Bishop’s Banter 23/02/2018

Well, earlier this week I was introduced to a new experience. I played a Nintendo game. Worry not if you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s a bit of a ‘yoof’ thing with computers and consoles.I managed to come 8th in every game which I thought was a good effort until it was gently pointed out that there were only eight players..I’ve decided to regard it as a Lenten humiliation. This is by way of introducing James Oddie a temporary new resident in the vicarage. James sang at Charles, King and Martyr, works for our organ tuning company and also sings in the choir of St Pat’s cathedral in the city. You may see him around. He came first in almost every game we played, and so came close to being thrown out..Clearly a misspent youth!

Life in the vicarage is always full of comings and goings, and it adds to our life together. Sunday evening’s Meet Up was a full house. Many thanks to Robyn White who masterminded the food. Making use of our Lenten icon, we reflected on the disciple’s way of seeing more deeply; developing a contemplative spirit that allows one to ‘look’ at Jesus and see a man but more than a man – the living God. It took the first disciples a time to see and comprehend, and the Church several centuries to articulate it, and it takes purpose and desire for us to do the same. Anyway, the combination of worship, reflection, discussion and food is fruitful. If you haven’t been to Meet Up before why not come along? This week, vicarage resident James Godfrey will reflect on learning to follow Jesus. By the way, it was lovely to have my sister Kate with us. We sang a couple of duets, just as we used to as teenagers.

 

Tucking into food after teaching and discussion @ Meet Up 6thC icon of Christ helps us ‘behold’ the mystery of one who is both God and human. The disciple perseveres in order to see & know.
(L)  Tucking into food after teaching and discussion @ Meet UP.      (R) 6thC icon of Christ helps us ‘behold’ the mystery of one who is both God and human. The disciple perseveres in order to see & know.

Thank you to those who have been in touch with Peter Cotterill as he prepares to come to us as pastoral assistant next month. He will arrive on the 14th. I had an email from him today (Thurs) which includes, ‘I have received so many lovely messages…which have made me feel already welcomed as a member of your congregation. I am honestly really looking forward to coming to work with you, and feel good about being able to face all the challenges which may await’. I’m grateful to those who have restrained themselves from issuing any dire warnings about the realities….

I hope those of you who have taken the Lent Readings with Michael Ramsey are finding them helpful. I loved Wednesday’s reflection about the woman at the well when Ramsey suggest that having encountered Jesus, she herself becomes ‘a giver of the sparkling water of eternal life’ as she goes to tell others. My own reflection took me to think of her bravery in doing so. As a woman of bad reputation she originally went to the well in the heat of the midday sun to avoid people. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of courage! If my mention of the readings reminds you that you have them somewhere but haven’t got around to looking at them, don’t feel guilty. Hunt them out!

There will be copies of reading and reflections for next week in church at the weekend, but for those who have the capacity to print, I’ve attached them.

Last Sunday we used a new hymn before the Gospel reading called ‘Ancient Words’. We shall use it a bit during Lent. I heard it for the first time at a clergy conference I spoke at in Sweden last year. To my mind both the words and the tune are very affecting.

‘Holy words long preserved for our walk in this world; they resound with God’s own heart, O let the ancient words impart…..
Holy words of our faith handed down to this age, came to us through sacrifice, O heed the faithful words of Christ…’

How our society needs some ‘ancient words’ to counterbalance the avalanche of trivial words…how I need them!

Choir and servers with Fr Grant on his 40th anniversary & with Wendy (standing back!) as he wields a knife. The smile as he does so makes me a bit nervous....
Choir and servers with Fr Grant on his 40th anniversary & with Wendy (standing back!) as he wields a knife. The smile as he does so makes me a bit nervous….

How good it was to have Fr Grant celebrate and preach for us on Sunday. 40 years of priestly ministry is worth celebrating, and worthy of our thanksgiving. It is so good to have him and Wendy as part of our parish family. One of my little extra ‘jobs’ is to meet with people who feel a call to ordained ministry, to assist the archbishop to discern whether it is indeed a call from the Lord. Earlier this week I met a wonderful 20 year old Samoan young man with just that sense of call. The apostolic adventure continues in a new generation! We all share in that task, but it is all but unimaginable to  think that we could fulfil the Lord’s will as his Church without priests. Pray especially that more young people will hear the Lord calling them!

BY +LINDSAY