Twelfth Sunday after Trinity
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This week I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days in Canterbury. I spent the first four years of my life in the UK there studying at the University of Kent. I also met my husband in Canterbury and he has been a wonderful gift of the Lord. I often used the Cathedral archives and I would finish for the day just in time to go into Choral evensong, and truly I thought the choir sounded like angels. It was a time when my faith was strengthened and I believe led me on my path to all of you at Almondbury and Farnley Tyas. So my few days retreat in Canterbury felt like both a home coming and a thanksgiving. I was able to attend morning Eucharist in the cathedral, in the very special Chapel of Our Lady Undercroft, a place I used often to visit for private prayer during my time in Canterbury. And as I was there I reflected on the past several months, the challenges we have all faced. It occurred to me that this time has truly revealed the transience of this material life. In our reading in Matthew this week, as Jesus and the disciples turn their face to Jerusalem, we are told that we must set our mind on divine things and not human things. This crisis has certainly brought home this message - that the things of this world are transient and momentary. They can be filled with great joy and they can be weighed heavily with despair, pain and grief. But they are of this world, and as Christians we are promised that in all the things of this world the Holy Spirit brings something of the divine, and we truly do look forward, past our personal Jerusalems, to our reunion and resurrection in Christ.
Again, the current crisis reveals just how fallible the powers of this world are, and makes even more clear the truth and the reality of God and of the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our prayers have upheld those who have worked so hard in the NHS, and in care home and in communities. Our prayers have upheld each other. Through our Lord Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit we have endured and, in some ways, even thrived during the challenges of the past months.
I have no doubt that the months ahead will have more challenges, whether those be simply returning, or trying to return to ‘normal’ life - or dealing with events and conditions we cannot yet foresee. So now more than ever it is important to put on the armour of light, that is the Lord Jesus Christ. I often pray this verse from Psalm 143 these days, (in the King James translation):
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
It is really important to continue to spend time with God throughout the day, to refresh yourself, to strengthen your spirit, to console you and to open yourself up to God’s Joy so do continue to develop your pattern of daily prayer. I’m so pleased that we are again able to meet in our churches and celebrate our Lord’s supper, the Eucharist which feeds us spiritually. Thanks to all of you for making this possible.
I will be away on annual leave from the Parish from August 31st to September 13th and will not be contactable during this time. Please contact Anadelle during her office hours, or one of the Church Wardens if need be.
Please watch the church website for services and times, Anadelle will also e-mail updates. We hope to settle down to a more regular pattern in later September.
My God’s blessings be upon all of you, on those you love and on those you would pray for.
Revd Professor Jessica Malay
Almondbury with Farnley Tyas