Weekly Email – Trinity 7
Our Gospel reading this Sunday is in many ways something one might perhaps describe as “the Truth, but not the whole Truth.”
What I mean is this. The lectionary we follow removes an enormous chunk of the narrative from the middle of Mark chapter 6, and leaves us with two sections from the middle and end of the chapter which are rather infelicitously stitched together for this Sunday’s gospel. The portion of text that is missing is the Feeding of the 5000 and the Walking on Water, which we would have heard next week, were we not to be keeping St James’ day next Sunday.
So we hear in this Sunday’s gospel of the disciples needing to get away to a place to rest, and then jump to a description of the whole region coming out to be healed by Jesus.
These two portions of narrative don’t really make much sense at all without the miracles of the Feeding of the 5000 and Walking on Water.
Sunday’s gospel begins with a description of the disciples exhausted and tired. They have returned from their missionary journeys and so many people are coming to see Jesus that “they had no leisure even to eat.” This is an image of what happens when we are running on low batteries. Without quality time spent with Jesus, his disciples become wearied and hungry, and the Miracle of the Loaves then reveals Jesus as the source not just of physical food, but heavenly food too.
In this we can surely see a metaphorical description of the spiritual life of every Christian. If we simply root our life in constant activity and don’t make time to be fed and restored by Jesus, we simply collapse and are overcome. Jesus, however, calls those who follow him to take time to be with him in a deserted place.
This, of course, points to the need for things like going away for retreat, pilgrimage, and periods of quiet time as a crucial part of Christian discipleship, something which as we emerge from COVID will, I hope, become more possible for us all again.
However, those two missing stories of the Miracles of the Loaves and Walking on Water also point to the other sorts of feeding which we need from Jesus. We need constantly to be fed on him by gathering for the Eucharist – and the one whom we meet in the Eucharist is the divine Son of God who walks on water and calms the winds.
As we emerge from the restrictions imposed on us by the Pandemic, I hope we will value more than we once did the possibility of gathering to celebrate the Mass Sunday by Sunday, and make that a priority in our busy lives. For without it, we become like those disciples described at the beginning of this Sunday’s gospel, exhausted, bewildered, and lacking the strength and vision we need to follow Christ.
What a joy and a delight it was for a group of All Saints’ parishioners to visit the recently opened exhibition focussed on Thomas Becket at the British Museum. For many of us it was the first time we had been out to an “in person” event in a very long time! Our visit to the Museum was then followed by a slap up dinner at Le Beaujolais, which was a splendid event.
We were lucky enough to be met by one of the curators of the exhibition, Dr Lloyd de Beer, who explained to us some of the thinking behind the objects the British Museum had drawn together. Each room focuses on different aspects of Becket’s life and “after-life,” constructing a narrative of the man’s story and influence.
The artefacts exhibited were breathtaking. The highlight for many of us was the stained glass which has come from Canterbury Cathedral, displaying the many miracles associated with Becket’s intercession. There were also items revealing the spread of Becket’s cult exceptionally soon after his martyrdom into Scandinavia and continental Europe, including an enormous solid stone font from Norway.
The exhibition also recounts the way in which Becket’s life was then used and appropriated by people in different contexts and periods for varying theological and political purposes. Henry VIII sought to stamp out devotion to Becket as part of his assertion of royal control over the church, for example. By contrast, recusant English Catholics discovered a renewed devotion to Becket precisely because of the way in which he defended the rights of the Church in the face of secular power. Other figures themselves started to be seen as latter day Beckets, not least Thomas More and John Fisher.
The final object one encounters in the last room is a remarkable baroque Flemish reliquary containing one of the last known fragments of Becket’s cranium. The relic had been spirited out of England and continued to be the focus of devotion in a country many miles away from Canterbury several centuries later.
Such is the power of Becket’s story and prayers that it is said the cleaning staff spend hours each evening carefully wiping the lip stick marks from the glass case containing this relic. Visitors can’t help but touch, kiss, and venerate it, even in these days of COVID, so moving is the saint’s story and so powerful the sense of his presence to those who come to see his relics and learn about his life.
Ministry to Young People
As our PCC prepares for its away day in a week’s time on Saturday 24th July, a Zoom meeting will take place for anyone who considers themselves young-ish on Wednesday 21st July at 7.00 pm (Zoom details here). Nobody will be excluded because of age, but, for the sake of argument, let us consider ‘young-ish’ to mean anyone in their early forties or below!
I am eager to hear what our younger members would like to see more of, what they appreciate about All Saints, things they find challenging about our parish, how we could improve our ministries to younger people, and ways in which we could be a better resource for them in their own spiritual journeys through life. If anyone cannot make the Zoom meeting on 21st July, please just be in touch with me and let me know your ideas and reflections directly by email.
Tomorrow our monthly Requiem Mass will be celebrated: please let Fr Michael have names of those you’d like remembered at that Mass.
Links for Sunday
The link for the Propers for Trinity 7 is at the end of this email.
And click here for the YouTube live stream.
This Sunday the music for Evensong and Benediction at 6pm includes Harwood in A flat, Joubert O Lorde, the maker of al thing, Elgar O salutaris, and Bruckner Tantum ergo. This service is not live-streamed.
The flowers on Sunday have been given by Aiden Hargreaves-Smith on Fr Bill Scott’s first Year’s Mind, and in thanksgiving for his faithful priestly ministry and friendship.
If you would like to make a donation for flowers, please contact Shawn on 07988 287 663 or firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to Chris Self.
Prisoners and captives
Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, Nasrin Sotoudeh
Rohingya Christians in Pakistan and Karen Christians in Burma
David Fettke, Joan Cooper, Vallery Tchukov, Sara Vice, Katherine Lee, Lorna Smith, Beth Klausing, Hilary Porter, Bruce Ross-Smith, Benjamin Woolf, James Shrimpton, Tony Rodger, Rachel Pereira, Fr Michael Gudgeon, Chris and Carole Radley, Fr Harry Hodgetts, Rosemary Orr, Andrew Roger ,Martin Berka, Barbara Schiefer, Joan Anna SLG, Poppy Harris, Sheila Wood, Jennifer Spreckley, Sue Yesnick, Elizabeth Lyon, Rosina Sargon Eskrya, Fr Charles Cloughen, Malcolm Brown, Fr Pip Bevan, Tim Knight, Hillary Rodger, Geoff Vardy, Fr John O’Brien, Charles Hoff, Max Fernandes
Those known to us recently departed
Jim Peschek, Theresa Bahemuka, Tessa SLG, Rob Scott-Mitchell, Ivan Wood
Anniversaries of death
18th – William Hewelson, Isabel Bruxner, Kathleen Gardner
19th – Mark Williams, Muriel Latter
20th – Lucy Heales
22nd – Anne Finley
23rd – Edward Jones, Elizabeth Pressland, John Holden Pr, Jeffrey Tapley
24th – Ada Rivington, Peter Champion-Jones
Supporting All Saints
Parish Giving Scheme
You can set up a regular donation to All Saints here.
We use the Parish Giving Scheme, which allows contributions to be anonymous and deals with GiftAid, saving our office a lot of time. You can read about how the scheme works here.
Donations for general church purposes
To give by BACS please use the following details, advising the Administrator to collect Gift Aid:
PCC All Saints (Charity no. 1132895)
Sort Code 60-09-15
Parish Legacy Policy
We are always delighted to hear from anyone who wants to support us with a donation. Our PCC Legacy Policy encourages people to leave bequests specifically to one of our two related charities to be used for purposes of lasting value (rather than day to day costs):
All Saints Choir & Music Trust (Charity # 802994)
or The All Saints Foundation (Charity # 273390).