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September 2007 - Passion Flowers

Rev’d Geoff Wade.

Recently I was talking with a lovely lady and the topic got around to gardening (as it often does with me!), when I mentioned to her the story of my passion-flower; she thought this would make a good sermon – so here goes.

When we moved here, I was given a passion-flower for the Rectory garden that I was restoring. I planted it in a prominent position and fussed over it, and it did absolutely nothing! So eventually I dug it up and just stuck it in a corner under a huge (and very lovely) over-arching Rambling Rector, climbing rose and forgot about it.

Nearly three years later I was looking at the RR rose; after the glorious rush of flowers early in the summer, it looked quite sad and bedraggled. Then I noticed a splash of purple colour amongst the dead foliage; it was a single passion-flower. As I trod down the geraniums and lilies to get a closer look, I realised that the RR rose was full of passion-flower buds and since then there has been a succession of vivid coloured flowers, contrasting beautifully with the bedraggled rose. (There are now loads of little fruits trying desperately hard to ripen!).

Jesus spoke in parables so that the people around Him would associate His teachings with visual pictures (sheep/shepherds/fig-trees/etc); so here is the parable of the passion-flower….

God’s love is like a passion-flower that is planted in full sight of everyone and is going to be a huge focal-point in a splendid garden. But the plant does nothing – it doesn’t grow; it doesn’t flower. Eventually the gardener – in disgust – moves it to a quiet corner where nobody will see it and forgets about it. But here the plant flourishes and grows like mad; it pushes its way through the dense overhanging foliage and strikes out for the light above. In full-time the plant flowers with such splendour that it brightens a dark corner of the garden in such a way that not even the most talented gardener could have designed planned it; now people take a deliberate walk to find the passion-flower. Such is God’s love; it is a personal gift to each of us, to use and keep in our lives.

It should not be held on display, like some precious work of art, nor waved around under other people’s noses. God’s love is to be kept secure in our own lives, where it can quietly flourish and grow and enrich, until people around us, knowing that there is something different and beautiful in our lives, make a deliberate path to us, to find out what this wonder is, so that they might take a look at its beauty and perhaps take a cutting to plant in their own lives.

THE PASSION FLOWER is often used as a symbol of the Jesus’ suffering and a special meaning has been given to each part of it:

  1. The TEN PETALS are the TEN APOSTLES - Judas Iscariot and Peter being absent because Judas betrayed our Lord and Peter denied Him during His Passion.
  2. The RAYS within the flower are the CROWN OF THORNS.
  4. The THREE STYLES or STIGMAE are the THREE NAILS (or the Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
  5. The FILAMENTS signify the MULTITUDES, which greeted Christ on Palm Sunday.
  6. The LEAF, because of its shape, is the SPEAR.
  7. The TENDRILS signify the whips used on CHRIST.

Fr Geoff

From the Registers

21st July Joan Gould: ashes interred at Barrington.

28th July Matthew Bewley & Rebecca Chance: married at Puckington.

19th August Freya Marie Paul - Baptism at Shepton Beauchamp

Life in the 1500’s

A few facts about the 1500s…

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, in case they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, Don't throw the baby out with the bath-water.

Going on Holiday in the UK?

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Just a Thought

  1. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  2. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
  3. The sooner you fall behind the more time you have to catch up.
  4. How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand…
  5. If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving isn't for you.

Friends Of Manjushree

From Di Gallagher

Friends of Manjushree Vidyapith School & Orphanage (FMVSO)

Over the last year, through your support and generosity, FMVSO has been able to help to give a better life to deprived children of the Tawang region of north-east India. Over the next few months I will outline the situation as we first found it and then update you on what we have been able to achieve: so far your contribution has enabled vital improvements to the living conditions and education of the children at this School and Orphanage.

A bit of background: Lama Thupten Phunsok, a Buddhist monk, founded Manjushree in 1998 with the support of the Indian Army and the District Administration, HH the Dalai Lama and friends at home and abroad. At the beginning there were just 17 children. They were looked after and taught by Lama Thupten, assisted by Miss Kelsang who is still at the orphanage and sees herself as mother to the little ones and big sister to the older girls.

In October 2005 members of a small study group from UK, while visiting Tawang, were taken to visit Manjushree. They were inspired to set up a charity to support Lama Thupten’s work with the children. I was invited to return to the orphanage and was able to put together a full report establishing the worth and validity of the organisation.

Manjushree receives no financial aid. Lama Thupten is only able to provide for his large family through the generosity of the local community and organisations, and friends abroad. In its first year FMVSO has transferred over £18,000 which has helped to provide a home, education and family environment for 108 children; 80 orphans, 20 destitute and 8 with a physical handicap: these children’s prospects would otherwise have been very bleak. 25 day students also attend school free of charge; these children’s parents cannot afford to send them to the government school. More day students will be accepted when space allows. There are 7 teachers who are paid less than half the national teacher’s salary. They live in the orphanage. They are dedicated young people who are there because they care.

Buildings: When we visited October 2005 we were disturbed by the cramped living and classroom accommodation. The girls and teachers were fine in a new dormitory, most sleeping 2 to a bed and they had toilets and washing facilities with hot water. The boys, however, were sleeping in 2 small dark classrooms and their bathroom facilities were 2 squat loos and 2 cold taps. There were insufficient classrooms for the number of children; they were poorly equipped; ill-lit; in a bad state of repair. Classes were often held outside or in open sided shelters (in all weathers).

Education: Despite the limited facilities, the children receive an excellent education. Up to age 11 or 12 the children learn Maths, English, Hindi, Bhoti (Classical Tibetan), Science, Social Studies and General knowledge. They then move on to the local secondary school where they are often top students. Our concern now is for the further education needs of the children. Within the next 3 years, at least 10 children will be finishing their secondary education. FMVSO are committed to helping these children out into the world.

General Support: As well as education and accommodation costs, there needs to be a sustained income to feed and clothe the children. Funding for medical supplies, books and recreation equipment is also needed.

Finally: My sincere thanks for your continued interest and support. With your help we are making a difference and I will tell you more next month.

Di Gallagher.

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