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Your daily bible quotation
From the Vicar
This feels like a funny time of year to be beginning new things, or even returning to old things recently lost. As we head into August, normally things would be slowing down over the summer holidays: instead, for the first time in a while, on Sunday we can sing again during the 10 am Eucharist, and also receive Communion in both kinds. The restrictions are over, hopefully (if not definitely) for good, and we can celebrate the feast of St James the Great. Perhaps appropriately, given the weather in places, he and his brother were nicknamed ‘the Sons of Thunder’: a reference to their combative nature, I think.
St James was one of the disciples closest to Jesus. He is usually named as part of that ‘inner group’ that included his brother John, as well as Andrew and Peter. Mike might tell us more in his sermon tomorrow, but James was the first of the apostles to be martyred: his death is recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. The fact that his feast day calls to mind his feisty temper and his early death reminds us that in this world triumph and disaster are never far apart, and indeed it may not always be possible to decide which is which! St James was a man of passion, and that can be both good and bad! We are living in what has been called the ‘Already/Not-yet’, caught in a tension between the world that is to come, and the world that is now. St James himself shows us both sides of that truth: he left everything to follow Jesus, and yet wanted to sit on a throne!
In the same way, the restrictions are over, but the pandemic is not yet done. We do not have to wear masks, and we can sing, and receive from the chalice; but many may not feel comfortable yet, and infection rates are high. This is another ‘Already/Not-yet’, and there is space both for those who rejoice, and for those who are still uncertain. We will sing hymns again tomorrow, but anyone who wants to wear a mask is welcome to do so. The chalice will be available, but no-one has to receive from it. We will share the Peace again; but you can instead just wave if you prefer. And of course, though we will worship in the church, we will also live stream the service so that those at home can continue to worship with us.
And we will all also worship with St James, and with the rest of that innumerable company of our brothers and sisters including St Barnabas and St Mary Magdalene, who are always praying and singing with us, “on earth as it is in heaven”.
The Rev'd Dr B Minton
Team Vicar of Linslade
Ouzel Valley Team