Fourth Sunday after Trinity
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how each of our lives is interwoven with the lives of every other person, and indeed every other living thing in this world. The woman theologian, Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) reminds us that we are in a ‘matrices’ or a beautiful web ‘of relationships’ with everything in God’s creation, as Psalm 24 tells us: ‘The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and that dwells therein’. Evelyn Underhill goes on to remind us that there is a ‘deep unity’ in God’s creation, that makes us all ‘members of a family, a social order, so rich and various that we can never exhaust its potential’. And the mystic Elizabeth Leseur (1866-1914) reminds us that ‘God’s creative action penetrates and controls the whole web of life’. In this time of crisis, we are suffering, from loneliness, grief, fear, anxiety, poverty, ill health and so many other painful things. The tensions of our situation have brought to the surface the wrongs people have suffered and the injustices of this world and that is a good thing. And yet these problems seem overwhelming and many are frightened and vulnerable.
And this is why the truth behind Underhill and Leseur’s words are so important. As Christians we know in whom we trust, our manifesto is the sermon on the mount, and the greatest commandment. Our trust is in a Lord who willingly died for the salvation of the entire world. And I think that especially now its useful to take some time out of the day to sit quietly and think on the revelations that are in the Gospels, that speak to how God expects us to live together, how God helps and nurtures us so that we can help and nurture others.
I love thinking about that potential in humanity - our image bearing call for which we were created - and what that might look like today, this week, the next year and into eternity. And as I have often quoted and which has guided me through this time, John 1.5: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it’. We are all part of this light and we have so much potential to shine, to be that beacon to others in our own humble ways. We don’t need to be overwhelmed because God has given us what we need to do what we are called to do. Some people are called to change nations and some people are called to sit in care and love with one other person - and God’s wisdom is in the calling and each call is equally precious to God.
I hope that we get some clear skies soon, because one of my great pleasures on a warm summer night is to lay outside and look up at the stars, and think of the light of our Lord that cannot be overcome.
This week we will again worship through Zoom. Contact details have been sent out and can also be found here on the Parish website. We have opened our churches for private prayer and contemplation, the schedule is again on the Parish website. This week we will be praying at St Lucius in Farnley Tyas on Friday 3.30-4.30. The following week we will be at St Michael’s and St Helens again on the Friday, 3.30-4.30.
Planning goes on for holding public Sunday worship which we aim to begin in the parish the 1st of August, if all goes well. These services will use a shorter liturgy and numbers will be limited. The Church wardens, PCC and I have yet to work out the logistics of this, but we will continue to update you through e-mail, the website and posters on notice boards. We will likely continue some form of on line service as well for some time as many will still need or prefer to remain at home. Please continue to hold everyone in our community in your prayers especially as the nation begin to open more widely. Take good care of yourself and of others.
With all love and the Blessing of our Lord,
Revd Professor Jessica Malay
Almondbury with Farnley Tyas