Rector’s News

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Rector’s News2019-07-30T11:34:55+00:00

   Rector’s News August 2019

 

As I sat in the parish office looking at the lectionary for August I realised, once again, that although traditionally a ‘quiet month’ the calendar is packed with the commemoration of various saints.  We commemorate St Dominic on August 8th, St Laurence on the 10th,  St Maximilian Kolbe on the 14th, the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 15th, St Bernard of Clairvaux on the 20th, St Bartholomew on the 24th, St Augustine of Hippo on the 28th, The Beheading of St John the Baptist on the 29th and St Aidan of Lindisfarne on the 31st.  In addition we also commemorate John Mason Neale, hymnwriter, on the 7th August and Mary Sumner, founder of the Mothers’ Union, on the 9th.

 

Whenever we say the Creeds, we profess our belief in “the communion of saints.” This phrase is rich in meaning and multi-faceted in its references. On the one hand it can mean “the holy people of God,” the community of all the faithful who have been baptized.  On the other hand it can refer to those people down through the ages who have been specially recognised by the Church for their Christian witness and, often, acts of courage and bravery and have had bestowed upon them the title of Saint. 

The custom of remembering the saints has been one of the joys of Christian people since the very early days of the Church. The reason for this is quite simply that the history of God’s mighty acts of salvation is a personal history. The Church believes that the divine purpose of justice, mercy, and love is revealed in the stories of particular persons. Indeed, it is through the stories of individual saints that God renews and strengthens the witness of the whole community of the holy people of God. Thus, the Calendar of Saints is there to remind us that someone whose faith, holy life, and witness to Christ were so great in their own time that they continue to be remembered by us in our time.

The saints are there to remind us of authentic Christian discipleship and to inspire us to follow their good examples and, in so doing, to follow Christ more closely on our own Christian journey.  If you have a bit of spare time, then please do have a look at the biographies of some of the saints that I’ve mentioned.  Their stories are inspirational and a few keystrokes on the computer keyboard will present you with some really quite inspiring material.

August is also the traditional month for holidays, relaxation and hopefully a little much needed personal space. So Summer can be an opportunity to indulge our need for recreation: using the word in its best sense, that of renewal.   

The longing for renewal runs deep within us and is a primary motive for both worship and prayer. But, if we face the truth, worship and prayer often become frayed at the edges because too often they are crowded into a weekly timetable which is top heavy with other concerns and priorities. Perhaps summertime can provide time, space and renewed energy to do some sifting of our lives so that we re-think our priorities and what is important to us.

God, of course, doesn’t go on holiday……………….. well, in one sense He does – with you!  And so if you’re travelling in August or remaining at home for, what has been termed in the last few years, a ‘staycation’ remember that God is always with you and I offer some verses of Psalm 139 to remind ourselves of that:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I climb into heaven you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

 Even there your hand will lead me,
and your right hand hold me fast.

May the month of August be, for each of us, a time when we are refreshed and renewed in body, mind and spirit.

Your friend and Rector

Matthew Tregenza

Photographs © Bill Jerman