Thoughts from the Vicarage 80

Dear Friends of The Valley

Good afternoon on this beautiful, though admittedly somewhat chilly day! I hope you’ve had a good week. And with the sun shining thoughts turn to being outside once again as signs of Spring emerge from the darkness … unlike my Christmas Cactus which appears to be going backwards in time as it flowers for the second time in as many months!

This week the theme of the readings this week is Creation. Why not take a look at Proverbs 8:1, 22-31 where wisdom is seen playing alongside God as God creates the world. It’s a great poetic image – have a read! And here are a couple of ideas to go with it. Should you, plus any children, fancy a colouring session – very therapeutic – do use the attached reflective picture of Psalm 150. Print it off and colour it together as you think about creation.

And if you are out walking maybe pick up some things that remind you of creation – or take some photos. When you get back, arrange them on a ‘Creation Table’ at home, talk together about your favourite things in creation. Create a creation picture or collage or model from things you have around your home.

On the theme of creation I wonder if any of you took part in the RSPB Big Birdwatch last weekend ? Here, thanks to Mr Vicarage’s diligence the feeders were full and we had the usual variety of birds to count – ten different species in all despite the inclement weather. When I entered our results this struck me as a good site and not only for families! There are loads of great ideas and resources to help kids and families connect with nature, from simple activities they can do at home, to wild clubs, fun articles and family-friendly ideas.
https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/

With the vaccination programme well under way in our community this caught my eye and may appeal to those who would like to express their thankfulness and mindfulness of those places where vaccines will be scarce. As you receive the vaccine think about donating another one to UNICEF.

Sadly, the vaccination programme came too late for the over 100,000 who have sadly passed away. Bishop Olivia has echoed calls from the Archbishop of York and the Archbishop of Canterbury to join together at 6pm every day to pray for the nation.

Psalm 23

You can use the wording on page 3 to reflect on Psalm 23. It doesn’t have to be 6pm, and you don’t even have to have a faith – we are joining together in prayer as an act of love for our nation, and for each person in it.

Come and See

Chatting to people I find many of us searching for meaning. Meaning which I find in my faith and one to which Jesus gently responds saying, ‘come and see how this all fits together’. This is your invitation to Come and See – it’s an invitation to everyone, for everyone. Listen here to Olivia, our Bishop as she spoke on Radio Berkshire. Click on this link to find out more:
https://tinyurl.com/12vuo49c

On Wednesday evenings during Lent from we will be gathering together on Zoom to explore the deep questions of faith at this time – why not Come and See? All welcome or if you want to find out more please have a chat, ring, text or email me .

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the period when we prepare for Easter by thinking about where we are with God, and say sorry for the ways we have not quite got things right with him and think about how we may move forward in our walk with God.

In the Old Testament, people would often show how sorry they were by tearing their clothes and putting ash on their heads eg Esther 4:1; Job 42:6. In the Christian Church, it became the custom to use the first day of Lent as a time to focus on saying sorry to God, and to put ash on people’s heads as an external sign of their turning away from sin and turning back to God.

2021 Ash Wednesday

This year, Ash Wednesday is on February 17th when there will be a Zoom service with ashing at 6pm. Thank you to all those who have returned their Palm crosses. We now have ash ready to distribute early next week.

And an advert for Friends of our local Lambourn library! They’re will be holding a second online evening on Ash Wednesday at 7.15 when Pat Murphy, jockey, trainer and pundit will be in conversation with Ed James talking about his life with horses. Should be entertaining and give an insider’s view of the racing industry about which I’m trying to learn more!

And finally

Thank you to those of you who shared ‘God bless you cards’ – what an uplifting surprise they were!

Take care and stay safe, with prayerful best wishes for the week ahead

Julie

Psalm 23