Letter from the Rector

22 May 2020

 

With my greetings, at this Ascension-tide:

I expect that, like most of us, you have planned to use the time we have “spare” during lockdown to spend on those things we have been meaning to do for a long time… and surely here’s the opportunity to get on and do it! Or perhaps not, as again like many others, that additional time has been rather elusive and has become a number of small increments rather than that wonderful space to immerse oneself in that long-awaited book, or reflection or prayer!

If you have been thinking about starting a daily Bible Study Guide, then amongst several good sets of daily notes out in the marketplace, I recommend the Scripture Union package which can be accessed daily by registering on email. Some would argue that reading daily notes lets you see into the mind of the author, not to open up the word of God. If one spends time initially reflecting on the passage of the day, then to continue with the notes can help to discover one’s own sense of the meaning of God’s word, and might raise points that opens one up to hear God speak his word in a surprising way.

Currently, the SU notes are leading us through the Letter to the Hebrews and yesterday’s passage urged us to “spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” I hope this might encourage those whose normal practice would be to attend church, but have not felt comfortable participating in our ZOOM services, to ask someone who has taken part what it has been like for them.

I have been greatly encouraged that we have had 80 separate individuals connect at some time over the last 8 weeks (since Palm Sunday) with around 60 attending for each of the last four Sunday services. For many this is a new world so congratulations for trying and persevering (you know who you are!) and managing to connect whether by video or telephone.

“Staying connected” is rather the theme of this final stage of the season of Easter as we recall that period between Jesus’ Ascension (on 21 May) and his gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which we celebrate on 31 May. Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them desolate – and neither will we be abandoned. During these ten days we are invited to pray together for our country and our community that God’s Kingdom will come, “on earth as it is in heaven”, that those who have become disconnected to God or may never have felt his presence will reconnect, as the Holy Spirit comes alongside us.

We look forward to receiving guidance from the bishops about the effect on our being church as we move through the government’s next stages: let’s pray it will not be too long before we can meet together, in body as well as spirit!

Keep alert and keep safe.

Every blessing,

Rev’d Paul.

rector@ducklingtonchurch.org.uk