Many thanks to Fiona for reading the Gospel, to Alan for the song, to Gill for the All Age reflection, and to Revd Martin Winbolt-Lewis for a magnificent sermon at our virtual service this morning.
Martin looks at the parables about treasure and gets us thinking about what our treasures in life might be. Interestingly both the hymn and the song this morning are about treasure “High king of heaven, my treasure thou art”; who is also “my all in all”.
Martin encourages us to seek God’s kingdom first – this place where we are loved unconditionally … where God gives us space to grow … where we are empowered to be the most loving version of ourselves.
I am sorry to report that two parishioners Betty Swift and Mike Smith died earlier this week. Betty’s funeral will be in Church this Thursday. We think of Betty’s husband Peter and Mike’s wife Christine in our prayers.
I’m away on holiday later this week for a fortnight. I am extremely grateful to our preachers at this virtual service, Revd Bridget Hawkins and Revd John Binks, and to Revd Roger Smith from Bramhope Methodist Church for keeping the mid-week reflections going while I am away.
I am delighted that the Church will be open, initially for private prayer only, on Sundays from 16 August for two hours from 9.30 – 11.30am. We are meeting as a PCC this week to plan and approve the finer details of staged return to the Church building for acts of worship beginning in September, so watch this space for more detailed information next week.
I hope that you all get a chance to have a bit of a break in August. The following is a prayer that we can pray for one another for the week ahead:
May the God of glory, the end of our searching,
help us to lay aside all that prevents us from seeking the kingdom,
and to give all that we have to gain the pearl beyond all price. Amen.
All the best,
|Sunday 19 July Virtual Service Hello everyone.|
Thank you to Jonathan for this week’s sermon, to Joy for leading our intercessions, to Mark and John for reading the Epistle and Gospel, to Lesley and Charlotte for the song, and to Gill for the All Age reflection.
Our epistle today reminds us “If we hope for what we do not see, we wait with patience”. The parable of the wheat and the tares is again about patience, to leave the final outcomes to God. It reminds us that God plays the long game: this isn’t a world we can fix; it’s a world to work in until harvest time. In his sermon Jonathan encourages us to keep on travelling hopefully “in the way we should”, and not to keep God’s hopeful message to ourselves.
Please join me in singing the song “We will wait”. People have been a bit slow on the uptake thus far. If it helps to know that we won’t be showing the world a video of you singing it – we simply record your voice and showing a still image of all those participating. I hope that will make the idea less off putting and that this song something that will encourage us all as a congregation at what is a difficult time for us all as we come out of lockdown, to be patient and keep hopeful.
A blessing for the week ahead:
Lord of the harvest, make us fruitful in good works.
Help us to share in your salvation,
In the ingathering of your harvest.
All the best
Sunday 12 July Virtual Service
Our Church building is now open – at the earliest opportunity – for weddings and funerals.
As part of our phased return to the Church building the Church will be open for two hours on Sunday mornings from Sunday 16 August from 9.30-11.30am for private prayer. We have now received a dispensation from Bishop Nick giving us the time we need before we open the Church for public worship at the right time for us as a parish and we will of course let you know as soon as we have established when that will be.
In our virtual service this week we have a video from Bishop Nick to encourage us as parishes as we emerge from lockdown. You also have an invitation from me to join me in singing a hopeful song, “We will meet”, as we look to the future. The video clip clearly explains everything that you need to do if you would like to take part. Although we can’t have congregational singing in the Church building something we can do now, even if in a virtual way, is “give thanks and sing gladly”. I already know that it will sound wonderful because it will sound like us.
Our Gospel today is the parable of the sower, and the following prayer is the prayer used at the end of my sermon.
Living Presence, quiet and hidden,
sowing the seed within us in great hope,
may we not reject it through hardness of heart, but let it take root
so that we may be strong enough to bear with troubles,
discerning enough to resist the lures of security,
and patient enough to give the time for ripening,
to the good of others and to our own lasting joy.
We pray this after the pattern of Jesus and in the power of the Spirit. Amen.
From “Unfolding the Living Word” by Jim Cotter (Canterbury Press, 2012)
All the best
Listen to Tom reflect on his labyrinth he built in his garden and how you can think about your own life as a labyrinth.
“I found in him a resting place and he has made me glad”
This is the weekend we come out of lockdown as a nation. We give hearty thanks to God that this stage of the pandemic is over. The move out of lockdown is going to be difficult as many continue to self-isolate, to shield and to wait. Today we also give particular thanks for the NHS – which came into being on 5 July 1948 – and for its front line workers.
The words of the hymn “I heard the voice of Jesus say” speak to us at this time of emergence out of lockdown, wearied from the experience of lockdown itself and perhaps wearied at the thought of how to go back to routines and livelihoods safely.
To where we are and to how we are, glad of this new day or fearing it, we come to God as we are, perhaps “weary and worn and sad”. In this time which we now share may our brother Jesus befriend us and take up his invitation: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens”.
Jesus invites us to trust in his law of love: not a burden that crushes us, but a yoke that is easy, filling the hearts of those who live this law of love with joy. Let us accept his commandment to love in our families, our workplace, in this village community.
All the best
On Sunday 28th June we introduced some new characters to our Virtual Services especially for our Younger People.
Keep a look out for them.
This week is the Third Sunday after Trinity.
This is the Collect for today with the wonderful Trinitarian phrase “You have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father”:
‘Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father: give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that we and all your children may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen’
Thank you to Lesley for the band’s song choice “Peace perfect peace”. And to Gill for producing a new All Age format for reflecting on the key themes of our Gospel reading. This is a new venture so that our worship is accessible to all in our church family of whatever age, that there is “something for everyone”.
Next week we come out of lockdown as a nation. It is also the Sunday we would normally celebrate the work of the NHS so next week there will be a particular focus on giving thanks for the NHS and all who have enabled us all and as a nation to survive lockdown.
Jonathan’s sermon this morning is about waiting, a theme very appropriate at this time of coming out of lockdown when some will choose to continue to self-isolate and to shield others.
Our decision as a Church is not to re-open for private prayer for the time being, but we will keep you updated of any changes.
This week’s blessing is prefaced by a prayer by the Puritan Divine, Richard Baxter, appropriate for the theme of waiting: “Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth … in an affectionate walking with you …that when you come… we may be found waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God”.
All the best