St George's

Church of England Primary School

Be determined and confident,

as God will be with you* as we learn,
care and share through work, play and prayer.

(*Deuteronomy 31:6)

Be determined and confident,

as God will be with you* as we learn, care and share through work, play and prayer.

(*Deuteronomy 31:6)

News from the churches

As a newly merged Parish - The Parish of St George and All Saints, let's promote the brillinat work that goes on in both churches. I must confess its amazing to see the fruits of Jordan and MIke's work at All Saints. As some of you may know, I was the Headteacher of All Saint's prior to joining St George's, and to see the church thrive is brillinat. Well done everyone. 

Dear friends,

What kind of heart does Jesus have? What kind do we have? Fr Mike reflects:

The notice sheet:

A song on today’s theme:

God bless,

Fr Mike

Dear All,

Please find this week's sermon attached and remember to come down this afternoon at 4pm for our Closer service as we think about caring for the poor this Lent.

Please also put Saturday the 30th of March, 2pm, in your diary for the Passion Play, followed by the Easter raffle and children's activities in church. Have a blessed week,

Fr Jordan

Growing in the shape of the Cross:

About ten years ago, I made a fatal error. I don’t remember exactly when it was but it was probably when I was at an ASDA or a garden centre of some sort and Becky, who I deeply love, will have said something sounding quite innocent at the time along the lines of ‘can I buy this aloe-vera plant?’ Whenever it was, I made the mistake of saying yes because now, a decade on, our house is riddled with these blooming plants. She clones them from themselves, takes a cutting and lets it grow out and she won’t stop, even though they’re completely overrunning everything and not just aloe veras but also cactuses now too. Spiky things, used to hostile environments, you might think I’d be quite used to them after a fair share of PCC meetings, but no, my dislike of cactuses increases, every time I get a spike stuck in my finger.

I can’t brush my teeth without being spiked by a cactus and I every time I put my hands into my pockets little aloe veras go rolling down the hallway. I think even Becky is a bit at a loss with what to do with them now too because they keep multiplying. They keep overgrowing the pots and more and more turn up.

And of course, that’s how plants work. They grow and spread and take over. And one of Jesus’ points in our passage today is that that’s why he had to die; so that lots of others, in his likeness, could spread across the world. When it comes to the cross in today’s reading, Jesus uses the image of a kernel of wheat that has to fall to the ground and die so that seeds can grow and make seeds of their own.

Jesus says about the cross, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

And we don’t usually think about the cross in this way. We usually think about the cross, rightly, in terms of the forgiveness of sins, but we don’t think about it with this image in mind, we don’t think about the cross as a seed. So today I wanted us to dwell upon what it might mean for the cross to be a seed.

You all know, I’m sure, that a seed contains genetic information so that the plant’s genes can be carried on. So you could say that the seed tells the plant what it will become. Will it be a mighty tree or tiny shrub? The seed contains in it the shape of the plant that will grow.

In the same way, it may be helpful to think about the cross as the seed which contains the shape of the life that a Christian should lead. Let that idea permeate you for a moment. Think of the cross as a seed, which contains the shape that we should live our lives.

A lot of theologians have explained this idea but from another angle. They say that we should lead ‘cruciform’ or ‘cross-shaped’ lives. That the Christian life should be ‘cruciform’. Which, if you think about it, makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? In the same way that the cross was Jesus self-giving for everyone else, so should we be self-giving, in the same way that the cross was Jesus forgiving the world, so too should we forgive, and in the same way that the cross drew creation in through love, so too should we draw in with love. As the cross points too and glorifies God, so too should we point to and glorify God. And people living in that shape helps to create other people who live in that shape, that pattern, and they help to create others in that way, all echoing back to the cross.

Another way I’ve heard this phenomena described is like this; that the cross is like a song. A perfect song, better than any you’ve ever heard. You know when you get caught up in a song and you can’t help but stop and listen to the music, sway to the beat. Imagine the most beautiful piece of classical music or the catchiest bit of modern pop that has some words that resonate with you, either way, imagine a piece of music that goes round and round your head that you just can’t seem to shake, with beauty that touches your heart so you start to hum it to yourself. Then someone else hears you hum and, the song, this song, the cross, is so beautiful that they can’t help but join in. Then someone walking by overhears you both and they are just bowled over by the beauty of that song, that self-sacrificial song of love, that they can’t stop singing it too. Soon, the whole world is singing this same song.

Of course, we’re all human and we can’t play the song quite as beautifully or as perfectly as the original, but we can all try our best to stay in key, to keep the rhythm set by that original perfect melody. And sure, sometimes we miss a beat but we can stop and start again because this song, by admission of the artist was meant – it was designed – to be joined in with. Everyone was meant to join in this song.

So we’ve herd about the cross as a seed that had to fall so that it could grow again in all of us, we’ve heard about the cross as a song that spreads with beauty. But the thing about living a cruciform life, a ‘cross-shaped’ life, is that it’s hard. It’s hard to always give and give to others, it’s hard to draw people in with love, like I said, sooner or later we all fall out of step with the song, but also sometimes playing the song of the Cross hurts, it’s painful, like it was for Jesus. So how do we keep going?

Well Jesus addresses this, he has a conversation with God in which he says he’s worried about everything that is coming, but instead of asking God to stop the pain and make things easier, he asks God to glorify God’s name. To which God answers back and says “I have done and will do again.”

We get through the hard bits of living a cross shaped life by remembering it’s all about God, not about us. The cross was meant to be the example by which we live our lives. The shape that our lives should take is meant to be like the cross, but I know that some of you are going through some rough things right now. I live with you through some of that pain, many of you because you’re trying to do what we’ve said. Many of you are hurting today because you’re trying to care for others or because others are hurtful towards you because you’re trying to follow Jesus’ example on the cross.

I don’t have a way to make your life painless. I don’t have a way to take away the pain, but I can tell you that in all the pain, if we can focus on God and remind ourselves that we are a part of this great orchestra, that we are a part of this song, that we are growing in the shape set by the seed of the cross, then maybe we will be able to remember that God is with us in the pain. God suffered and he gets where you are right now, he gets how tired you are and maybe you just need to be reminded to step back and listen to the song. Listen to the beautiful song of the cross and find rest in it.

So what will you do in response to this, today? You are called to be a seed that grows in the shape of the cross, so what is that going to change? Is there someone you need to forgive, something you can give up for someone else? Is there some way you can glorify God with your life? Are you letting yourself be shaped by God’s song?

And if you’re struggling, may you be reminded that God who suffered death on the cross is with you, he’s calling you back in love to listen to his song, to take part and be given life by his death for you.

And in all the ways of your life may you form your life based around the shape of the cross, may you love others and give freely, as you have been freely given. Amen.

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