Update for Forest Row for Sunday, 23rd June, 2024

Distinguishing the spirits

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

I John 4:6-13

In an age when the virtues of tolerance and open-mindedness seem more important than ever before, it can be perplexing to read that we should test the spirits, and exercise discrimination. Isn’t this just the kind of narrow-mindedness that we need to grow out of, as humanity?

However, the test may be rather different than what we think at first reading. To recognise that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is to recognise that this world with all its sufferings and glories is the place where the transformation of human lives and human experience is possible.

Taking this as our yardstick, we can distinguish two other spirits who make claims on us in this age: those that deny the world as a place of redemption, and seek to flee by returning to paradise, and those that deny the spirit and condemn us to live in a world of purely natural causes.

If we have this spiritual yardstick in our hands, we may make surprising discoveries: some who call themselves Christian dream of escape and deny the reality of this world with its potential for resurrection; some who call themselves atheists show through their deeds that they believe in the world’s redemption. The challenge for those who know both the name and the transforming power of Jesus Christ is not to feel that they are in the in-group of the ‘redeemed’; rather it is to try to find the language to allow that recognition to spread.

– Tom Ravetz

A final reminder- the weekend workshop on the Hierarchies starts this evening.

There will be a presentation abut the pottery which is on display in the Community Room on Sunday, 23rd June at 11.15am. More details about this inspiring project on the poster below.

The Act of Consecration of Man will be celebrated at 10am on Saint John’s Day, Monday, 24th June. There will be a festival celebration on Sunday, 30th June at 11.30am. More details in the poster below.

Please come and help at the House and Garden morning, Saturday, 23rd June 10am-noon.

Our new programme is being printed! You can see it online at the bottom of this email.

The lyre, which had gone missing from the children’s room, has been found. It had been tidied away to a place that its owner didn’t know about.

We are receiving a generous monthly donation from someone with a bank reference that we don’t understand. If you took out a new standing order towards the end of May, please get in touch with us so we can say thank you!

Tom Ravetz and Nataliia Shatna

Living with the Gospels

Jesus is approaching Jericho. What do you see, hear, smell? You might not know who you are at this stage or what your role is, but you are, with the others in the group, on the road to Jericho. And Jesus is approaching.

So begins Stepping into the Gospel of Luke, 18 35-43

Have you of heard of this Jesus? What have you heard? And if you have, what do you feel about his approaching, with a crowd, perhaps a somewhat motley crew all told. What are they doing? Can you make them out as they draw nearer? Is it obvious which one is Jesus, or not?

We are not just onlookers, we are, imaginatively, in this space, on the road to Jericho, coming or going. Or perhaps not moving, stationary, maybe even begging. Somebody sits bewildered, apprehensive amid the jostling and kerfuffle. The blind beggar. Is this your usual spot? What’s different about today?

The crowd is drawing closer, passing by. You ask ‘what is happening?’ What is happening? What sounds do they make? How do they impinge or affect you?

Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. You have clearly heard of him because you shout out: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.”

This is a description, report, summary, reflection, and introduction to Stepping into the Gospels, all rolled in to one, based on our first exploration and taster last Sunday afternoon.

We are not simply acting out the scene, but discovering it in the moment, and our place in it, at least in this iteration.

Because we are in the scene it starts to come alive for us, emotionally, imaginatively, in an embodied way. We are participants to whatever degree we are comfortable with or feel inspired or ‘called’ to be.

We build up the experience in layers. We can go back and focus on a particular moment or happening. We can tackle the whole scene if it unfolds that way and then go back again. Because there is structure in the text we are free to explore, ask questions and even suspend time as we do.

It is quite hard to describe what really happened on Sunday, you had to be there. Same for the Gospel writers perhaps. They have given us an opportunity to be there (whilst here at the same time). Given us. The opportunity.

Because one of our group is well-versed in New Testament Greek we knew the crowd was somehow different in flavour, in temperament, before and after the beggar received his sight. Those of us who were there actually felt this, with some awe and humility.

Likewise the double meaning in Greek of lookup/receive your sight. We used this as apart of a preparatory exercise, how it feels in our body looking down and then up and the transition between the two. It also makes you wonder if, when the beggar was brought to Jesus (how is he brought?) he went down on his knees and if when told, ‘look up/receive your sight’, the first thing he saw was the countenance of Christ?

What is the first thing we see when we receive our sight?

Come and see!

– Colin Brown


Support The Christian Community

To make a one off donation or to set up a monthly standing order, please use the account details below

Account Name: The Christian Community in Forest Row
Sort Code 30-92-92
Account Number: 00012363
Lloyds TSB, 1/3 London Road, East Grinstead
West Sussex RH19 1AH

If you are a UK Taxpayer, we can claim tax back on your donation if you fill in a gift aid form. You will find one here, which you can download and return to us (signed and scanned is fine)

You can also donate using PayPal, using a credit or debit card.

Find us

School Lane / Hartfield Road
Forest Row
East Sussex
RH18 5DZ

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Priests of the community: Tom Ravetz and Nataliia Shatna. Contact us on the church email or using the form below.

Gospel readings for 2023-24

Current programme


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