In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Eph 1:13- 14 ESV
This Sunday we will take time to remember stories. Our stories intertwined with those of people whom we love who have died in this last year. The reminder of All Saints Sunday is that our stories are all woven into this God story we embrace week by week. I am grateful that when we mourn there is a helpful beauty in doing so as a community. Take time to pause. To grieve. To remember. There is healing in mourning. Come on Sunday ready to grieve and hope together. And to remember those words ‘sealed’, ‘guarantee’, ‘inheritance’ and ‘possession’.
NOTE: Wherever you worship on Sunday there will be a time when we will ALL be lighting candles as we sing. So please make sure you have one to hand whether on zoom, or garden church or other!
And as we remember, and watch the year unfold and leaves turn red and fall, two more changes are heading our way.
CHANGE 1: MANY venues. ONE time.
Don’t forget from Nov 8 we will ALL meet at 11am: many venues, one time. You can sign up to go to a garden church or the chapel or perhaps you will zoom from home, a coffee shop, or a local park. Zoom will still be interactive. Readers and the prayers of the people will still be done by someone in their home. Much will look the same. BUT. MANY venues. ONE time.
And our lovely hospitality team are dreaming up so many ways for us to then hang out together for brunch/ lunch/picnic - watch out for more details and join in the fun!
CHANGE 2: When I’m away….
I hope you have picked up by now that Simon and I will be going on an extended trip to the UK Dec 26-Feb 26. This sabbatical is going to enable us to catch up with family, cuddle babies and exhale a little. And while we are away, our wonderful stalwart and enthusiastic team of Josie, Beth, Katie, Quauhtli and David will, led by the intrepid Amy, cover all bases. The vestry are also super-helpful and promise to quickly step in to help as needed. So you probably won’t even notice I’m gone - except (perhaps) for one small detail. Communion.
As a Deacon, the Rev. Katie can do nearly everything a Priest can do… except for baptise, absolve, bless or consecrate. And so, while I’m away she will be doing what is called the ‘Distribution of the elements’. So you will still have communion week by week. It will still be pre-consecrated. And many of the words of the service will remain unchanged. However, for those of you who are deeply curious as to what WILL be said have a look at this document which outlines that section of the service. On Nov 16 Katie is going to have a practice 'distribution' - and so although I will be present, she will follow the diaconal order of service. Listen up, cheer 'hoorah' and send her feedback afterwards! The diaconal service ends with the dismissal, but not the priestly blessing.
Is anything else changing atm?
As we come to the last couple of weeks of our series on Power - have you made any changes in your spiritual life or habits? Changes in the way you read scripture? What have you learned? Where do you see power differently in your own life, or those around us?
Or maybe you are experiencing changes in your job? Or family circumstances?
I would LOVE to read some more community reflections. Particularly as we consider power. Or perhaps a reflection on this past season of small groups? Or even a reflection on how zoom has changed your life - maybe even in good ways!
Send me a blog, a thought, a response THIS WEEK!
Always your pastor,
And finally - a lovely poem for this week’s read from a favorite anthology
Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must
take care of what has been
given. Brush her hair, help her
into her little coat, hold her hand,
especially when crossing a street. For, think,
what if you should lose her? Then you would be
sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness
would be yours. Take care, touch
her forehead that she feel herself not so
utterly alone. And smile, that she does not
altogether forget the world before the lesson.
Have patience in abundance. And do not
ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment
by herself, which is to say, possibly, again,
abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,
sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.
And amazing things can happen. And you may see,
as the two of you go
walking together in the morning light, how
little by little she relaxes; she looks about her;
she begins to grow.”
Oliver, Mary. Red Bird. Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2008.
And BONUS Two more books this week:
Rutledge, Fleming. The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ. 2017.
McCullough, Matthew. Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope. 2018.