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Dear <<First Name>>

Welcome to the
Athelney Benefice Weekly Bulletin

Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name. (Psalm 97:11-12)

Let’s unpack that, shall we?

I find myself having to remember that for many of you who read this letter, living in the country is nothing new or special. In fact, it's quite the norm. But for me, a newly arrived townie, when I wake up, look out of my bedroom window and see this wonderful image of rurality I have to pinch myself that I have actually woken up and am not dreaming the whole thing. Together with the space we have in the vicarage, the space in the fields around us is something to behold. It is a great joy, but it comes with a rather interesting consequence. Louise and I moved in during the heatwave of a few weeks ago, and now that the temperature has become entirely more reasonable and British we can be a bit more active in our unpacking. We still have many boxes scattered through the vicarage. (Did I say 'scattered'? I meant piled up.) We have such space that the boxes are not actually in the way. And that is a problem. We do not have to struggle to get around the house and so the boxes remain, tidy, carefully stacked, but not in the way at all.

—Oh, poor Simon, I hear you say, ironically. Having so much space! Must be awful!

And I understand. It is what I would call a First World Problem—i.e. not a problem at all. Merely a curiosity. That said, it has got me thinking. Space, as Captain Kirk remarked, is the final frontier. It's just "there", and we simply occupy it, but when it is taken away as it was during the lockdowns, we suddenly realise just how important it is. I wrote a few weeks ago about Time, and how we can't quite grasp it, but space seems more obvious. We can see it, after all, or we can see things that fill it and we assume it must be the same for everyone. Look at the picture above, however. I'm looking out from my window at the man with the dogs, and beyond the blue sky and clouds. He doesn't see the same as me. He sees my house for one thing. He sees his dogs up close. Maybe he hasn't even noticed the clouds.

How we respond to the world around us depends very much on where we stand. At our united worship this Sunday we shall be celebrating The Transfiguration of Christ, when Jesus suddenly appeared changed: "And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him." Peter's response was to want to build a monument. Jesus said to do nothing, to keep silent. Peter saw Jesus, Elijah and Moses; Jesus saw God. Wherever we look, across fields or across a busy city street, we see it through our eyes and our experience. Sometimes we want to celebrate what we see; sometimes we want to keep quiet about it. Sometimes we don't even notice what is so very obvious to others. Remembering this can be tricky, but it is important. We view the universe as though we are at its centre. We know we aren't, and it is an act of humility to seek to understand the views of others: whether in a field, on a bus, in a vast vicarage with many boxes or a cramped inner city flat with nowhere to go.

Revd Simon

Sunday Worship: The Feast of the Transfiguration

Collect

Father in heaven, whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured before chosen witnesses upon the holy mountain, and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem: give us strength so to hear his voice and bear our cross that in the world to come we may see him as he is; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdomis one that will never be destroyed.

2 Peter 1:16-19

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[a] We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lightshining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Luke 9:28-36

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure,[a] which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

Post Communion

Holy God, we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ: may we who are partakers at his table reflect his life in word and deed, that all the world may know his power to change and save. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Pastoral Care

Years Mind

We call to mind parishioners who have died at this time in recent years.

Margaret Denman, Sanna Wardle, Bruce Wall, Liz Grant

For those who are sick or in need

We hold in our prayers those affected locally and nationally by the Coronavirus: patients, carers, families, and friends.

We pray also for Alan, Alison, Andrea, Andy, Anne & family, Anne, Aoife, Audrey (2), Barbara, Ben, Bill, Brian, Chris & Jean, Dave & family, Jean, Val, Jan and Peter, Di, Diane, Eileen, George, Gill, Helen, Janet & family, Jean, John, Joyce, Judith & David, Kay, Ken, Lorraine, Margaret, Mary, Mignon, Nicholas, Pam, +Peter, Jane & family, Portia, Primrose, Ralph, Rita, Sheila, Sue & Robert, Susan, Thomas, Victoria … ... and for their families and carers, and all those who are in need but not named. Give thanks for those who have recovered.

If there are people or concerns that you wish to be mentioned in prayer, please tell the vicar or churchwardens.

Please note: during August we shall be renewing the prayer list. If you are a ‘sponsor’ for anyone mentioned in these prayers, please can you let Simon or churchwardens know if you wish for their names to continue to be published?

News and Notices

Covid and Relaxation of Regualtions

As you will have read above, the restrictions on singing have been relaxed, and so today, for the first time in over eighteen months we can sing in church. Please wear your masks, even though it is not required by law, since there are some who are understandably cautious about the virus, and we all need to respect each other’s concerns. But to sing is a joy and so let us be joyful in however we can sound behind a mask!

If you have any news that you would like included in this bulletin, please send it to: bulletin@athelneybenefice.com

The zoom broadcast this week will be from the 10am United Benefice Eucharist at North Curry

Each Sunday we endeavour to provide an online Zoom broadcast of our worship from one of the Benefice parish churches. This is a little bit hit and miss because connection is unreliable. Please click on the link below and we will be online (we hope!)

Zoom Worship Connection
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