I was walking my dogs this morning and as we made our way down a footpath near Chard Junction I was suddenly aware that we were walking on what was essentially a carpet of dropped acorns. The parent oaks lined the path, and their crop of acorns lay all around – in their thousands.
From my agricultural days I remember being taught that the English oak tree provides the most diverse habitat of all the native trees. It is home to literally thousands of creatures from the tiniest insects, to nests for birds, and drays for squirrels. The shade provides shelter for the woodland floor, and the fallen leaf matter helps mulch and nourish the soil. Even dead oaks provide invaluable habitat and I recall in woodland management classes about the importance of not clearing up all fallen timber.
And part of that great eco-system is the little acorn. Every-one of them has the potential to grow into a great majestic tree just like the one that dropped it. But the vast vast majority do not. But all of them are really important, because if it wasn’t for the multitude then the likelihood is that none might take root at all, and of course there is the myriad of other things that those acorns support.
We might see ourselves as those oak trees – planted and nurtured by God and called to herald the Kingdom of God around us. Perhaps spend some time during this period of extra space to reflect on this. What are those things that you support? Those things you shield? Even the cracks have purpose! And what is on the floor around you? How do you help that grow? And do not be disheartened by the many acorns that fall to be trampled – but rejoice in the one that roots; maybe in the most unlikely and unexpected of ways.
The opening verse of Evelyn Underhill’s poem ‘Immanence’:
I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord;
Not borne on morning wings
Of majesty; but I have set my feet
Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat
That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod—
There do I dwell, in weakness and in power;
Not broken or divided, said our God!
In your straight garden plot I come to flower;
About your porch my vine,
Meek, fruitful, doth entwine,
Waits, at the threshold, Love’s appointed hour.
For the period of Lockdown we are unable to hold any forms of gathered worship in churches, inside or outside. Therefore, for the time being, weekly worship will only be online.
Thursday 12th November:
Do join me for our weekly midweek evening service. This week we will be doing a Lectio Divina (a spiritual form of Bible study).
Meeting ID: 717 4519 2963
Sunday 15th November:
Live online service at 10am. We will share bread (remotely) at this service so please do have something available to you. The service will also be recorded so you can also access it as a video from about 1pm on Sunday.
Meeting ID: 758 0395 9453
Sunday 22nd November:
This will be a pre-recorded service and available from the 22nd at the above website. Reverend Judith will also be providing a text of her reflection on the readings for the day.
I thought there was something especially powerful about this year’s Remembrance Sunday events. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible to hold Acts of Remembrance at our Memorials at very short notice, and to everyone who came and helped mark Remembrance in a safe and dignified way.
Our online Remembrance will remain available at https://youtu.be/WVltNifUR50.
I will be on leave for a week from 16th November to 23rd November inclusive.
A charity close to my family’s heart is ‘Rethink Mental Illness’ and at the moment they are challenging people to, over the course of a month, ride 100 miles in any way they like. Michelle and I, supported by James and Florence, are undertaking this together and we have decided to go for 150miles during November using our exercise bike, which unfortunately seems to have quite an accurate computer attached to it. We are doing this in memory of my sister, Lulu, who as many of you know passed away from mental illness last year. It may not seem a big challenge – but believe me – for us it is!
If you would like to support us, then please do include us in your prayers, and you may also donate to Rethink here:
It is incredibly difficult to plan Christmas services and events this year. We are keeping various things in mind and will provide more detail when things are a bit clearer.
One thing that we can prepare for is having an outdoor ‘nativity’ theme display in each churchyard. This can then be somewhere that people in the villages can visit in their own time by way of mini-pilgrimage and maybe even bring a small gift for charity, as it were visiting the manger with a gift for Jesus. If you think you can help in preparing such a display then please can you contact either myself or one of the churchwardens and hopefully we can coordinate something!
All churches continue to be open during the week for an hour for private individual prayer. In line with new regulations during the lockdown this time is only for that use.
Wednesdays – Tatworth, Cricket Malherbie & Thorncombe at 11am
Thursdays – Chaffcombe & Winsham at 11am
FOR YOUR PRAYERS:
Prayers for the Nation
The Archbishops are encouraging people to stop at 6pm each day and pray for the nation. You can find specific prayers each day on the Church of England website (www.churchofengland.org) or pray in your own way! Churches are invited to ring a single bell at 6pm each day during lockdown where practicable and safe to do so.
· The parishes, benefices and people of the Ilminster Deanery.
· People in financial difficulty
· The hungry
We also 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; 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; Peter Hathway; Dorothy Down
SCRIPTURE FOR THE COMING FORTNIGHT
Wed 11 Nov – Titus 3:1-7; Luke 17:11-19
Thur 12 Nov – Philem 7-20; Luke 17:20-25
Fri 13 Nov – 2 John 4:9; Luke 17:26-end
Sat 14 Nov – 3 John 5-8; Luke 18:1-8
Sun 15 Nov – Zeph 1:7,12-end; Matt 25:14-30
Mon 16 Nov – Rev 1:1-4, 2:1-5; Luke 18:35-end
Tue 17 Nov – Rev 3:1-6, 14-end; Luke 19:1-10
Wed 18 Nov – Rev 4; Luke 19:11-28
Thur 19 Nov – Rev 5:1-10; Luke 19:41-44
Fri 20 Nov – Rev 10:8-end; Luke 19:45-end
Sat 21 Nov – Rev 11:4-12; Luke 20:27-40
Sun 22 Nov – Ezek 34:11-16, 20-24; Matt 25:31-end
Mon 23 Nov – Rev 14:1-5; Luke 21:1-4
Tue 24 Nov – Rev 14:14-19; Luke 21:5-11
Wed 25 Nov – Rev 15:1-4; Luke 21:12-19
A PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Collect for Christ the King (22 Nov 2020)
With every Blessing