A new day dawning
A few days ago I got up early to go to the beach and do some filming for our Pentecost service. I wanted to see the sunrise over the cliffs – and so when I got to the beach it was still pretty dark. I thought that at this early hour I would be the only one there but, to my surprise, I was wrong. There were a couple sitting on the beach – ready and waiting to the see the sun – a couple of dog walkers, joggers and another family were already swimming in the sea – at 4.45 – AM!
The sun came up. It was stunning. It was a new day. I wasgladIwasthere–andI bet those other people were too.
Pentecost marked the start of a new day for the Church. The Holy Spirit – only experienced so far in part, in particular moments in history and only by a few – was now poured out on God’s people in a new, full and unreserved way. A new era began – it was a new day.
In the grand scheme of things we are still in this same era. We follow the risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost we are reminded of the power of the Spirit – and our need to go on being filled and empowered. Our need never runs out – and thankfully neither does the Holy Spirit.
Yet there is a new day coming for the life of the church and for society. The dawn of something new is inevitable in the wake of this pandemic which has so dramatically affected our lives. It has given space for an essential re-appraisal of our values and priorities. This ought to lead to positive social change – and also to change for our church.
Bishop Nicholas recently noted that the, ‘new normal’ is already a cliché as we all now anticipate and try to imagine what our post pandemic world will look like. Bishop Philip North has written that, “the new normal is in our hands.” Positive change is possible – but it will require commitment and courage.
Precisely what the ‘new normal’ means for our church, therefore, is down to our collective; prayerfulness, openness to the Spirit, obedience, our ability to imagine and commitment.
‘collective’ because it is for all of us to pray and listen to what is saying God during this time. Please feel free to share with me your own ideas and sense of what God is saying.
As we contemplate the gift of each new day, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the new day that awaits the church – I close with this amazing prayer from the Anglican Morning Prayer liturgy. I encourage you to pray it each day….
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day; so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you now and forever. Amen
This is a slightly different version of this wonderful Psalm. It is good to speak God’s Word every day over yourself and your family. It can easily be changed to plural to say as a family together.
Today, I live in the shelter of the Most High and I find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. The Lord alone is my refuge, my place of safety. He is my God, and I trust Him. He rescues me from every trap and protects me from deadly disease. He covers me with His feathers. He shelters me with His wings. His faithful promises are my armour and protection. I am not afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. I do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, these evils will not touch me. Because the Lord is my refuge and my shelter, no evil will conquer me and no plague will come near my home. God has ordered His angels to protect me wherever I go. They hold me up with their hands so I won’t even hurt my foot on a stone. I trample upon lions and cobras and crush fierce lions and serpents under my feet! The Lord rescues me because I love Him. He protects me because I trust in His Name. When I call on Him, He answers. He is with me in trouble; He rescues me and honours me. He rewards me with long life and gives me His salvation. Therefore, no matter what happens, I’m RESTING in Him!
Ongoing work during Lockdown
I’ve been at Church recently with the heating engineers, at a socially acceptable distance, overseeing the removal of the old heater and the supply of the new one. The installers expect to return during June to connect the new system to the old ductwork and commission it. Then they will service the boilers in the basement so we will have heat when we are allowed back in Church!
This is one of our fabulous Churchwardens, Roger, standing beside the ‘cherry picker’ the tree surgeons used to pollard the trees around the church grounds.
Many thanks to all those who have been able to contribute to the Food Bank. We have been thrilled by the response, which seems to be increasing weekly. As you can see, our porch is quite full!
Tony and Diane Blackwell
We were sitting having lunch in the garden when our neighbour popped his head over the fence saying, “Have you seen the sun – look up”.
We looked up to see the sun surrounded by a rainbow-like circle. It was amazing to see.
I thought about it later in the day and really felt God was saying to me – what is going on around the world at the moment – my SON is in the centre of it!
The Dorset Echo the next day reported it as a strange weather phenomenon.
During lockdown it was our American son-in-law’s birthday. Each of the family over here produced a drawing or painting which our English son-in-law made into a presentation with background music for him. However, our grandson made the model pictured here which fans of the artist Bob Ross (BB4 weekdays at 7pm) may recognise.
Hilary and Mike Lidstone
As Mike and I are retired, self-isolating is not such a problem, as we live in our bungalow all day anyway.
There have been some positive outcomes for myself – my body has slowed down and it’s given me time to look at God’s wonderful creation.
We are very fortunate in having a south facing sheltered garden. There has been much bird activity recently.
Watching the crows has been amusing. They appear to be fond of eating the young slow worms growing in the undergrowth of our shrub and tree border. A squirrel helped himself to food on the bird table and it was amusing to see his long bushy tail. Our tomato plants are growing well following their replanting in various troughs and pots.
I found the Ascension Day Zoom prayer meetings very uplifting. Tom’s sermon on 24 May was also very uplifting and good spiritual medicine – we can so easily become critical, and compare and contrast our behaviour with others.
Finally, we would like to thank everyone who has helped us in various ways during this lockdown period.
View from my window – Linda Miles
I don’t know why but I always look outside our bedroom window before I get into bed. At the start of Lockdown as I peered out a fox came sauntering out of a neighbours drive and then continued along the path. A couple of weeks later as I looked out there was an unidentifiable animal shuffling into an neighbours drive. Very soon it reappeared and it was obviously a badger which then trotted along the road. I had another sighting of a fox (maybe the same one?) which this time Michael managed to see as well.
However the best sightings were still to come.
One morning I was watching from the back bedroom window as a bluetit swooped down to our conservatory window whereupon it beat its wings frantically to hover for several moments whilst picking up tasty insects with its beak. Suddenly a gold finch landed on the window ledge inches from me. The colours were amazing.
A couple of days after this whilst preparing dinner in the early evening I could see a green woodpecker from the kitchen window. It had landed on the patio and was picking out the insects from the grooves in the slabs. It has visited again but never stayed long enough for me to photograph.
How wonderful is God’s creation.
Every now and then I wake up with the words of a song/hymn going through my head. It seems a random choice that sometimes stays with me all day. Last week it was the hymn we used to sing that starts – Summer suns are glowing over land and sea – which led me to ponder on how fortunate we are that this lockdown took place in fine weather. Frustrating for some, but how different it would have been if we had had weeks of cloud and rain!
God is in charge of the weather and I am grateful for that.
For our drive and walk exercise, Linda and I recently explored the area of Toller Porcorum and Toller Fratrum. It was a very hot day. We have not walked very much in the area and were delighted to find a good network of paths and bridleways that crossed valleys and ridges and offered amazing views and vistas.
The highlight came as we reached the door to St Basil’s Church in Toller Fratrum. Surprisingly the church was open. St Basil’s is one of only 3 churches of that name in Britain. Basil is the Patron Saint of Hospitals. It was cool and airy. There was a beautiful carved stone Saxon font. There was also a carved stone panel (800 years old) illustrating Mary Magdalene washing Jesus’ feet with oil then drying His feet with her hair.
After a short time of rest and reflection, we went away refreshed and uplifted. It was a cherished moment.
Gill and Roger Welch
We decided we would like a change from home cooking so decided to eat out. Restaurants not being open, not a problem! The weather was glorious, so we bought some fish and chips and drove to Portland Heights to watch the sunset. Beautiful views and wonderful sunset.
We had packed some wine but decided tea went better with our meal so trundled off home eventually. OK, maybe it’s an age thing, tea with fish and chips. I know some would have opened the wine, no names mentioned! Throughout we managed to maintain social distancing, enjoyed a good meal and were treated to a beautiful scene right on our door step! Thank you Lord for the beauty around us and our senses to appreciate it.
Blessings to all.
Early on in Lockdown I decided to challenge myself to reading the Bible right the way through. I’m sure that there are lots of you lovely people who have done this (probably several times!), but I always seemed to get stuck in Leviticus whenever I have tried before.
It has been a real blessing to me. I have not rushed through and have enjoyed letting it soak in. I have reached Deuteronomy, so still a long way to go but I am really enjoying it. The parish Bible Course, starting shortly, should be brilliant too.