Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday worship and other news September 20


Dear friends

The links to our worship this week, and other news and resources for reflection are below.
Best wishes
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas

September 20

Morning Worship   Morning service sheet         Hymn words (both services)
Evensong                 Evensong service sheet
In Church
Please note – face coverings must be worn in church unless you are medically exempt.
10 am              Holy Communion
4pm                 Outdoor Church in the churchyard
6.30pm            Breathing Space Holy Communion

Wednesday    9.15 am           Morning Prayer
Friday             10.30 am         Friday Group on Seal Recreation Ground in groups of six, socially distanced.
Sunday Sept 27
10 am              Holy Communion
4pm                 Outdoor Church in the churchyard
6.30pm            Evensong

On Zoom this week  email for links

Zoffee – Zoom chat at 11.15 am every Sunday

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
Zoom Children’s Choir  Wednesday 5pm & Thursday 5pm  Note new time for the Thursday group
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact for the link.

Trinity 13
Today’s gospel reading is the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard. A landowner hires labourers from the market place, where they are standing around hoping to be hired and earn a day’s wage. He chooses some at the beginning of the day, but then, through the day, goes back to hire more until, at the “eleventh hour” – this is where we get that phrase from, he finds there are still some would- be workers there. They have been waiting all day, hoping that someone would give them some work, because they know that if they don’t work, they and their families might not eat. The landowner hires them, and after just an hour’s work pays them  exactly the same as he then goes on to pay those who’ve worked all day, a denarius, which was the normal day’s pay for a labourer. Those who have worked all day, despite the fact that they have been paid exactly what they were told they would be, and what they would normally have expected, are outraged. They thought, seeing their employer pay those who had only worked an hour a denarius, that he would surely now pay them more. It just didn’t seem fair.
The landowner points out that they have got what they need – that “living wage” which the denarius represented – and that it is up to him what he does with his money, but they don’t get it. And perhaps we don’t either!
In today’s sermon I will be exploring that sense of unfairness, where it might come from in us, and what happens if we try to look at the story, and our lives, differently.
Eugene Burnand, a Swiss artist, illustrated this, and many other parables, in the 19th Century. (I have featured several of his pictures in these weekly newsletters before, and wrote a bit about him here. In the illustrations for this parable, he captures the emotions that those involved might have felt.
We can see the indignation in the gesture of the standing man who seems to be saying to the landowner "it's not fair!"

The young man in the second picture is obviously very angry at what he perceives as an injustice.

But it seems to me that this old man, and his friend, below, who were probably among those hired last, because they don’t seem as strong and fit as the others, are amazed that they have been treated with such generosity.

 What do you think of Jesus’ story? How would you have reacted if you had been there?


All Age resources
Come along and join us at our Outdoor Church at 4pm on Sunday in the churchyard for a story and prayers for all ages. No facemasks required! What story will we hear this week…?
  • Divide up something fairly between you - something to eat, lego bricks etc. Talk about fairness.
  • How do you make things fair in your family?
  • Does "fair" always mean having exactly the same things as each other?
One of the choir, at our weekly choir zoom, asked about for some more information about this hymn, and particularly, what “Salem” was. The answer is that it isn’t anything to do with the new BBC series “Fort Salem” which the blurb says is a programme in which  “Three young witches must master their powers to defeat supernatural threats. As disaster looms, can they work together to keep the world safe?” Its title references the Salem witch trials in 1690s America, but the Salem of the hymn is another word for Jerusalem – Salem meant “peace”. In the book of Revelation, the writer sees a vision of “The holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21.2) The hymn is a picture of heaven, which invites us to join in with its “unending alleluias”.

The hymn is a translation by John Mason Neale of a medieval hymn by Thomas á Kempis, 1380-1471, who was originally a member of the Brethren of the Common Life at Deventer in the Netherlands. This wasn’t a formal religious order, but rather a group of men who held all their possessions in common and devoted themselves to prayer and service in their communities, rather like the Beguine communities of women, which were very common across Northern Europe.  There was some mistrust of these communities, though, because they didn’t take the permanent vows  the regular  monastic communities took, and gradually pressure grew for those in them to join  monasteries. Thomas á Kempis eventually joined the Augustinian priory  of Mount St Agnes. He   is believed to be the author of a famous spiritual book of the time called “ The Imitation of Christ”, among many other writings, including the work on which this hymn is based,  Jerusalem Luminosa. 
John Mason Neale(1818-1866) was an affected by the Oxford Movement in the mid 1800s, which advocated the revival of some of the rituals and practices associated with Roman Catholicism, which had been swept away at the Reformation. He was influential in the foundation of one of the first Anglican religious orders of nuns, the Society of St Margaret, a nursing order which still works in many places around the world. He also translated many ancient Latin and Greek hymns. We owe him thanks for several popular carols, translated from Latin originals, like  “O Come , O come Emmanuel", "Of the Father's Heart begotten" and "Good Christian Men, Rejoice"


Light’s abode, Celestial Salem
vision whence true peace doth spring,
brighter than the heart can fancy,
mansion of the highest King;
O how glorious are the praises
which of thee the prophets sing!
There for ever and for ever
alleluia is out-poured;
for unending, for unbroken
is the feast-day of the Lord;
all is pure and all is holy
that within thy walls is stored.

There no cloud nor passing vapour
dims the brightness of the air;
endless noon-day, glorious noon-day
from the Sun of suns is there;
there no night brings rest from labour
for unknown are toil and care.
Laud and honour to the Father,
laud and honour to the Son,
laud and honour to the Spirit,
ever Three and ever One,
consubstantial, co-eternal,
while unending ages run.
Jerusalem luminosa
Attributed to Thomas à Kempis (1379-1471)
translated by John M Neale (1818-1866)
Prayer of the week
The generosity of the vineyard owner in the Gospel story today, who must have spent much more than he had budgeted for by taking on extra workers (more than he needed) and paying them all a full day’s wage, no matter how long they worked, reminded me of this prayer by Archbishop Helder Camara, (1909-1999) a Brazilian Roman Catholic, who spoke and worked for peace and justice amidst the corruption of the Brazilian regime of his time. He is most famous for his comment that: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."
Lord, isn’t your creation wasteful?
Fruits never equal
The seedlings’ abundance.
Springs scatter water.
The sun gives out
Enormous light.
May your bounty teach me
Greatness of heart.
May your magnificence
Stop me being mean.
Seeing you a prodigal,
And open-handed giver,
Let me give unstintingly…
Like God’s own.
Helder Camara, from “The Desert is Fertile” 1974

I am very aware that some of our congregation, and others in the community, are continuing to have to shield, formally or informally, because underlying health conditions make coronavirus more of a risk to them. I am more than happy to bring communion at home if you are in this position and can’t get to church, in whatever way would make that safe for you, or to visit to chat or pray with you. If you have any ideas that we could implement to help you to feel more connected to the church and one another, please let me know, and I will see what we can do. 
PCC meeting
The PCC met on Zoom last week, and discussed a wide range of things, from the tea station project, which we hope will meet the deadline for the grant funding we were awarded (but continue to pray for this please!) to ways in which we might maintain and develop the church’s fellowship and worship during the coming months when it seems likely there will be a changing pattern of restrictions. I’m trying not to think about what Christmas will be like, but rest assured we celebrate it somehow!
Gatherings for worship are partially exempt from the “rule of six”, but only when we are actually worshipping. It still applies before and after worship, so please be careful not to gather in groups larger than six before or after church. The principle of the ruling is that we should minimise as far as possible our social interactions to prevent the spread of the virus, so we need to comply not only with the letter but also the spirit of the law, and help others to do so. It’s difficult in what is normally a friendly, chatty church, but we all need to play our part to keep one another safe!
APCM and Electoral Roll
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting will take place on Sunday October 18th at 11.15 am. The meeting will have to be by Zoom, since we will not be able to accommodate all who may want to come, and the APCM is supposed to be open to any on the Electoral Roll. It is possible to phone into Zoom meetings, so this is a legal alternative to meeting face to face. More details to follow.
If you are not on the Church Electoral Roll and would like to be, you can download 
an application form here . The privacy notice is here. You can return the completed forms to me at “The vicarage, Church Street, Seal, TN15 0AR. The deadline for applications is Friday October 2
We will also be electing 4 members of the PCC and 2 members of the Deanery Synod at this meeting. If you would like to consider coming onto the PCC please let me know.

And finally...
Seal School have been establishing a community farm over the summer to enrich the children’s learning. Sadly, at the moment, most of the community aren’t able to access it, of course, though it is hoped that we may be able to be more involved in the future. I thought you might like some photos of its inhabitants. There are bees, chickens, ducks, rabbits, quail and pigs, and – some of the latest additions – some pygmy goats, who are proving a source of endless entertainment…Here’s a short video. You can follow the progress of the farm on their facebook page “The Good Life Comes to Seal” here. and donate to the farm here.

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