A message from our Rector
Sunday 10th January, 2021
After the comparatively normal Church services last Sunday, Monday brought the need to re think what is best for congregations in the light of the great increase in Covid 19 infections. The advice from the Diocese, while saying with the government, that worship can continue, seem to be saying the safest thing is to stay at home. After consulting PCCs the decision was not to open for worship in our churches for the present.
There is lots of material to help us worship at home. There are the Archdeaconry Days to sign up to. Some of us went to the last one held in Yeovil and found it very helpful. So much so we thought we would base our Lent Groups on it, only to hold one and then we were in the first Lockdowm.
It is not to late to sign up for 'Prayer-Everyone, Everywhere'. It starts with a service from the Cathedral today, which is already available on the diocesan website - https://www.bathandwells.org.uk/
You can also watch the Sunday service on the Bath and Wells Facebook or the YouTube channel.
During the week, the main page containing materials will be updated each day.
You can also book a place at one of the Zoom gatherings on Saturday 16th January.
Jo is continuing to send out our own services via e-mail. What a wonderful service she has been providing us.
with love and prayers
A reflection by the Reverend Dr. Jeremy Swayne
There is an opinion amongst some doctors that the hands-on clinical examination of patients is no longer such an important part of medical care, because so much can be learned about a patient’s body and its functions, and with greater precision, using the array of technology available to us now. Observing, touching, feeling, listening, smelling, have become an undervalued component of the science and the art of medicine. And listening carefully to what a patient has to say, as well as to their breath sounds and heart sounds for example, may also attract too little attention.
For me, as a doctor who qualified before many of these technologies were available, this diminishes medicine’s vocation as a healing art because it lacks the essential quality of ‘worth-ship’. Whatever its clinical importance, the intimacy of touch, as an appropriate and respectful part of the clinical examination, helps to demonstrate the compassion and regard that we feel for our patients, ‘because they are worth it’.; and which are indispensable to a healing relationship.
But, of course, this principle applies to every relationship. We may give very little thought to it, but in every encounter with another person we show something of our sense of the value and meaning of his or her life. Our attitude and behaviour will affirm them, because it is underpinned by love and ‘worth-ship’. Or it will diminish them because it is inattentive, dismissive, uncaring or unkind.
Not only that; but the same principle applies to our relationship with the natural world, and the other creatures that inhabit it. We owe the whole of creation a debt of ‘worth-ship’. It is part of our debt of gratitude and worship to our God, to whose Kingdom it belongs. It has been said that ‘the Kingdom of God is creation healed’. It is up to us to create that healing relationship. Which is a relationship of love.
And that is possible, but only in as far as we are able to reflect in our lives something of God’s love for us and for the creation. Which is what the story of Epiphany is about.
The complete tradition of Epiphany is a story of ‘worth-ship. It encompasses the birth of Jesus, the coming of the Kings (or Wise Men), the Baptism of Jesus, which we celebrate today, and the Marriage at Cana-in-Galilee. It draws together the revelation of God’s love and concern for all humanity – every colour, race and creed - in the birth of Jesus, God with us. And for the whole creation in demonstrating the sacred and sacramental value of the material world in the water of Baptism. A message reinforced by so many of Jesus’s actions and parables, including his use of touch to heal; and reflected in the sacraments of the Church that use ordinary material things to convey spiritual meaning and power. A meaning and power that are foreshadowed in the transformation of water into wine at the marriage feast. An acted-out parable of Christ’s desire, and power, to transform us; by sharing our human life to invite us to claim our share of his divine life.
In the story of Epiphany we perceive God’s (and Jesus’s) glory - God’s ‘worthship’. And we perceive our ‘worth-ship’ in God’s eyes. It is up to us to affirm that ‘worth-ship’ in one another. That in itself honours our debt of ‘worth-ship’ to God.
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