Saturday, 22 August 2020

from Val

 Dear Friends

The Jesse Tree window in Llanrhaeadr traces the genealogy of Jesus right back to Jesse.  Genealogy was very important to the people of Israel.  At the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ line is traced back as far as David, thus fulfilling one of the Old Testament Prophecies concerning the Messiah. Jesus ‘born of David’s line’ as we sing in the Christmas Carol. 

When Jesus asks the question ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ Jesus is not about his own personal search for identity, he knows who he is and where he comes from and he knows where he is going. He received the expected answers, ‘Some say John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets,’ but he wants them to answer for themselves. Jesus asks them directly ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter replies ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.’ 

Peter suddenly realises that Jesus is the one they have been waiting for, the Messiah. This is the answer Jesus is looking for, an answer from the heart. For Peter the realisation of who Jesus really is, is something that has grown over time, it has taken a while to register but finally, Peter sees the light and Jesus is delighted. And Jesus gives him a new name, he is no longer to be called Simon, but Peter, meaning rock and he will be the rock on which Jesus builds his Church. This is the first mention of what is to follow, that there will be an expectation on the disciples to continue Jesus’ ministry, to form a community and carry on his work.

Yet what an unlikely choice, Simon Peter who continually says and does the wrong thing, Peter who is uneducated, Peter who in a very short space of time would deny Jesus 3 times, Peter would be the rock on which Jesus would build his church? But somehow Jesus knows that Peter is the man for the job. I wonder how Peter felt, did he think who me? Or was it so far fetched that he simply dismissed it. Peter was a fisherman, he would have known plenty about tides and seasons, about boats and nets, but not about building a Church. But the sort of Church Jesus has in mind is not a building but a community, a community of believers, a Church built on people.   

This is the important lesson we have learnt during lockdown. How to be Church, not in a building, but Church as a community of people who believe in Christ. And Jesus asks the same question of us today ‘who do you say I am?’  We need to think about our answer and then respond. Peter was given a new name and a new purpose. Our names may not change but Jesus has a role for us, a role which will hold both challenges and blessings.  

With Every Blessing…Val

Saturday, 25 July 2020

from Val


Dear Friends
This week’s readings focus on the Kingdom of God.Two of today’s Kingdom parables have growing images, the tiny mustard seeds become great trees, the dough added to the flour grows and increases to make the loaf.  But they are also waiting images, the dough of course rises far quicker than the tree grows, but patience is still required. Throughout lockdown we have been waiting for life to return to normal. It has taught us patience and allowed us time to pause and reflect.
We have learnt what is important in life and now we ask God to show us how to use that wisdom as the world gradually unlocks.Wisdom is a great gift.
In the story of Solomon, we have a young man used to a privileged lifestyle who could have requested anything he wanted, yet when God says ‘Ask what I should give you’, Solomon asks not for wealth, or privilege but for wisdom. God is pleased with Solomon’s reply.  And because Solomon had not requested riches or some other selfish gain, God blessed Solomon as a ruler.
Wisdom is something that we can’t learn from a text book, we can’t buy in a shop, more often than not wisdom is gained over many years of careful consideration of the situations around us. Wisdom is gained by the ability to see to the heart of the matter and to discern a way forward. 
A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?
Written by Edward Henry Richards

We are now in the ‘new normal’, things aren’t quite the same but we are grateful for every step forward. As life picks up once again may we take the time to pause, to seek God, to know that he walks with us every step of the way. God knows the prayers of hearts and he hears us when we call.
Continue to take care and stay safe.
With Every Blessing…Val

Sunday, 12 July 2020

from Val


Dear Friends

I hope you have been able to be out and about this week as restrictions on travel have lifted. The joy of being able to drive more than five miles is something we can now treasure after the limitations. Most cars need a good run and the sense of freedom is a joy.

The parable of the sower is well known, we often use it in our schools at Harvest time.  Sometimes when a story is familiar, we need to pause and read it afresh in order to seek out the deeper meaning. The heart of the parable is the coming of God’s Kingdom and how people will receive it.

Jesus is asking us to hear his word, to listen carefully in order to understand.  Just as a seed needs good soil to grow, so we need to allow God to deepen the seeds of faith in our hearts. 

‘Let anyone who has ears hear’ says Jesus. Are you a good listener? Most of us are not that good at listening, we listen with one ear on the television or maybe we are also doing something else. We may get the gist of what is being said, but taking on board the deeper meaning requires us to be attentive, to listen and to respond. There is a quote that says ‘the first duty of love is to listen’ and if that is true of our human relationships how much more is it true of our relationship with God. 

In the parable of the sower some listened but did not want to know, some listened but did not understand, some listened and heard but didn’t feel strong enough to respond, but some listened, heard and responded and their harvest was good. 

In the absence of Church Services we have missed that precious time on a Sunday to be still, to focus and listen. Many of us have found a quiet place within our home and garden to be still and spend time with God. I hope that even when we are able to return to public worship, we will still use that quiet place to be still before God. To be attentive to his word, to listen and then to respond.

As everyday life begins to open up once again, we give thanks for all who have sustained and cared for us in these difficult times.

Keep safe and well.

With every blessing…Val

Friday, 26 June 2020

Readings

Readings for Sunday June 28th are now available to download from the NEWS page. Please remember to RIGHT-MOUSE to view or download!

Saturday, 20 June 2020

from Val


Dear Friends

I hope you all continue to be safe and well. 

The past few weeks have seen the lifting of a number of the restrictions of lockdown.  It has been reassuring to know our efforts to Stay Home have made a difference and we pray that things will continue to improve.  You will be aware it was announced yesterday that Places of Worship can now re-open for private prayer from Monday 22nd June.  This is very short notice and it is not intended that we will open any of our Churches on Monday.  There are a large number of precautions that will need to be put in place if we do decide to reopen.  Please find attached information received from the Diocese.
One of the gifts of lockdown has been listening to the birdsong.  Hearing the birdsong with such clarity has been a great blessing as the birds enjoy the peace that lockdown has brought.
Singing is a great gift and the sad passing this week of Dame Vera Lynn has reminded us that a song can mean so much in even the most trying of times.  The songs of Vera Lynn speak of hope and unity in times of separation and danger.  HM the Queen used ‘We will meet again’ as the closing line of her lockdown speech as we faced the prospect of weeks or months of separation from our families.
In a tribute to Vera Lynn it was said it was not just her immaculate voice that made her one of Britain’s greatest singers, but the warmth and sincerity she was able to put into every song.  She was pivotal in the generation we have recently paid tribute to though the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.  But she didn’t forget those who would serve until VJ Day when she visited Burma to entertain the troops in 1944. 
We may not all be able to sing with wonderful dulcet tones, but singing is a joy and something to be treasured.  Thank you to all who took part in our Favourite Pentecost and Trinity hymns poll. 
The result of the Llanrhaeadr congregation is:
  1. Breathe on me breath of God
  2. Love Divine
  3. Holy, holy, holy & Lead us heavenly Father lead us 

May I wish a very Happy Fathers’ Day to all Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, Godfathers and all who have the care and welfare of our children at heart.  The care of our children and young people in these difficult days is of paramount importance and I thank you for your care and support for each and every one of them as we look to the future.
Keep Singing!
With Every Blessing…Val

Saturday, 6 June 2020

from Val


Dear Friends

I hope you are keeping safe and well. The weather may have changed but the rain is a welcome sight for the farmers and for our gardens.  

The announcement that our schools will reopen at the end of June has meant it is all systems go for our teachers and school staff. It will be a mammoth task making the necessary adjustments to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both staff and pupils.  Please remember the staff, the pupils and their families in your prayers at this time of transition. 

Today is Trinity Sunday, a day when we ponder the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.  It is a mystery, it is not something we can easily explain or understand, we accept by faith and by God’s grace, for we believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Trinity Sunday is a day to reflect on the Holiness of God.  One of the most popular hymns for Trinity Sunday is Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.  Written by Reginald Heber it was written especially for Trinity Sunday.  No matter which hymn book we use in our different Churches this hymn will always be in it.

Trinity Sunday encourages us to be contemplatives, people who sit quietly and think about the holiness of God through a passage of scripture, an icon, music or prose. Maybe this hymn is a good place to start our contemplation.   
After Trinity Sunday we enter into what is known as Ordinary Time. This includes the weeks after the major seasons of Easter and Pentecost. The liturgical colour is green, a symbol of growth, as we grow and learn more about our faith.
Please find attached the Bishop's Letter, the readings for Trinity Sunday, a Service of Morning Prayer for Ordinary time and prayers of intercession.  
Stay safe.

Every Blessing…Val

Friday, 5 June 2020

Trinity Sunday

Readings for this coming Sunday, June 7th, can be downloaded from the NEWS page.

Please note, you do need to RIGHT-MOUSE the link to view or download it - if you simply click on it, it won't work!