War Memorial Gary Trouton

Keith MacLeod's Newsletter

May 2004

Our monthly update from the Churches of St. Andrew, Northwold; All Saints, Wretton with Stoke Ferry;

and Christ Church, Whittington

The Parishes of St. Andrew, Northwold; All Saints, Wretton with Stoke Ferry;

and Christ Church, Whittington.

For more details contact me, Keith MacLeod at West Barn, Ryston Road, West Dereham

(01366 500960) (07766 766 137) (email: keith.macleod@virgin.net)

Diary for May 2004

25th April (3rd Sunday after Easter)

9.30am Benefice Holy Communion

at All Saints

2nd May (4th Sunday after Easter)

9.30am Service of the Word at Christ Church

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

9th May (5th Sunday after Easter)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Matins at St Andrews

16th May (6th Sunday after Easter )

8.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

9.30am Holy Communion by Extension

at Christ Church

20th May (Ascension Day)

7.30pm Holy Communion at St Andrews

23rd May (7th Sunday after Easter)

9.30am Benefice Holy Communion

at All Saints

30th May (Pentecost - WhitSunday)

11.00am All Age Worship at Christ Church

6th June (Trinity Sunday)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

Sunday School - All Welcome

There is a Sunday School during the main Sunday services at St. Andrew's Church, Northwold (except for Sunday's with All Age Worship). This is open to any school age child living in the villages of Northwold, Wretton, Stoke Ferry, Whittington and Brookville. If you are not able to stay with your child please drop them off by 10.50 and collect them by 12.15.

Patience, Humility and Compassion

You don't have to be a Christian to value these virtues. You don't have to be a non-Christian, or non-religious in the widest sense, to place little value on these virtues! It is very trendy nowadays to blame the Thatcher governments (and Lady Thatcher personally) for the loss of virtues such as these, with her widely reported (inevitably out of context, of course) denial of the existence of society and the pre-eminence of the individual. These ideas are supposed to lead to selfishness and, of course, they can do. But evenso, it is important to find out who you are personally before you can practice social mores meaningfully and effectively - you have to look at yourself - the Biblical parable of the beam in your own eye disqualifying you from removing the mote in your friend's eye is directly in point.

There is no doubt too much selfishness in our country and just as importantly too much self-centredness, where motives are not necessarily selfish, but where the individual is unaware of the needs of others - just as damaging as selfishness in its effects. You don't need to be a priest to practice these virtues, so the following Celtic story is for all of us equally.

A farmer had a son called Kevin who was absolutely no good at farming. If he tried to milk a cow, he pinched the teats so hard that the cow jumped in the air. If he tried to shear a sheep, he took its ears and tail of as well as the wool. The farmer decided that his son was too intelligent for farming and so he should train as a priest. So the farmer took his son to the city and presented him to the bishop. The bishop took Kevin to one side and asked him a series of questions to test his religious knowledge.

'Who created heaven?' asked the bishop.

'The one who created earth,' answered Kevin.

'And who created earth?' asked the bishop.

'The one who created men and women,' replied Kevin.

'And who created men and women?'

'The one who created space for their souls in heaven.'

'And who created the space for their souls in heaven?' asked the bishop patiently.

'The one who created heaven, of course,' retorted Kevin.

The bishop hit Kevin round the head, calling him an impudent fool, and sent him home. His father was even more angry than the bishop.

'You are as stupid at religion as you are at farming,' his father shouted. 'You are a disgrace to our family.'

When they reached home, Kevin was very dejected, thinking himself completely useless. In a cave a few miles away, there lived a wise old hermit. Kevin decided to seek his advice.

'It doesn't matter what the bishop or your father think of you,' said the hermit. 'What matters is the truth. If God wants you to preach the gospel and comfort the sick, then this is what you must do. So we must test God's will.'

The hermit took Kevin to a large lake. On the shore was a coracle, with a fishing rod inside it. The hermit instructed Kevin to go out in the coracle and try to catch fish. Kevin did as the hermit said. For a day, a night, another day and another night Kevin sat in the coracle, holding the rod over the side. Finally, a fish was caught on the hook, and Kevin pulled it into the boat. As soon as Kevin saw the fish with a hook in its mouth, he took pity on it. Carefully, he took the hook out, and threw the fish back into the water. The he rowed back to the shore where the hermit was waiting.

'You have proved,' said the hermit with a smile, 'that you have the qualities necessary to be a priest. Firstly, you have to be patient. If you are willing to wait for two days and nights to catch a fish, you will be willing to wait two years, even a decade, to catch a soul. Secondly you are compassionate. If you can take pity on a fish, then you will show far greater pity for humans in need. Thirdly you are humble: even though you were the cause of the fish's distress, pride did not prevent you from saving it.'

The hermit told Kevin to go back to the village, and start visiting and speaking to people in Christ's name. Since he was patient, he did not mind if some initially rebuffed him. Since he was compassionate, he was soon renowned for the help he gave people. And since he was humble, he was content to serve people without the status of ordination by a bishop. His only concern was to help people to fill the spaces which God had created in heaven.

A Prayer

Sir Philip Warwick's memoirs published in 1701 record the prayer of Sir Jacob Astley (1579-1652) before the battle of Edgehill on 13th October 1642. It is a good one for all of us, as we set out each day, impatient and full of our own concerns:

O Lord! Thou knowest how busy I must be this day;

If I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me. Amen

Keith MacLeod


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