17th Sunday of Ordinary Time – 28th July 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters
I must begin by apologising for being absent last weekend. As you may know I was struck by a trailer whilst on my bike and ended up in hospital having my head fixed. I have been very touched by the genuine kindness of loads of people who, whether via email, card or letter, have expressed their support for me (and for Helen too). Some even offered chocolate, one beer and another wine as pick me ups to aid the recovery process. To be honest I was very fortunate for a number of reasons – good first aid from some amazing people passing by the scene, the wonderful NHS, strangers offering water, bandages and kindness. It was a good experience and shows how much kindness is out there for those caught up in difficulties. I thank you very much for your prayers and for your concern. I am getting better all the time but will, unfortunately, not be able to bike for a while as I can’t sit on the bike due to a rather painful injury to the priestly rump!
I guess the opening prayer’s first line is a useful reminder of providence and the way in which God opens doors of grace for us and prepares good things for those who ask. It was providential that a first aider with 35 years’ experience just happened to be passing by on the other side of the road and came to my aid like a Good Samaritan. It was providential that a mother and son happened to have a fully equipped first aid kit in their car and were willing for it to be used on me. I suppose it was providential that what could have been fatal proved only to be painful and a sign that all cyclists on the road, however competent and experienced, should wear a helmet to protect them from 2 tons of steel bearing down on them at speed.
Perhaps it was providential for the driver that he will have learned to drive more considerately and carefully through only a relatively minor incident rather than a major one, had I been killed. That sounds quite dramatic when you hear it put like that, but it isn’t meant to be. Cars and lorries kill cyclists and break bits of them very easily. Cyclists can be a nuisance and annoying but the worst they can do is scratch your paint a bit and cause a small delay.
The main point of the readings today is to flag up for us a particular aspect of our faith – that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is availableto us. He is actually very close to us – closer than we can even imagine. St Augustine famously wrote that God was closer to him than he was even to himself! He also wrote some very beautiful words about his search for God; about how he looked for him in all the beautiful things of the world – in philosophy and wisdom, in beautiful women and sexual relationships with them, in culture and in the great civilisations of his day. Having exhausted all these avenues of exploration he at last found what he was looking for. He found God within himself where he had been all the time waiting to be discovered, calling out to Augustine’s deaf ears, and leaving signs for his blind eyes.
When we pray to God, we are praying to someone very close to us indeed. He is not ‘over there’ or ‘outside there’ but within. We must be careful here not to identify ourselves as being God but ourselves as having been made ‘at-one’ with God which is where we get the word ‘atonement’ from.
God is no longer a stranger to us but close to our hearts because he is the love that He has planted in our hearts. He has planted his love in our hearts by pouring on us the gift, and the gifts, of the Spirit who cries out in us “Abba, father”. When we are attuned to His presence within then our prayer is truly ‘from the heart’ and we pray for the things that God desires for us because he loves us. When we pray for the things only we desire they may or may not be consistent with this indwelling God’s desires – which is why we sometimes feel our prayers have not been answered.
Listen to the voice from within. Fr David
Please note there is no Parish Lunch in Bramley next Tuesday 30th July.
Please note that there is no mass this coming Thursday – Fr David has to go for a medical assessment.
Fr David is away on retreat from next Friday until the 11thAugust. Fr Kevin Dring is covering the first week end for us. The second weekend is unknown at this time!
Eucharistic Ministers– Have you considered taking up the ministry of serving Holy Communion? Fr David may well write to you soon and ask you to consider this lovely service for God and the Church. If you are interested to know more please contact the Parish Office.
Readers– If you would like to be involved in reading during Mass please contact the Parish Office.
Bidding Prayers– each week the bidding prayers are prepared by members of our Parish, if you would like to know more about joining this rota please contact the Parish Office.
Flower Arrangers– if you would like to become part of this team please contact the Parish Office.
If you would like to become more involved in the running of the Parish please pop into the Parish Office to talk about the many opportunities which are available, we value your talents
Worth Abbey Retreats:
Silent Retreat: 16th-19th September
A chance to get away from the busy world and enjoy time and space to be still, refresh your spiritual life and explore your relationship with God in quiet contemplation. The retreat also offers the opportunity to join with the Monastic Community for daily prayer and liturgy. The cost is £265 and your stay is fully inclusive.
Individual self-led retreat: 30th July – 1st August & 22nd-24thOctober
Individuals are invited to book a stay for self-led retreats. Minimum 2 night stay, arriving from 4pm on the first day until after lunch on the final day. We are not able to offer spiritual direction but you are welcome to enjoy the extensive grounds for walking, a visit the Quiet Garden and participate in the daily rhythm of prayer and liturgy as a framework for your retreat; the cost is £126 and your stay is fully inclusive.
You will stay in St Bruno’s where we offer a warm welcome, good food and comfortable accommodation. For further information or to book your place, contact the Bookings Secretary on 01342 710318 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENING OF RENEWAL: “The Power of Praise And Thanksgiving”
How we can release blessing, power and healing through praising and thanking God.
Wednesday 7th August 8.00-9.00pm (Adoration from 7.30pm) at St Joan’s Church, 19 Tilford Road, Farnham GU9 8DJ
Workshop for Parish Musicians: Come and learn more about accompanying hymns/service music. Network with other organists and musicians and share best practise.
Crawley & Horsham District Organists’ Association are running a free workshop for those musicians who’ve been asked to play in services. This free workshop, led by John Sharples (one of the organists of Arundel Cathedral), is being held on Saturday 16th November 2019 from 9:30am until Noon at the United Reformed Church in Horsham.
Further details and booking : e : email@example.com or John on 07931 346127
SAVE THE DATE for PARISH MASS
Saturday 15th September – 11am Mass at Wintershall
All members of our Parish are expected to join this very special Mass taking place at Wintershall. Mass will start 11am with a shared picnic to enjoy in the beautiful grounds.
Bring your own family’s picnic and something for the shared table.
The intention is to be as environmentally friendly as possible which means bringing [and taking away] your own reusable plates, cutlery, cups and mugs and as little plastic as possible please.
Bring your own chairs and rugs for comfort. Tea and Coffee will be provided.
Assistance can be arranged for those less mobile so please contact Jane Harding or the Parish Office to discuss arrangements.
There will also be a cake competition open to everyone the results of which we will enjoy as dessert after judging.