REFLECTIONS and UPDATES on Corona virus

As of Monday 15th June the Parish church is open for Private Prayer - Monday to Friday 9.30am to 1.30pm - Please respect social distancing.

Wednesday 23rd September - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 20th September - Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this service.

 

Wednesday 16th September - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 13th September- Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this service - Part 2

 

Sunday 13th September- Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this service - Part 1

 

Wednesday 9th September - A service of Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 6th September- Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this service

 

Wednesday 2nd September - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 30th August - Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this service

 

Wednesday 26th August - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 23rd August - Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this service

 

Wednesday 19th August - Morning prayer

 

Sunday 16th August - Readings, sermon and intercessions

 

Wednesday 12th August - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 9th August - Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this mornings service.

 

Wednesday 5th August - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 2nd August - Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this mornings service.

 

Wednesday 29th July - Morning prayer service

 

Sunday 26th July - Readings, Sermon and Intercessions from this mornings service.

 

Wednesday 22nd July - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 19th July - Holy Communion

 

Wednesday 15th July - Morning Prayer service

 

Sunday 12th July - Holy Communion service

 

Wednesday 8th July - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 5th July - Holy Communion service

 

Wednesday 1st July - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 28th June - St Peter & St Paul Patronal festival service

 

Wednesday 24th June - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 21st June - A Service for Father's Day.

 

Wednesday 17th June - Morning Prayer

 

 

Sunday 14th June - Service

Wednesday 10th June - Service

Sunday 7th June - Trinity Sunday service

 

Wednesday 3rd June - Service

 

Sunday 31st May - A Service for Pentecost

 

Wednesday 27th May - Service

 

Sunday 24th May - Holy Communion service

 

Thursday 21st May - A Service for Ascension Day

 

Wednesday 20th May - Morning Prayer. For order of service click here.

 

Sunday 17th May - Service

 

Wednesday 13th May - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 10th May - Service

 

A Reflection for VE Day from the Rector

 

Wednesday 6th May - Morning Prayer

 

Sunday 3rd May - Service

 

Sunday 26th April - Service

 

Sunday club have been busy at home around Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter - see here

Sunday 19th April - Service

 

Change is Nothing New

Change has been part of the story of the parish church since the first stones were laid. It has also been, and continues to be, part of our story.

As with so many things, the re-ordering of the Parish Church has been put on hold until the present crisis is resolved. But one of the items that is sure to be discussed is the question of replacing the pews with new seating. Many are fond of the pews feeling they contribute to the character of the building. We will need to make a good case for their removal and replacement before a Faculty can be obtained. Well, you might not be surprised to learn that this will not be the first time that the replacement of pews has proved controversial.

In the 1870’s, the church looked like this:

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Large painted box pews filled the north and south sides, with galleries overhead. The Vicar, the Reverend Arthur Heigham did not approve of the arrangement and wanted to replace half of the box pews with new oak benches. A vestry meeting was held:

The Vicar, in opening the proceedings, said he would bring to the minds of those present the object of the meeting, and hoped that in doing so he should abstain from saying anything that was personal, as it was a matter which had nothing to do with likes and dislikes, but that the question of re-seating the parish church was now the question which should come before the meeting; and there was no getting over the fact that it was a most difficult question to deal with, as it was treading on vested rights. A great number of persons were of the opinion that because they had sat in a pew for a great number of years they ought not to be disturbed, on the principle that everyone’s house is his castle, and that this was a question which affects one’s rights. But he did not agree as to the vestment of one’s rights in a pew. There is a great force in it, but the subject must be approached with large hearts; and although some people disliked modern innovations, it must be considered what was good for the parish.

The Vicar continued:

It is not possible that people could read their bibles if it was their wish to make any difference between one person and another; everybody in the house of God should be alike. For instance a poor person should not be put into a cold place and the rich one into a good seat. The accommodation for the poor now is very bad indeed, and this must generally be admitted. Now, what are the facts? The front portion of the pews are occupied or allotted to persons who have been sitting there for a number of years, and behind them their servants are seated; and behind them who do we find but the poor.

There then followed a lively discussion:

Mr. Pettit wanted to know why the vicar wished to alter the old parish church where they had sat so long, and he did not see why the parishioners should allow the church to be pulled about and he found the proposal very objectionable.

Mr. Powell thought some motion should be made, and the question was whether it was desirable to make accommodation for the inhabitants generally, or whether people who could afford it should have the choice of seats.

Mr. Maul asked how it was proposed to defray the expense of re-seating the church if such a resolution was carried.

Well, the debate went on. The following Monday a poll was held resulting in 78 for the proposal and 93 against!

The good news is that the vicar eventually carried the day and new pews were installed on the north side. Some years later, his successor, the Reverend Charles Ottley delivered a sermon based on Is.6.2, where he urged an increased reverence for the house of God. As he drew to a close, he said this:

 “As in other places, the removal of high pews and dark galleries has done much towards promoting this reverence in the house of God, I congratulate myself and you on the fact that before next Sunday the unsightly pews on the south or river side of the church will be replaced by open benches as are already in use in that portion of the church nearest to the screen; and as in the wisdom of the churchwardens, with whom rests the duty of seating the parishioners in the parish church, the persons occupying pews or sittings on the south or river side of the church will, as far as possible, be accommodated in the position they occupy today. I venture to hope that the changes which will add so much to the beauty of this building, of which we are justly proud, and which will be a great step in doing away with the appearance of exclusiveness now existing, and obliterating the line that separates the rich from the poor, will be effected without one unpleasant word, nay more, that it will be welcomed and approved of, or at least acquiesced in by each and all.”

And so the church finally had its oak benches which have served congregations well for one hundred and forty years. I look forward to our discussions on their replacement!

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The workshop by the Iron Bridge where the oak pews were made.

As I said at the beginning, change has been part of the story of the parish church since the first stones were laid. It has also been, and continues to be, part of our story.

That first Easter, when Christ died upon the cross, everything changed. The temple curtain was torn in two. Humankind was no longer cut off from God. Sins were forgiven, we were reconciled. The day you received Christ into your life as Lord and Saviour, you began a process of change. As one Christian writer put it:

I am not what I should be, I am not what I would be, I am not what I will be. But, by the grace of God, neither am I what I once was”.

 To commit your life to following Jesus is to commit to a process of change. 

 

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

The process of change can be unwelcome, slow and often uncomfortable. But change is what God wants for us. For us to be changed into the likeness of Christ, to be imitators of his love.

The last few weeks have been a time of enforced change. We have had to change the way we communicate with, and support, one another, learn new ways of ‘being church’. Perhaps when we finally emerge from this crisis, we will find that this disruption in the old way of doing things will have brought into sharper focus those aspects of life, community and faith that are truly important. Now, those pews….

 

Mervyn

Friday 17th April - Reflection

Hi Pilgrims

The question asked is ‘If God is so loving then why have so many poor people died and are dying in such pain currently. What is his purpose?’

Thank you for this question and I’m sure that many others will be asking this too at the moment. There are several responses to this and to deal with the points raised means kicking off with a long answer since a one paragraph response won’t do justice for such an important question! The crux of this one is ‘if there is a good God then why does evil happen?’ Feel free to question and initiate a debate about any of what follows. Let’s explore together and in future my responses will hopefully be shorter!

The first thing to establish is that God isn’t a sadist who goes around indiscriminately inflicting pain and disease on people – the purpose being to teach them some sort of lesson?! No loving parent gives a nasty disease like malaria, tuberculosis, cancer or Covid 19 to their children with the purpose of ‘teaching them a lesson’ – even if the child has been naughty! Nor does a loving God visit us, his children, with diseases as a form of punishment. There is already enough pain and difficulty in the world as it is without anyone adding more.

Secondly, we live in what Christians call a ‘fallen world’. Human greed, the lust for power, pride, injustice, warfare and a disregard for others causes most of the suffering in the world. This can’t be blamed on God any more than the crime of a murderer in jail abroad can be blamed on you personally. Poverty often leads to disease and malnutrition and poverty is usually created by the sort of injustice and greed that God does not want – it is called ‘sin’.

Regarding the Corona virus we don’t yet know if it is a result of human activity. One theory is that it may have resulted from how livestock is treated in live markets. If this is the case then we could argue that human activity and disregard for hygiene and animal welfare is a possible cause. Others contend that the virus is something to do with a germ warfare laboratory in China. If so we cannot blame God. It is people, not God, who cause most of the suffering in the world.

Thirdly, disease and pandemics aren’t new phenomena. People died at young ages in history. They were very aware that we are not designed to be here on earth for ever. Our forebears recognised that life here was a preparation for an eternity with God. Faith and spirituality perhaps played a greater role in people’s lives in history than it does today.

People are very afraid of the unknown and of what does or doesn’t lie beyond this mortal life. The whole idea of dying, and how we die, perhaps terrifies more people today than it did in history. In those days people were used to pain, short lives and had a deeper faith in the God who redeems us for eternity when our earthly life is over.

Remember, many thousands die every day of starvation, the flu bug, malaria and other diseases across the globe. I read that today, as I type, 24,000 people will die of starvation. God cares deeply for them too and hates the wickedness of people which leads to others being deprived of justice and healthcare.

I suspect that historically, and elsewhere in the world today, many are more concerned with their eternal spiritual wellbeing than their short lived physical welfare.

Fourthly, as the Churches Together in Newport Pagnell short video tries to reveal, God is there helping here elsewhere in the world. God works through the hands and feet of all those who care for and medically treat others. God’s goodness works through you when you help others. God isn’t an abstract being in the sky who forces his way into the world. He connects with you when you choose to share and deliver His Kingdom and love to the world. God works through people like you who – when you let Him!

Fifthly, there are Christians who maintain that sickness and pain is caused by supernatural forces of evil because we are at spiritual war with the forces of darkness. Although the devil has been defeated by Jesus on the Cross some argue that Satan, in his retreat, causes a lot of ‘scorched earth’ damage. For example, the Nazis facing certain defeat in WW2 ,as they retreated from Russia, caused as much damage and pain as they could even though they were already beaten. Some Christians say that the pain around us today is the devil’s scorched earth policy!

The miscalculation of the enemy/devil is that pain brings us face to face with our mortality can draw us into seeking God’s help. Sometimes people start to pray more in the face of suffering and the spiritual side of our nature kicks into life.

Sixthly, for now, the battle against this virus is being won. Many more people recover from the virus than die from it despite all the tragedies that we see in the media. God gave us brains and the gift of science to learn how to defeat this hidden viral killer in our midst.

Finally, we can explore in future as to why God seems to allow some suffering even though He doesn’t initiate suffering?

However, we all will leave this earth one day – whether from old age, disease or a tragic accident. Let’s get ourselves right before God so that we can enjoy his presence more when this happens.

Christianity claims that God entered into this world as a person called Jesus who suffered too. God knows what it is like to experience hunger, injustice and an early grave. He is therefore not immune to our suffering. His death and resurrection reveals that suffering never triumphs in the end.

This all cost God dearly – He died that we may live for eternity – virus or no virus!

Nick Evans - Rector

 

Easter Monday - Reflection

A Reflection from Kimonie Nicholls

On Easter Sunday evening I enjoyed a livestream of The Big Easter Evensong which ended with that fantastic resurrection hymn, ‘Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son’. I will confess that it wasn’t the first time that I had sung those words in my living room on Easter Day. However, on this occasion it brought back memories of the 1980s when I enjoyed the Easter Monday pilgrimages to St. Albans’ Abbey when pilgrims from across the St. Albans diocese would gather for fellowship and worship, over spilling to outside the abbey. The worship would always include, ‘Thine be the glory’.

For me, singing that hymn with thousands of others really brought home those wonderful words, ‘endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won’. Jesus has conquered death through his resurrection and now will ‘make us more than conquerors’. This victory was for everyone. On Easter Evening I may have been sitting alone in my living room, but that sense of joining with others across the globe was there; in fact, this Easter hymn was led by a choir from Australia, proclaiming that same message.

No matter who we are, or where we are in this world, Covid-19 is affecting us all in varying degrees. Nevertheless, as we continue to isolate ourselves, worrying about the well-being of all who are currently suffering and those who care for them,  take time to reflect on the words of St. Paul in Romans 8:35-39 and then sing praises to the Lord, ‘Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son’.

 

Easter Day service.

An Easter message from CTNP

Happy Easter everyone.

Good Friday Reflection

INDIFFERENCE

By Rev Nick

When Jesus Came to Birmingham was written by an Anglican minister called Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy and he titled the poem ‘Indifference’. Kennedy served as a chaplain in the trenches of World War 1 where he was known as ‘Woodbine Willie’ because of his habit of giving Woodbine cigarettes to injured and dying soldiers.

The poem was written during the ‘great disillusionment of the 1920s. The British Empire was crumbling and the moral certainty of the Victorian era was being replaced by scepticism, cynicism and materialism. After 4 years of war the economy was in tatters and, except for a few privileged people, poverty was widespread.

Kennedy’s love for England and his church was challenged as he witnessed unemployment and a seeming disregard for the poor by the wealthy church and political establishment elites.

This indifference concerned him deeply and the term ‘Birmingham’ could be replaced by the name of any of the towns we live in.

Currently and understandably to an extent, many are thinking more about the Corona Virus than who God is and what he did for us all on the cross for eternity. Maybe Kennedy’s plea is to not let every concern in life overshadow our awareness of who God is and, by definition, how important God is in the scheme of things.

As C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘Either Jesus is who he said he is or he is a dangerous deceiver on the level of a man who says that he is a poached egg. There is no middle road about this.’ We cannot be indifferent about His claim. Jesus is either one thing or the other. If we are indifferent to Jesus’s claims about Himself then we do so at our peril. The choice is ours to make.

Here is what Kennedy wrote:

When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,

They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;

They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,

For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by.

They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;

For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,

They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do,’

And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;

The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary.

Maundy Thursday Eucharist service - Rev Nick Evans

Sunday Eucharist - 5th April 2020

Celebrating Palm Sunday tomorrow

John 12(NIV)

13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Tomorrow we come together to celebrate Palm Sunday.

Although we are a community at home, we need to celebrate and shout our ‘Hosanna’s’ together.

Whilst many of us have previous years’ palm crosses lying around the house, why don’t we make our own today, that we can wave tomorrow. It’s an easy thing to do.

All you need is some string/wool/a rubber band and any of the following;

  • 2 sticks
  • 2 knitting needles
  • a couple of wooden spoons
  • got a couple of cocktail sticks?
  • 2 pencils
  • etc etc

Now let’s get inventive and maybe post our efforts to share in our fellowship together

For the craftminded, you might like to paint a cross or prepare a stain-glass one  on see through paper like Harry’s. How are your bread making skills? Well the sky’s the limit as they say. 

The point is that we take something that we have around us (as did the crowd on the entry into Jerusalem) and make something of it to celebrate our Lord’s arrival in Jerusalem, singing our Hosannas as he comes.

Let us remember this occasion as the time when we were all apart but came together, offering what we had in celebration of Palm Sunday.  You can hold your crosses when you watch Nick’s service tomorrow (it should be posted by midday, technology allowing) and then maybe you can post an image of your cross in the comments section under the service.

Lynda Evans                                                       

Saturday 4th April - A Letter from the Rector - Holy Week.

HOLY WEEK REFLECTIONS

Hi Pilgrims

During the last few weeks many of us have had to learn a lot about electronic communication in a very short space of time. We are all at different levels of understanding and skill about what is possible on our computers and mobile phones. I think most would agree that currently electronic means of communication are a blessing that helps us keep in touch with each other.

Electronic communication can be used to further God’s Kingdom and spread information about God as we share local and diocesan church services and spiritual reflections electronically. So let’s use our electronics in the service of the Lord to help deepen our relationship with Him and each other!

Now Lent can be a sombre and reflective time since not everything in life is happy and jolly. Our lives are smeared with tragedies that we sometimes despair of making any sense of. Lent and Holy Week is a special time when we are encouraged face those difficult times we experience and to see where God is in it all.

So during Holy Week we shall be posting on line meditations on The Stations of the Cross, sometimes known as The Way of the Cross or the Way of Sorrows. There will be two illustrated reflections each day, starting on Palm Sunday with a final one on Easter Day.

The Stations of the Cross refers to a series of images which relate to the route Jesus walked through Jerusalem to the site of his crucifixion. Each image depicts something particular that happened along the way and helps us to focus on the enormous significance of what God did for us through Jesus.

These Stations have become a very popular Lent devotion for many Christian churches throughout the world such as within the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Roman Catholic and other churches.

Spend time pondering each image and reflection and try to see how any sadness in your life is mirrored and borne by God Himself in the person of Jesus – make the story your own story. This is especially since if you were the only person in the world then Christ would have suffered and died just for you.

Whatever pains and griefs we have endured in this life it helps us to know that Jesus has been there first and knows exactly what it is like.

The Stations of the Cross reveal that God doesn’t just sit in the sky being remote from our hardships. He came right down into the middle of us and took ALL of the punishments that we deserve.

Looking at the pictures and pondering the accompanying reflections brings us face to face with the awesome and loving person God really is.

Many thanks to Kimonie, Lynda, Beth and Olwen who have worked together to prepare the reflections for us all.

The reflections will be available on our Facebook page, Newport Pagnell Parish, and on our website www.npparish.org.uk.

If you do not use the internet but would like paper copies, let the parish office know and we will arrange paper copies to be delivered.

Don’t forget we also have a WhatsApp group so if you have a mobile phone and want to join the group, just text Moira on 07968585364.

Nick Evans – Rector of Newport Pagnell

Wednesday 1st April - Reflection from Mervyn Evans

The Shortest Sermon.

 


It was about twenty ago, in my airline days, that I found myself on layover in Seville. The day was open, and Seville Cathedral was close by the hotel, so a visit seemed in order.

The cathedral, built in the early sixteenth century is the largest cathedral in the world and the interior is elaborately decorated. My visit coincided with a Mass and so I took a seat and watched. There was all the ceremony and ritual you might imagine, processions, incense and ritual and, of course, it was all in Spanish. As the service progressed the priest gave a sermon, I had no idea what was being said until the very end when the Priest raised his arms in the air and said in a loud voice:

 

“Libre, Libre, Libre.”

 

Free, Free, Free. And that was enough. Over the intervening years I have sat through hundreds of sermons most of which have long since passed from memory. But those three words, Libre, Libre, Libre, have stayed with me. That word, Free, encapsulates so much of good news of the Gospel. Through Christ, we have been set free from the burden of sin. Free to become the person God intends us to be. Free to live and love and serve. Free in the knowledge that life, that precious gift of God, transcends death and that we are his people now and for all eternity.

 

if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

 

Free, Free, Free! Living in this period of uncertainty, confined to our homes, we long for a return to normality, for the freedom to carry on with our normal lives. Even so, as a parish we are already discovering new ways of being community, new ways of being the church. New ways of exploring what it means to be “free indeed”. The freedom Christ brings is not constrained by walls or frailty, it is a freedom of will and spirit, a freedom to follow where He leads, a freedom to serve. A freedom that also brings responsibilities.

 

Freely you have received; freely give. (Matt. 10:8)

 

And we give what we can. A kind word, a helping hand, a compassionate heart. Because that is what Christ wants for us, that is the people we are called to be.

 

 

A PRAYER OF ST AUGUSTINE

Lord, you are the light of the minds who know you.

The life of the souls who love you,

And the strength of the souls who serve you.

 

Help us to know you, that we may truly love you.

So to love you, that we may fully serve You.

 

Whose service is perfect freedom.

Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

And a well-known hymn:

https://youtu.be/9-QcrKkXpcg

Sunday Eucharist (29/3/20)

 

Saturday 28th March - Reflection

Out of the depths – a reflection on Psalm 130 from Karen Goff, a Licensed Lay Minister to the parish.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;

Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy. (Psalm 130:1-2)

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,

more than watchmen wait for the morning. (Psalm 130:5-6)

These words from Psalm 130, the Psalm set for Sunday’s principal service, could not be more appropriate in today’s current crisis. The Psalm opens with a desperate cry for help. The Psalmist feels separated from God and longs for God to listen to him and help him. There is a feeling of helplessness and the cry knows that God is the only hope.

Pictures of lorries carrying so many bodies to crematoriums in Italy shown on the news in the last few days and the daily news of increasing deaths across the world make us feel powerless, desperate and helpless.

Crying from the depths can feel like your insides are turning outward and your entire being groans audibly for the Lord to show help in your distress. Instead of remaining in despair the psalmist looks upward.

Psalm 130 is a Psalm of Ascent; one ascending from the depths of despair to a joyful confidence in the God of the gospel. The Psalms of Ascent were likely sung by pilgrims journeying up to worship in Jerusalem at annual festivals. As God’s people traversed the dirt roads and winding paths to the city, these psalms would fill their lips and act as prayers to tune their hearts for hope-filled worship.

The last four verses of this psalm mention hoping or waiting six times and I have a deep sense that this is what we are doing.

Waiting for the death rate to fall or a vaccine be found. And while we wait there has been such an outpouring of love and community whether it’s those working on the front line, local businesses delivering food or meals, local Covid-19 Response groups or the emotional clapping across the United Kingdom on Thursday evening.

We wait and hope for the Lord and hope in His Word because His Word confirms His character to us. The promises of His Word reveal that we can (and must!) hope in Him. This hope will start to dawn for us as a watchman awaits the sunrise, seeing a glimmer of light at the break of dawn and increasing more and more each moment he waits.

And so we begin Passiontide and Sunday’s gospel echoes the psalmist’s message. We experience the agony and helplessness of Mary and Martha on the death of their brother Lazarus but also the hope Jesus gives by raising Lazarus to life. Both events bringing to mind what Jesus is to face as we journey towards Easter.

This prayer was sent by email to Mothers Union members this week.

Prayer for a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home, remember those who have no work.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close, remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market, remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.

 

This song ‘Praise you in this storm’ by Casting Crowns says it all

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoqbKyeKOBI

Thursday 26th March - Reflection

A reflection on one of today’s lectionary readings, Hebrews 10:19-25.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25, NIVUK)

I am guessing that for most of us, one part of our daily routine that has not changed is the drawing back of the curtains each morning, the curtains drawn yesterday evening to block out a particularly cold night. Now have you ever thought about the significance of curtains in the Bible.

When Christ took his last breath on the cross a curtain was torn in two. From that moment humanity could see through the curtain. God was no longer hidden; he had revealed himself to us through His Son. In the passage from Hebrews 10, the writer refers to Christ’s body as a curtain that is drawn back, torn, to give us the opportunity to get to know God better, to draw closer to him. As we read further, we are encouraged to hold on to our faith, to support one another, and not to stop meeting together – a message as important today, as ever.

So, let us continue to encourage and support one another during these difficult times and to meet by ‘other means’, until that day when we will once again join to worship and praise God our Heavenly Father. Until then, remember that God keeps his promises and so whenever you draw back your curtains and look out at the street or garden, call out to Him in prayer, ‘Abba, Father…. ‘

Kimonie

Tuesday 24th March - Reflection

In just a week life (as we know it) has changed beyond recognition - but is that a bad thing? In recent days we have seen less of that endless rain and plenty of spring sunshine, along with the emerging signs of new life in our gardens.  It reminded me of Eleanor Porter’s character Pollyanna and her ‘Glad Game’; a game she was taught by her father to  find something to be glad about and grateful for in every situation, no matter how bleak it may have been. As we look around today, we may think that there is nothing to be glad about, but how that is not the case. We have a heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us. In the words of the twenty-third psalm, probably one of the best known, we are reminded that no matter what life hurls at us, our Lord will lead us through these uncertain times. So in the coming days, when we are social-distancing and self-isolating, look around you, think about how you’re making the most of this different way of life and, above all, think of something for which you can thank the Lord. ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul’ (Ps 23:1-2)

Kimonie

Mothering Sunday Eucharist service

March 21st - 

Fellow pilgrims

Clergy have been encouraged to offer Communion on behalf of the parish on Sundays even though at the present time public gatherings for worship have been suspended. One of the team will assist me with this offering. 

This will be recorded and put on the website and Facebook, hopefully by lunchtime tomorrow. 

For your reflection the Mothering Sunday readings are:

Exodus 2 vv 1-10

2 Corinthians 1 vv 3-7

John 19 vv 25-27

I shall miss you all being there!

The Bishop of Oxford and the Archbishop of Canterbury will be live streaming a service tomorrow morning so check your social media applications for this.

Nick

Today, March 20th, the church remembers Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne. A short account of his life can be found on YouTube.

 https://youtu.be/obqEJ3ixBTw

Almighty God, who called Cuthbert from following the flock to be a shepherd of your people: Mercifully grant that, as he sought in dangerous and remote places those who had erred and strayed from your ways, so we may seek the indifferent and the lost, and lead them back to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

19th March Reflection here