Thursday 5th August
Rev Tom Benson has arrived! A lovely service and warm welcome last Thursday evening marked the official start of Tom’s life and ministry among us. On Sunday Tom led and spoke at the worship of four of our five congregations, in three of the church buildings and will be at All Saints Braishfield this coming Sunday morning and at St Mary’s Sunday evening! I know Tom is really keen to meet everyone and we are all equally keen to meet him too!
This Sunday 8th August - 10th Sunday after Trinity
8.00 am Farley Chamberlayne Holy Communion (BCP) T. Benson
9.30am Awbridge Morning Worship (CW) J. Thompson
9.30am Braishfield Morning Prayer (CW) T. Benson
11.00am Timsbury Family Service J. Thompson
6.00pm Michelmersh Holy Communion (CW) T. Benson
Reading: Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord,
or declare all his praise?
Happy are those who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times.
Remember me, O Lord, when you show favour to your people;
help me when you deliver them;
that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory in your heritage. Psalm 106: 1-3
Reflection: Tom read these verses from Psalm 106 as we opened our first church wardens meeting last night.
Before you read my reflections, maybe pause, reread and see where your thoughts take you – there are no right or wrong answers when we pause to listen to God.
As I read, I notice how the psalmist reminds us that God is good, God’s love is always there, God’s love always surrounds us, is always with us and within us. God is Love and from that love flows an innumerable number of good things. No one, not even the angels could count or tell of all that God has done… however, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying!!
Justice is a strong theme of the moment. How should I be better seeking justice for those who are hurting, for those who are discriminated against, dismissed or worse? Where in my life is God asking me to act more justly, to act with more care for others, to act more convincingly out of the love that God has placed within me?
Worship through music: Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly written by Pat Barrett & recorded 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk7llf2LkKc
Lyrics based on Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Thursday 29th July
Sunday 1st August - 9th Sunday after Trinity
9.30am Awbridge Holy Communion (CW) T. Benson
9.30am Braishfield Family Service A. Manners
11.30am Timsbury (with Michelmersh) Morning Worship (CW) T. Benson
6.00pm Farley Chamberlayne Evening Prayer (BCP) T. Benson
This is most exciting day! This evening at St Mary’s at 7.30pm Rev’d Tom Benson will the licensed and welcomed into our Benefice. Sad that we can’t all be there, but delighted that he is joining us and that plans are afoot for a special welcome to Tom after services in our individual churches. We also have the Benefice tea to look forward to, on Sunday 29th August from 2.30-4.30pm at Awbridge Village Hall; let’s hope the weather is good.
Reading: Trust in the Lord and be doing good;
dwell in the land and be nourished with truth.
Let your delight be in the Lord
and he will give you your heart’s desire.
Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him,
and he will bring it to pass.
He will make your righteousness as clear as the light
and your just dealing as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait for him;
do not fret over those that prosper
as they follow their evil schemes.
Refrain from anger and abandon wrath;
do not fret, lest you be moved to do evil. Psalm 37: 3-8
Reading: Always trusting God isn’t easy. Yet, there is a peace and serenity that comes through this portion of today’s psalm, a confidence that if we do pause, remember God, ask for the knowledge of God’s presence with us, then God will shine through us, our lives will be different from those who don’t yet know God. Not necessarily easy, but peace, Shalom-filled, love-exuding God-filled righteousness as clear as the light will shine through us.
I’m reminded of Moses’ face, after forty days and forty nights (yes, another set!) with God: When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. (Exodus 34:29) What a beautiful thing it is to see in others, or indeed to experience ourselves, God-in-us, God-through-us – drawing us to God, just as the crowds were drawn to Jesus, at the feeding of the 5,000. A life being transformed by Jesus, a Spirit-filled life, a life with moments still before God, won’t necessarily be easy, but will be radically different…
Worship through music: The hymns chosen by Tom for this evening are:
Be thou my vision (Celtic version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiukM6WHQEQ (Dec. 2019)
Or the Irish Blessing version from last year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TascsWZPj8U (May 2020)
Breathe on me, breath of God – the song during which we pray with tom for the Holy Spirit to come afresh on him and on us. https://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=MmkzSjs9eAw
And can it be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQeIGbKqiw8
Thursday 22nd July
Sunday 25th July - 8th Sunday after Trinity
8am Michelmersh Holy Communion (BCP) J. Thompson
9.30am Awbridge Family Worship with Thanksgiving J. Thompson
9.30am Braishfield Holy Communion (CW) A. Ashdown
11.15am Farley Chamberlayne Morning Prayer (BCP) A. Ashdown
6.00pm Timsbury Evening Prayer J. Thompson
Our reading is the gospel set for today.
Reading: After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. Luke 8: 1-3
Reading: This brief passage from Luke reminds us just how radical Jesus was, loving equally, never discriminating on the basis of gender, race, wealth or anything else. We discover here how central women were to his ministry: sharing the gospel, providing financial support, following him… praying for healing, speaking and teaching. While women are less discriminated against in many societies today, I have been reminded that July 19th “freedom day” has been dubbed by some of the more vulnerable in our society as “isolation day”. The way I choose to exercise my freedoms may unwittingly discriminate against others. Whatever we think about the current situation, it highlights again, as so often during the pandemic, that there is nothing fair or equal about our experiences of the last 18 months.
As a follower of Jesus, believing the way he treated people was the best possible model, I am challenged again about my own attitudes, assumptions and behaviours.
Worship through music: Way Maker Sinach 2015
Thursday 15th July
Sunday 18th July - 7th Sunday after Trinity
9.30am Awbridge Holy Communion K. Taylor
10.00am Timsbury Holy Communion A. Ashdown
11.15am Farley Chamberlayne Family Service K. Taylor
6.00pm Michelmersh Evening Prayer K. Taylor
6.00pm Braishfield Evening Prayer Lay led
Reading: Psalm 146
Praise the Lord, O my soul:
while I live will I praise the Lord;
as long as I have any being,
I will sing praises to my God.
2 Put not your trust in princes,
nor in any human power,
for there is no help in them.
3 When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth;
on that day all their thoughts perish.
4 Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help,
whose hope is in the Lord their God;
5 Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
who keeps his promise for ever;
6 Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong
and bread to those who hunger.
7 The Lord loses those that are bound;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
8 The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous;
9 The Lord watches over the stranger in the land;
he upholds the orphan and widow;
but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
10 The Lord shall reign for ever,
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Reflection: Today’s psalm is just four off the ultimate praise psalm – number 150. There is a sense of crescendo towards that pinnacle of worship. These concluding five psalms, the “Alleluia” psalms, are seen as a group together.
Each of these psalms begins and ends by encouraging everyone to “praise the LORD!” which is the meaning of the Hebrew phrase hallelu-yah. This joyful set of psalms is a fitting conclusion for the book of Psalms, which in Hebrew is known as “Praise Songs” (Tehillim).
Psalm 146 celebrates the good news that in the face of human frailty and mortality God remains trustworthy. What is more, God’s sovereignty from creation to eternity is dedicated to assisting those in deepest need and direst circumstances. Lifelong praise through bearing witness to God’s reign is the theme of Psalm 146.
Psalm 146 is also twinned with the next psalm 147, and both take images from Isaiah 61: The Lord loses those that are bound the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. (Psalm 146:7).
Psalm 146 portrays an amazing vision of healing, restoration, and wholeness. Living in a broken world where disappointment, anger, and injustice remain all too common, we are assured that God’s kingdom is different. The hope offered here encourages us to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The psalm concludes by acknowledging the forever rule of God, from generation to generation - the reasons for praising God are all here! Alleluia!
Worship through God’s art!
Worship through music: Today by Herbie Mann & O. Nelson sung by Brian Doerksen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUyqOAyr15w&list=LL&index=3
Friday 9th July
Sunday 11th July - 6th Sunday after Trinity/ Sea Sunday
8.00am Farley Chamberlayne BCP J. Thompson
9.30am Awbridge Family Worship with baptism J. Thompson
9.30am Braishfield Morning Prayer K. Taylor
11.00am Timsbury Family Service J. Thompson
6.00pm Michelmersh Holy Communion K. Taylor
Reading: Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[f] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad Luke 24: 13 – 17
Reflection: Our reflection today comes in the form of a poem from one of Eddie Askew’s poetry collections: Cross Purposes. He wrote a number of pieces on The Emmaus Road, here he expands on our theme from last Sunday about noticing God, being aware of God’s presence with us – constantly.
Forgive me, Lord,
For all the times
I walk through life head down,
my vision limited to the immediate. Confined within the pressures of my day, problems press in,
prevent the recognition
that we both desire.
I find it hard to look beyond the obvious, my mind so sealed
it almost breaks imagination’s fingernails to prise it open
to the wonder of your presence.
Yet still you walk with me,
each step a revelation of your love, a gentle leading on
to boundaries of understanding I’ve not yet crossed.
Have patience, Lord.
help me to see
your hand at work
shaping my life,
and make your nearness a delight that turns my mourning into joy.
From the book Cross Purposes by Eddie Askew
Worship through music: Living Hope by Phil Wickham, recorded 2018
Worship through art: The Emmaus Road by De Maistre from the Methodist Art Collection
Jesus is depicted in a white gown, positioned centrally at the table with one of his disciples on the left and the other sitting at the side of the table. Jesus is breaking the bread and has an apple (or some other green fruit) in front of him. More fruit lie on a plate or bowl on the table. The disciples are portrayed just as recognition dawns on them that their companion is Jesus. The wounds, the nail hole in Jesus’ left hand and the wound of the spear in his side are clearly visible and confirm their realization. In 1959, the artist commented: ‘religion is not merely a subject for a painting but a perpetual reality which has preoccupied me ever since I remember and is inseparable for me from every other thought’.