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Magazine June 2020

Another one on line; sadly many of the church members will not be able to access it. Perhaps a printed one will soon be available. The article from a 100 years ago focuses on The Trinity. There is something about the month of June and something about Bible numbers. Another story from the ‘Desert Fathers’ should make us wonder whom we are helping. I expect some of you share Charlie’s frustrations and like him try to liven things up. Many saints are remembered this month and there are facts about some of them. There is something about a Bible passage that inspired me. Perhaps you have something like this you would like to share.

Hopefully we might be able to use the church soon even if it is for private prayer or quiet contemplation.

We have a lot to thank Fr. Mark for. I big thank you, Fr. Mark – it is much appreciated.

Anything for the July magazine by the 21st please.

Eva.

The month of June.

June’s name has been linked to the Roman goddess, Juno, the goddess of marriage. This is probably why it is considered lucky to be married in June. It has also been linked to the consulate of Junius Brutus. The Anglo-Saxons called it “Sera Monath”, the dry month. No other month begins on the same day as June. There are three birthstones linked to the month possibly because the first one, Alexandrite, became rare and expensive. Pearls and moonstones are also associated with June. The flowers of the month are the rose and honeysuckle. The rose speaks of love and passion.

“For the Rose, ho, the Rose! is the eye of the flowers,

Is the blush of the meadows that feel themselves fair,

Is the lightening of beauty that strikes thro’ the bowers,

On pale lovers who sit in the glow unaware.

Ho the Rose breathes of love.” [E.B.B}

The honeysuckle is associated with love, sweetness and gratitude.

“The pleached bower

Where honeysuckles, ripened by the sun,

Forbid the sun to enter.” {Shakespeare.}

As in all months then are two signs of the Zodiac; Gemini up to the 20th and then Cancer. Those born under the sign og Gemini are regarded as sociable, talkative and friendly while those born under Cancer are quiet and reflective.

I have chosen the sparrow as the bird of the month. This is partly the result of seeing that the first young birds in my garden at the end of May were sparrows. There a two so called sparrows – the gregarious ones and the usually solitary ones. The house sparrow is usually seen in a flock especially in winter. The cock is more colourful than the hen. The cock is an attractive rusty-backed bird with a black bib and a grey crown. The hen is mainly dull brown with no distinguishing marks. The other ‘sparrow’ is in fact a dunnock. They can be distinguished from the house sparrow by the two white bars on their wings , a chocolate coloured crown and a black patch on white cheeks. These two birds have different feeding habits. The house sparrow can be destructive as they damage grain crops, disbud fruit trees, and tear at crocuses, primroses and lettuces. It is now on the danger list possibly because until recently farmers could shoot it was damaging their crops.

A Thought for Trinity Sunday.

“Behold, I show you a Mystery.” by Queenie Scott-hopper. June 1920.

“This is the Churches word to us on Trinity Sunday. And very often we will not pause to be shown. We are impatient of mysteries. It is characteristic of the English religion to be “practical.” “what is the good of it?” the Englishman will ask or still more often say “What good is it going to do me?” – – – “How mysterious!” is an exclamation springing to our lips at every turn. There is a mystery in all things if we look far enough into their causes; in fact, the further we look the more of mystery we shall find. – – – Increase of knowledge does not remove mystery from things terrestrial. Yet how impatient we are of this element of mystery in religion! How the “popular” sort of theology seeks to rend the veil from the Divine and make all plain and clear. “Plain and Clear” is what the Infinite never can be to the finite. – – – Christian Charles Kingsley, once pointed out when speaking of the Athanasian Creed appointed for our use in the Church today – it is religion itself that is mysterious, not its priests that make it so. The Church does not claim that the doctrine of the Trinity, as taught by the Creeds, is a solution of the Unfathomable Mystery. It is simply a light on it, alight which does flood the reverent soul with increase of of the knowledge and love of God. – – – There are good folk who sometimes tell us that they “prefer the simple stories of Jesus of Nazareth”; they do not care to go on to the deeper and more difficult things. They have not realised that the one is the completion of the other. The disciples themselves did not realise this at first. In that gracious human intimacy to which they were admitted they thought they knew all that there was to know about the Master. They shrank from the Supreme Mystery when He led them up to it. But they were not daunted; they did not “go away”; they persevered – even as we must do – and to their aid came God the Holy Ghost, Who is are own most blessed Help today. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things,

Yea, the deep things of God.

Another story from ‘Desert Wisdom’ by Yushi Nomura.

“One day, when Abba Agathon was on his way to sell small utensil, he saw a leper sitting on the wayside, who asked: ‘Where are you going?’ Abba Agathon replied: ‘To town to sell these things.’ Then he said: ‘Do me a favor, and take me there.’ So he carried him to town. Then he said: ‘Put me down where ever you sell those things.’ So he did. And when he had sold one item, the leper asked: ‘How much did you sell it for?’ So he told him how much it was. Then he said: ‘Buy me something nice.’ So he bought it. He sold another item. Then the leper asked:’And how much was it?’So he told him the price. Then he said: ‘Buy me this.’ So he bought it. After selling everything, he wanted to go. The leper asked: ‘Are you going back?’ He replied: ‘Sure.’ Then he said: ‘Do me a favor again and take me back to the place where you found me.’ So he carried him back to the place where he was. Then he said: ‘You are blessed, Agathon, by the Lord, in heaven and on earth!’ As the Abba lifted his eyes, he saw nobody, for it was an angel of the Lord who had come to test him.”

Some saints days in June.

Some of the saints are well known e.g. Sts. Barnabas, Peter and Paul; others less well e.g. Sts. Boniface, Columba, John Fisher and Thomas More.

St. Boniface (Feast day 5th.) was possible born in Crediton, Devon about 680, and was christened Wilfred. He was educated in Exeter and became a monk in Nursling, Hampshire. In 716 he left England and preached to the Germans and became known as the Apostle of Germany. In 742 he was consecrated a bishop in Rome and returned to Germany founding a number of monasteries in Hesse, Thuringia and Westphalia and established a number of diocese leaving them in the care of English men. From 743 to 747 he played a major role in ecclesiastical reforms in Gaul. Pope St. Thachary made him primate of Germany. He resigned when he was 70 and went to evangelise the Frieslanders. In 754 he was murdered by heathens.

St. Columba, or Colmcille, (feast day 9th.) was born at Gartan, County Donegal in about 521. He studied at Moville and Clonard and after leaving the Glasnevin monastery he spent 15 years preaching, founding churches and monasteries. He left Ireland with 12 companions and on Whitsunday eve landed on the island of Iona in 563. He founded a monastery there which became known throughout Europe. He preached the Gospel to the Picts and the Scots. He revisited Ireland many times and influenced the church in Ireland. Scotland and Northumbria. He died in 597.

Sts. John Fisher (1469-1535) and Thomas More (1478-1535) were executed in 1535 under orders from Henry VIII for refusing to recognise his authority as head of the church in England at the time of the break with Rome. Fisher was bishop of Rochester and was the author of many theological works including a Treatise on seven penitential psalms. More was the first layman to be Lord Chancellor and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Here he wrote his Dialogue of Comfort in Tribulation.

Sts. Barnabas (11th.) Paul and Peter (22nd) will be more familiar as they are all featured in the New Testament.

St. Barnabas is believed to have been born in Cyprus and was St. Paul’s companion on some of his missionary journeys. Luke records that “He was a good man full of the Holy Ghost and of faith.” [Acts 11.24) They went to Cyprus and landed at Salonika, the largest port then. He was martyred in Cyprus in 61 C.E. and his shrine is a few miles inland near a church dedicated to him near Salamis, which is now an icon museum.

St Peter and St Paul share the same feast day and were both martyred in Rome in c. 67 C.E. Their callings and backgrounds could hardly be different although they were both brought up in the Jewish faith and later became Christians. The Gospels tell us about Peter’s calling to leave his job as a fisherman by Jesus and to follow Him. He was destined to become the ministerial head of the Church and Bishop of Rome. His letters show how he expected Christians to live. St. Paul ‘met’ the risen Lord on a journey to Damascus and became the Apostle to the Gentiles. Luke records his life including his conversion, evangelizing, his journeys and his final imprisonment in Rome. Paul’s letters reveal his understanding of what it means to be a Christian and shows how he encouraged the churches when he was no longer with them.

Its me again.”

Do you find life boring? Do you have the same routine day after day? I do! I just have to liven things up! How I wonder?

I could escape and do my own thing – no isolating, no avoiding contact and no 2 metre rule. I did that but a neighbour spoilt my fun. he called and stupidly I went for a fuss. and you’ve guessed it – I was taken home! Better luck next time.

I must be patient but that’s not my nature. Something will turn up and it did! Chris decided to give her dog, Jake, a treat. Why should I miss out? I turned and ran – I was free! The lead trailing behind me was no inconvenience. I had my treat and took off to chase what ever was around – the whole field was my oyster. Then ther was that smell – a fox was around. He could liven things up. The brambles were no deterrent although the stinging nettles were a nuisance. What fun I had – unfortunately no fox lurked in the bushes and I went out. A bad move – I was caught.

Have you ever smelt a BBQ? That was my next move. How could I get a sausage or a burger? Only one way – I put my head through the hedge and pleaded hunger and looked longingly at the people. They knew me and a burger came my way. I’ve tried most evenings and I never fail! My cheek pays off! They cannot resist my look. Boredom relieved a little. Charlie.

Some Bible numbers.

One: Unity – one God, one body, one Spirit, one baptism, one faith.

Two: the disciples were sent out in pairs.

Three: The number of power and emphasis; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On the third day Jesus rose from the dead. Saul [Paul] was blind for three days. Peter’s vision was repeated three times and he denied Christ three times. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Four: The number of completion four Gospels; four horsemen of the Apocalypse; Ezekiel’s four living creatures.

Five: God’s grace; David’s five stones to slay Goliath; five loaves fed 5000; five wise virgins brought spare oil for their lamps.

Six: the number of man. Adam was created on the sixth day; six stone jars were miraculously filled with wine at Cana; there are six days for work

Seven: The number of heavenly perfection. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Adam went into the ark with seven others. Only the Lamb of God (who has seven horns and seven eyes) can open the scroll with its seven seals.

Eight: A new start – a male child was circumcised on the eighth day. Only eight people were saved in the ark.

Nine: God’s blessing – nine fruits of the Spirit and nine gifts of the Spirit.

Ten: The number of order and judgement. There were ten Commandments; ten plagues upon Egypt; the faithful servant was made head of ten cities; and ten kings have ten horns in Revelation.

Twelve: God’s divine purpose-12 tribes of Israel, 12 disciples and twelve judges. In Revelations, the holy city has 12 foundations and 12 gates.

Forty: The number of testing – 40 days and nights of rain in the Flood; Israel wandered for 40 years; Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights before being tempted by the devil.

Fifty: Release – after 50 years, the land and slaves were liberated(the year of the Jubilee.

Seventy: Judgement – there were 70 elders of Israel; the exiles returned to their land after 70 years; Jesus appointed 70 to declare the kingdom of God in Babylon.

Source unknown.

Thoughts inspired by reading Acts 7. 51 – 8.1

One of the most moving events is Stephen’s witness and death. I find this very moving as it takes my thoughts back to Christ’s crucifixion and His words from the cross. Stephen shows a desire to ‘imitate’ Christ by pleading forgiveness for those who stoned him – ‘for they do not know what they are doing’ could have been on his mind.

St. Stephen was the first martyr. What exactly does this mean? The word ‘martyr comes from the Greek word ‘martus’. This word is not associated by the need to imply that death is involved – either naturally or at the hands of another. It could be said to be a legal term whereby a person is testifying to the truth, or actions, of another to collaborate their statement. Thus Stephen can be seen as substantiating the actions, life and death and resurrection of Christ.

‘Martyrdom means bearing witness to God’ is St Clement of Alexandria’s definition and does not necessarily mean laying down ones life. Indeed St Clement goes on to say; ‘every soul that seeks in pureness of heart to know God and obey the commandments of God by life or by word’ is a martyr. Pope Benedict echoes these thoughts saying that there is ‘another kind of martyrdom’ not involving heroic deeds but is ‘the silent and heroic witness of so many Christians who live the Gospel without compromise, doing their duty and dedicating themselves to the service of the poor.’

These are the workers putting their own lives and, often, shutting themselves away from family and friends to serve others at this present time.

We too are called to be martyrs – doing God’s will and spreading the Good News, obeying instructions but above all serving the community in any way we can, even if its just a phone call or a friendly wave. even in self isolation we have the power of prayer asking God to be with those in any need and to strengthen the resolve of all to put others before ourselves.

Some quotes that may be some comfort at this time.

“Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come close to Him that He can kiss you.” St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

“It isn’t good to let our thoughts disturb or worry us at all.” St. Teresa of Avila.

“Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.” St. Jane Frances de Chantal.