Thoughts from the Vicarage – 8

Good afternoon Friends of The Valley and today an especially warm welcome to our new friends who have been added to our numbers.

Concerning Cats …

It has come to my notice that there are many cat lovers within our readership but hush my lips, I promise not to let Belinda church mouse hear that! This is a book I used to read to my children – you may well know of it yourself. Lots of cats all around the world do exciting things like fly aeroplanes or play the violin – but my cat likes to hide in boxes. And this refrain ‘but my cat likes to hide in boxes’ is repeated throughout the book.

So, here we have the Cat from France who likes to sing and dance … but my cat likes to hide in boxes … We are going through a time of crisis which is unique in our experience. The nature of the way we live and our whole social interaction is having to change. At this time when there is so much uncertainty and our lives are far from normal, we need to think “outside the box” unlike the cat who likes to hide in boxes.

So it strikes me that this may well be a time to keep looking outside the box!

It has been suggested and I think bears repeating, that if you normally go to a coffee morning or other group meeting, make a cup of coffee and phone one of the group you would have met there.

If you attend a club do something related to the activity you would have been doing there and connect with a friend to share your ideas.

If you would normally be attending a church service spend time in prayer, in reading something spiritual, in reading the Bible; or tune in to a streamed service or religious broadcast on TV or radio.

I’m sure we’re all making a start on this! Keep looking for imaginative ways of filling the gaps made by the restrictions on our social interaction and find new ways of keeping in touch and keeping ourselves occupied and interested and maintaining our spiritual lives and means of worship.

There’s no need to hide in boxes! Try and get “outside the box”, share your thoughts and ideas, this is an opportunity to explore new and different ways of enriching our lives, our relationships with God and with each other.

From Our Correspondent … about support

I’ve had a request from some Lambourn readers asking where can they go to for support as they are in the age range of self- isolating. The latest updates, especially for those of you not on Facebook are here https://lambourn.org/coronavirus-volunteer-help/

You will find volunteers listed by each street, a list of those who are making deliveries to our self isolaters plus a lot of other information. Its development has been a joint effort. You can hear Helen Knoll speaking about it here as, like me, she was interviewed by 4 Legs Radio

The community response in all of our villages has been tremendous. I am a very proud priest here in The Lambourn Valley Benefice! It is my privilege to be hear in this place serving at this time.

News from Belinda church mouse – talking of kindness

For our new readers, Belinda church mouse moved here from Wokingham when my husband and I moved to the Valley. No longer a Town Mouse, Belinda is now a Country Mouse. Here she is scrambling around on my book shelf. And here’s a selfie of the kindness of strangers when a very kind person dropped off a gift at The Vicarage door. It’s those little acts of kindness that are making such a difference to peoples’ lives – thank you!

Thought for The Day … on exercise and Psalms

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil.

Words by Gerald Manley Hopkins from the poem ‘God’s Grandeur’ Much of the teaching of Jesus was outside and was filled with metaphors, pictures and stories about the landscape in which he lived, moved and had his being.

As we saw yesterday with Psalm 121, creation in all its fullness has the most wonderful ability to help us mere mortals communicate with our creator God, to learn more of him – to feel at peace in his presence.

This prayer may speak to us as we take our daily hour of exercise exploring more deeply beyond these walls in which we are all now asked to remain.

A wild worshipper’s prayer
God of the wild and wonderful –
of arcing skies and minuscule, jewelled wings –
set my worship free to explore beyond these walls.
Re-ignite me, excite me and creatively delight me
as your word comes newly alive
through the colourful witness of your world.
Re-tune my senses, sharpen my mind
and quicken my spirit to your presence
as I look, hear, smell, touch and taste more of your goodness
and lead me out into greater adventures
of discovering you and caring for all you have made.

And finally … for today

Thank you for your kind responses, emails and telephone calls. Please don’t hesitate to ring me should the need so arise. No query too small!

Please be assured of my thoughts and prayers at this time, 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 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