Thoughts from the Vicarage – 5

Dear Friends of The Valley

Good afternoon everyone! The week end is upon us as we take a moment to take a deep breath at the end of the first week of more stringent restrictions.

Virtual ‘stuff’ is blossoming – we live in curious times with quiz evenings on line, exercise sessions, workouts to step up your endorphins plus the encouragement of seeing others achieve amazing feats, not to mention all the home schooling sites.

Did you see the runner from Sidcup? Disappointed about not being able to run the marathon he ran 873 laps of his lawn – with a finishing line constructed by his son in toilet roll – brilliant! Anyone else out there with exercise stories??

And then of course there is the volunteering that’s been going on in all sorts of varied ways both nationally and locally in our Valley.

Following yesterday’s thoughts, Belinda church mouse received news from East Garston. I packed her off earlier and she says that all is well down the Valley with help and support available and organised.

From our correspondents in East Garston …

if you need help with shopping, getting medicines, or other essential errands, please contact Councillor Chris Tonge on 01488 648370 or email him at christopherjtonge@gmail.com who is coordinating help on behalf of the Parish Council. We have over 20 volunteers from all over the village who are willing to help you out with essential needs so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Please also contact Chris if you know of someone who needs help or if you yourself would like to volunteer to help.

Sunday worship … clocks and all that …

This week I’m suggesting we virtually gather here at https://www.oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-covid-19/livestream/ The service will take place at 10am on Sunday, 29 March by three of our bishops working together, each from their own homes (God willing).

There is also going to be an uplifting, yet thought provoking Songs of Praise on BBC 1 at 1.15 when Stephen Cottrell, our very own ex Bishop of Reading, is joining Aled Jones for some special thoughts related to these times along with pre-recorded hymn singing.

Do get your clocks all sorted so you don’t miss any of this – I know must of them are digital but there’s always one to catch you out! Mr Vicarage deals with those here at The Vicarage – mercifully.

Thought for The Day … on blocked paths

Or should I write Thoughts for the Day? I have two extremes! Firstly, and for all you Star Trek fans “One impossible thing at a time” Star Trek Picard as brilliant as ever.

More locally, but less Star Trek, we have Christine’s photographs and words.

You’ll remember the suggestion that we pray Psalm 23 at 11 o’clock each day – I’ve attached another copy here to help.

On one of her daily walks Christine took these super photos and added a reflection as she prayed psalm 23 somewhere in Lambourn …

So many blocked paths. ‘He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.’ Psalm 23 v3…

Thank you very much, Christine.

Browsing the Bible readings for Sunday Belinda church mouse wanted me to write a line or two… a homily. I know it’s a bit longer Belinda but you did ask.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 and John 11:1-45

These readings speak of God’s powerful presence and how it brings people, who seem beyond hope, back to life. It seems a very mixed message in this time of Covid-19, especially if we have near and dear ones who are poorly or have succumbed.

We are not asked to think that if we believe in God we will escape the ravages of the disease on earth. We are to think and to make decisions in order to save lives, our own and others, by doing what is best for us all.

However difficult we make things, God is present. God is not ‘socially distancing’ or ‘self-isolating.’ God doesn’t act as we might expect; but his presence with us is loving and powerful, breathing new life into us, into all creation. His presence always results in abundant life, new life, transformation.

And that doesn’t look like anything for which we’d hoped, nor does it happen when or how we might expect. But when we look back, often much later, we become aware of God’s fingerprints, God at work in the world, if we look hard enough in love and trust. Take a little time to sit and reflect; look back on your own life and think of those dark times which you’ve come through.

Where was God present in them? When did you first become aware of that? How did it change things? How were you changed? And finally, where is God at work here and now … Let’s thank God for His abiding presence and love for us mere mortals.

God bless you as you reflect.

And finally … for today

Think about the suggestion that inspired Christine on her walk – that we each pray Psalm 23 daily at 11 o’clock – it’s attached again for you to use. If anyone else feels inspired by Psalm 23 please do let me know.

Meanwhile, please stay home, stay safe and only leave home for the essentials. Let’s keep in touch with one another and with God, praying that we’ll find new ways of growing in love for one another through these times.

I’ll leave you with a final blessing upon the Lambourn Valley Benefice and pray that God will guard you, keep you safe, and inspire you today, tomorrow and always.

Julie

Click here for Sunday Readings March-May

Click on the following images to enlarge them.  They are the work of children in the school.