Message from our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther
I don’t always hear Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’, which usually pops up at around 7.50am, during the ‘Today’ programme, but I did catch it on Wednesday. It was given by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism in the UK. It was a particularly eloquent reflection on love – God’s love for us and our love for our neighbour. I suppose it struck home particularly powerfully because I have taken quite a few weddings recently and this week also has seen two rather special funerals. At all of them we spoke of love, God’s love for us all, the love of two human beings and the Christian belief that love overcomes death. One of the prayers in the wedding service speaks of how the couples’ love should ‘overflow to neighbours in need and embrace those in distress’. The funeral service reminds us that ‘all who have died in the love of Christ will share in his resurrection’. Rabbi Jonathan quotes a Rabbi from the 18th-century who says ‘to make God’s everlasting love real is our responsibility’. And hearing St Paul’s famous words about love in his First Letter to the Corinthians being read at weddings and one of the funerals reminded me just how central to our faith our ideas of love are. I’ve attached the audio of Rabbi Jonathan’s talk to this pew-sheet and I commend it to you – it certainly spoke powerfully to me.
There are lots of good things coming up in the next few days but in particular I draw your attention to the concert in Friston churchyard on Sunday afternoon at 4pm, and the first of the two Friday Markets on August 13th from 10.00 until 2.00. It is also good to welcome The Revd Bruce Gillingham back to Thorpeness and Aldeburgh this Sunday morning. Bruce and his family’s links with Thorpeness go back a very long way and he is always a welcome visitor. Prayers are already wafting heavenwards for fine weather for all of these events!
With my love and prayers, as ever
Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions
make them to ask such things as shall please you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
1 Kings 19.4-8
Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
John 6.35, 41-51
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
Sermon for 8th August – Tenth Sunday after Trinity,
by The Revd Johanna Mabey
Bread of Life Reflection for Lammas Day (1st August)
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15, Ephesians 4.1-16, John 6.24-35
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord our rock and our redeemer.”
Before we moved to Aldeburgh, many years ago, we used to live in a beautiful old Suffolk farmhouse near Sudbury which was surrounded by arable fields – in fact our two eldest children, George and James were both born there.
I still remember the heady aroma of gain on the cusp of ripening. This deep earthy fragrance held the promise of harvest. The first day of harvest was always exciting. For arable farmers, it’s the day when the crop yields its first grain, the culmination of a year’s work. My two boys were transfixed by the sight of the huge combine harvester rolling past the end of our garden – and our little George’s first word wasn’t ‘Mumma’, or ‘Dadda’, it was ‘Tractor’!!
On Lammas Day or Loaf Mass Day, we celebrate the first loaf of bread, made from the first wheat of harvest. In times past this first loaf of bread marked the end of eking out last year’s food supplies. There must have been a great temptation to devour the loaf in one hungry feast.
But on the first Sunday in August, the harvest workers would pause from their work to take this first loaf to church. It would be presented at the altar. They would give thanks to God for his provision. And then, accompanied by the words of Christ’s last Supper, the loaf would be blessed, broken and shared.
The first taste of the new bread would be at the Eucharistic feast. As well as the obvious spiritual connections there was something deeply practical about this.
The first loaf wasn’t consumed by just one hungry family, it was shared with everyone who gathered in church. Harvest was a time when communities needed to pull together, they needed to work together to gather the crops whilst the sun shone. The foundation for this was set in church at Lammas.
It began with them sharing and eating the first loaf together.
Our Lammas service today draws on all these traditions. When I raised our Lammas loaf at the altar, I knew I was raising something holy. This is bread that holds the potential to sustain us physically and spiritually.
It was in my hands due to the work and commitment of many other hands. These other hands drove tractors and combine harvesters, they typed on computer keyboards and phone keypads, they swiped multiple screens in high-tec cabs, they probably held furrowed foreheads as yet another unseasonal day of weather was forecast.
This has been a very challenging growing season. When we give thanks to God for this first-bread in our hands, we give thanks for all those who contributed to it, and that despite the set-backs, harvest is here.
The Lammas loaf symbolises the faith, trust and hope of many who work the land.
Harvest is a busy and pressured time for farmers. If you live a little further inland from here, you’ll hear the work of combining and corn-carting well into the night. It becomes an intense whirl of exhausting activity to produce our food.
As this whirl begins, Lammas enables us to press the pause button. As we pause for an hour this morning, we are invited to reflect on one simple loaf of bread.
The Lammas liturgy invites us to recognise that the God of creation
has been faithful to us. The land has yielded its harvest to sustain the people. The loaf is a symbol of God’s provision for us.
In blessing it we’re drawn into the holiness of the land and all that it can provide for us. It reminds us of the joy of being at one with creation, and the horror of being at odds with it.
The way we work the land and eat of its fruits, matters to God.
As Jesus demonstrated to a crowd of 5000, a humble loaf of local bread, blessed by God, is full of hope and potential.
I’m sure you remember that the lockdown saw a resurgence of home bread making. Our local millers saw a huge increase in demand for bread flour – and supplies ran out. Now that stocks are replenished, why not bake your own Lammas loaf?
As many monastic bakers can testify, the gentle rhythm of kneading lends itself to prayer.
And as you eat your piece of the Lammas loaf, pray that Christ, the bread of life makes his home in you, ensuring that you will never be hungry.
And as you delight in the taste of the first-bread, commit yourself to a greater awareness of the delights of inhabiting this world as
God’s co-worker in creation.
May you, with Him, bring a harvest of hope to the world.
baked by Sue Howcutt
God of our pilgrimage,
you have willed that the gate of mercy
should stand open for those who trust in you:
look upon us with your favour
that we who follow the path of your will
may never wander from the way of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sunday 15th August
Eleventh Sunday after Trinity/
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Mark’s Retirement UPDATED
As we all know, we will be saying a very sad farewell to our Rector, The Revd Mark Lowther at the end of August, as he starts his retirement. All the churches in the Benefice are arranging last services etc for Mark, which I am sure the church you worship at has informed you.
We are offering designated seating, both socially distanced and non-socially distanced for the concert and the Benefice Holy Communion Service.
Alde Sandlings Benefice Fun Days in August
UPDATE – THE FIRST FRIDAY MARKET WILL NOW BE ON THE 13TH AUGUST not the 6th as previously advertised.
As many of you know August is the month for Aldeburgh Church to host their Friday Markets. Unfortunately, last year was cancelled due to Covid. This year things are hugely better, but we still need to approach with caution. So, this August we will have two Friday markets on the 13th and 27th 10am – 2pm. The proposed stalls are as follows:
BBQ, Vegetables, Plants, Fruit and Flowers, Cakes and Savouries, Jams etc, Craft Stalls, General Bric a Brac. Tombola and Games. All the churches in the Alde Sandlings are invited to have their chosen stalls to raise much depleted funds for the churches. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if any church members of the Alde Sandlings Benefice would like to have a stall.
WANTED for Friday Markets
CAKES, SAVOURIES, JAMS, PRESERVES, PRODUCE,
Weekly Benefice Newsletter
If you would like something added to the weekly newsletter that is relevant to the Benefice, please do let Claire know and we will do our best to include it the following week.
✟ Aldringham Outdoor Services ✟
The services start at 11am in the beautiful Aldringham churchyard. Weather permitting, these services will continue throughout July, August and September. August 8th will be the date for the annual Animal Service, 3pm in the churchyard. We can’t guarantee that there will be no interruptions as the animals may have difficulty following the order of service but all animals, insects, etc. (and their owners)
ALL VERY WELCOME
Food Banks at the East of England Co-op
Foodbanks provide a valuable service to those in need in our communities. The Aldeburgh Co-op and Solar in Leiston are doing a grand job in collecting food donations, which are collected regularly and distributed. So please look out for the various collection baskets.
The Trussel Trust Organisation
Food banks in our network have seen an increase in the number of food parcels given out over the last year due to Coronavirus, so any donations are much appreciated. You can find out which items your local food bank is most in need of by entering your postcode here – https://www.trusselltrust.org/give-food/ By clicking on the food bank’s name, you can also find out where to drop off your donations.
If you would prefer to make a financial donation, then please visit the food bank’s website (under ‘Give help’) or you can donate to the Trussell Trust centrally by contacting our Supporter Care team on 01722 580 178 or emailing email@example.com
✞ Pilgrims Together ✞
The Pilgrim’s will be taking an August break from the Wednesday evening Zoom gatherings. They will be returning on Wednesday 1st September. They continue to worship by The Meare at Thorpeness every Sunday in August.
Tuesday Coffee Morning with Mark & Friends
Our regular Zoom coffee morning will be from 10.30am – 11.30am every Tuesday. All are very welcome. Grab your favourite morning beverage and let’s have a good ole chat.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
The 2021 Suffolk Historic Churches Ride and Stride
Saturday 11th September 9am-5pm
The Annual Sponsored Ride and Stride is a national event, and every second Saturday in September cyclists and walkers all round the country are out making money for their local county Churches Trust.
More information from Friston and Knodishall next week.