Weekly Update – Sunday 21st June 2020
.... from Revd Emma.
I do hope and trust you are all well at this time. I begin with a short reflection, followed by a quick update.
I think for many of us at this time, to one extent or another, as we face this world-wide Pandemic and its devasting effects, as we grapple with uncertainty and ever changing challenges, it is easy to question God, it is easy to slip into feelings of hopelessness, doubt, and anxiety, it is easy to become disheartened and fearful.
As I write today it is Friday 19th June – and the Psalm appointed for Morning Prayer was Psalm 31.
As I read through it, I was particularly struck by the last verse:
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.”
In fact, it reminded me of another verse, similarly worded found in Psalm 27 verse14:
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
As I’ve spent the day ruminating on these words, chewing them over, I felt God speaking to me, perhaps just for me, but I share with you also, in the hope it brings encouragement to you too:
Our beautiful, wonderful world created by God is also deeply broken and scarred and will not be completely renewed and restored until Jesus comes again. Till then, we will face trials and tribulations, difficulties, and hard times. However, Scripture also tells us that God's promises are good in this age as well as the next. We can experience Him now, we can receive answers to prayer, we can enjoy the redemption of past mistakes and difficult situations, and we can taste of His gifts and goodness.
He is a present God in present circumstances. Jesus promised that he is with us NOW – we are not in this Pandemic alone.
Both verses from the Psalmist promise us that we can trust, hope, and wait patiently for God. We can do this by waiting in silence and reflection, we can read God’s word, and we can hand over our concerns in prayer. Now this isn’t always easy; it will take great courage and strength to remain focused on God, especially when life is hard, fear abounds, and all seems so uncertain. Holding on to faith, trusting in God requires patience, fortitude, and boldness. The soul that loves God, trusts in Him, waits patiently for Him, will not be disappointed. This soul will gain a bright, broad, deep, lived experience of relationship with a God who loves us whole-heartedly. This soul can say in all circumstances, ‘it is well with my soul’.
And so, I finish with some words written by Horatio Spafford back in 1873. Horatio wrote these words hours after hearing the horrific, tragic news that all four of his daughters were dead in a sailing tragedy:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
- Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
- My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
- And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
(You can listen to a great modern version of this hymn by Audrey Assad at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY5o9mP22V0)
All Saints is open for private prayer!
Due to recent changes in government legislation, All Saints church building can now re-open twice a week for supervised, private prayer. Every Wednesday between 10am -12 noon and again on Saturday between 12 noon – 2pm you are welcome to visit the church and enjoy the building for quiet reflection and prayer. We will be limiting the number of individuals in the building at any time (maximum of 8 people) and have introduced several measures to make sure social distancing is observed, and good hygiene practices kept. We will also be implementing a thorough cleaning process to ensure furniture and points of contact are kept clean and safe.
These sessions are open for everyone – so please if you can, do come and join with us.
Firstly, a Eucharist service from the Diocese you may like to view this Sunday:
- Diocesan Morning Eucharist, Sunday 21th June at 9am. Join with the Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, Ven Peter Leonard, with others from around the diocese, who will lead our Sunday worship from his home. This Eucharistic service will include hymns, readings and prayers. It will be live on the Diocese's Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/portsmouthdiocese ) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CofEPortsmouth
Services from All Saints this Sunday and next week are as follows:
- Today 21st June 10am Second Sunday after Trinity there will be a short act of worship, including hymns and songs, confession, prayers, Bible reading, and a short reflection from Peter Mitchell, our Licensed Lay Minister (Reader). We will be continuing in our teaching series based in the book of Romans. We will also include a short focus on Father’s Day.
- On Sunday 28th June at 10am there will be a short act of worship including hymns and songs, confession, prayers, Bible reading, and a short reflection, this time from Revd. Canon David Power, one of our retired Priests.
Then just a quick reminder about the amazing work of the Waterlooville Foodbank supporting local families and individuals in need currently. Please carry on donating food items, either at your local supermarket - or I am happy to receive items at the Vicarage which I can then take down.
For more info please see either:
www.waterloovillefoodbank.co.uk or www.facebook.com/Waterlooville-Food-Bank-680915841920479/
Finally, as I close, if at any point you have questions about our building re-opening, or you have a prayer request, or would just like a friendly chat, please do ring me at the Vicarage on 9226 2647. If possible, I may be able to arrange a visit either in the church garden, or indeed to your garden if you wish.
With love and every blessing in Christ,
Revd. Emma Racklyeft
Vicar at All Saints, Denmead