Dear Friends of The Valley
Good afternoon everyone and today an especially warm welcome to thirty or so new friends who have been added to our numbers. Belinda church mouse (who moved here from Wokingham when we moved to the Valley) believes this is all down to her as she has been up and down the valley spreading the word … you must excuse her she does tend to get overexcited when she’s been on the cheese. Back to business …
Sunday worship and logging on …
There has been a lot of positive feedback about the streamed service yesterday. Belinda church mouse caught up with Karen, one of our correspondents in East Garston, who sent back the message;
“Yesterday, I couldn’t log on for some reason to The Diocesan website for the 10 a.m. Service so I joined in via Bishop Steven’s Facebook page to view it that way. This medium has the added benefit that anyone can type in messages during the Service such as ‘Peace of the Lord’ at the appropriate point. If someone you are privately linked with on your own Facebook account also joins in, Facebook displays to you that they are doing so. It meant the absolute world to me yesterday that some-one I knew was watching with me and we shared a private message afterwards agreeing how special that was.” Why not try it out next week if you are a facebook user?
I’m wonder how many of you also watched Songs of Praise on BBC 1 when Stephen Cottrell, our very own ex Bishop of Reading joined the ever youthful Aled Jones for some special thoughts related to these times. I know I sang along quite a bit to those pre-recorded hymns. There was certainly plenty of hope and joy! If you missed it use this link to join with Bishop Stephen and Aled:
Faith in the lives of everyday people …
The Songs of Praise programme was an excellent reminder of how faith has played such a central part in the lives of so many. The World War 11 veteran Harry Billinge spoke most movingly in an almost matter of fact way of how his mates would often ask him for a prayer. And he quoted from the Book of Common Prayer, one which seemed especially apt for these days. (with a slight amendment) I’ll leave it here for you.
Fill us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
It was a beautiful moment as Harry sat with Aled on a bench overlooking the cemetery near Arromanches in France.
Thought for The Day … lifting eyes up to the hills …
Inspired by Christine’s walk yesterday I took words of Psalm 121 with me:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills …”
And as I later dropped off supplies down the Valley I stopped to look up again as I drove back up the Valley to the Vicarage …
… from where will my help come?
… my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth …
… the Lord will keep your going in and your coming out from this time on and for evermore.
And finally … for today
In the church’s year yesterday was the beginning of a journey to Holy Week known as Passiontide. We heard the Gospel story of Lazarus reminding us of the humanity of Jesus in the words ‘Jesus began to weep’. Have you begun to weep? Take heart, you are not alone.
We can take great comfort in the fact that Jesus weeps at the grave of his friend Lazarus because it shows the compassion and humanity of Jesus. God himself weeping with us as we weep, grieving with us as we grieve, standing with us in all that we face and must deal with. He is with us now sharing our feelings whatever they may be at this time.
And however you are feeling today, 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.