The aisles of the supermarket have replaced their ‘seasonal’ offerings with the annual ‘back to school’ clothing. And that is about as normal as the beginning of this new academic year is.
There are a great many people for whom this week and next are major milestones in the ongoing circumstances. Be they children and students returning to, or starting new, places of study in very new contexts. Be they teachers and staff at those places; be they parents, grandparents; wider friends and family. There is such a network of folk whose lives have changed to a greater or lesser degree by schools being closed for so long, and will now change again. Some things may be a relief! Many things may not be and will be missed.
Such is change. Wherever we experience it, it challenges us in a similar way. The trepidation of letting go of something known. The apprehension of stepping into something unknown, the joy of new discovery.
And change is tiring. It demands more of us because it draws on our very core as we learn about new surroundings – either physically or metaphorically. In these times we are all constantly being bombarded by change. And we are tired.
But we are not the first, and we can take inspiration from Jesus in how we handle change. In our Gospel readings this week (Luke 4:16-6:5) we have a number of passages that speak of the pressures of change. Jesus is counter-cultural in his preaching and in his actions. He brings change in his ministry, but also not a little upset. He is rejected by many and accepted by many. He calls the disciples to new horizons away from the lives they knew. When read as a whole you realise a gritty reality that actually this was not all plain sailing. But there was perseverance, faith, and a dollop of courage that saw it through.
In the middle of all this we find two passages where Jesus is described as taking time out. He does not just relentlessly keep going. In both cases he goes to ‘deserted places’. Indeed, Luke 5:15-16 reads, “But now more than ever the word of Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.”
Change does not have to feel like a backwards step or an unwanted move. If we allow the Spirit to guide us through these times we too will find that these times of uncertainty and apprehension can be a proving ground for new foundations that will bear much fruit. And yes, it is exhausting and draining.
Therefore, like Jesus, as important as the ‘doing’ is the ‘being’, and that means taking the time to rest, reflect and pray – recharge in other words. Make sure that you have time in your everyday ‘doings’ that gives you space to do just this. Rest, reflect and pray. And then respond. Allow your being to inform your doing.
As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”
OUR COMMUNITY WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Thursday Evening Zoom – 7:30pm – 3rd September
Join us on the link below for the regular Thursday evening prayer. This week we will include a short Bible study on Luke 5:1-11; the calling of the disciples.
Join Zoom Service at 7:30pm:
Meeting ID: 717 4519 2963
Sunday 6th September
A recorded talk and readings will be available on Sunday at https://twoshires.wordpress.com/sunday-service from mid-morning.
Our next live online Sunday service will be on September 13th.
Worship Sunday 6th September:
Holy Communion – 8am Forde Abbey (Rev Philip)
10am St Stephen’s, Winsham (Rev Judith)
Afternoon Worship – 4pm St John’s, Tatworth (Rev Philip)
The afternoon service at Tatworth is on the theme ‘Love your neighbour’ and will be service of Word and meditation.
It was really good to see so many people join us at Cricket Malherbie for the outdoor Benefice service last Sunday. What a wonderful morning we had. You can find a couple of photos courtesy of Jason Stevens on the website at https://twoshires.wordpress.com
Midweek Holy Communion:
Thursday 10th September 11am at Chaffcombe.
Wednesday 16th September 11am at Tatworth
Harvest Festival Season starts this month! Here are the times for the Harvest services:
Chaffcombe – 13th September 10am
Cricket Malherbie – 20th September 6:30pm
Tatworth – 20th September 10am
Winsham – 4th October 10am
Thorncombe – 11th October 4pm
Online – 11th October 11:30am
For the services in Churches, any items for decoration will need to be in church by the Wednesday or Thursday before the relevant service. It will not be possible for harvest offerings to be presented during the services, but it will be possible to leave offerings at church on the day.
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.
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, colleges and universities as they prepare for a new year. Children and staff returning to school, or starting in new education. Families of those making those preparations.
· Farmers during this harvest period.
· The village, hamlets, businesses and residences of Thorncombe Parish.
· 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; 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; Brian Griffiths.
· For the Bereaved – The family & friends of: Tony White and Val Joslin.
SCRIPTURE FOR THIS WEEK:
Wednesday 2 September – 1 Cor 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-end
Thursday 3 September – 1 Cor 3:18-end; Luke 5:1-11
Friday 4th September – 1 Cor 4:1-5; Luke 5:33-end
Saturday 5th September – 1 Cor 4:6-15; Luke 6:1-5
Sunday 6th September – Rom 13:8-end; Matt 18:15-20
Monday 7th September – 1 Cor 5:1-8; Luke 6:6-11
Tuesday 8th September – 1 Cor 6:1-11; Luke 6:12-19
Wednesday 9th September – 1 Cor 7:25-31; Luke 6:20-26
A PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
You have shown us, O Christ, that grace changes life,
that grace can turn the ordinary into the festive
and emptiness into fullness.
When we find ourselves in you, O Christ,
we find that we too are bearers of grace
and that we too can be part of changing the world.
Blessings to you all,