Henri Nouwen, a Belgian Jesuit priest, has long been one of my favourite 20thcentury writers, with his wonderful grasp of God’s amazing love. He’s been an inspiration to many over the past 50 years and yet he himself struggled with tremendous feelings of inadequacy. Like many of the best theologians he speaks as much to himself as to others when he articulates the truth that, wounded as we are, we are loved and cherished and special in the eyes of God who holds us close and will never let us fall.
And it’s in that confidence that we are set free to take risks as those early Christians did. Our readings from the book of Acts that we hear Sunday by Sunday during Eastertide to Pentecost, remind us of the endeavours of the early Church, tinier and more fragile by far than the Church today. Yet those first believers were determined to share the message of God’s love and to follow in the steps of Jesus Christ, whose life and teaching formed their pattern for living.
On Thursday 30thMay we celebrate Ascension Day with a Eucharist at St Nicolas at 8pm, looking forward to the subsequent celebration of Pentecost on Sunday 9thJune when Bishop Alan joins us.
During that period, those first disciples, who had felt the presence of Jesus so closely and intimately, must have felt a profound, deep sense of loss when they saw him return to heaven – a loss which created emptiness, doubt, anxiety and above all fear. However one of the amazing things in the Christian faith is that this deep profound loss, which created emptiness, doubt, anxiety and fear, crystallized what was really important in the lives of this rather bedraggled, frightened group of disciples, and enabled them to focus and commit the rest of their lives to what they truly, deeply and passionately believed in, leading them to transform the world around them.
Let’s play our part in transforming the world as we join with Christians all over the world between Ascension Day and Pentecost to pray daily as part of “Thy Kingdom Come” for those dear to us who need to know God’s love in their lives. It’s a profound privilege and responsibility to pray and I encourage you to commit to at least one occasion during those ten days to come to Compline at 9pm or one of the other opportunities advertised.
Why not also take the opportunity to deepen your prayer life using a labyrinth led by our area dean Rod Cosh at St Thomas Colnbrook as part of the Oasis programme at 7.30pm on Wednesday 12thJune (see p4) and to find words to share your faith confidently in the “Talking Jesus” course commencing Tuesday 4thJune for the whole Deanery and hosted by St Peter’s Burnham.
Of course, it wouldn’t be summer without all the fun and social activity that we enjoy – The Taplow Village Green party, the St Nicolas Summer fete, a Quiz night in aid of Thames hospice, a variety of musical concerts in St Nicolas church and the St Nicolas Garden Party – this year in the garden and starting at an earlier time so we can enjoy the summer sunshine, whilst listening to the saxophonists from Burnham concert band and enjoying the Social committee’s usual fabulous supper. – details of all these in this edition. July also brings the return of St Anne’s cream teas and a chance to enjoy choral evensong. And don’t forget before all that the chance to hear the choir sing at Rochester Cathedral on bank holiday Monday 27thMay – still places on the coach if you ask Judy.
Last but not least we continue to pray for Suzanne who joins us as training curate following her ordination at 6pm on 29thJune at Christ Church cathedral. For a minibus lift to the cathedral please contact Suzanne as soon as possible. Rev.firstname.lastname@example.org
God Bless you this springtime and early summer.