Blessings and grace to all of you, wherever this reaches you.
After such a long period of hot and dry weather, August seems to have redressed the balance somewhat, and certainly in the last week or so we have experienced some dramatic climatic conditions to say the least.
My olive tree (the one that appeared in my online sermon a few weeks ago) sits in a large terracotta pot on the patio and yesterday afternoon, in a huge gust of wind, to it was blown clean over. Now, it is some effort for one person to lift that pot, so to see it lying on its side in a bed of broken pottery was yes, worrying, but also frankly quite amazing.
Quick trip to the garden centre and the tree is now repotted, and in fairness, we had been planning to repot it soon anyway. So now it is in fresh soil and a bigger pot, so with the exception of the cost of the pot, the net result is an improvement.
In stormy weather I am often reminded of Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ words when asked about how he copes in terrible conditions on his expeditions. He once said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”. And this is very true.
Whether we are facing storms of the meteorological kind, of the analogous kind, or even of the spiritual kind, the way to cope with them is to be properly equipped. In the case of the olive tree, even that wasn’t enough, but someone was there to pick it up and keep it safe.
In our faith lives we can do all can to meet the storms, and maybe even learn to embrace them for the awe and wonder they are. But the best bit is that even if things do seem to overwhelm, God is there to pick us up and fix the pot.
Here is a poem from R S Thomas which speaks of that awesomeness of God:
It is alive. It is you,
God. Looking out I can see
no death. The earth moves, the
sea moves, the wind goes
on its exuberant
journeys. Many creatures
reflect you, the flowers
your colour, the tides the precision
of your calculations. There
is nothing too ample
for you to overflow, nothing
so small that your workmanship
is not revealed. I listen
and it is you speaking.
I find the place where you lay
warm. At night, if I waken,
there are the sleepless conurbations
of the stars. The darkness
is the deepening shadow
of your presence; the silence a
process in the metabolism
of the being of love.
OUR COMMUNITY WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Thursday Evening Zoom – 7:30pm – 27th August – The Transfiguration
Join us on the link below for the regular Thursday evening worship. This week we will be praying Compline and thinking about Augustine.
Join Zoom Service at 7:30pm:
Meeting ID: 717 4519 2963
Sunday 30th August
The sermon and readings from the Benefice service at Cricket Malherbie will be available to listen to at https://twoshires.wordpress.com/sunday-service from Sunday morning.
Our next live online Sunday service will be on September 13th.
Worship Sunday 30th August:
Holy Communion – 8am St John’s, Tatworth
Outdoor Benefice Service – 10am, St Mary Magdalene, Cricket Malherbie. Please bring your own chair if you need to be seated. The service will take place in the churchyard. It will be an informal eucharist where we will share the bread together.
Midweek Holy Communion:
Wednesday 2nd September 11am at Cricket Malherbie.
Thursday 10th September 11am at Chaffcombe.
Harvest Festival Season starts in September! We hope to celebrate Harvest in each of the churches over the coming couple of months. So far I can confirm the following:
Chaffcombe – 10am Sunday 13th September
Cricket Malherbie – 6:30pm Sunday 20th September
Winsham – 10am Sunday 4th October (joint service with the URC)
All churches will continue to be open during the week for private individual prayer. To maintain safe quarantine times around Sunday services, to keep our buildings as safe as possible, prayer times will now be on Wednesdays or Thursdays as following:
Wednesdays – Tatworth, Cricket Malherbie & Thorncombe at 11am
Thursdays – Chaffcombe & Winsham at 11am
We are currently reviewing arrangements to see if we can extend opening times safely. Any changes will be communicated.
SAFETY & PROTECTION:
Thank you for the care and attention people have been showing in using the church buildings. It is greatly appreciated. There are no changes to report at this time, so please carry on doing what you have been doing!
FOR YOUR PRAYERS:
I invite you to hold the following in your prayers this week. As always, please do let me know of any additions or changes needed:
· Schools as they prepare for a new year. Children and staff returning to school, or starting in new education.
· Farmers as we move into harvest time.
· We pray for those we know who are sick, and those we don’t know, including those we are asked to pray by name for:
Bishop Peter Hancock; Hannah Knott; Rob Allen; Lynne Applegarth; Phyllis Baker; Margaret Bandy; Sue Bennett; Sue Cheese; Terry Conway; Nick Frankau; Paul Glazier; David Goodwill; Mike Heywood; Joy Howard; Ann Jarvis; Val Joslin; Mark Lindsey; Frank Long; Peter McHugh; Diana Rowlands; Ann Ricketts; Jim Tucker; Rosemary Walley; Rosemary Walton; Vivien Wheaton; Alan Wills, Anna Woodward; Pamala Young; Milly granddaughter of Jane & Alan Rudkin; Gillian Muggeridge; Chris Gould
· For the Bereaved – The family & friends of: Tony White.
SCRIPTURE FOR THIS WEEK:
Wed 26th August – 2 Thess 3:6-10; Matt 23:27-32
Thur 27th August – 1 Cor 1:1-9; Matt 24:42-end
Fri 28th August – 1 Cor 1:17-25; Matt 25:1-13
Sat 29th August – 1 Cor 1:26-end; Matt 25:14-30
Sun 30th August – Rom 12:9-end; Matt 16:21-end
Mon 31st August – 1 Cor 2:1-5; Luke 4:16-30
Tues 1 Sept – 1 Cor 2:10b-end; Luke 4:31-37
Wed 2 Sept – 1 Cor 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-end
A PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
You speak to us in all things, O God,
In the rising of the sun and its setting,
In dreams of the night and encounters of the day.
Let us know you in the whole of life,
In both the blessings and the betrayals of our lives.
Heal our hurts and open our hearts
That as families and nations we may be faithful to one another.
Blessings to you all,