Church Services

Dear friends
I was walking the dogs yesterday very early in the morning and, as we made our way up a footpath, I saw a dragonfly (Golden-ringed) dart down the hedgerow in front of me.  Yellow and black and very large – you couldn’t really miss it.  In the early morning stillness you could even hear it, an audible rapid fluttering not dissimilar to the sound of a toy helicopter.  It landed about 20m ahead of me in the hedgerow and as I walked forwards I tried my best to keep my eye on the spot.  As I neared it, slightly telling myself off for not having taken my camera with me, I took out my phone with the intention of using the camera on that.  Of course, that meant looking at it to unlock it and open the camera ‘app’.  Only a few seconds at most, but enough to distract me from the exact spot I had been watching.  Not that it matters, I thought to myself, I’m looking for a 10cm long striped yellow and black insect sitting in an otherwise green hedge.  It will be obvious, surely. 
Except it wasn’t.  Experience tells me that anything closer than a couple of metres and you are really pushing your luck of it hanging around, and even then only if you are very quiet and still.  And I had two dogs.  And so, as I stood staring at the spot where I was convinced it was, and saw nothing, I swiftly came to the conclusion that it had gone.  I should have simply enjoyed watching it with my own eyes while I saw it.
Disappointed, I put my phone back in my pocket and started to move off.  At that moment the dragonfly took off from right in front of me.  It had been there all the time hidden, as they say, in plain sight.  
This Sunday we will hear the story of Mary and Martha, who Jesus visits.  Martha is busy and distracted by her tasks, and is frustrated that Mary does not help her, who instead simply sat next to Jesus and listened to Him  Jesus hears Martha’s complaint that Mary is not helping, but rather than admonish Mary, He instead points out that actually it is Mary that has recognised what is more important.  
We all will have experiences of things in the everyday that bring us moments of joy and through our own busyness as fast as they arrive they seem to be lost again.  Sometimes they will be significant and profound.  Sometimes it will be a glimpse, even just a fleeting perception in our subconscious.  Those moments are happening all the time, like the dragonfly.  How will you take notice and take the time to dwell in that place, and not be distracted so as to lose that focus?
A poem from R S Thomas which I used last Sunday in support of my sermon on the Good Samaritan:
Suddenly – R S Thomas; Later Poems, 1983
Suddenly after long silencehe has become voluble.He addresses me from a myriaddirections with the fluencyof water, the articulatenessof green leaves; and in the genes,too, the componentsof my existence. The rock,so long speechless, is the libraryof his poetry. He sings to mein the chain-saw, writeswith the surgeon’s handon the skin’s parchment messagesof healing. The weatheris his mind’s turbinedriving the earth’s bulk roundand around on its remedialjourney. I have no needto despair; as atsome second Pentecostof a Gentile, I listen to the thingsround me: weeds, stones, instruments,the machine itself, allspeaking to me in the vernacularof the purposes of One who is.
Services this Sunday (17th July), and next week
10am – Holy Communion – St John’s, Tatworth.  Rev’d Philip
10am – Family Service – St Stephen’s, Winsham.  Lay led
6:30pm – Service of Light – St Mary’s, Thorncombe.  Lay led
Wednesday 20th July – Holy Communion, 9:30am, St Mary’s Thorncombe.  Rev’d Philip
Please hold in your prayers those preparing for marriage; particularly Archie Cunningham and Laura Long, getting married in St Mary’s Thorncombe on Saturday 23rd July.
We remember those who we love but see no longer, and especially at this time Elsie Mason (funeral in St Mary Magdalene’s, Cricket Malherbie on Friday 15th at 1230pm); Vivienne Dalziel (funeral in St Mary’s Thorncombe on August 9th at 12pm); Lynne Applegarth (Memorial service later in the summer in Thorncombe); Tessa Thompson (thanksgiving service in St Michael’s, Chaffcombe, on 30th July) Rosemary Walton, funeral arrangements to be confirmed.    
Please also hold in your prayers all you know who are struggling in any way, in body, mind or spirit.  We are asked to pray by name for:
Dave Boyland; Terri Boyland; Sheila Clement; John and Wendy Cotton; Hannah Knott; Jan Knott; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Margaret Bandy; Dorothy White, Tony Meech, Di Nicholls, Hester Down, Stella Hutchison.
Post-Communion prayer:
Creator God,you made us all in your image:may we discern you in all that we see,and serve you in all that we do;through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
The Vicarage
3 Home Farm
TA20 2SH
01460 221286
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