Trinity: "You've Got the Looks... or Have You?"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Holidays. The schools, parliament, the Queen, Bryan. Even the vicar is on holiday!! Hurray for an August Baptism to swell our numbers!

Where do we look for happiness? For many of us, holidays are a source of happiness. They are after all a time of relaxation, refreshment and regeneration. The author Alain de Botton writing in the paper this week about holidays, points out that there’s no work to be done, the view on the azure sea is perfect, the weather warm and sunny. Holidays are a time of happiness and fulfilment. My cleaning lady longs for hers all year. Personally I long for hers to end!!

Trinity: "You Are What You Eat"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

You are what you eat…

I was watching a documentary on BBC this week, ‘Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School’. Basically, it’s an experiment, following some results tables which show that British students aren’t doing as well academically as some other countries - notably - China. So a small group of Chinese teachers have flown over to take a class of 50 kids in a secondary school for a month.

Trinity: "Sparkly Shoes"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Sometimes, you need to remember what’s important.

My daughter has a pair of sparkly shoes. We got them for to wear at a party. They aren't practical, they are very stiff and make her feet sore. But she loves them. They're no good for climbing or digging in the dirt, but she loves them. You can imagine my response when getting ready for nursery I look down at Iris’ feet and find she’s wearing them. Backing down isn’t always easy, but eventually after realising how important it was to her, and being given some way to save face, or at least parental authority, I relented and she wore the shoes to school.

Trinity: "Expectations"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

When I arrived at University, thousands of miles from where I had left high school, feeling completely ill-prepared to start studying in a very different education system. But when I arrived I found that people already knew me, or at least they thought they did. The expectations that people had of me from having known my brother had both their benefits and their draw backs. My uncertainty was washed away, however, by a tutor’s confidence that if my brother had managed to do well, I’d be fine.

Trinity: "How Rude!"

The Revd Margaret Legg

It must have been 10 years ago – stopped by a man who recognised me. I was having a bad hair day, over worked – rudely asked him: ‘Do I know you?’ He walked away, disappointed. The next day it dawned on me who he was – my assistant, from back in the ‘70’s, when I was the Personnel and Training Manager in the then, St Ermin’s Hotel in Caxton St. by St James Park tube station. A kind and gentle soul. We had not seen each other for over 20 years. I have felt bad about this ever since – how could I have been so rude? In hope I look out for him, to make amends. Haven’t spotted him yet. If you’ve ever been in the same boat you may be familiar with that regret. Call yourself a Christian Margaret – didn’t Jesus give us a new commandment to love your neighbour as you love yourself? 0 out of 10 then.

Trinity: "Jazz Speaks For Life"

The Revd Margaret Legg

In his opening address to the Berlin Jazz Festival, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

"God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations."

Trinity: "The Faraway Gospel"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

How do you know when you are hungry?

Parents of young children will be familiar with this rather unusual kind of question. Some time ago, having been out, my daughter complained that her stomach hurt. After asking various worried questions about how it hurt, on the inside or the outside - inside. Like you are going to be sick? Like a sharp pain? Like a dull pain? - as if she knew what that meant Like a throbbing pain?

Whitsun: "It's All About the 'F' Word"

The Revd Margaret Legg

It’s all about the ‘f’ word – no not the word I had to ban from the house when the family were younger - but rather several ‘f’ words: fear, faith and fire!

When I was a child, Whitsun was a great celebration, not least because Whit Monday was a Bank Holiday. Indeed the whole week – Whitsuntide - was too, but that was before my time! Now a days it’s been air brushed out of the calendar – tomorrow we have the Spring Bank Holiday (fixed in 1971as the last Monday in May) and it’s pure chance it falls on the old Whit Monday.

Easter: "Becoming the News"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Sometimes life is just too busy to take that moment to think. It can be so difficult to find the time to focus on the long term, to take a step back and look at the big picture. The urgent, the immediate always takes priority. It’s true in work, it’s true in our home lives, it’s true in our relationships with those around us. Sometimes it makes it easier, to always be busy, always be doing, never stopping, never asking why.

Easter: "A Fruity Bouquet With Hints of Lemon Zest"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Has it ever struck you as rather odd that at the very centre of our Christian religion is the drinking of an intoxicant? If we participate in the sacrament of the Eucharist, we receive bread and wine – wine, the fruit of the vine.

Wine started out in ancient civilisations as the means to orgiastic feasts and bacchanalian festivals: an intoxicant that stirred communities into ecstatic behaviour. Gradually, under the discipline of ritual, prayer and theology wine was tamed to become first a solemn libation to the Olympians and then the Christian Eucharist, offering a brief encounter with the sacred which has reconciliation as its goal. Wine: a drink just strong enough to cause you to smile at the world and the world to smile at you.

Easter: "Who Do You Trust?"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Who do you consider trustworthy? In a survey on who people would trust to sell them a car. Apparently builders are the least trusted with only 1% of people questioned saying they would trust them. IT professionals only slightly more trusted.

Sales professionals, accountants and lawyers are all in the same bag with 6% trusting them. The most trustworthy at a disturbingly low 25%, was priests and clergy. So if you want to sell your car, speak to Steve, Sally or I after the service. We will only take a small commission!

Easter: "A Good Day for Baptism"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Easter Day is a wonderful day for Baptism! Baptism is a dipping, a dipping into the darkness of Jesus suffering and a coming up, a rising, symbolic of the resurrection, cleansed, and your life reshaped.

Symbolised in your lowering into the font and rising with wet hair and dripping face. Symbolised by the pitch black at the start of the service broken by the entry of the lit Easter candle: the light of Christ, the light of God’s love and glory, breaking into the darkness of the world (echoes of the very beginning of John’s Gospel).

Magna Carta: "Workers' Rights"

The Revd Margaret Legg

It is Magna Carta that establishes the principle of Parliament. Without the force of law, worker’s rights in this country may never have been enforced. Clause 14 establishes the idea of a common council, as a means of obtaining common consent, rather than the King alone with one or two advisers he had chosen. KingJohn agreed to ‘cause to be summoned the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and greater barons and all who are his direct tenants, for a fixed date, when the business shall proceed.’ In 1215 the business was likely to be either the assessment of a financial aid, so the principle of ‘no taxation without representation’ comes from this, or of a scutage, the money paid by a vassal to his lord in lieu of military service.

Magna Carta: "Gay Rights"

The Revd Margaret Legg

Clause 39, reproduced at the beginning of the Service Sheet, establishes the principles of the rule law and of equality before the law. Most recently it inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, which states that people around the world should be protected by fundamental human rights, regardless of their citizenship, race, gender or beliefs. The paradox is that the ‘law of the land’ has systematically criminalised gay communities over the centuries. And Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was instrumental in the framing and sealing of MC by King John, represented a church which arguably was responsible for this approach.

Lent: "I Lost My Life"

The Revd Margaret Legg

I thought I was going to die. The little Volkswagon in which I was a passenger careered off the road and rolled over and over, finally coming to a stop upside down. Shaken, but unscathed, the driver (a nun) and I managed to get out, roll the car back on to its wheels and continue our journey. An elephant, I remember, was standing in the distance, watching. We had been driving down to Rwanda and had been blown off course in the back draft of a large lorry speeding along in the opposite direction. I was spending a year as a VSO in Uganda.

Magna Carta: "Civil Liberties"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

When I read To Kill a Mocking Bird as part of the curriculum growing up in Canada, Atticus’ advice to his daughter Scout that, ‘you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb in his skin and walk around in it’ inspired me, it was one of those quotes I wrote on the back of my exercise book and even my cabbage patch doll was named Atticus, to free my first born from being so named. In the 1980s and 90s the story of To Kill a Mocking Bird was a reminder of how far we had come, but also how far we still had to go.

Lent: "Shame About the Friendship"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

In the first year after beginning working, living on a Graduates starting salary on placement in North Wales. Coming home from work one Friday, I get a call from a friend in London, asking me why I wasn’t coming to her birthday, that evening. We’ve probably all been there at some point, end of a busy week, and knowing that while it might be fun, there would be people there I didn’t want to see, the whole endeavour just wasn’t what I wanted. Then it came, that ultimate line to tug those strings and make me feel shame - ‘Come on Robin, we’re your friends - don’t you want to see us.’