By Terry Milne for the 16th June

From the smallest of seeds, great bushes and trees will grow.

There is a story of a chief executive in a large firm who one day felt he had been too hard in driving his middle managers to do more and more without recognising the effects he was having on them or even saying thank you to them.  So he bought 3 ribbons and gave them to one of the more hard pressed managers saying ‘wear one ribbon as a thank you from me for all you have done and please pass on the two other ribbons to someone you want to thank’.  That manager did just the same, passing on one ribbon to someone and asking that they too would pass the final ribbon on.  The third person pondered on whether they should wear the ribbon or pass it on as well.  They had a teenage son who seemed very down at times and the man realised that maybe he had been too hard on his son so he decided to give the last ribbon too him as a mark of saying sorry for being too strict.  The son burst into tears and said to his father, ‘this very night I was so depressed that I was gong to take my own life – you have now saved my life’.

OK, an apocryphal story but it does show what Jesus is trying to put across in the parable of the mustard seed – small acts by us can have a wonderful and growing effect on far more than just a single person.  Smiles are infectious and also acts of kindness.  A small conversation with someone about our own faith in Jesus may lead to them exploring about him more and then passing that on to someone else – the Holy Spirit is at work.  So do not be afraid to talk about your faith – you never know what effect it will have in the end.

For the 23rd June By Rev Julie

On the 23rd June the Church commemorate Saint Alban. Alban, was the first martyr in the British Isles; he was put to death in St Albans c250. According to the story told by the Venerable Bede, Alban sheltered in his house a priest…whom Alban was so impressed at the priests teaching, he was converted to Christianity. Once the Romans got to find out, he was arrested and condemned to death. As he was led to the place of execution a miracle happened; the executioner was converted and could not go through with it!  But then another soldier picked up a sword and Alban lost his head. We don’t know what happened to the executioner, presumably the same fate?

The greatness of our love of God, must be tested, by the desire we have of suffering for his love” according to St Philip Neri. Our reading this Sunday from 2 Corinthians 6.1-13 commends ourselves in every way to be servants of God, through a whole series of sufferings: afflictions, hardships, calamities, bearings, imprisonments, riots, labours, even sleepless nights!  But that as followers of God we will be granted great endurance, and through enduring all things, our hearts will not be bitter but, instead, loving towards others, through patience, kindness, holiness, truthful speech and genuine love…all weapons of righteousness in both the left and right hand, to repel the enemy. 

St Alban, like many of the other martyrs that went before and who came after, believed that perfect charity was the way to live in harmony in this world, both, with our neighbour and ourselves. To be at peace and desire to be in Christ’s service, with open hearts and our last sentence of Corinthians goes further…open your heart wide! “I speak to you as to children – open wide your hearts, also”.