Dear Friends of The Valley
I write as the sun is shining, birds are singing and the sky is blue and Mr Vicarage has been out and about in the garden. What a difference from last week! Lent began on Wednesday and we are now journeying towards Good Friday and Easter. Our Ashing service was very special and I am so pleased that it was helpful.
Thank you to all who took part, assisted and contributed. From a personal point of view, although I couldn’t see everyone on my mobile phone – it was a joy seeing your name come up as you joined. Many prayers for the Lenten season to those who couldn’t join in person.
A few people asked about the psalm sung so beautifully by Susan. Psalm 25:1-10 is traditionally sang on Ash Wednesday and is known as Ad te levavi and was the subject of a very informative and interesting sermon sent to me. I have attached it to the email today.
Climate Change Sunday
Climate Change Sunday is tomorrow as well as being the First in Lent. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible proclaims the value of God’s creation, God’s love for all that he created, and the importance of right relationships between God, humanity, and the entirety of the created order. If you would like to know more about all aspects of care for creation you can do no better than exploring this link and scrolling through. You will find all manner of articles, the theological basis for the care of creation, links to research, prayers and our own Bishop Olivia speaking about care for creation.
World Day of Prayer…
March 5th at 3pm via zoom. As always there will be an international theme. More unusually, not only are we joing with our Catholic friends but we are also linking with another Parish St Mary’s Richmond, Yorkshire.
Do put the date in your diary.
Love them or hate them? If you are in the former category and enjoy a questionnaire The Covid-19 & Church-21 survey is your opportunity to be part of this crucial research project from York St John University. It will take about 20 minutes of your time, which will enable you to give a thorough picture of your experiences and opinions.
Monday sees the PM updating the nation with regards to this third and what he promises to be final lockdown. On Friday myself, churchwardens and representatives will be meeting to consider the situation in relation to our churches. There is good news regarding the numbers both in West Berkshire and in the Valley but of course we need to see a sustained decrease and take note of further advice before as we look ahead.
Wednesday @ 7…
Wednesdays @ 7 is an opportunity to come and see and explore more. The zoom link is the usual one – all welcome! The Diocese is sending out a daily email with a reflection on the Apostles’ Creed – to sign up for it you need to email firstname.lastname@example.org We will be using some of the material on Wednesdays @ 7.
What shall I do with Lent ? A question I was recently asked by a friend who then went on to ask me what I was reading for Lent. I have two
Lenten books at present. Here is the first – the second I will leave till my next Thoughts. The Psalm on the Cross refers to psalm 22 which begins with the haunting words spoken by Jesus on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These words, written centuries previously would have been very familiar to Jesus the Jew.
• What did Jesus mean by this passionate pleading question?
• Did Jesus have the entire psalm in mind?
• Did God really forsake Jesus?
• Did Jesus die knowing that His mission was accomplished?
• How can Psalm 22 help us understand the heart and mind of Jesus?
Let’s give thanks for the good news of the Covid vaccines … COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. But this Lent, as we prepare for the good news of Easter, we have so much to be thankful for. Each vaccination taken up is an act of love for those around us. A way of showing our gratitude to all those that have made it possible. A sign of hope for the future.
When it comes to sharing the good news of the Covid vaccines, the best way to give hope to your neighbours is through a kind and constructive conversation. It’s as simple as H – O – P – E Here is our Bishop, Olivia sharing her thoughts:
A prayer for Creation Sunday
Creator God, giver of life,
You sustain the earth and direct the nations.
In this time of climate crisis grant us clarity
to hear the groaning of creation and the cries of the poor;
challenge us to change our lifestyles; guide our leaders to take courageous action;
enable your church to be a beacon of hope; and foster within us a renewed vision of
your purposes for your world; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
by and for whom all things were made. Amen
May God bless guide and protect you