Vicar’s Weekly Letter

Matthias the Apostle, Thursday 14th May, 2020

Dear Friends,

When we recall the biblical event in the Book of Acts of Matthias being chosen as the disciple to replace Judas Iscariot, we reflect on this reading in connection with the theme of being commissioned. The order of Morning Prayer for Matthias the Apostle includes ‘you did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that shall last.’ As we consider Matthias being chosen, we are to understand that we too are chosen, and that we have been appointed a task. Next Thursday is Ascension Day, when we recall the time when Jesus ascended to the Father to take his throne in heaven. Jesus leaves his disciples so that the Holy Spirit can come and lead them, us, into all truth about Jesus. Jesus’ ascension is necessary for the work of our redemption to be carried out. Ascension Day adds to this theme of commissioning, and we can think of the first disciples who devoted themselves to prayer as they waited for the Advocate in those days following Jesus’ ascension to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. When the Spirit does come at Pentecost, the Church begins as the disciples are empowered with the Spirit of Jesus to make him known to others. For us today, thinking of Matthias, Ascension Day – and Pentecost in the near distance, we can reflect on how we are each drawn into the work of redemption, of ourselves, but also how we are redeemed so that others are invited to receive the love and saving acts of God through Christ. We are commissioned to bear the light of the risen Christ to others. The days following the Ascension is a nine-day period for us to reflect on this gift of God’s Spirit and to consider to what he is calling us to do. We can then joyfully step into this calling as we are strengthened anew by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Thy Kingdom Come is running again this year, though – of course, not in its usual format. They are suggesting ‘pray as you care’, which you can find more details of on their website: www.thykingdomcome.global

The benefice website provides weekly Sunday service liturgical material and includes audio. My grateful thanks to Ian for his work on this. Please get in touch with Ian to read a bible passage and/or lead the intercessions. During these weeks we remain physically apart, can I ask please that on Sundays we unite in prayer at 12 noon to read the Gospel reading and offer intercessions. You might like to include the names on the link sheet. As I am now permitted to enter St Hilda’s Church to pray on our behalf and to record acts of worship for online platforms, I am recording a Service of Holy Communion each Sunday and then uploading it onto our benefice Facebook page and YouTube channel.

            You can find details of Sunday services on BBC Radio 4 and BBC 1 on the Link Sheet. The Church of England website continues to offer a range of prayer resources and an online service at 9 am as well https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/online-church. The Church of England has also started a new Daily Hope Phoneline for those who struggle with the internet or where the connection is poor. All you have to do is call (free) 0800 804 8044, for music, prayers, and reflections. Christian Aid Week concludes tomorrow. I have including some prayers from their online material that you may wish to use. If you wish to make a donation to Christian Aid, you can simply do this on their website, or you can call 0207 5232269.

I very much enjoy speaking and praying with you on the telephone. Please get in touch if you would like prayer ministry on the phone, or if you would like me to pray for you by name at the Sunday Eucharist. Please be assured of my daily prayer for you and your families at this time. Get in touch if you would simply like to talk, or, if I can give any specific pastoral and spiritual support, or if you know of someone else who would appreciate a telephone call.

His light in us, and ours in him concealed, which all creation waits to see revealed.

With the joy of Easter,
Catherine