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.
St Peter is often depicted with a key or keys.
It is his symbol.
But what does it mean to have the keys of the Kingdom of heaven?
Have you ever lost your keys?
You know that panic-stricken, frantic search of the house, the handbag, the car, the
shed, everywhere, to try and find them.
And the relief when you do!
Have we, I wonder, lost the keys of the Kingdom?
We don't perhaps use them all
We know they are there on the hook when we want them,
but what about looking them out and seeking what
they might unlock?
St Peter can help us as we take a look at his life.
First Peter, the fisherman, is called,
"Follow me and I will make you a fisher
of men" (as the old version has it)
And he responds. He follows.
We tend to think of that story as being about
a single cataclysmic moment of conversion.
And it is. Peter does indeed leave boat and business, family and community
to go around with an itinerant rabbi for about 3 years.
But the more I follow the monastic journey, the more I realise
that Jesus is constantly calling.
It isn't only just a once in the lifetime event.
Every day, Jesus invites us to stop what we were wanting to do and follow him.
little things as well as big ones.
I was going to mow the lawn then sit down with a cup of tea but I notice the elderly
neighbour's grass needs cutting too.
What is Jesus calling me to?
My favourite soap is on the telly? There is
an omnibus at the weekend, so I could use the time now to pray?
What is Jesus calling me to?
Every day there are
countless choices over so many, even small aspects of our lives and we can choose to follow Jesus or not.
One key to
the Kingdom is to want to seek to follow Jesus,
to let go of what we want and to do and be what he wants.
to the Kingdom is choosing to follow Jesus whenever he calls.
Is it is key you have lost?
It will unlock things
in you that you never knew were there,
and we actually find that our true heart's desire, all along, was to follow
Jesus, to choose for him.
next key we might find is there in the famous incident where Peter tries to walk on water.
Seeing Jesus on the lake,
Peter steps out of the boat too.
At first its OK.
But then he wavers and starts to sink.
Peter has to let Jesus
We do get it wrong. We do waver. We are not perfect.
But if we don't get out of the boat and risk
we will never learn that Jesus can and will catch us, hold us, save us comfort us.
Like Peter, we need to
let Jesus catch us before we can ever be "fishers of men".
I might have chosen to stay in my parish.
was very happy there.
I could have listened to all the voices that said "What the point of monastic life? You don't
want to do that."
But I knew I had to step out in faith and at least see if the monastic life was my calling.
Another key to the Kingdom is to act out of our faith,
actually to put our trust in the Lord,
trust that (even
if it goes pear shaped, even when we have to admit we were wrong) Jesus will never let us go.
Your call may not be monastic
life, but Jesus does call every single person
and you can sit comfortably in the boat, or you can take the risk and step
out in faith.
Have you lost the key of stepping out in faith, staying in your comfort zone instead?
Then, a bit further on, we get today's Gospel story.
Peter is the one who identifies who Jesus is.
Jesus asks the disciples "Who do you say that I am?" and Peter
announces, "You are the Messiah".
It is possible to see Jesus is so many ways.
Teacher, Prophet, King,
Moral leader, healer and so on.
He is all these things.
But another key to the kingdom is to see Jesus as he really
Only some people saw the divine presence in Jesus when he was on earth.
To most he was a man - prophet, teacher
etc etc, - perhaps a special man and talented man, a holy man, but just that, a man.
Only some, like Peter saw he was
actually God, here on earth living and breathing and walking and speaking among us.
The penny dropped for Peter.
still we so often miss him today.
We don't notice when God is at work.
We're not looking for it.
of the ways we pray in the monastery is to take time at the end of each day to review the day's events in our prayers.
As we look back we can see little incidents of hope, or love, or learning, little glimpses of heaven, or growth and opportunity
for change in ourselves.
We can also review the problems the difficulties and (where we can't, yet, see how God might
possibly be at work in them) we can hold the situations before him, ask his help.
It may be something big, like a life-changing
It may be the tiniest thing - like the fact that a raindrop on a plant leaf just caught the sun as we went past
and for a second we appreciated the beauty of nature.
The more you do this review at the end of the day, the more you
find you are seeing God in all things.
Discovering God at work everywhere.
And it need not take long. 10 minutes?
Is this a key you have lost?
Looking for Jesus
at work in and around us?
is quite a bunch of keys we're looking for now:
Responding to Jesus' call,
stepping out in trust,
our continuous looking for him and to him.
It's not always easy.
Immediately after Peter had declared Jesus as the Messiah, he is trying to
tell Jesus that of course he can't mean it when he (Jesus) tells his disciples that he is going to suffer and to die.
"Get behind me Satan" says Jesus in response.
We can feel chastised by God sometimes.
It can feel very
We want to justify ourselves
or to contradict what seems to be a painful path God is leading us on.
the monastery, the Rule of St Benedict teaches us
to live out of obedience and humility, as Christ did to his heavenly
There are many times when we want to justify ourselves,
to defend what we have said or done,
we know its not defensible.
We just have to be right - even monks and nuns!
By learning to notice when we are acting
out of motives like these,
and instead trying to act and live from a place of obedience and humility,
learn .listen unquestioningly to Christ,
to be open to his ways,
and to put our trust in him even when the very
opposite looks good to us.
So the key of obedience goes along with responding to Jesus' call, stepping out in trust
and continually looking to him.
Is this a key you have lost?
Next on Peter's journey with Jesus, he and James and John are taken up the mountain
where they see Jesus transfigured before their very eyes,
They behold his glory and have a vision of the great figures
from the OT (Moses and Elijah) coming to speak with him.
The whole thing is mysteriously shrouded in mist,
aren't quite sure if they are asleep or awake, dreaming,
and a voice from heave declares:
"This is my Son,
the beloved, with him I am well pleased; listen to him"
So much is packed into that short sentence.
at it, God is simply telling us about the keys of the Kingdom of heaven again, to:
Listen to Jesus Call. Respond to the
call. Constantly look to Jesus.
It seems so simple!
But this holding of the keys of the kingdom
of heaven takes practice.
Its no good leaving them on the hook in the hall.
We need to spend
time pondering the scriptures,
inviting God to speak to us,
bringing to God our concerns,
leaving with God
our anxieties and fears,
sitting in silence in the presence of the God who loves us beyond our imagining.
to use the keys to help Jesus unlock our hearts and open them as wide as the gates of heaven.
Even Peter failed.
Spectacularly he failed Jesus by sleeping at Gethsemane and then
denying his Lord 3 times on the night he was betrayed and captured.
There are days when we don't want to pray - we
deny Jesus too, we are not there for him, either.
We hang up the keys and forget about them.
Yet, Peter was wonderfully
reinstated by Jesus at the end of St John's Gospel.
Jesus never gives up on us, whatever we might do, or not do.
This is the ring the keys in Peter's bunch of keys of the Kingdom are hung upon.
It is centre...it is "key"!
We can only responding to Jesus' call to follow,
we can only step out in faith and trust,
we can only go on continually looking to him
and seeking to obey him
in all humility,
if we first grasp that he will never let us go, never not be there.
The keys are there.
Unlock the Kingdom of heaven
here on earth.
God knows, we need it!
Not just places in the news like Syria Tunisia, Ukraine
but W-S-M too.
You have the keys. They a re always there for you.
Find them. Use them.
Then the hand of the LORD was upon me there; and he said
to me, Rise up, go out into the valley, and there I will speak with you. So I rose up and went out into the valley; and the
glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. The spirit entered
into me, and set me on my feet; and he spoke with me and said to me: Go, shut yourself inside your house. As for you, mortal,
cords shall be placed on you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people; and I will make
your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be speechless and unable to reprove them; for they are a rebellious
house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD'; let
those who will hear, hear; and let those who refuse to hear, refuse; for they are a rebellious house.
About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged
to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded
to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison and
handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. While
Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.
The very night before Herod was going to bring
him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch
over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke
him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.' And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, ‘Fasten your belt
and put on your sandals.' He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.' Peter
went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel's help was real; he thought he was
seeing a vision. After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city.
It opened for them
of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of
Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.'
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he
asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist,
but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, ‘But who do you say that
I am?' Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed
are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you
are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the
keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will
be loosed in heaven.'
click here to download a copy of the flier - please pass onto your friends & family - All are welcome to join us for our celebration
- distribute them far and wide!
Author, speaker and mime artist Dave Hopwood will feature at our "Praise
50" service on Wednesday 1st July at 7.30pm. Regular visitors to Lee Abbey will know Dave for his gift
of bringing the gospel alive through multi-media presentations, his books like "Sons of Thunder" and "The Bloke's
Bible", but not many would know that Dave's roots are here in Milton, where he was a member of St Peter's youth
group in the early days. He is looking forward to catching up with a few old friends and we are looking
forward to welcoming him home - it should be a great evening!