Roger Barnes

Dear Fellow Members of St Bartholomew’s
It looks as though Coronavirus is not going away any time soon, so it is likely that we will need to continue “Zooming” services from our church. Martin and Jane have made great strides and efforts in setting up and supporting our use of Zoom, and I really cannot thank them enough, but even they have been caught out at times by the instability of the wireless connection (4G) that we have been using to access the internet. Hopefully by this weekend we will have a telephone line directly into the church to carry our internet Zoom signals – no actual telephone by the way, this is just for internet access. It might be operational by this Sunday, or it might not, you can never be certain how the technology will react! Neither can we guarantee that Openreach will manage to get all the connections made in a timely manner. Please be patient, we are doing our best.
I managed to confuse Paul last week when I mentioned that I had been reading the Gospel for the 13th Sunday after Trinity. In my 1716 edition of the Book of Common Prayer it is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10. 23-37), but in the lectionary we use the reading is Matthew 18. 15-20. Personally I prefer the passage from Luke although I always find it difficult to reconcile how Christ would like me to live compared to how I actually live. The main message of the parable is to love thy neighbour as thyself, and Jesus makes it clear that all of mankind is one’s neighbour, whether we know them or not, therefore we should help anyone who is in any type of trouble or distress.

Sometimes being a good Samaritan is easy, for example if someone takes a tumble in the street it would be hard indeed to walk past and ignore them without offering to help. Other times it is more complicated. How does one react to people begging? As a historian I cannot get Mayhew’s Victorian categorisation of “those who cannot work” and “those who will not work” out of my head (London Labour and the London Poor – 1851). Who is deserving of my giving? It puts one in a very moral and Christian dilemma, and I’m still trying to work out the answer.

On an easier note we will, weather permitting, be mowing the wild part of the churchyard in early October, and Robin and Sally will be planting all the wildflowers they have cultivated from seed. Next year it should have the appearance of a real English hay meadow, full of wildflowers, and a great opportunity for children (and adults) to go species spotting. Put a wildflower book in your Christmas stocking.

God bless