Letter from the clergy - Friday 24 July 2020

First published on: 22nd July 2020

Dear Friends,

We’re really looking forward to having Archdeacon Paul Ayers with us on Sunday by video. Actually he’s preaching for three or four churches all at the same time this Sunday morning, thanks to the wonders of modern technology! That’s one benefit of us all having online services.

For those of you who aren’t on internet, a little preview ... he’s speaking on the Parables of Jesus as described by Matthew in chapter 13.31-33 and v44-52. This is a wonderful selection of well-known parables: the parables of the mustard seed, the yeast, the hidden treasure, and the pearl. With the first two, he emphasises that we need to do something with the tiny seed or the yeast to make it work, we need to take the opportunities to plant seeds that will grow into massive trees, or to mix the yeast into the flour so that it comes alive. As Christians one of our tasks is to help people find what they are looking for, and one of the positive effects of the coronavirus crisis is that many people have started to take stock, asking what is life all about, what is its meaning, have I been heading in the right direction, is life all about money and ‘things’ or is there a deeper, a more spiritual purpose to life? As Jesus goes on to explain in the parable of the treasure and the pearl, being in God’s kingdom is the most valuable thing in life, and it’s important that we hear this, and understand it, and do something about it. Archdeacon Paul says we need to make it our top priority, and make sure we do what we can to help others discover Jesus too.

The song we’ll sing after Paul’s sermon, ‘Jesus you have called us’ is all about the call that God has for each of us, to follow Jesus and go where he leads. So the question is, what is our response?

One of the spiritual practices that has helped me to get through the last few months is to have a rhythm of prayer, starting each day with a time of contemplative prayer using the Lectio 365 prayer app and finishing each day with a time of reflection (an ‘examen’), considering with gratitude what has given me life and joy, that needs to be nurtured, and what has been draining, that I need to let go of. You’ll find in this week’s Notices a ‘prayer to use each day’ which is from Lectio 365. I’d recommend giving it a try; it asks God to help us live each day to the full, making the most of the opportunities that come our way, which is surely a really good way to begin each day.  

On a practical note, it’s wonderful that Farsley people have been looking out for those in need and have been generously bringing food donations on Mondays and Thursdays (10am to 12 noon) to St John’s church hall. Thank you to the volunteers who take it all up to Pudsey for distribution.

Church is open for individual prayer on Sundays 9:30-11am, and on Wednesdays at the new time of 2-3pm. We have now been advised that all who come into church should wear face coverings.

Do continue to pray for those who are ill, in hospital, or have been recently bereaved. It’s not an easy time for any of us, but for those who unexpectedly find themselves alone, ill, or feeling vulnerable it can be especially hard. Many of us don’t cope well with uncertainty, but may I encourage you with some wise words from Bishop Nick to clergy this week? He says “the end of our story is unknown ... we are called simply to be faithful and do what we can where we can. We are in God’s hands, and none of us can know the future anyway.”

A blessing (from Niteblessings)

When you do not know what to do, may you be given the gifts of faith, courage and peace.
May faith enable you to leave the decisions you must make in the hands of God.
May courage help you to face them head on.
May peace guard your heart no matter what. Amen.

With grace and peace,
Sue McWhinney         
sue@stjohnsfarsley.org.uk         
07484 181699


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