Latest Magazine

He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Welcome to our new style monthly magazine.  It contains all the usual articles and information (including Esther’s corny jokes!) but gives us room to add contact details, useful to us all but particularly for people who are new to our church family or visiting for the first time.

Dear Friends,

When I was on Sabbatical back in 2019 I visited the wonderful German city of Freiburg im Breisgau. There are so many amazing things to see there, but one in particular has stayed in my mind. It was a plaque in the cemetery which read “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.” The verse is from the book of Job, chapter 14 verse 7. In this context it referred to the hurricane ‘Lothar’, which wreaked havoc throughout Europe from 25-26th December 1999.

In German such a plaque is called a ‘Gedenktafel’ which literally means ‘remember plate’. This month of November is the traditional time for us to remember as we think of loved ones who have gone before us over the twin feasts of All Saints and All Souls, and the many whose lives have been cut short by warfare on Remembrance Day.

The poet Robert Cameron Rogers wrote of “memories that bless and burn”, a theme picked up on by the great writer Fr Daniel O’Leary. As he puts it; “We sense anew the absence of the loves of our lives. But by now we have learned that love and loss go together. If you love, you are sure to suffer; if you do not love, you will suffer even more.” Yet suffering is not the end of our stories. No one knew this more than poor Job who literally lost everything – his finances, health and family. He was in the depths of despair – and who could blame him? But even at his most despondent he was able to speak of hope, the hope of a tree that may look to all intents and purposes just like a dead stump but “at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.” (Job 14:8)

I wonder what the ‘scent of water’ may be for us? What it it that gives us new hope and new life? That is not an easy question to answer when we find ourselves in a place of deep sorrow. We need time to remember and to be still as we allow the Lord to meet us in our sadness and lead us out of the tomb.

From my own experience I recommend going outside – even if it’s just sitting in the kitchen with your back door open (and a warm jumper on in this weather!) The healing power of fresh air, the sight of branches and a blue sky and birds can take us to a place our rational minds will never reach. Who can disagree with Albert Einstein? “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

I love the poem of Christina Rosetti:

 Lord, purge our eyes to see

Within the seed a tree,

Within the glowing egg a bird,

Within the shroud a butterfly

Till taught by such, we see

Beyond all creatures Thee.

Wishing us all a renewed sense of hope this November,

Esther and Jessie the Vicarage dog x

Revd. Esther Foss

Morning Prayer is back at 10.00 am every Wednesday – a Book of Common Prayer Said Service in the Lady Chapel. 

If you have a prayer request or would like more information, please do get in touch with Esther at St. Andrew’s Vicar or call 0203 620 1885.

Prayer for the Community – Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy.  Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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