Today the lectionary points us to Psalm 42 for our devotions. The hymn ‘As the deer pants for the water’ is based on the opening verses of this wonderful psalm, and the lyrics are below:
As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after You.
You alone are my hearts desire
and I long to worship You.
You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my. hearts desire
And I long to worship You.
I want You more than gold and silver
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy giver
And on You I can rely
You’re my friend and You are my brother
Even though You are the King
I love You more than any other
So much more than any thing
We have recently been hearing news of emerging vaccines to help combat the threat posed by the Covid-19 virus. It is for many a real ray of sunshine in gloomy times. As the weeks, months and, soon year, have passed we have all watched and waited expectantly for signs of abatement in the virus and glimmers that we might soon be able to return to the freedoms of life pre-pandemic. We pray and hope that those glimmers may now start to develop into a firm beacon heralding a new horizon beyond the current context.
We are now also in Advent. A period in our Christian lives that is about waiting and expectation. Psalm 42 speaks so well into that, and our experiences of these past months.
Spend some time with the words of the hymn above, or if you are able, search online for a recording of it to listen to. You may also like to see the psalm itself. It can be found here:
Then perhaps meditate on these questions:
Where do you feel yourself yearning for God?
How have you experienced God’s presence in your life?
What does the waiting and expectation of Advent mean to you?
CHURCH GATHERINGS IN DECEMBER
Since my last letter to you we have now had guidance from the Church of England on protocols for attending worship in, or outside of, our church buildings under the Tier system. In South Somerset and Dorset we are now in Tier 2. Prior to the second lockdown we were in Tier 1. In brief, for us, this means the following key points:
· Restrictions that we were already exercising in churches prior to Lockdown 2 continue.
· In addition – it is now mandatory that those attending church, either inside or outside, cannot interact or mingle (the Government use the word ‘interact’, the CofE use ‘mingle’) with people from outside their own household or social bubble.
· If we hold an outdoor service a written risk assessment must be completed where the gathering is more than 6 people.
· 2m social distancing is required between households and social bubbles at all times both inside and outside church buildings.
· Whilst congregational singing continues to be prohibited inside church, subject to the risk assessment above, we are now able to have congregational singing outside. This obviously brings a welcome opportunity in the Christmas period, and I have started to talk that through with the parishes.
Sunday 6th December
8am Forde Abbey – BCP Holy Communion (Rev Philip)
10am Winsham – Holy Communion (Rev Judith)
4pm Tatworth – Afternoon Worship (Mary Dewar)
Recordings of a Talk and the readings will be uploaded to access online.
Thursday 10th December
11am Midweek Holy Communion at Chaffcombe (Rev Philip)
Thursday Evening Zoom
Forthcoming Thursday Evening Zoom worship at 7:30pm:
Meeting ID: 761 0841 9112
3rd December – Advent Evening Prayer; Lights
10th December – Advent Evening Prayer; Christmas Cards
17th December – Advent Evening Prayer; Music
During Advent our Evening Prayer follows our theme of Comfort and Joy and we are using a special liturgy prepared by Rev Michelle.
All churches continue to be open during the week for an hour for private individual prayer.
Wednesdays – Tatworth, Cricket Malherbie & Thorncombe at 11am
Thursdays – Chaffcombe & Winsham at 11am
· That we see the comfort and joy that God brings through light in all its forms. Its warmth, welcome and illumination.
· That we receive the things that light shows up to us in openness, humility and honesty – remembering that light shows us both things that we want to see and don’t want to see.
· We pray for those who experience darkness, either physically or spiritually. We pray that they may know light in their lives and the comfort and joy that it brings.
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 and Bruce 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; Brian Turner; Diana Kershaw
We remember in our prayers those who we love and see no longer, and the families and friends of those bereaved:
Nick Besley; Robert Gibbs; Rob Purser
SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK
We are focusing on a specific bible passage each week for Advent.
This week it is Matthew 5:14-16:
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting.
Hold us all in your care,
And shine within us your gifts of comfort and joy. Amen.
With blessings for the week,