LiFT 8th September
I must confess to wondering whether I should send my usual jolly email.
Like me I expect you are trying to gather your thoughts and process the sad news that Her Majesty the Queen has died.
There will be time enough in the coming days and weeks for us to respond in fitting ways, and I will be in touch with information about how the churches will mark this sadness as soon as I know more. For now let us give thanks for a life well lived, a faith well articulated, and a sense of duty second to none. May we all see and be glad of the example Queen Elizabeth set us.
Please remember her family in your prayers.
Prior to the news I had already written my letter which you will find below. If you would prefer to finish here then I completely understand.
Gracious God, we give thanks
for the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth, for her faith and her dedication to duty. Bless our nation as we mourn her death and may her example continue to inspire us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of love,
we thank you for the life of The Queen,
for her service to our nation,
and for her faith in you.
Be close to all of us who mourn,
that we may find comfort and hope in your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Everlasting God, we pray for our new King.
Giving thanks for his devoted service as Prince of Wales, we ask you bless his reign and the life of our nation. Help us to work together
so that truth and justice, harmony and fairness
flourish among us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How are you all this week? Whilst I don’t buy into the notion that the beginning of September means that summer is over, I can’t help but notice the dampness in the air, and the autumnal smell that accompanies it. I am very glad to see things greening up after the rains, a sure sign that we are not quite into the next season I hope. (Although I love Autumn, I really do!)
Texas was fantastic – such a different place to be, vast, friendly, and always slightly unbelievable! I’m glad to be back and we seem to be full pelt into a very busy time, or is that just me?!
Afew things to tell you about this week –
Compline is not back yet – it feels odd to say Night Prayer when it is still light and bright outside. I’ll let you know when it restarts. I do have a different date for your diary though – St. Mary’s Usk is going to be having a Taizé service on Sunday 9th October 7pm. This is a gentle, reflective service, singing Taizé chants, with moments of quiet space, readings, and prayers. It’s a wonderful way to spend time resting in God, without any need to do or say anything. Our hope is that it will be a comfortable and easy service for everyone, and will be a perfect way to finish the day.
It is hoped that this might be a regular service but we are trialling it, so please let us know if you are interested, even if you can’t come on this occasion.
Another service to alert you to is that Bishop Cherry will be leading the Sunday service in Usk on 18th September. If you aren’t sure where to go to church that morning, I am sure the bishop would be very pleased to see you. Often we see her because of a special service or reason, so it is wonderful to welcome her to a normal service- it should mean there is more opportunity to chat and I know she loves meeting people.
Finally, can I say thank you to you all? Prior to my holiday I wasn’t at all well, I then spent time back at work but below par, and then I had a holiday. During all that time, everything still happened, and many things continued to develop, grow, and progress. You really are an amazing bunch of people – hard working, cheerful, and willing. You look after each other well, and you reach out into our communities with love and generosity. This winter is going to be a challenge on many fronts, and I am confident that with the spirit and goodwill that I see so much of, we will be able to look after each other into the winter and beyond. Thank you so much for being you – it’s that passage in the bible about the body being made of many parts – each and every one of you is essential to our whole church community, and I’m very glad to be part of it with you.
Much love to you all, and you know where I am.