Friday, December 30, 2011

My New Year Letter

The Rectory, Rookery Lane, Rushlake Green, Nr. Heathfield, TN21 9QJ
01435 830421 M:07812 054820 Y:07729 557835 (mobile reception poor at home) /

Friday 30th December 2011 AD

As I (Marc) failed to write a single Christmas card this year, and at the prompting of Mrs Lloyd, I thought I’d attempt a New Year letter. You’ll be pleased to hear that despite their undoubted brilliance, it won’t consist entirely of boasts about Jono (4), Abigail (1) and Matthew (0)’s many achievements. I’ll be blowing my own trumpet a little too!

Matthew Zechariah Richard Lloyd’s greatest achievement of the year so far was probably being born, weighing 8lbs 11oz at 15:32 on 23rd December. (There are some snaps on The Face Book). Apart from Our Lord, Matthew was the greatest Christmas present of all and is overshadowing much else, just at the moment. Both mother and baby are doing well and are considering venturing out of the house for the first time today. Daddy is rather exhausted but just about bearing up. I’m glad paternity leaves only lasts 2 weeks as I can’t possibly keep up with producing 3 meals a day and putting the dishwasher and washing machine on. Thank the Lord for the olds and out-laws!

We moved to the countryside last January and so far the natives have proved reasonably friendly for the most part. I think I’ve only really upset a few batches of locals a few times and clashed with The Rushlake Green Mafia once. It is true that “Sussex Won’t Be Drove”.

So all is going tolerably at Warbleton and Bodle Street Green parish churches as far as I can tell. They were stuffed to the gunnels at Christmas but there remains room for growth week by week, especially at Bodle Street. The plans to add Dallington parish church to my fiefdom are grinding on. “Like a Mighty Tortoise Moves The Church of God”. I’ve been doing a primary school assembly there every week which taxes my creativity. Please send ideas and outlines. Progress on my PhD has been similarly speedy.

Mrs Lloyd is enjoying being a more than full-time Mum, wife and unpaid Vicar’s help. Very much above and beyond the call of duty she has heroically launched The Little Warblers Toddler Group, which has been great. Some weeks there’s been a small band and lots of good chats; other weeks we’ve felt rather overrun with customers and in need of some extra helping hands.

Jono is very much enjoying Daisy Chain Nursery where he is learning all about the real meaning of Christmas: Santa! He’s not slow to correct them when they get something wrong! For much of the year he has inhabited the parallel universe of Octonauts (as Captain Barnacles) but just lately he has become Mike The Knight. All this produces great courage and heroism in his better moments.

Abigail continues to be a very live wire, in to everything and not to be left out.

Well, that’s more than enough of that. A very happy new year to you all. We’d love to get a boastful letter from you too! With our love and prayers and every blessing for 2012,

Marc, Yvonne, Jono, Abigail, Matthew, Caleb the Dog and Esther the Cat.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

God is love - dangerous talk

Someone who I don't think I've ever met commented on Twitter to someone else that some other people I've probably never met had said to him on his blog that it is dangerous to say that God is love because if you do you'll end up as some kind of dreadful liberal inclusivist universalist like Rob Bell.

Although the idea is refuted by its own absurdity, I thought I'd dignify it with a response here:

(1) You know you are in danger of losing the plot if Biblical language gives you the willies. 1 John 4:8. Enough said. Incidentally, this argument ought to make us realise that Baptism is a big deal too and much more than getting wet.

(2) Any statement is open to misunderstanding. Sure, if you are going to say God is love you must know who / what God you are talking about, what real love is (that it is jealous, for example) and indeed the nature of being and predication, along with everything else in the universe. Of course. What is is is a jolly good question. It is dangerous to say anything. We only know something completely if we know everything so we cannot totalise the statement "God is love". Or rather, if we said that properly we would say everything. We get in to deep waters whenever we say anything. Our speaking is always different from that of God the Word who spoke and created the world. For us, there is always more to be said. We always lisp. At our best we merely echo God's perfect speech. It is perfectly true that in some circumstances, God's love properly understood implies his wrath since the loving response to sin is holy anger.

(3) Yet, whilst we must not pit God's love againts his wrath and so on, God is love is a statement more proper to God than God is wrath. God's wrath is what we might call his strange, alien work. From all eternity, in His Very Self, the Father has loved the Son and the Son has loved the Father in the bond of the Holy Spirit. Where and when there was no sin there was no wrath. But there has always been love since The Triune God is Love in Himself. And that love overflows to the world. And, yes, love wins.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Parish / Church Magazine Ideas

I have the joyful opportunity and the regular responsibility of writing a page of A4 for our church / parish magazine every month. I've been at it for a year now. Here are some idea starters:

Recent or prospective events in:

the locality
e.g. the Sussex Marathon, the Heathfield Show, the shop up for sale

the church
e.g. mission plans, The Year of The Great Parish Visitation

amongst your family and friends
e.g. the birth of a new child, a friend emigrates

national life
e.g. the royal wedding, the Olympics

the media
e.g. what some rock star said, the death of a celebrity

something topical

the church year / feast & festivals
e.g. Valentine's Day

the secular calendar
e.g. New Year, Guy Falkes night

the seasons

a bible passge you've been reading

introduce or review a sermon series

summary, extract or overflow from a sermon

review or reccomend a book, film, play, ballet, opera, theatre production etc.

something from the blogs

something arising from occasional offices of weddings, funerals, baptisms etc.

say thank you, sorry or please about something

find something in a dictionary of quotations to agree or disagree with

write in the form of a diary, letter or notes (i.e. a number of paragraphs as mini articles)

Monday, October 10, 2011


The auido and PowerPoint from Glen Scrivener's excellent and engaging after-dinner talk on the King James Version given the other day at Bodle Street Green village hall the other day is now available on his blog.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Parish Magazine Item for November

From the Rectory

A reminder!

November is a month that reminds us to remember. On Remembrance Sunday we give thanks for all those who have laid down their lives in war in the cause of justice and freedom. And we also “remember, remember the 5th of November, gun-powder treason and plot.”

The Bible has lots to say about remembering, which is hardly surprising when we recall how forgetful we are. The word “remember” comes 166 times in the Bible and a further 75 times in various other forms.

For example, the preacher of the book of Ecclesiastes counsels us to:

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"” (12:1)

The Bible talks about God remembering and not remembering too:

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)

We’re repeatedly told that God remembers his covenant, the agreement he has made with his people. God makes promises and he keeps them. He alone is utterly trustworthy and reliable.

Yet God also promises:

“I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12)

Not, of course, that God is absent minded, as we so often are. Rather, God promises not to call to mind the sins of believers. Yes, he knows all about them, but he doesn’t relate to us on the basis of them. God forgives and “forgets”. He doesn’t hold our sins against us if we cast ourselves on his mercy.

That’s worth remembering.

Rev’d Marc Lloyd

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Acoustic Psalms

A good thing spotted on Facebook: Versions of a number of Psalms by the LORD and Matt Searles performed by Miriam Jones and a guitar. And proceeds to a good cause. (HT: RvdB)

Jesus and Legion

Commenting on Mark 5:1-20, Tom Wright says:

At the climax of Mark’s story Jesus himself will end up naked, isolated, outside the town among the tombs, shouting incomprehensible things as he is torn apart on the cross by the standard Roman torture, his flesh torn to ribbons by the small stones in the Roman lash. And that, Mark is saying, will be how the demons are dealt with. That is how healing takes place. Jesus is coming to share the plight of the people, to let the enemy do its worst to him, to take the full force of evil on himself and let the others go free.

(Mark for Everyone, pp56-57)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


As one who struggles with spelling, I appreciated this, pointed out by John Ross.

We'll begin with box; the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox is oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, and two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose is never called meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a house full of mice;
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
The plural of man is always men,
But the plural of pan is never pen.

If I speak of a foot, and you show me two feet,
And I give you a book, would a pair be beek?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't two booths be called beeth?

If the singular's this and the plural is these,
Should the plural of kiss be ever called keese?

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him;
But imagine the feminine... she, shis, and shim!

And on English pronounciation, Gerard Nolst Trenité's The Chaos (1922)

Or hear it read here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Wedding Sermon on 1 Corinthians 13

Love, love, love,
love, love, love,
love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

(You ought to be glad I didn’t sing that!
(Perhaps if we need to clear the building at the end!

Profound words!

It may not be the greatest poetry, but it’s true in a way.
Love is all you need.
Well, yes, all sorts of other things (like a house and a car and some money in the bank) would come in handy, ideally.
But all you really need is love.
But you better make sure that it’s real, true love.
Love as defined and described by our Bible reading.

We read:
“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.”

Often we have a superficial or sentimental view of love.
We confuse lust with love.

It’s easy to be in love on your wedding day.
Kathryn, you look stunning.
And, Andy, you’ve scrubbed up acceptably too.
But it’s much more challenging to love one another on a rainy Monday morning 20 years from now.
You may be shocked to wake up and find that the vision of loveliness you married, is not quite the same a couple of decades from now!
Time and gravity may have done their work.

It’s at times like that that we need to remember that love is more than a quickened heart-rate and a flow of blood.
Loving is not just about being in love.
Love isn’t just something that comes upon us, as our eyes meet across a field of bullocks – or however it was for you!
The Bible commands us to love.
Love is a commitment and a promise as well as a feeling and an emotion.
Love involves our decision and determination.
Today you’ll pledge yourselves to love one another come what may, whether you feel like it or not.
Make sure you work hard at loving one another.

We hope that your married life together will be one of unbroken bliss:
That everything will go from one degree of marvelousness to another, that each new day will be better than the last.
How wonderful it would be if 60 years from now you could truly say you were even more in love than on your wedding day.

But experience tells us that there may well be tough times, even in the best of marriages.
It’s then that your marriage vows really kick in.
You’ll have given your word to be there for one another for worse, sicker and poorer.

Real love is what you need then.
Love (real love) is all you need.

As we think about real love, all of, if we’re honest, know that we fall far short.
Only this morning, I was grumpy with Mrs Lloyd and the kids.
I was in my study, working on the graveyard regulations, and my 3 year old son came in wanting to shred some paper with me in my new shredder.
My response was less than ideal.
Not very patient or kind; a bit proud and rude and self-seeking and easily angered.
And there’s no way I’m telling you about the Vicar’s more serious sins!
But Mrs Lloyd could if she was so minded – which, thankfully, she isn’t!

If love is blind, marriage is certainly an eye-opener.
And you’ll know each other’s faults better than anyone.

All of us know there are times when we’re less than loving.
We all need God’s forgiveness and help.

The good news is that the Bible tells us that God is love.
If we replaced the word “love” in our Bible reading with the word “God” we wouldn’t have a bad description of God.

God is patient and kind.
He does not envy, nor boast.
God is not proud or rude or self-seeking or easily angered.
God does not keep a record of wrongs.
He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
God never fails.

The Bible says:
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Or again:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

God loves us, even though we’re not always terribly lovely.
And God never gives up on us.
His love and forgiveness are always freely available in Jesus.

Love is all you need.
God is love.
God is all you need!

We were made to know God, to love him and be loved by him.
Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him.
All of us are insufficient for the task of marriage.
But God’s grace is sufficient for us.
What’s impossible for us is possible with God.

Kathryn and Andy, my prayer for you is that you’ll both grow closer to God and to one another over the years.
God is like the apex of a triangle, with you as the base
 or the centre of a wheel with you as the spokes.
The closer to God you get, the closer you’ll be to one another.
The more you love God, the more you’ll love one another.

Andy and Kathryn, may you find God’s incomparable love to be all that you really need.
And may you love one another, within the unfailing love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Song of Songs Being Sung

Ideal for durring the signing of the registers at your wedding. Shall I set the choirs practicing?

HT: Ros Clarke



Lyrics to Dark I Am Yet Lovely :

Dark I am yet lovely as tents of Kedar
As the pavilions of Solomon either
Don’t hate me because the sun has darkened me
All my mother’s sons were so angry with me
They made me watch the vineyards
My own things I did not guard

On my bed at night I sought whom my soul loves
Oh I sought I sought but I found him not
So I ask U daughters of Jerusalem
Where is my love? Oh tell me have U seen him?

Majestic as Lebanon stately as cedars
His mouth so delicious his fragrance so pleases
Such is my beloved such is my darling
And if U see him say my heart is pining
For the kisses of his mouth and his flavours
Oh the king had brought me into his chambers
Say I delight in his love
Say he's the one my soul was

Vast floods can’t quench love no matter what love did
Rivers can’t drown love no matter where love's hid
So when U do find him out
Bring him to my mother's house
And into the chamber of her who conceived me
Then will he know me and then will he see me
Tell him that love isn’t done
Tell him don’t leave me alone

Next Bishop of Chichester

How you can be a part of it.

Among the various consultation processes there is a public meeting for anyone to come along on Wednesday 23rd November at 7.30pm to St Bartholomew’s Church, Ann Street, Brighton, BN1 4GP.

The email address for your submissions–