Thoughts from the Vicarage – 9

Good afternoon Friends of The Valley and today an especially warm welcome to our new friends who have been added to our numbers. As I write I have a beautiful ringed dove returning time and time again to the rough ground outside my window foraging in the undergrowth for nesting material as she prepares for the cycle of rebirth and re-creation at this Spring time. The ground appears barren, unlikely to yield a great deal yet it will provide for new birth.

Concerning Cats and Books …

Many cat lovers within our readership responded to yesterday’s post about thinking outside the box. Correction, let’s be honest, the thinking was actually the love of the book and of their cats!

And here is Lewis in his box – just in case any of us are short of cat photos! I fear further photos of cats may have Belinda church mouse scampering into the great blue yonder so I will refrain today.

Out of the box onto the dance floor …

For aspiring Darcy Bussells, Margot Fonteyns or even Nuryevs amongst us. Did you see the silver swans ballet for the over 55s on the BBC this morning? This comes with a health warning, please be careful but wow what a good idea.

Belinda is just guffawing as she reminds me that, yes, once upon a time I did ballet classes! Seriously though core strength, keeping mobile and our balance all featured along with weight transference, ears being lifted up and plies!

Healthy and enjoyable! https://www.royalacademyofdance.org/silverswans/ We’ll be having dance in our churches – Whatever Next by Shirley Hughes for my bookish pals!

Out of the box … singing …

Christine and I are joining in at St Paul’s cathedral on Palm Sunday – that’s this coming Sunday and would love any singers out there *we know who you are* to join us. We’re going to sing 3 hymns Ride on, ride on in majesty, Glory be to Jesus, and Jesu, lover of my soul. It is quite simple and all you need is a phone. As usual, no compulsion, simply another way to worship God and join in with others, out of the box. https://www.stpauls.co.uk/worship-music/worship/choir-of-the-nation-join-our-hymn-flash-mob and ok Belinda you can join in as well!

News from Belinda church mouse – talking of kindness

For our new readers, Belinda church mouse moved here from Wokingham when my husband, Keith and I moved to the Valley. No longer a Town Mouse, Belinda is now a Country Mouse. Above, she is scrambling around on my book shelf. She brings news from our correspondents out and about … and today

The community response in all of our villages has been tremendous so far so thank you to all our readers who are supporting one another at this time. More help is needed in Lambourn village at the moment as there are a few roads which are still lacking a volunteer. They are Atherton Place, Big Lane, Folly Rd, Lynch Lane, Parsonage Place and Upper Lambourn Rd.

If you are able and willing to support one of these roads please get in touch via 01488 50 50 50 or email, volunteer@lambourn.org, or Hannah on 07807217807.

A word about support and help …

Do remember that if you are in need of help, you only have to ask. Link here to a list of people able to support https://lambourn.org/coronavirus-volunteer-help

Helen Knoll speaks about the support here in Lambourn here as, like myself, she was interviewed by Suzi Cairns of 4 Legs Radio.

Thought for The Day on being contemplative and exercise …

In Psalm 65 we hear the psalmist rejoicing ‘The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.’ The Wild Worshipper’s prayer yesterday inspired quite a few of you who asked where it came from. It is from a field guide that I’ve attached today. It’s a guide with a difference – let me know what you think!

Click here for Creative Prayer Idea Wild Worship Field Guide

The prayer yesterday spoke of contemplation, of exploring more deeply beyond these walls in which we are all now asked to remain. And taking my once a day exercise here in the Valley it struck me that we could use this field guide as well.
Almost everything it mentions we should be able to see in our beautiful landscape in the Valley. We may have to use ‘poetic license’ on the word mountain – but take a look, give it a try and let us know what you think! Even for those of us who aren’t able to get out and about why not try doing a bit of I Spy from your windows?

And finally … for today

A friend wrote to me this morning and shared with me thoughts upon our churches being closed. If you have passed by St James The Greater in Eastbury, All Saints in East Garston or St Michael & All Angels you will have seen the notice on the door along with Psalm 23 poster that we’re all recalling at 11 am each day. His thoughts led me to reflect and Without wishing to be egocentric I’ll share my thoughts, if I may.

This is a time of missing, however much we are thinking out of the box. My missing will be different to my neighbour’s missing, not better, not worse, just different.

I miss our churches, I miss you, my people for whom I was given the cure of souls by Steven, Bishop of Oxford and I miss leading you in word and sacrament. My prayer for us all today is that God breathes comfort into the hole left by the missing things whatever they may be for you. That we find comfort from that & from each other in all the ways still available to us. And we give thanks.

My friend who wrote earlier this morning was also reminded of a wonderful scene in the BBC film ” A Passion for Churches” by John Betjeman. It was when the priest is saying the Office (daily prayers) in church and Betjeman narrates,

… it doesn’t matter that there’s no one there, it doesn’t matter when they do not come. The villagers know the parson is praying for them in their church“.
We may not be in church presently, but that is what we’re doing here and now from our homes and you can be assured that ‘the parson’ is praying albeit in her own home as she joins with all your prayers across the Valley.

Please be assured of my thoughts and prayers at this time, please stay home, stay safe and only leave home for the essentials.

God guard you, keep you safe, and inspire you today, tomorrow and always,

Julie