20:20 God

| Simon Bale | Vicar's Blog

I was browsing around the the web and stumbled across a website that has one purpose: to tell you “how many sleeps to Christmas”. No: I have no idea how or why I got there, but let’s not worry about that for now. My point is, why, during the end days of summer is anyone even bothered about that right now? Then I recalled the feeling as a child of the interminable Autumn term at school. Suddenly the summer holiday was over, the hard work had to begin again and Christmas was a distant and exciting destination. (It’s 119 as I write by the way.)

We’re all aware of the passage of time, and even if we don’t publicly acknowledge it, we all have a plan in our minds for what might happen next. Some of us are rushing headlong into the future because that’s what will inevitably rise up to meet us (so be ready!). Some are looking backwards never wanting to move on because it was all so lovely then and the future is scary (where are my rose-tinted spectacles now?). Others still sit in the eternal moment of now and just react to whatever happens (bring it on). It’s just easier that way, perhaps.

Most of us are some kind of mixture of those three types and more. We wander from past to future pretty unsure about even what has just happened and try to make sense of it all by having ideas about “going forward” and learning from what just happened. Yet still we can only wander in hope. Jesus (yes, him again) made a big thing about not fretting over the past or the future, pointing out that God guides, supports encourages and cares for us all as we move through time (or as time flows past us… perhaps). We have parables about lilies of the field, the kingdom growing from small things, foxes having holes in which to live and lots more about the “here and now”, and even though we know that, still we fret and regret. We speak of hindsight often as a negative or naive experience, that it’s all well and good pointing out the obvious, but that’s no good in how we face the still unknown future.

Navigating the passage of time is a tricky thing, and yet we shouldn’t give up on trying. We live our life forward, but understand it backwards: the discipleship of the rear view mirror. We stand on the fulcrum between the past and the future. We can analyse it all we like—mathematically, spiritually, emotionally, theologically—but we are no further forward. Perhaps what matters most is that we find some time to pause and consider that God is in this with us, gradually revealing to us and providing us with epiphanies of our own existence. There is a very helpful Buddhist aspect to Christianity (beware: heretic!). The moment when we empty ourselves of all our grief and fears is the moment when we can discern the desire that God has for us to know the whole of existence in a moment of realisation. Probably.

Happy Easter!


Covid Update

Given the significant rise in cases locally (not just among the clergy!), I think it is important that we reconsider the way we distribute communion. For the present time, until things settle down again, we will be reverting to the previous system of “priestly intinction” whereby the president offers an “intincted” wafer to communicants. Please do not feel obliged to receive the wine in this way. It is perfectly acceptable to receive only the bread: please let the president know.

Lyng Quiz Night: 1st Oct at 7pm

Get your thinking caps on for a fun flled quiz evening kindly hosted by Chris Barrington. Prize for the winning team. Followed by raffle. £10 per team of 4. In advance.

A Pop up Pub will also be available with a good selection of drinks on offer for a suggested donation.

Magazine

A prayer for Ukraine

Father of all,

We hold before you today the country of Ukraine and its people. We have no words to express the sadness we feel for them. We pray that your Holy Spirit will act to bring peace; that violence and brutality will have no place in its lands; that you will hold your people safe

Lord have Mercy

We pray that the people of your world will work together

To protect the poor and the afraid To heal the sick and the dying To free those oppressed and in prison We hold them all before you

Christ have Mercy

We hold before you those we know who are caught up in the situation. We pray for our armed forces. We pray for all those who stand for good in the face of evil. We pray for those hurting and grieving for their country. We hold them all in your love

And above all we pray for hope.

Lord have Mercy

Amen

Athelney Prayer

Almighty God, who made all things and sustains all things, we come together remembering the past and full of hope for the future.

We thank you for the part you call us to play in our Benefice's continuing story.

Lord, bind us more closely together and unite us in the work of your kingdom in our communities. Help us to draw on the gifts and talents in our midst and to use them in your service.

May we be a welcoming and loving community, united in worshipping you and open to your guiding Spirit.

Holy Spirit guide us and fill us with vision and energy; make us faithful in prayer and worship, that we may discover your way for the future and see your kingdom grow.

We ask these things in the name of your Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Amen

Trinity 13: September 11th 2022, Sunday following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II
The Collect

Merciful Father and Lord of all life, we praise you that we are made in your image and reflect your truth and light. We thank you for the life of our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, for the love she received from you and showed among us. Above all, we rejoice at your gracious promise to all your servants, living and departed, that we shall rise again at the coming of Christ. And we ask that in due time we may share with your servant Elizabeth that clearer vision promised to us in the same Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Lamentations 3.22-26, 31-33

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. For the Lord will not reject for ever.

Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

Corinthians 2:4.16-5.4

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

John 6.35-40

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’

Post-Communion

Father in Heaven, whose Church on earth is a sign of your heavenly peace, an image of the new and eternal Jerusalem: grant to us in the days of our pilgrimage that, fed with the living bread of heaven and united in the body of your Son, we may be the temple of your presence, the place of your glory on earth, and a sign of your peace in the world; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.