Weekly comment from the Clergy

NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY - MESSAGE FROM THE REV'D CHARLES BOOTH

18th October 2020 

Grace, mercy and peace to you all.

The feast of St. Luke the Evangelist falls this Sunday and it looks as if we will be blessed with what is traditionally called St. Luke’s Little Summer, a short period of fine weather in mid October. We must make the most of it and indeed of anything that lifts the spirits as Winter darkness encroaches and life continues to be shadowed by Covid 19. St. Luke was a physician, and the Collect for his feast speaks of the gospel he proclaimed as wholesome medicine for the soul. It’s a quirk of the Calendar that this year his feast falls on a Sunday, but in the circumstances it’s a happy coincidence. Concern for public health is paramount and this extends to mental and spiritual wellbeing both of which are imperilled by our current predicament. Gospel means Good News and at the heart of this is the conviction that we cannot be separated from the love of God whatever trial or tribulation we face and that ultimately the love of God will prevail. It’s especially important in these times that we refocus ourselves on this central tenet of our faith both encouraging one another and mindful that a worshipping community abounding in hope can be the yeast that leavens what is otherwise some very flat dough around us.

Our Annual Parochial Meeting tomorrow will be brief but nevertheless it is an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for what we are currently able to accomplish. There is much that it is still not possible for us to do but we are clearly learning to live with current limitations and finding a way through them. Ingenuity is tested but is not found wanting. Forthcoming services of All Souls’ and Remembrance present challenges but they will take place as usual albeit adapted according to circumstances. The Commemoration of All Souls will take place on All Saints’ Day, Sunday 1st November at 4pm. Please either e mail or write to me with names for commemoration and, if possible, I would be grateful if the the number could be limited to no more than two names per person. Relatives of those for whom we have taken funerals or buried ashes will be specifically invited to the service. Depending on the response I may have to ask regular worshippers either to book a place at the service or, alternatively, introduce an opportunity for personal remembrance into the morning Eucharist. I hope you will understand that we musn’t exceed the numbers we can safely accommodate.

On the theme of safety it’s good that so many people now seem confident and at ease in church in spite of the ongoing situation. So it is very important that we continue to abide by the protocols and ensure that our churches remain safe and Covid free. In particular, at the Parish Eucharist, once seated in a particular place, it’s important to remain so unless pressing need dictates otherwise. And at the end of the service, to the liturgical instruction Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, should be added, but not until you are directed to do so by the churchwardens! It’s easy to revert to customary practice but with the number of infections rising it is especially important that we exit the building in an orderly and socially distanced manner. Fellowship after worship is such an important part of church life and it is good that it is missed by so many. Apart from zoom coffee mornings we haven’t found anything to compensate for it but perhaps St. Luke’s Little Summer will give us warmth as well as sun tomorrow and the opportunity to linger and talk a while outside.

God’s blessings be with you,

Charles Booth
 

PS. I’m grateful to Paul Farwell for providing this Kitty O’Meara poem which is very much of our times and entirely appropriate to St. Luke’s Day.

And the people stayed home. And read books,
and listened, and rested, and exercised, and
made art, and played games, and learned new
ways of being, and were still. And listened
more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed,
some danced. Some met their shadow. And the
people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And in the absence of
people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless,
and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people
Joined together again, they grieved their
losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new
images, and created new songs to live and heal
the earth fully, as they had been healed.


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