Good afternoon friends of the Valley and firstly to alert you to an error on this week’s prayer list. Christine’s mobile telephone number was wrong. Apologies. Her correct number is 07801 096345.
And here we are the day after Trinity Sunday and into what the church calls Ordinary time – when the church is dressed in predominantly green. The altar frontal is green as you can see in this photograph, along with the vestments of the priest and the pulpit fall. (the material that hangs down from the pulpit from where we preach).
In the church we have Seasonal colours that remind us where we are in the church’s year. This ordinary season is interspersed with other colours from time to time, white for Corpus Christi that we would have celebrated on Thursday and red for days when Martyrs are remembered. As the churches were closed on lockdown we left them in their purple colour – reflecting the season of Lent. The next time we will see purple, my favourite colour, will be Advent.
Private prayer … and an early night …
If, like Belinda churchmouse you went to bed early on Saturday you might have turned on the Radio 4 10 o’clock news bulletin. This was precisely what we did. Relaxed and putting aside my book I was jolted out of my relaxed state. The government announced (at 10pm on a Saturday night) that there was a possibility of churches being open from Monday week! Hang on, we’d been told, along with the rest of the population that July 4th was a likely date. A few tweets from the Twitterati appeared almost immediately at the inopportune timing and manner of this announcement.
Well, the good news is that, in the fulness of time our churches will each be open for private prayer. Christine and I are meeting with the church wardens to make sure we all move ahead safely as we open our churches. And, of course they will need some cleaning ahead of opening and I know that many of you are keen to get this going as soon as possible – thank you so much for your enthusiasm!
Time passing … in this lockdown world
and many of you will be ‘looking forward to being able to go quietly into church and simply ‘be’. These simple and yet deeply profound words are not mine but rather those of a lady I met in Lambourn High Street this morning. There has been a yearning, a longing voiced patiently by so many throughout these last 11 weeks.
And yet, it’s good news … but 11 weeks out of our lives …
that sense of being vulnerable, that uncertainty, that not having any answers is, for some, mighty challenging and for some tiring. The continual distancing of ourselves from one another, the loneliness and the not being able to hug, touch, lay a hand on someone’s arms as they cry is tough. And all those things that were there to ‘give us a lift’ simply aren’t there. Celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries. The ordinary of ‘life’ has been going on as normal in the midst of it all. It’s difficult not being able to look forward to … whatever it might be.
Now, we do have a looking forward as the churches are opened for private prayer. And even though life is up and down and sometimes it’s really rough, you are not alone. Remember that the Jesus who stepped out to calm the storm is with us in our storms, loving us and saying do not be afraid. Take heart and keep on keeping going – you are not alone.
The Offices …
The praying of Morning Prayer and Compline are ways in which some people find comfort, consolation and reassurance that God is with us, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. This morning’s new testament reading was the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37) and it posed a pertinent question for these times. Who is my neighbour? In the Great Commission, Matthew tells us that Jesus exhorts the disciples to ‘teach the people to obey everything I have commanded you.’ One of those commandments is to ‘Love your neighbour …’ When Jesus exhorts us to love our neighbour he means exactly that, and he doesn’t discriminate.
Here in the Lambourn Valley we are not immune to what is going on in the world outside, we are not immune to inequality. How will we use our voices whenever, wherever we see or hear inequality?
The Hospitality of Abraham
Some have asked me about Rublev’s icon which I shared on Saturday. There is a featured exhibition about this icon along with a commentary for you to enjoy as well as two other works of art related to the Trinity. It is part of The Visual Commentary on Scripture and can be found here.
Belinda churchmouse is ‘on tour ‘ …
We are back to our ‘normal’ afternoon times. Please do spread the word and of course all are welcome to share news, pray or simply chat. Only if the weather is extremely inclement will the Vicar remain in The Vicarage!
- Eastbury Tuesday June 9th 2.30 – 3.30
- Lambourn Wednesday June 10th 2.30 – 3.30
A prayer inspired by the Good Samaritan
Who is my neighbour?
Teach us, Lord,
to ask always who is most vulnerable,
who is most in need,
who ought to take priority
over our narrow self-interest?
To whom can we show your love
in our actions, our deeds,
and not just our words?
For whom should we care today?