Genesis 32: 22-31; Psalm 17: 1-7; Romans 9: 1-5
Gospel: Matthew 14: 13-21
Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel he records Jesus saying, “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear…. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them”. And now in today’s reading we see Jesus doing what He spoke about: meeting people’s needs, healing those who are ill, providing food, because He knows they are hungry. Interestingly, the people come to Jesus wanting healing and wanting to hear what He has to say to them, but apparently they don’t ask Him to do anything about their hunger, and certainly the disciples don’t expect Jesus to do anything. Perhaps they think, “That’s too small a thing to bother Jesus about,” or, “It’s our own fault for not bringing food with us.” We often have things we think it’s OK to ask God about and things we feel He wouldn’t care about. The disciples see the problem and want to send the people away to get food, away from Jesus. But Jesus feels sorry for them all (the Greek says, “He was moved deep inside/ in his guts”), and He does something about it. And not just the bare minimum, but loads of food, so that they can’t eat it all and there is plenty left over, presumably to be taken home; it would not be Jesus’ way to make too much food, just so it can lie around and rot. This is not the only time Jesus does this, so it’s not a token miracle, to show that He can multiply food, but not to be done again. No. In the next chapter of Matthew, Jesus performs the same miracle. Surely it’s telling us: if we are trusting God as Christians, God knows our needs and wants to meet them, and will meet them. Instead of ignoring Him or going away from Him when we have a problem, let’s bring our needs to God.
St Mary’s first service since lockdown
St Mary’s will open for our first service since lockdown, on Sunday the 9th of August (next Sunday). The service will commence at 10.15am and there will be limited seating capacity as previously outlined in other newsletters. Anyone attending will be requested to provide name and contact details in the possible event of any subsequent Covid-19 trace requirement being initiated. There will be no choir, (however, I am hoping to have some organ music), and there will be procedures to follow, not just upon entering the church and finding seating, but also for those wishing to partake in Holy Communion. Be prepared to experience some necessary changes whilst restrictions remain in place. Our risk assessment was approved by Bishop Anne and we must comply with it to the letter. Please don’t be put off by this, there will be plenty of guidance in place and I can assure each of you who will attend, that confusion will be kept to an absolute minimum. Upon entering you will be required to use the hand sanitizers available and you will be issued with a service book. Please retain this book and do not hand it in at the end of the service. It will be your property and you will be expected to bring it with you each week. This is being done in an effort to avoid printing single use service sheets and we believe that it is the most practical way of dealing with providing the liturgy. Please bring your own mask if you are able.
Last weeks meetings
This last week I have had several meetings on various subject matters. All were important and each of them concerned the future development of St Mary’s in many different aspects. I meet with the Very Rev’d Isaac Poobalan, Provost of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew’s, every Thursday morning, to discuss clergy related matters concerning the merge due to take place on the 27th of September. A new ‘Project Team’ has been formed in order to deal with and assist in the development of a new St Mary’s Website. We have employed professional help to lead us in this matter and the team involved will concentrate on ensuring that the new site will include as much up to date information as possible. An inaugural meeting with the Web designer took place on Thursday and we now have work to do in order develop our ideas further. Watch this space. A meeting was held, also on Thursday, with the combined St Mary’s and St Andrew’s Steering Group, where we discussed the progress of our planning towards St Mary’s becoming Pro-Cathedral on the 27th of September this year.
As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, St Mary’s still has to attend to its many financial obligations despite the Church being closed, and it is more important than ever to ensure we have the resources to honour those commitments. Some of you have sent me cheques/envelopes for your weekly giving donations and for that I am extremely grateful. I would encourage those who may be saving their envelopes up until a full return to normal Sunday services, to consider making a direct payment into St Mary’s Church bank account. I can provide the necessary information if you contact me on the details below. It is my utmost desire to ensure that we are able to observe all opportunities to cut down the risk of infection. However, if that method is not suitable and you would still like to contribute your envelopes, or make a donation, again, just contact me and I can make alternative arrangements to pick it up. Your continued support is so very much appreciated in these trying times.
As we are resuming Sunday services on the 9th of August, the ‘Zoom Breakfast’ will now end. However, in order to continue to reach out to those who have chosen not to attend our 10.15am service, I propose a ‘Zoom Brunch’ which would commence at 12.30 pm every Sunday. This might even attract more people and it would be along the same format as before, where we would just have a get together and a blether about the week and what’s been happening. Should you wish to join us on the 9th of August, get in touch on the details below and I can let you have the login details required.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength:
God’s power to guide me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s eyes to watch over me;
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to give me speech,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to shelter me,
God’s host to secure me.
(First Millenium – Bridgid of Gael)
Fr Terry Taggart