Genesis 37: 1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105: 1-10; Romans 10: 5-15
Gospel: Matthew 14: 22-23
To escape the storm and avoid the ghost
More often than not we cry out to be rescued from the circumstances of which we are afraid. We want to escape the storm and avoid the ghost. We want to be picked up and set down somewhere else, somewhere that is safe, calm, and comfortable. Jesus doesn’t do that. He didn’t do that for the disciples and he doesn’t do that for us. Instead, Jesus reveals himself, speaks, and comes to the disciples in, and from the very midst of the storm itself. He did not take the disciples out of their storm, he entered their storm. Jesus does not come to us from outside our storms and fears like some divine search and rescue mission. Yet, that’s often where we look for him, outside the circumstances of our lives. We are too easily persuaded that the solution to dire circumstances comes only from outside the circumstances themselves. That is the exact opposite of what today’s Gospel tells us. Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water, through the wind, and in the darkness. Jesus’ peace, words of comfort and presence are not outside the storm but in the eye of the storm. So why don’t we look for him in that place, in the place of our fear? That’s where Jesus shows up. Where else would he be, this one we call Emmanuel, God with us? If Jesus is not in our storms and fears then he is not Emmanuel. He is not God-with-us.
Our Gospel reading
Our Gospel reading relates to a story we are all very familiar with and a story that is full of fear, apprehension and hope. These three elements would no doubt have been present today (Sunday) if we had gathered for the first time in four and a half months. However, the recent spike in infections of Covid 19 in the City has prevented that and the decision to delay our return inevitably had to be made. This clearly shows that we are by no means out of the woods yet. But we are ready, albeit under very different circumstances than previously, we will hopefully soon be together, surrounded by signs and warnings and hand sanitizer. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my deepest appreciation to those many people who worked tirelessly to ensure we were ready to open our doors this Sunday. What you see around you when we eventually gather at Church, didn’t just pop up overnight, it has been a process of research and discussion before a pew was moved or a sign was affixed to a wall. Great care has been taken to help negate any possibility of spreading the infection, and without the determination to get it done I don’t know where we would be. All of those people, and you know who you are, deserve our thanks for getting us to this state of readiness. I for one will never be able to thank you enough.
The Zoom Brunch
The Zoom gatherings will continue, under a new name and time. So it will now be called ‘The Zoom Brunch’ and will commence at 1230pm each Sunday. Even though we will not be opening this Sunday, I will send out the login details as before for those who receive email. Should you wish to join us, please contact me on any of the details below and I will forward you the details you’ll need. This also applies to those who do not currently receive this newsletter by email. It is essential that I get it out to as many as possible, so please get back to me with your email address and I will add you to my ever growing list of recipients.
Transition of St Mary’s to Pro-Cathedral
The Steering Group, which is currently overseeing the transition of St Mary’s to Pro-Cathedral, meets regularly and we are making good progress. To our brothers and sisters at the Cathedral Church of St Andrews, we are grateful for your patience and forbearance as together we strive to ensure that when we eventually join together in worship, it will be such a joyous occasion, filled with love and fellowship.
St Mary’s Vestry Committee
St Mary’s Vestry Committee has been working really hard, trying to balance the priorities of our own Church and those which will become more apparent after September. Please remember them in your prayers as they constantly rise to the challenges before them.
To our Volunteers
All of the Volunteers who unselfishly work tirelessly to ensure things happen at our Church, will I am sure be champing at the bit to get back on top of things. Where any of our Churches would be without those who volunteer their own time to help out I shudder to think. As I have waxed lyrical about previously, we all have a ministry and we all form part of this wonderful offering to Him. When one of us steps back or is unable to help, we all feel it. As Rector of St Mary’s I am eternally grateful to be part of a team that strives to reach out to not only those within our Church community; but to those on the fringes of our society.
Flower Arranger in –Chief
On the subject of Volunteers, Mrs Irene Pratt, who oversees the purchase of, and organisation of our flowers at St Mary’s, is stepping back from this role. I was hoping that there may be someone out there who would consider taking on the responsibility of being our ‘Flower Arranger in –Chief’. This would entail being responsible for donations made towards flowers and for overseeing some form of rota for flower arrangements during the liturgical year. If you would like to know more about this essential role or you are interested in volunteering for it, please contact me on the details below.
For those of you who are unaware, Ben and Kirsty Woods, together with young Elizabeth and even younger Wilfrid, have moved onto pastures new. We were aware that their time with us was limited due to Ben’s employment as an Officer in the Army. They moved several weeks ago and Ben will be promoted to Major. It was absolutely wonderful to have a young growing and happy family with us at St Mary’s and we shall definitely miss them. We hope that they take with them a wee bit of the Granite City and that they know that they were, and will continue to be, loved by us all here in the West End.
As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, St Mary’s still has to attend to its many financial obligations despite restrictions in numbers attending, 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.
O, oft and oft and oft,
In the strangers guise
(Celtic Rune of Hospitality)
Fr Terry Taggart