Magazine July 2020
Magazine for the Parish of St. Mary’s and St. James.
There is something about the month of July and the article from 100 years ago asks the question ‘ Was it worth it?’ Charlie tries to be light hearted when forced to rack his brains. The Legend of the Earthen Pot makes interesting reading. Another extract from “Desert Wisdom” seems appropriate for this month and three people, remembered this month, are highlighted. Val has provided an article about how to deal with squirrels in a church.
Finally there are quotes which might lighten your read.
Hopefully by next month a printed format may be possible. Until then you might have an opportunity to share this with others as lock-down restrictions are easing. Remind people who cannot watch the relayed services about the opening hours for the church for private prayer.
Any article for August by the 22nd please.
The month of July.
“Then came hot July, boyling like to fire,
That all his garments he had cast away:
Behinde his back a sithe, and by his side
Under his belt he wore a sickle circling wide.”
The Romans called the month Quinetilis as it was their fifth month of their calendar. Later they changed it to Julius in honour of Julius Caesar, who was born in July. The Anglo-Saxons called July, ‘Moed – monad’ or Mead-month’ from the meadows then in bloom. This extract for ‘Love in the Valley’ by G. Meredith shows why:
“Yellow with birdfoot-trefoil are the grass glades;
Yellow with cinquefoil of the dew-gray leaf;
Yellow with stonecrop; the moss mounds are yellow;
Blue-necked the wheat sways, yellowing to the sheaf.”
Ruby is the stone of the month and its name comes from the Latin ‘ruber’ meaning red. The ruby symbolises contentment. People born in July are optimistic, focus on the bright side of life and are liked by all. Two signs of the Zodiac linked to the month, Cancer and from the 21st Leo.
Larkspurs and a Waterlily are the flowers of the month. The larkspur sends a different message depending on it s colour; the white ones point to a happy nature, the purple first love and the pink fickleness.
What bird could be linked to July? In G. Meredith’s poem quoted above includes this line:-
“Green-yellow, bursts from the copse the laughing yaffle.”
Most of you will know the yaffle as a green woodpecker. (It is called a yaffle in many country communities.) This is the largest woodpecker in the British Isles and like the others makes its nest in holes in trees often making a suitable one itself. As it has a softer beak than the others it tends to use soft wood trees. Its feeding habits also differ as it is frequently seen hunting on the ground for ants and other small insects although it does find insects on trees and has been known to visit bird tables. Both male and female are green above with pale yellow below with a yellow rump but with different marking on the head. Both sexes have bright red crowns and a black moustache. The male however is distinguished by the red mark down its moustache. They have different calls as they fly – it is an undulating flight as they glide after a few beats of the wings making them swoop down in flight. They call as they fly; the male has a harsh call – ‘kyn, kyn, kyu’ while the females’ is a softer ‘pu, pu. pu’. The call is called yaffling, hence their name.
July 1st was regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as the day to celebrate the Most Blessed Blood but this was removed from the official calendar in 1960. Many countries still refer to July as the Month of the Blessed Blood of Jesus.
It seems fitting, therefore, to quote St. Justin Martyr’s description of the celebration of the Eucharist in the early Church, which some of you will have read recently.
“On the day we call the day of the sun, all those who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful thing. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves . . . and for others, wherever they may be found, by our life and actions, faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation.
“When the prayers are concluded, we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks that we have been judged worthy of these gifts.
“When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgiving, all present give voice by saying ”Amen”. We he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the Eucharistic bread, wine and water, and take them to those who are absent.”
The article from the Church magazine July 1920
asks the question “Was it Worth It?”
This might bring back more recent memories. S.M. writes:
‘ “Stella, d’you mind taking Smuts for his Sunday walk alone today? I’m afraid of the damp,” said the little lady in black who sat be the fire. “No, of course not, Aunt Mary. I’ll go now before it gets dark,” and the girl laid down the newspaper she was reading, and went upstairs to change,
‘When she came back, Smuts, who since the mention of his name had been looking out of the window, was waiting for her in the hall with evident pleasure but not much enthusiasm. He reserved that for the well-remembered voice, for the master who had not come back yet, though he watched for him every day. She was just a substitute, that was all.
‘And the girl remembered the merry expeditions on other Sundays, in other days, and sighed a little as she closed the hall door. It was a miserable afternoon, a thick blankety fog shut out all but the nearest objects, and dripped dismally from the trees that overhung the drive.
‘ “Was It Worth While?’ The title of the article she had been reading echoed in her ears. Was it worth while? She thought of Aunt Mary, and all the other mothers the world over, who were asking themselves the question on this dreary afternoon. Was it worth while? She thought of the lonely women and fatherless children, of girls who had lost their hope of happiness. Was it worth while? . . . So thinking, she trampled on in the fog, and came without knowing it to the cross roads, where the new war shine stood.
‘Just a wooden cross with flowers at the foot, and on the cross the figure of a Man Who died long ago for the freedom of the world. She went up and stood for a long time in the mud, looking and thinking. “The only Son of His Mother, did she think it worthwhile, I wonder?”
‘And the girl saw that here and here only in this crooked made straight and the rough places plain’ here and here only can the lonely and the suffering, the weary and the restless, the grumblers and the divinely dis contented, employers and employed, Capital and Labour, heal their wounds and settle their differences, here in the presence and the spirit of the eternal paradox, the great Arbitrator, the Wise Judge, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who was born in an outhouse and laboured in a workshop, Who washed the feet of a traitor and died the death of a criminal.
‘And here there was no need to ask, Was it worthwhile? for the answer was in her heart. Love is never wasted. Love is always worthwhile.’
Charlie writes:-I’ve been told I must put paw to keyboard again and be light hearted. As you know I’m quite mad and can never be serious. I’ve been forced to share my garden – not my wish but it can liven things up.
There’s the birds. They are a dead loss! They don’t want to play the game. I chase and they just fly away. Then they goad me – the large white noisy ones sit on the roof and laugh at me. How dare they! Its my house not theirs! I bark and bark. They squawk and squawk! The fat bulky ones laugh from the fence but fly away when I get close. At last I can lay down and snooze.
I was doing just that when something caught my eye. The eyes that I see in the pond were there in front of me. I sniffed and sniffed but nothing happened. Its big eyes stayed fixed on me. What must I do? I will pick it up – its only the size of my ball. I tried to do just that – I only tried once. What is wrong with its skin? I had another idea – I will push it back into the pond where it belongs. Not easy – it sort of crawled along. I thought they hopped, but not this one. It was awkward and I had to nose it towards the pond. I gave up as he went under a plant. Fancy beating me!! I will have to get the better of it next time. Somehow I will have to brave the pond again, despite getting muddy feet, and make its life a misery. I must wait and jump to it and catch it off guard other wise it just dives down.
I few days ago a very small creature caught my attention. I sniffed it. Yes, I thought, that was what I had spelt among the ferns. Then it ran. Of course I gave chase as it scurried to the fence. How could I get it? The plants did not stop me – I pushed through and was shouted at – some were broken. I really did not want that to happen but that creature It was trespassing in MY garden. Before I could catch it, it had gone. Where was it? I am sure I will have better luck next time!
“The Legend of the Earthen Pot.
It was uphill every step of the way. A clump of bamboos lured us on, and as we reached the crest we stayed our steps beneath their shade and drank in the beauties round us.
Hush! Whispered the bamboos; hush! Echoed the rustling grass, and hush, hush, hush murmured the tiny breeze that played among the rocks.
All nature seemed hushed and full of wonderment.
Suddenly far below us a picture grew; a white farmhouse, nestling among grey rocks and dark trees – a wondrous garden rioting in colour, blossoms of rarest worth struggling for place with their humbler sisters, and one great bed of pure Madonna lilies. A little child stood on the path before them, whether boy or girl we were too far to know, only could we see the loose white garment, the slim figure, and aureole of golden curls. A stream of clear, cool water flowed past; soon the African sun would be high, and the lilies parched and dropping. Suddenly the little stooped and lifted from the path a broken native pot. It had been one of red earth, whole and shapely, now a broken sherd, tossed away as useless. Eagerly the little figure dipped it into the cool water and brought draught after draught to the pure lilies.
“So love makes use of the useless,” murmured my friend. “Reminds one of the legend of the earthen pot, doesn’t it,” he added. “The earthen pot?” I questioned, knowing his store of ancient legends. There was silence for a while love, love ,love whispered the bamboos, and love, love, love echoed the swaying grass.
As was his wont my friend began abruptly, ‘It was only the fragment of an old script’, he said, ‘but in it I found this legend. If my memory serves me right it ran on this wise:
“Among the many vessels shaped on the wheel of the Great Potter was one of fine red earth. Much love and labour was spent upon it, for it was destined for a special task. Many of the vessels the Master made were of great beauty – it was not so with this one: beauty it had not, but its value lay in that special moulding which fitted it to fulfil that task which the Master from all ages had decreed. And so it was sent on its journey, dowered with all necessary to the fulfilment of its work. Sometimes the Master’s task was fulfilled, but, very often, it was not, for love was lacking and pride took its place. And so the time went on. Many were the taps of the hammer spent upon the little pot to bend it this way and that, but it would not, and so one day a great blow came and the pot lay crushed. Useless for the Master’s service now, it cried, ‘Useless, useless, crushed and marred, even He can make nothing of me now.’
“ ‘Love can heal all wounds,’ whispered a voice.
And so the broken pot loved and longed and desired to be used in the place where it found itself thrown. And love and longing were not in vain, for one day as the Master walked in His garden He found a young plant that needed healing. All around the garden streams of healing flowed, but something was needed before they could reach the young plant. Smiling tenderly the Master lifted the fragments of the earthen pot, and with swift, firm touches moulded it, so that through it healing streams might flow to the roots of the young plant.”
So desire was granted, longing fulfilled, and love made use of the useless. So the Master will use us, do we but love and long.
Love and longing, love and longing, whispered the bamboos – love, love love echoed the swaying grasses.”
Another extract from the ‘Desert Fathers’.
“A brother came to visit Abba Silvanus at Mount Sinai. When he saw the brothers working hard, he said to the old man: Do not work for the food that perishes. For Mary has chosen the good part. Then the old man called his disciple: Zachary, give this brother a book and put him in am empty cell. Now, when it was three o’clock, the brother kept looking out the door, to see whether someone would come to call him for the meal. But nobody called him, so he got up, went to see the old man, and asked: Abba, didn’t the brothers eat today? The old man replied: You are a spiritual person and do not need that kind of food, but since we are earthly, we want to eat, and that’s why we work. Indeed you have chosen the good part, reading all day long, and not wanting to eat earthly food. When the brother heard this, he repented and said: Forgive me, Abba. Then the old man said to him: Mary certainly needed Martha, and it is really by Martha’s help that Mary is praised.”
(This is relevant as St. Martha is remember on July 29th.)
Some of the people remembered this month.
St. Mary Magdalene is remembered on July 22nd. Extracts from the poem, ‘Touch me not’ by Saunders Lewis, show her love for Jesus and her anguish after His death.
“See the dust on the path lamely dragging:
No, let her be, Mary moves towards her peace,
Deep calls unto deep, a grave for a grave,
A carcass drawing towards a carcass in that unhappy morning. Three days was this one in a grave, in a world that died
In the cry in the afternoon. It is finished.
See her, Christ’s Niobe, drawing with her towards the hill
The rock of her pain from the leaden Easter;
To the place where there is a stone that is heavier
than her torn heart;
And her hands reaching out to him in barren grief.
Her moan is as monotonous as a dove’s,
She stands amongst the roses and cries without mourning
‘They have taken away my Lord, taken him away,
And I know not where they have laid him.’
And to the gardener the same frenzy.
Made wild. Broken. She sank within her grief.
He comes and snatches her out of the body to crown her
With the love that moves the stars, the power that is a Word
To raise up and make alive: ‘and he said unto her, Mary,
She turned herself and said unto him, Rabboni.’ ”
St. Martha is remembered on July 29th. She was the sister of Mary and Lazarus. The passage from the ‘Desert Fathers’ stresses her care for others and her need to be a good host when Christ visited their home, for which she is criticised. However people seem to forget the passage which reveals her great faith in John chapter 11. She rushes to greet Jesus after the death of her brother. She believes in the resurrection of the dead and that Christ could have saved her brother. She then proclaims that He “is the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
William Wilberforce is also remembered on July 29th.
He was born in Hull on August 24th in 1759 and died on July 29th 1833 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. He was educated at Hull Grammar School and St. John’s College, Cambridge. He was always interested in the evangelical Christianity but he became more committed in 1785. Religion influenced much of his thoughts and endeavours when he became the MP for Yorkshire in 1784, resigning in 1812 due to ill health. He was convinced that religion, morality and education should be the basis for life.
He was a philanthropist and championed many causes during and after his political career. He is best known for his fight against slavery and just before his death the Abolition of Slavery Act was passed by Parliament. Previous he had seen the Slave Trade Act passed in 1807 which prohibited the slave trade in the British Empire. He championed many other causes including the Society for the Suppression of Vice, British missionary work in India, the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone, the foundation of the Church Missionary Society and the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Squirrels. How to deal with them!
The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrel infestation. After much prayer and consideration, they concluded that the squirrels were predestined to be there, and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will.
At the Baptist church the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a water slide on the baptistery and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim, so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.
The Lutheran church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of god’s creatures. So they humanly trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist church. Two weeks late the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water slide.
The Anglicans tried a much more unique path by setting out bowls of whisky around the church in an effort to kill the squirrels with alcohol poisoning. They sadly learned how much damage a band of drunken squirrels can do.
But the Catholic church came up with a very creative strategy! They baptised all the squirrels and made them members of the church. Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.
And not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue. They took the first squirrel and circumcised him. They haven’t seen a squirrel since.
Smile or groan!
Did you hear about the man who was tap dancing?
He broke his ankle when he fell into the sink!
When is the best time to buy a budgie?
When they are going cheap!
What is the longest word in the dictionary?
Smile. Because it has a mile in it.
Two men have been arrested. One was drinking battery acid and the other was eating a firework.
Police charged one and let the other one off.