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Wednesday 25 February 2015

Services this Sunday - 1st March 2015


8.00am      Holy Communion LC (JW)
9.00am      Holy Communion NW (JW)

10.00am    Café Sunday   LC (Lay)         
10.00am    Family Communion & Junior Church CH(JW)

6.00pm      Rock Solid  (age 10-18) CH(Lay)                              

Pew Sheet - 1st March 2015


May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
may the Lord rejoice in His works.
May my meditation be pleasing to Him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Psalm 104:31,34
Prayer

O God in this hour we pray.
We invite your presence.
What we know not, teach us,
What we see not, show us,
What we have not, give us,
What we are not make us,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent
Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness: grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen
Introduction
Lent is all about setting priorities and working out just how seriously our commitment to God really is. It is not a time for us to work out where we are going in life, or what decisions we need to take for our future. If we are serious about our faith then we have to allow our own priorities to be seen in the light of God's guidance.
This is very difficult, how do we know what God wants? If only it was so easy to understand the divine plan ! Yet from our reading today we do get a pointer in the right direction. Jesus tells the disciples the following
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
The message is clear. When we seek to make decisions and choices, Christians are not their own boss. If we seek to be faithful we will need to 'let go and let God.' This might seem to be a loss of freedom and personal sacrifice. It is. However it is only as we learn to put our personal ambitions under God's spotlight that we can ever really be free.
Readings for Today:     
Old Testament.   Genesis 17: 1-17, 15-16
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty ; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

New Testament Reading: Romans 4: 13- end

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Gospel Reading: Mark 8: 31- end

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels

Post Communion Prayer
Almighty God, you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Make sure your life is singing the same tune as your tongue. St. Augustine.

Most people live their lives as if God gave us 10 suggestions.

Belief is a truth in the mind. Faith is a fire in the heart. Joseph Newton
 A Devotional Service on
Palm Sunday
A Service of Choral Music, Readings and Hymns.
Featuring the music of
Byrd, Bach, Mozart and Walford-Davies.
St. Mary’s Church, Long Crendon,
6pm Sunday 29th March.
Everyone welcome, retiring collection.

 
Annual Parochial Church Meetings
Sunday  March 29th  11.00am   Chearsley
Sunday  April 26th    12.00pm   Long Crendon
Sunday  April 26th      6.00pm   Nether Winchendon

Meditation

Somebody once said that if we want to make God laugh all we need to do is to tell him our plans. The point being that our carefully formulated family and career paths seldom turn out the way the we hope or expect. Human efforts to gain power and control over our lives are constantly the source of disappointment. Life can seem so unfair, some couch potato smokes and drinks themselves into their 90’s, whilst the calorie conscious jogger has a brain haemorrhage. People invest thousands in the education of children who ‘drop-out,’ whilst other neglectful parents turn out fantastic young adults. Marriages of many years suddenly become only unhappy memories when the long trusted partner walks off with somebody else. So in Mark’s Gospel today Jesus cautions the disciples and us to be careful about what we plan for,

‘Those who want to save their life will loose it,
and those who loose their life for my sake will save it.’

If we try to be Lord of our own lives we will be faced with disappointment.The only way to realise fullness of life is to turn over our ambitions, our hopes and dreams to God. In a typical Gospel ambiguity, it is as we loose ourselves that we realise true fulfilment. Our human vision is too small, our plans not nearly as expansive as the ones which God has in store for us. Not one of us knows what life holds for us in the future, what fantastic amazing events and what terrible tragedies. Yet one thing is certain - the more we ‘let go and let God,’ the more freedom we will find and the more joy we will experience in this life of surprises.

God of tenderness and strength, under the shelter of your wings, the night harbours no terrors, only peaceful stars bearing promise. We praise you for giving refuge and for pointing us toward the stars. In peace we rest in your Presence; in strength we go forth into the world.


 

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Pancake Party Pics












 








Services this Sunday - 22nd February

Lent 1
8.00am      Holy Communion  LC(JW)
10.30am    Sung Eucharist     LC(JW)
12.00pm    Holy Baptism        LC(JW)
10.00am    Family Service    CH(AB)
5.00pm      Evensong             NW(RH)

Pew Sheet - February 22nd

They who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty:   Psalm 91:1
 
Visit us now in the centre of our life, O Christ. Hold firm among our frail holding to truth, stand tall when we would lower our life’s aspirations, speak boldly into our false assumptions and look us in the eye when we fool ourselves by pretending to do your will. Make transparent the wiles of those who would tempt us, calling us in voices of sweetness and reason while attempting to capture our very souls. Be with all those today who need your company in the wilderness of their lives.
Collect for the First Sunday of Lent
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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. Amen
Readings for Today:     
Old Testament.   Genesis 9: 8 -17
Introduction to the Epistle
In the New Testament reading, 1 Peter, we have a , hopeful message. He compares the water of the flood to the water of baptism. Although only eight were saved in the Flood, baptism brings salvation to all. Baptism is something which cleanses, not physical dirt but the soul. It is not that the water used at baptism has some special effect, it is effective because baptism is the way that we express our trust in Jesus and in what he has achieved for us. The writer of 1 Peter, perhaps the Apostle Peter himself or his disciples, knew clearly the condition of humankind, troubled in conscience. The gift of God in Christ was to release us from that inner conflict and set us free to serve God. Peter knew that in Jesus we had God’s reassurance of sin forgiven because Jesus had gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. There was therefore no power from whom the Christian need be troubled or afraid.
New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 3: 18 – end
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Introduction to the Gospel
The Gospel reading records an episode from the life of Jesus in which he is shown to battle with the enemy in that conflict which will eventually be determined by victory over sin and death on the cross. After the baptism of Jesus he is led away into the desert and the inner turmoil of the human condition is shown to take place in the life of Jesus also. Jesus is shown tempted, surrounded by wild beast and angels. Many people will be able to look inside their own souls and understand the imagery of beasts and angels, the good and the bad at war within our own spiritual nature. In placing Jesus with wild beasts in the wilderness, Mark is making an important point. Protection from wild beasts was considered a sign of God’s blessing, remember Daniel and the lions? Yet there is more than this, the episode has the message of paradise restored. Where Adam had failed, Jesus was now setting things right. The peaceful existence with wild animals, the service of angels, overcoming Satan, all form part of the new order which Jesus brings. No wonder Jesus is shown to speak the words ‘ The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 9 – 15
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
Post Communion Prayer
Lord God, you have renewed us with the living bread from heaven; by it you nourish our faith, increase our hope, and strengthen our love: teach us always to hunger for him who is the true and living bread, and enable us to live by every word that proceeds from out of your mouth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Meditation
At sometime in our lives each one of us has probably had one or more desert experiences - times of loneliness, disillusionment, emptiness, and spiritual dryness; times of change, decision, transition, and struggle. Times when we wonder what God’s calling, and our faith, are all about. Times when we seemingly have no other option but to wait until God’s direction for us begins to unfold. Jesus begins his ministry with exactly this experience. A time of loneliness, reflection, discernment, transition and struggle. Thankfully, the Spirit of God that accompanied Jesus in the wilderness accompanies each of us in our desert experiences too. And just as for Jesus, our desert experiences, however painful, can be a time of discovery and growth. A time that draws us into God's presence, offering us an opportunity to discern once again what it is that God is asking of us each in this short, earthly journey. A time, as Evelyn Underhill writes, ‘when we can have a secret correspondence of the soul.’
Father, into your hands I place my successes. Into your hands I also place my failures, and I pray that, through your spirit, I may face the challenges of life with courage and determination. Help me to think anew and see things more broadly than in terms of “success” and  “failure”. Lead me always to trust and place myself confidently in your hands.
Lent has traditionally been a time for fasting. In a culture of excess, the daily habits of excessive consumption dull us to the promptings of God and the needs of others. Fasting may be done in a variety of ways. Perhaps the following suggestions can help us get our focus right.
Fasting and Feasting
LENT should be more than a time for fasting. 
It should also be a joyous season of feasting.
Lent is a time to fast FROM certain things and to feast ON other things.
It is a season in which we should:
FAST from judging others; FEAST on the Christ within them
FAST from emphasis on differences; FEAST on the unity of life.
FAST from apparent darkness; FEAST on the reality of lights.
FAST from thoughts of illness; FEAST on the healing power of God.
FAST from words that pollute; FEAST on phrases that purify.
FAST from discontent; FEAST on gratitude.
FAST from anger; FEAST on patience.
FAST from pessimism; FEAST on optimism.
FAST from worry; FEAST on divine order. Trust in God.
FAST from complaining; FEAST on appreciation.
FAST from negatives; FEAST on affirmatives.
CaFé Sunday
Who?       A informal, relaxed and fun gathering for all ages,
                 for all the family and for the whole community.
                 Come when you can; go when you must.
Where?    In Church House, Long Crendon
When?    The first Sunday of every month from 10.00am.
How?       Easy breakfast is served.
                There are crafts and activities for children,
                 Food for Thought and informal chat for adults.
Why?       A new way of ‘being church’.
                Church is primarily about gathering with each other
                and with God.
 
 

Friday 13 February 2015

Pew Sheet - February 15th 2015

And a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" Mark 9
Pray 
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
I love thee, yet not with a perfect heart as I would;
I trust thee, yet not with my whole mind.
Accept my faith, my love, my longing to know and serve thee,
my trust in thy power to keep me.
What is cold, do thou kindle, what is lacking, do thou make up.
I wait thy blessing, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
 
Collect for the Sunday Next before Lent
Almighty Father,whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross: give us grace to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to suffer with him and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who is alive and reigns with you, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Readings for Today:     
Old Testament.   2 Kings 2: 1-12
New Testament Reading:   2 Corinthians 4: 3-6
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
Introduction
Christians are often referred to as Pilgrims. That is because the Christian life can be viewed as a journey. Christians believe that when we are done with this world we go to be with God, in a place which is regarded as our spiritual home.
Upon that journey we find times when we are full of hope and excitement, and other times when life seems hard and our faith is tested. In the passage from Mark today the disciples are given a glimpse of the majesty of God, it will make them feel great - but it has a much deeper purpose - it will serve to sustain them when times are hard. The Christian is therefore prepared in advance that the road may become rough and steep. It is at such times that we must remain even more firmly fixed on Jesus our Saviour
Gospel Reading Mark 9: 2-9
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
Post Communion Prayer
Holy God, we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ: may we who are partakers at his table reflect his life in word and deed, that all the world may know his power to change and save. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The Electoral Roll
If you worship regularly at one of our benefice churches or wish to sustain your link with the church and you are not on the Electoral Roll, please do fill out a form that can be found at the back of the Church.
Long Crendon : Churchyard Tidy
All hands on deck please for  February 21st   9.00am – 12.00ish
THIS WEDNESDAY :  February 18th ASH WEDNESDAY
Holy Communion 8.00pm at Nether Winchendon
This day marks the first day of Lent. At the service, ashes from last year’s Palm Crosses, which have been burnt, are gently put on the forehead in the sign of a cross (only for those who wish it). Ashes are a very ancient symbol of penitence. They also remind us of our mortality; that the end of our human journey is the dust of death.  We have all, in the words of the Prayer Book, ‘erred and strayed like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things we ought to have done and have done those things which we ought not to have done’. Penitence involves a ‘metanoia’ a change of heart and a turning again towards God in whom alone is our healing and our wholeness.
Prayer
Lord God, with Lent we approach the springtime of the year when the face of the earth is renewed and life emerges out of death.  We pray that this season may be a veritable springtime for our souls, so that our lives, quickened by the breath of the Spirit and warmed by the sunshine of your love, may bear abundant fruit and be made radiant with the beauty of holiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Come for a pancake….
in St. Nicholas’ Chearsley
Shrove Tuesday, 17th February 2-  3.00pm
Donations to The Children’s Society
Meditation
Lent is quite early this year. It seems only a few days since the children went back to school after Christmas, and we were still hoovering pine needles out of the carpets! With Ash Wednesday on 18th February, this is the last Sunday before Lent. We should be settling our hearts and minds on the days to follow, as we move towards Easter. The word Lent comes from an Anglo-Saxon word: 'lencten', meaning 'spring'. In England we are in that time of year when in Saxon times people started to appreciate the lengthening daylight.
This period has traditionally led up to baptism, a period of repentance and instruction, a time when those who had formerly worshipped pagan gods could make a very definite break with the past. Just as Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days, so Christians have used this time to embark on a period of spiritual exploration and hopefully growth. In the Benefice, we have extra events in Lent designed to help us grow closer to God in our hearts.
Commentary on the Gospel Reading
While the supernatural event witnessed by Peter, James and John was both wonderful and awe-inspiring, the event gathers real meaning from its position in the last few days before Jesus began His fateful journey to Jerusalem and the Cross.
Jesus’ status as the both human and divine is difficult for us to understand. It must have been hard for his friends to understand too. In the Transfiguration they were privileged to see Jesus in His Heavenly setting and to catch a glimpse of his destiny outside their time. The presence of great prophets of the past, Moses and Elijah, shows us that in God’s space, Heaven, the barriers of time do not exist. The limitations of this world and its physical laws and logic do not matter either. In Heaven there is only love and one-ness with God. This glorious revelation was granted to these three men, as they watched their friend on the mountain top. They didn’t know what to make of it. But the Transfiguration, which linked Jesus to His Heavenly destination must have sustained Jesus in His last painful, humiliating hours as a man, and it must have given his loving friends hope in the darkness of their disillusion and despair. This glimpse of the Reality beyond ours should also give us hope and sustain us through the dark times.
Glorious God, give me grace to amend my life and to have an eye to mine end without grudge of death, which to them that die in thee, good Lord, is the fate of a wealthy life. Give me, good Lord, a full faith, a firm hope and a fervent charity, a love to thee incomparable above the love to myself. Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with thee, not for the avoiding of the calamities of this world, nor so much for the attaining of the joys of heaven, as for the very love of thee. (Sir Thomas More 1478 – 1535
 
 

Monday 9 February 2015

Services this Sunday - 15th February

Next Before Lent or Quinquagesima

8.00am      Holy Communion          LC (JW)
9.00am      Holy Communion          CH (JW)
10.00am    Family Communion       NW (JW)
10.30am    Family Service              LC (RC)
12.00pm    Holy Baptism                CH (JW)
3.00pm      Holy Baptism                CH (JW)

CH: Chearsley  LC: Long Crendon  NW: Nether Winchendon

Thursday 5 February 2015

Palm Sunday


Services This Sunday: 8th February

Sexagesima

8.00am      Holy Communion          LC (JW)
10.30am    Sung Eucharist             LC (AB)
10.00am    Morning Celebration     CH (Lay Led)
12.30pm    Holy Baptism                LC (JW)
6.00pm      Evensong                     CH (JW)

Lent House Group

 
 
Geoff Hogbin will be hosting a Lent Group on Wednesday Evenings from 25th February to 25th March from 8.00pm to 9.30pm at Hazeldine, Church Lane. The material is written by the Vicar on ‘Hymns of Faith and Love’.  All welcome.

Pew Sheet - February 8th 2015


And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God!
Micah 6:8
 
Pray
 
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives thy service find;
In deeper reverence praise
Drop thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease:
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace
 
Collect for The Second Sunday Before Lent
Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever.  Amen.
 
Readings for Today:     
 
Old Testament:  Proverbs 8, 1, 22-31
 
New Testament Reading:  Colossians 1: 15 – 20
 
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold  together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
 
Gospel Reading: John 1: 1- 14
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
 
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
 
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
 
Post Communion Prayer
 
God our creator, by your gift the tree of life was set at the heart of the earthly paradise, and the bread of life at the heart of your Church: may we who have been nourished at your table on earth be transformed by the glory of the Saviour’s cross and enjoy the delights of eternity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
 
The Electoral Roll
 
If you worship regularly at one of our benefice churches or wish to sustain your link with the church and you are not on the Electoral Roll, please do fill out a form that can be found at the back of the Church.
 
Departure Lounge
 
Before Christmas, I announced that I would be retiring this summer (2015). Although we will not be leaving The Vicarage until the end of August, my last ‘official’ Sunday will be July 19th, when there will be a United Benefice Service at St. Mary’s, Long Crendon. I will probably take a few of the weddings that have been booked at the end of July and in August – but otherwise I will be off-duty for those closing weeks. I will keep you posted on the arrangements for departure and also the Church of England process for appointing a successor…It doesn’t happen quickly! There are many worthy jokes about exits…a lady saying to the Vicar, ‘so sorry you are leaving, we didn’t know what sin was before you came!’ John
 
Meditation: Love that blots out hatred
 
The 4 February was the birthday in Germany in 1906 of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He became a minister in the Lutheran Church and was outspoken about what was wrong when the Nazis first came to power. He spent two years as a minister in a church in London, but chose to return to Germany once it became clear that war would break out. He wrote, “I will have no right to be a part of the reconstruction of Germany after the war if I do not share in this time with my people.”
 
Like many others, he must have had great courage, intending to do whatever he could to oppose the evil being done in the name of his country. He knew the risks for himself in remaining a critic of the Nazi government and, on his return to Germany, every move of his was watched.  In July 1944 a plot to kill Hitler failed. Bonhoeffer was one of many who was implicated in that threat, and he was imprisoned. Less than a month before Germany’s surrender he was taken into the prison yard and hanged, aged 39.
 
The prison doctor said of his death: “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer kneeling on the floor in prayer. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so certain that God heard his prayer.”
 
Dietrich wrote this short prayer about love and hatred, and we can make the prayer our own today by thinking of those people with whom we haven’t get on very well over the years:
 
Lord God, give me such love for you and for others that it will blot out all hatred and bitterness.”
 
Lord, teach me to trust you in whatever situations I may find myself. Help me to pray, not just when my boat is sinking, but in all the times and places of my life where you can make a real difference. Help me with my family and friends to establish better relationships, in my place of work to allow you to inform the way I behave. Forgive me when I make you a stranger and walk  me always. Amen.