Thoughts from the Vicarage 33

Good morning – and what a beautiful sunny day it is here in the Valley. Just right because …

The Vicar is on Tour this afternoon … continuing next week?

• Armed with seats and cushions I will be setting up my seats and cushion today from 4 – 5 pm

You are welcome to come along for a chat, for prayer, for reflection and simply if you’d like company. No tea though I’m afraid!

Please share this – especially if you know someone who may welcome a conversation at this time? Many thanks

From our own numerous correspondents … & Belinda church mouse

Firstly – Are you missing Choral Evensong?

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If the answer to that is a resounding yes look no further than the latest piece of news from our Valley music correspondent based in Lambourn. Tune into a full service of virtual evensong here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X8FYAb3JK0 and the order of service is here https://www.therodolfusfoundation.org.uk/virtual-evensong

Introduced by The Revd Richard Coles in his own inimitable style who thanks not only Archbishop Thomas Cranmer for his greatest work The Book of Common Prayer but also Sir Thomas Berners-Lee founder of the world wide web!

For those of you who Tweet, you may have read that even Stephen Fry, a ‘godless heathen atheistical swine’ as he puts it, has tweeted about his involvement in the project. He read the Old Testament brilliantly and with such engagement – as per usual!

Alexander Armstrong appeared on Radio 4 Today’s programme yesterday along with Charlie Trueman, a choirboy who participated in the Virtual Evensong as a way of distracting himself from the ‘situation’ of his mother being in intensive care (she survived, thankfully). He caught my attention as he introduces one of my favourite anthems I Was Glad by Parry – sung at my installation here last July 31st!

It is a most wonderfully uplifting Evensong with helpful reflections throughout. I do hope that you enjoy it! And of course, you can listen at any time! Take it outside this afternoon and enjoy an hour of divine refreshment in the sunshine ?? and sing along – you will not be disappointed.

Secondly – Reflections from our Correspondents …any questions – any answers?

Thank you again for responding to the questions of last week – do keep them coming! Here are a few responses, anonymised, to the first three questions;

Where do you see hope in all this? a difficult question to answer, I know that all things pass and that we have to stay strong and positive … we will be closer to people in the village that we have seen on a more regular basis walking about… that more people will return to worship in church… that when this is all over we will all continue to be thoughtful and caring with our neighbours and friends… it’s lovely just going for a walk and meeting people you have never seen before and striking up a warm conversation.

Where do you see love in this?In the many acts of kindness going on everyday, they aren’t drawn to attention to and don’t need to be… the response of people giving to The Junction and foodbank, the volunteering of all kinds to help others … the wonderful work the doctors and nurses are doing… the way that people are helping each other.

Where do you see joy in this? a hard question… I have no good answer at the moment… all the time spent with my husband is a joy… being at home for such a long time without having to rush off anywhere… the sharing of good news more… whatever that has been, however small… living in this beautiful Valley.

Ascension Day is Tomorrow

‘Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus, whom you saw ascending into heaven, will return as you saw him go, alleluia.’

Ascension Day marks the end of the Easter Season and the beginning of preparation for the joy of Pentecost. It’s a key day in the life of the Church There will be a service 8.15pm on Thursday https://www.oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-covid-19/livestream/ and for those who would like to join me I will be praying the office of Compline after that service – time will be posted out tomorrow along with Zoom invite.

Ascension Day to Pentecost … An Invitation !

These two vivid moments in the churches calendar are rich with symbol and imagination … we’re inviting everyone to create images, photographs, artworks, sculptures even for adding them to our website. Be as creative and interpretive as you like – take a photo or bring it to the Vicarage for photographing, social distancing and alert, of course.

You may like reminding of the stories. The ascension of Jesus Luke 24:44-53 and The Coming of The Spirit – Acts 2:1-21

Thy Kingdom Come 2020 Ascension Day to Pentecost

‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is an initiative which has inspired people over the last five years to pray specifically in the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost.

Jesus spoke extensively about ‘the kingdom’ as an alternative way of living and being in the world.
God’s ways are spoken of prophetically and poetically – and often in the most surprising ways; those who felt they were last, were revealed to be first. The poor lifted up, the hungry filled with good things; and religious and imperial leaders confounded!

The initiative takes Jesus’ prayer as an incentive to see how God’s kingdom/reign can be prayed for, hoped for, and known in all the world. This year will be very different, but there is still plenty we can all do – and it would be really good if many of our Benefice family would get involved.

Here are some ways which may interest you

Prayer Journal – you may have used the ‘Novena’ in previous years, and this year’s is here. You can also download the Prayer Journal ready for Ascension Day online here It is called ‘The Father’s Love’ and sits neatly with The Lord’s Prayer. There is a short daily reading, reflection, prayer and action along with space to record your own thoughts should you wish. If you’d like a print versions for those unable to access email or internet please ask.

You could get that creativity going through words, craft, art etc – and we can share in an exhibition on the website and also when we get back together. If you would like to look at Thy Kingdom Come website https://www.thykingdomcome.global/) you can access videos, download podcasts and a prayer app.

And finally the Collect for Ascension Day

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens, so we in heart and mind may also ascend and with him continually dwell; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

God bless,

Julie