Dear allhttps://twoshires.wordpress.comIt has been a few weeks since I last wrote – Covid has been our unexpected post-Easter guest in the vicarage. As grim as it has been for a fortnight, I am all too aware how much worse it could have been, as it has been sadly for so many. A lost holiday and seeing family is a small price to pay in perspective. Perhaps the great theme of the Easter season, which we are in until 26th May, is summed up as ‘turning sorrow into joy’. Almost every story that we hear during this time carries this subplot. Easter itself of course is about Resurrection – new life – new beginnings – new possibilities, and during this season we are reminded that this needs to be the drumbeat of our own lives. Rubbish stuff happens. To all of us. Things cease to be, things go wrong, we struggle and we lament. Often there are no adequate answers. On Good Friday I led an hour of meditations at the Cross in Thorncombe and Winsham. As part of those I used a reflection from the Iona Community based on Jesus’ words spoken from the Cross. Here is an extract reflecting on Jesus’ words of ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ that when I first read it I just wanted to say ‘yes!’ ‘Lord Jesus, by your cry of desperate honesty, rid us of superficial faith which is afraid of the dark. Not so that we might be justified pessimists, but so that we might discover profound joy, give us, when we need it, the courage to doubt, to rage, to question, to rail against heaven until we know we are heard. We do not ask for easy answers to hard times; there are many who can offer these. We ask for a sense of your solidarity, that will be enough to let us know that we do not walk or cry alone; that will enable us to go through the dark and find light again in the morning.’ This Sunday we hear the story from The Acts of the Apostles of Peter travelling to Joppa and bringing a dead woman (Tabitha) back to life. He has just healed a paralysed man (Aeneas), commanding him to get up and pick up his bed. These acts of healing are very reminiscent of the works of Jesus, which we find so often in the Gospels. Now we are hearing about the Apostles continuing that work, all in the name of Jesus. It is not easy – in fact it’s really hard – and given the context, incredibly dangerous. But sorrow is being turned to joy. Both in those receiving the ministry, and in those delivering it. All of us will have things in our lives that deeply trouble us, worry us, hurt us. Things we wish were not there, and yet they are. Life in faith does not ask us to forget those things or pretend they are not there – or even make light of them. In fact it is quite the opposite. It is about owning it, embracing it, and in doing so seeking the solidarity with Jesus that is there and knowing that he too carries that weight with you, and in that place there is joy. SERVICES THIS SUNDAY (8 May): 8am – Holy Communion (BCP), St Stephen’s, Winsham – Rev’d Philip 10am – Morning Worship, St Mary’s, Thorncombe – Lay Team 10:30am – Holy Communion, St Michael’s, Chaffcombe – Rev’d Philip MIDWEEK: Wednesday 11th May – 11am Holy Communion, St John’s Tatworth. PRAYERS: Please hold the following people from our parishes in your prayers: Dave Boyland; Sheila Clement; John and Wendy Cotton; Hannah Knott; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Rosemary Walton; Margaret Bandy; Dorothy White, Tony Meech, Di Nicholls, Hester Down. In preparation for marriage: Alison Rixon and Philip Fletcher (Cricket Malherbie 7 May) Olivia Henry-Riley and Lee Goodland (Chaffcombe 28 May) Banns of Marriage: David Brown and Gemma Evans (Winsham) Katrina Herrod and Luke Edwards (Thorncombe) Alex Woodruff and Jonathan Vincent (Cricket Malherbie) Stephen Aston and Alexandra Trask (Tatworth) Emma Waldron and Alex Barbett (Winsham) In preparation for Baptism: Olivia Henry-Riley; Eli and Dulcie Goodland Edward Rendell Wilfred Morrison Blessings to you all Philip The Reverend Philip Butcher Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie) The Vicarage 3 Home Farm Tatworth Chard TA20 2SH 01460 221286 PASTORAL EMAILS – please to: firstname.lastname@example.org HOME PRAYER & WORSHIP:
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