Sunday, May 23, 2021

Sunday Worship Links and other news May 23: Pentecost (Whitsunday)

May 23  Pentecost (Whitsun)

Morning Worship podcast   Morning service sheet       Hymn words (both services)

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

Don't forget that you can also listen to a shortened version of the podcast by phoning 01732 928061 -  if you know someone who doesn't "do" the internet, please pass on the number to them. It costs the same as any phone call to a Sevenoaks number.

In Church

10 am Holy Communion with a hymn outside the church after the service.

6.30pm Breathing Space Holy Communion
Numbers limited to 35 people. Facemasks required unless medically exempt. Services are said, with recorded music – there is no singing in church, but we do now have permission to sing outside, so there will be a congregational hymn at the end of the 10 am service outside.


On Zoom this week  email for links

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat 11:15 AM 

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
Zoom Children's Choir Wednesday 5 pm Fun singing with Anne Le Bas. Any child welcome.

Zoom Adult choir  - Wednesday 7.15 pm Email for the link.

Pentecos (Whitsunday)

Acts 2.1-21, Psalm 104.25-35, 37, John 15.26-27
Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, or Whitsun as it is traditionally called. The Christian Church celebrates the gift of God’s Holy Spirit on this day, but originally, as I explain in today’s sermon, Pentecost (Shavuot in Hebrew) was a Jewish feast, which is why Acts 2 starts by telling us that the disciples were in Jerusalem ‘on the Day of Pentecost’. It was an agricultural feast, at which the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God, as the law given to Moses prescribed (Leviticus 23, Numbers 28.26). Modern Jewish celebrations of Shavuot include the presentation of a basket of seven of the ‘first fruits’ ripening in Israel at this time – figs, dates, olives, pomegranates, grapes, barley and wheat. (Here in the UK, the traditional “first fruits” celebration is Lammastide on Aug 1, when a loaf (Loaf-mass-tide was baked from the first cut of the wheat and brought to church.)
The name of the feast of Pentecost or Shavuot gives us a hint, though, of its connection to another feast. ‘Pentecost’ means fiftieth in Greek, and ‘Shavuot’ means ‘weeks’. (A week has seven days, and this feast comes after seven weeks of seven days – i.e. 49+1 = 50). The Jewish Day of Pentecost happened fifty days after another big feast, the feast of the Passover, which also had agricultural associations, as it was at the time of the sowing of seeds. Passover’s main focus, though, was on the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and for that reason Pentecost also became associated with the story of the giving of the law to Moses on Mt Sinai, during the time they wandered in the wilderness after their escape. It was through this time of wandering that they began to form themselves into a distinctive community, and the commandments they received encoded this distinctiveness, showing them how they were to live as the people of God.

It’s no accident, then that Jesus’ disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower and encourage them on the day of this feast. They too were being formed into a new community, a new people. As they rushed out into the streets of Jerusalem to proclaim their message, they were showing the ‘first fruits’ of that new life which had begun fifty days before, when Jesus had risen from the dead. Incidentally, this may be why St Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians about the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5.22)



When the Holy Spirit filled Jesus' disciples, they found they could speak about God's love and people from all over the world understood them. Do you know any words in other languages.
You could print out, colour and make this candle, which has greetings in many languages. If you don't have a printer, you could just write the words on a piece of paper and decorate it as you like to make the candle.

Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:
Your email will be read by Anne Le Bas and Kevin Bright, the Vicar and Reader of Seal Church who will hold you in their prayers. 
Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom next Sunday May 30 at 11.15 am. It will be possible to join in by phone if you have no computer. Email for the link to join the meeting. It will also be possible to join by phone. Contact me to ask for the details. 
 Only those who are on the church Electoral Roll are allowed to vote at this meeting, but everyone is welcome to ‘attend’. If anyone is interested in coming onto the Parochial Church Council, which is responsible for making decisions about Seal Church, please let me know.

THE ANNUAL REPORTS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS can be found here (there is also a link on the church website) . There is a limited number of printed copies on the red table at the back of church. 
Click here for the agenda for this year and minutes of last year's APCM. 
FRIDAY GROUP This group is now back to meeting weekly on Fridays from 10 am at the Church Hall. A group of 6 will be able to meet inside the hall, and others will meet in the garden outside the hall. When the weather is really bad (this is a very tenacious group) you can obtain a zoom invitation by contacting Marion on this email address.

Know Your Neighbours information from Marion Gilchrist
This month, things have started to return to some sort of normality around the village, so we will take this opportunity to let you know what we do. I feel sure there is more going on, that we have not been made aware of, so please let me know if your organisation is returning or starting new activities locally in Seal.
The KYN 100 Club draw has continued throughout the year, so we have continually raised funds for the community coffers, to pay for such things as Christmas lights, parties and other community projects.If you would like to take part in this monthly draw, which raises funds for village projects and organisations, please respond to this email for joining instructions. The cost is £5 each calendar month, preferably paid by standing order, with currently, a 1 in 64 chance of winning. 

The Village Hall is opening its doors and ready to take extra bookings from Monday 17th May. To book this facility, please contact Gerry on 01959 522545.
So Luci's Dance For Fun classes will be returning to the hall. Please contact Luci on 07748 008431.

Likewise, Seal Church Hall will be opening again, and Maggie will be taking bookings on 01732 762840.
We are still taking donations of second hand laptops, which Derek, our local IT hero, is cleansing and preparing for use of Seal School pupils to use . If you have such a device, please contact and she will collect. Many thanks to those of you who have already donated.
HYMN OF THE WEEK Breathe on me breath of God
Photo of Edwin HatchThis week’s hymn of the week was written by Edwin Hatch (1835-1889), a theologian who was vice-principal of St Mary’s Hall, Oxford. He was very involved with the Arts and Crafts movement and the Pre-Raphaelites, and a friend of fellow academic, Charles Luttwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland. This hymn is the only one Hatch is known to have written, just three short verses, but a genuine and simple prayer for the transforming power of God’s Spirit.
In Hebrew, the words for Spirit, Breath and Wind are the same, ru’ach. In the Book of Genesis, the ru’ach  of God sweeps over the waters bringing order out of chaos. God breathes the same ru’ach into the body of Adam to bring him to life. In the book of Ezekiel 37, it is God’s ru’ach which brings the dry bones scattered across an ancient battlefield to life in the prophet’s vision. In the Acts of the Apostles, then, it is no accident that Jesus’ disciples become aware of  the presence of the Spirit as the sound of a rushing wind.
Hatch’s hymn draws on all these ideas to invite God’s life-giving influence.
Although it is often sung to the tune Carlisle, the second of the tunes below, I infinitely prefer it sung to Trentham. Carlisle is a fine tune, written by the blind composer, Charles Lockhart (1745-1815) and does well for some other hymns, like “tis good Lord, to be here”, but set to these words it forces you to sing “Breath ON me, breath of God”, which puts the emphasis in completely the wrong place. Trentham, written by Robert Jackson (1840-1914) is much more in keeping with the words, with its gentle, almost breath-like rhythm, which put the stress on the words Breathe, Breath and God, surely the point of the hymn! I have included both tunes, so you can take your pick!
1 Breathe on me, Breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love the way you love,
and do what you would do.
2 Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours,
to do and to endure.
3 Breathe on me, Breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
for all eternity.
Tune: Trentham
Tune: Carlisle
Veni Sancte Spiritus (The Golden Sequence)
Holy Spirit, Lord of light,
From Thy clear celestial height
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, Thou Father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure,
Come, Thou Light of all that live.

Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul’s delightsome Guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, Light divine,
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.

If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds; our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts descend:

Give them comfort when they die,
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys that never end.  Taize
This week’s prayer is a translation from the Latin of a liturgical poem which became known as The Golden Sequence. It was written in the Middle Ages to be chanted during Pentecost services, almost certainly by Stephen Langton, (1150-1228) who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1207 until his death, though some people ascribe it to Pope Innocent III who was Pope at the same time.  Langton was a prolific writer and thinker, who, among other things was responsible for dividing the Bible up into the chapters we see today.
He was also very influential in the politics of the day. He was chosen as Archbishop after a fierce struggle between supporters of two other candidates, one of whom was the choice of Canterbury Cathedral’s canons, and the other the choice of King John. Eventually the Pope intervened and Langton was chosen instead of either of them. King John was not pleased and declared that anyone who supported Langton was a public enemy. The Pope responded by placing the whole of England under interdict, which meant that no services could be held in churches, and no one could receive any of the rites of the Church. Babies couldn’t be baptised, the Mass couldn’t be celebrated, and the dying couldn’t receive the last rites – a serious situation for those who believed that this might lead to them not going to heaven. This lasted for six years, putting the lockdowns of this last year into perspective!   
Eventually King John had to cave in and recognise Langton as Archbishop. Langton’s first act was to absolve King John, but also to launch a campaign for more just laws, which eventually led to King John being forced to sign Magna Carta.
Anyway… back to Veni, Sancte Spiritus!
It’s a beautiful invitation to the Holy Spirit to come, with all his gifts, on the church and on the individual, bringing consolation and comfort, light and healing, bending stubborn hearts, and melting frozen ones, so that those who receive them have “joys that never end”. In Latin there are clever rhymes and patterns which are lost in the English translation, but it is still a profound work, which can be a gateway into meditation and prayer.
It has been set to music many times, from the original plainchant to modern settings like the one sung at the Taize community in France, and retranslated into metrical versions like the hymn “Come thou Holy Spirit Come” by Edward Caswell (1815-1878)

Veni Sancte Spiritus, sung to traditional Gregorian Plainchant
A setting from the Taize Community in France.

My lovely husband, Philip has been busy again… (it keeps him out of mischief!)
As well as putting together the choir recording of “Come Down, O Love Divine” which is included in this week’s podcasts, he has made another of his extraordinary bassoon duets, with himself. This time it is the “Evening Prayer” from Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera “Hansel and Gretel”. (That’s Engelbert Humperdinck, the German composer, not Engelbert Humperdinck the singer, who pinched his name…) Enjoy!


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