1 Be joyful in God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; sing the glory of his praise.
2 Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great strength your enemies shall bow before you.
3 ‘All the earth shall worship you, sing to you, sing praise to your name.’
4 Come now and behold the works of God, how wonderful he is in his dealings with humankind.
5 He turned the sea into dry land; the river they passed through on foot; there we rejoiced in him.
6 In his might he rules for ever; his eyes keep watch over the nations; let no rebel rise up against him.
7 Bless our God, O you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard,
8 Who holds our souls in life and suffers not our feet to slip.
13 I will offer you fat burnt sacrifices with the smoke of rams; I will sacrifice oxen and goats.
14 Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.
15 I called out to him with my mouth and his praise was on my tongue.
16 If I had nursed evil in my heart, the Lord would not have heard me,
17 But in truth God has heard me; he has heeded the voice of my prayer.
18 Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer, nor withheld his loving mercy from me.
God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us
to eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
John 14: 15-21
”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
How many times and in how many ways does this passage tell us / the disciples that the Holy Spirit will come, that Jesus will appear to be taken away, but through that taking away he will be with us more closely than he ever was.
Jesus was trying to reassure his disciples, to explain to them what was going to happen, except it was something they couldn’t understand.
How do you explain the Holy Spirit to someone who has never experienced anything like it? Someone who has no concept of such a thing.
We are still in the Easter season, but as we come to the last few weeks, the church starts to look to the future, to what comes next. The Ascension and Pentecost. They go together in one sweeping movement like Good Friday and Easter Day, except further apart.
Going and returning, losing and regaining.
In the last 8 weeks we’ve been journeying through both the same, and the opposite. Many have (re)discovered gardening or a connection with nature while away from the demands and the pace of regular life. One of the top Google questions has become “How do I pray?”. For many the return to regular life will be leaving and losing a golden time of reconnecting with their soul. Cars are already getting back on the roads, public transport being re-instated and carrying more passengers again.
At this Rogation-tide, let's pray for the gardens, hedgerows and wildlife that have brought the hearts of many to asking about prayer. As we pray for deliverance from calamity, we pray that the world can leave behind the fear, the sickness, the dying, the isolation, but go forward from it, not back, never forgetting all that was good.
Please pray for:
- The Church:
Especially in our church leaders, to give them wisdom as they make the decisions about the return to worship.
For the role we may have in marking a return to normal in our communities and among our congregations.
That we will not forget how God has been in our lives during this time.
- The World:
For gardeners, farmers, allotment holders and those who care for those places around our boundaries where nature can thrive.
For those going back to work, that it will be a place of safety.
- The Sick:
Those who are lonely (or more lonely) because of lockdown and those who fear going out again.
All who are vulnerable and still can’t go out while others can.
- Give Thanks:
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us.
Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference
Lord God, you are always with me.
You are with me in the day and in the night.
You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill.
You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am worried.
Today I am feeling (name how you are feeling) because (reasons you are feeling this way).
Help me to remember that you love me and are with me in everything today.
May the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The weekend that wasn’t – reflecting on the 2020 Lady Bay Arts Trail.
I’m writing this message as a member of the Lady Bay Arts Trail team but also as the curator of Evanescent, a group show planned for All Hallows’ Church. I couldn’t have imagined just a few months ago that Lady Bay wouldn’t be abuzz this weekend - with members of the public going to see art in people’s homes, at the school, scout hut and the Church, Breckles Hall and Farr Hall. The long association between the Arts Trail and All Hallows’ is special to all on the team.
This weekend in May is usually one of excitement and energy, filled with happiness as people come together in a truly community minded event, to spend time talking, sharing and seeing the work of over 70 artists, professional and amateur, young and old.
It feels particularly poignant for me to reference this as Evanescent sadly isn’t happening. I had planned on bringing 12 artists into the church, from a range of backgrounds and styles, all joined by the sense of the fleeting and ephemeral in their work. The aim was to create a space for contemplation and respite for all visitors, to offer a moments calm while in the Church, a space that lends itself well to being somewhere warm and inviting.
The work presented was to feature installation, in the form of a light and sound filled Place of Sanctuary, aptly placed within the Sanctuary of the Church, painting, photography, sculpture and a specially created piece by a young artist, Emily.
Emily was to create an installation featuring words provided by the PCC around ideas of congregation and creating connections within the communities coming to the church. In this time of lockdown, the sentiment of this feels more relevant than ever.
The disappointment felt by all involved in the Arts Trail is tempered by the knowledge that we will come back stronger in 2021, using our experiences this year to create something special and celebratory across Lady Bay. I am pleased to say that all the artists in Evanescent have agreed to take part in 2021.
I have been blown away by the creativity shown across Lady Bay at this time, with rainbows, messages of support for key workers and more, brightening our time spent out walking. I hope that you all find solace in this creativity and in the communities we are lucky to have in Lady Bay. I look forward to a time when we can come together in celebration and happiness.