Welcome to Two Valleys
A Reflection for Monday 30th March 2020
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy?
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
This Psalm should be read with Psalm 42
What’s going on here?
- This psalm is a song for those moments when one doesn't feel like singing.
- For those times when one feels separate from God.
Haven’t we all felt like that?
The psalmist asks God,
- "Why have you forgotten me?"
- "Why have you cast me off?"
- Such questions of God are not the sign of a weak or absent faith.
- but are characteristic of the tenacious faith of the psalmists, marks of true biblical faith.
- Such questions hold God accountable for the promises that were made to Israel, and,
- for the promise of God's presence that was extended through Jesus Christ -- who promises to be with us always, to the end of the ages.
- The psalmist is clear that all is not right in God’s Creation and that God's people are looking to God to do something (more) about it.
The Remembering and the Hope:
Separated from God, from the Temple, and from a life-giving community, the psalm writer's very memories cause pain:
"My soul is cast down within me; therefore, I remember you"
But memories of community and worship spur the psalmist
- to trust and hope in God, and,
- to demand God's saving help.
Recalling the prayers that are lifted up and the songs that are given voice in worship, the psalmist confesses:
"By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life."
And so "I shall again praise him."
Remembering the lamps of the Temple, the psalmist prays,
"O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me."
Finally, the psalmist encourages his or herself; “Hope in God”.
God is the source of all hope, the hope which comes from "outside of the self."
So …let us reflect
- How close are you feeling to God in this moment of trial?
- What might you do this day to draw closer to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to rekindle, deepen that relationship?
- What is separating you from God?
- In what ways are you finding refuge in God?
- What memories of our churchgoing might you be drawing upon at this time? Reading of the Book of Common Prayer: The Psalms, the Gospels? The liturgies of Holy Weeks and Easter? Baptism services?
- Where is the Light of Christ shining for you at the moment?
- We need to remember that God is bigger than any of us, bigger than any human situation.
- What and who would you like to pray for at this time? Perhaps making a list would help: family, friends, the village and our nation.
Thank you, have a good day and keep safe.
Sadly, many events in the Benefice have been suspended following the Government's advice regarding Social Distancing.
Please see below a letter from the Archbishop:
Worship: Key Points
Our Archbishops have asked for “the Church of England in all its parishes, chaplaincies and ministries to serve all people in a new way.”
- Public worship will have to stop for a season.
- Our usual pattern of Sunday services and other mid-week gatherings must be put on hold.
- But this does not mean that the Church of England has shut up shop. We need to look at new ways of serving everyone:
- Where you can and where it is prudent, we encourage all clergy to continue their pattern of daily prayer and, if it is your practice and can be done within the constraints as set out, a daily Eucharist. It is vital to observe strictly the protocols of hygiene and, where necessary, self-isolation and social distancing. This will not be public worship that everyone can attend, but an offering of prayer and praise for the nation and for the world.
- Please do of course keep the church buildings open for private prayer wherever possible as we know so many do all the time.
- If churches and worshipping communities have the resources to live stream, then they should do so. This will enable the people of God and anyone and everyone who looks to God for support and meaning in this time of crisis to participate in the life of worship at home.
- At the same time, both nationally and in our dioceses, we will produce and provide resources for prayer and worship in the home. This will be especially important for those who are self-isolating, but also for the benefit of everyone.
- Many people are going to suffer during these coming months as the coronavirus reaches its peak. Tragically there will be deaths and so many will be grieving and fearful. We, the Church of Jesus Christ, with our sisters and brothers from other Christian churches, must be in the forefront of providing practical care and support for the most poor and the most vulnerable, and we offer our services to all those who are beginning to think through how best to provide for those in need.
Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead. Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.
We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support.
- Please do carry on supporting the local foodbank and buy extra provisions for it.
- Ensure the night shelters wherever possible are kept open.
- There are many very encouraging schemes happening right across our country in communities to focus on caring for the most vulnerable, so do continue to play your part in those. Then by our service, and by our love, Jesus Christ will be made known, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that will counter fear and isolation - will spread across our land.
- We have called, along with our fellow church leaders, for a day of prayer and action this coming Sunday - Mothering Sunday (22nd March). Mothering Sunday has always been both a day of celebration for many and a sensitive and emotional day for some. Wherever you are this Sunday please do join in this day of prayer and action and remember especially those who are sick or anxious, and all involved in our Health Service.
- As one action, we are calling on everyone to place a lighted candle in their window at 7.00 p.m. as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.
This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly a church for all, or just the church for ourselves? We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.
For Stapleford Parish Council Files see: Stapleford Files
New on the Website:
29.03.20 A Reflection on Psalm 43, this page
29.03.20 Benefice April Prayers
Download: Prayers for Week 2
Download: Passion Tide Prayers
27.03.20 Information regarding Church closure, below
17.03.20 Information about Suspension of Worship, this page
17.03.20 Coronavirus Info
Wylye and Till Valley Benefice Church Closure
Berwick St James, Great Wishford,
Little Langford, South Newton, Stapleford,
Steeple Langford, Stockton,
Winterbourne Stoke and Wylye
The Church in this Benefice and beyond continues to be alive and active, but our buildings must close
We are seeing a huge increase in the number of people falling sick with COVID-19. We must distance ourselves from one another and prevent the spread of infection in order to save lives.
Therefore, as well as public worship being suspended, the nine churches of our benefice and all church buildings in the Church of England are now closed.
Our worship of God and our care for each other continue but cannot be done in this building.
This website will have further details of how to join with others for prayer, worship, study, and community life.
The Priest-in-Charge, the Rev’d Jonathan Plows can be contacted in an emergency by telephoning 01722 790616 or emailing Rectorwtv@gmail.com
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength . . . Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
To protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do not leave your home except for essential trips.
A Prayer in Light of the Coronavirus outbreak:
we thank you the beautiful world that you have made.
We are sorry for the selfish way we treat each other
and your creation.
Please look with mercy on us in our time of trouble.
We pray for all those afflicted by disease;
particularly we pray for this Coronavirus outbreak.
Heal the sick and draw close to those who mourn;
inspire our scientists to develop a vaccine at speed;
guide our leaders to act wisely for the common good.
We pray for your church that she will bring practical help,
hope and healing.
And by your Spirit may your perfect love cast out fear.
All this we ask in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
SAFEGUARDING IN THE WYLYE AND TILL VALLEY BENEFICE
The Wylye and Till Valley Benefice takes its responsibilities surrounding the safeguarding of children, young people and adults who may be at risk very seriously and works in partnership with the Diocese of Salisbury to ensure that we work in accordance with best practice at all times.
Who to contact if you have a Safeguarding concern:
- Rev'd Jonathan Plows: Priest-in-Charge of the nine churches of the Benefice - firstname.lastname@example.org or 01722 331647
- Mrs Heather Bland*: Salisbury Diocese Safeguarding Adviser (Wiltshire & Dorset) - email@example.com 01722 411922 or 07500 411922
- Gill Brasher: Contact for Berwick St James - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Daphne Smith: Contact for Great Wishford, Stapleford, South Newton and Winterbourne Stoke - email@example.com
- Richard Hewitt: Contact for Stockton and Wylye - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Neal Fox, Gill Leake: Contacts for Steeple Langford, Hanging Langford and Little Langford - email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Heather works at Church House, Salisbury 9am to 5pm Mondays to Wednesdays and 9am to 1pm on Thursdays. Heather is available Monday to Thursday 8am to 9pm for urgent safeguarding discussions via 07500 664800.