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Living God's Love...

.is an invitation to journey

It's an opportunity to discover new things about God, ourselves and the world, to look with fresh eyes and explore new ways.

In particular, it is a call to the parishes, schools and people of the Diocese of St Albans to Go Deeper into God,Transform Communities and Make New Disciples.

Click here for current Mission Action Plan (MAP)

Blessed are the Peacemakers...

In the last edition I described my descent into Lazarus' tomb in Bethany while in the Holy Land in May. Four days later, I ascended one of the high places in Galilee. This was Mount Tabor, a dome­shaped mountain rising 1,500 feet above the plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon). It is possible to climb a steep footpath on the western face, but we pilgrims opted to go to the top by what we thought would be an easier way. We piled into assorted taxis, but then had the unnerving experience of being driven very fast up a road with 15 hairpin bends (our guide, Rami, remarked wryly, `seatbelts won't help you'!)

Mount Tabor has always been significant because of its strategic position and many battles have been fought at its foot in the plain. It is visited by pilgrims because it has traditionally been regarded as the site of Jesus' Transfiguration, when he became radiant in Glory. Gospel writers describe how Jesus and three of the disciples went to a mountain to pray. On the mountain, Jesus began to shine with bright rays of light. Moses and Elijah appeared next to him and he spoke with them. Jesus was then called `Son' by a voice in the sky, the voice of God the Father.

For the three disciples, Peter, John and James, this experience on the mountain confirmed what Jesus had taught them just a week before: that the Messiah must suffer, that his disciples must be prepared to suffer and that his suffering and theirs must be seen in the light of ultimate glory.

Mount Hermon is now thought to be a more likely location for the Transfiguration, but Tabor is the only mountain on which churches have been built to commemorate the event. The Franciscan Church on Mount Tabor is one of the largest in the Holy Land, a major achievement in view of the fact that all the building material had to be carried up to the top of the mountain. There are magnificent views from the summit and quite apart from the views, Tabor is surrounded in mystique and atmosphere. If you are on the main Tiberias to Afula road in the early morning, sometimes, and quite suddenly, low cloud hides the summit from sight just as described in the gospel story.

Later on the day of our visit to Mount Tabor (22 May), the terror attack took place in Manchester. We, heard the news the following morning. The sight of armed soldiers on the banks of the Jordan the previous day and the separation wall had brought home to us the long history of tension and violence in the Holy Land. Still, it was a shock to hear this desperate news of violence at home. Israelis and Arabs alike expressed their sympathy. The manager of our hotel asked me if I, or any of my fellow pilgrims, had connections with Manchester or knew anyone caught up in the bombing.

The day after we heard the news we were on another hill, the Mount of Beatitudes. As we looked over the Sea of Galilee from the beautiful landscaped gardens, the Sermon on the Mount had particular resonance for us as we recalled the words of Jesus:

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the peacemakers.- for they shall be called the children of God.

 

We pray for all those caught up in tragedy and disaster.

0 Lord our God,

source of all goodness and love,

accept the fervent prayers of your people;

in the multitude of your mercies look with compassion

upon all who turn to you for help;

for you are gracious, 0 lover of souls,

and to you we give glory,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Now and forever, Amen.

Frances Arnold

Details of the dates are in the calendar of events ("This Week") here on the website and in Church & Town. If you would like to know more about what is available for children or adults at Great Mary's, then do please contact us. Our contact details are HERE.  

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