A MUSTARD SEED LIFE
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818)
These are lines from the poem Ozymandias. It is said that the poem is a reflection on the life of an Egyptian pharaoh, Rameses 2nd who reigned from 1279-1213BC. This was one of the longest reigns in Egyptian history. From a young age his father trained him in the duties of kingship. He was appointed Regent as a lad. He went with his father on military campaigns and he was made a captain in the army at the age of ten.
When Rameses 2nd became king he commenced a great building programme and he became a very successful military leader. The nation enjoyed great prosperity during this time. Egyptologists have since referred to him as “Rameses the Great” and his name and records of his achievements were found all over Egypt. There is very little information about his personal life. Maybe with all the battles he fought and the building work he organised he had very little time for himself. We learn though that he still managed to father well over 100 children. Still, I suppose there was no television in those days.
In his poem Shelley is reflecting on how fleeting are man’s achievements, even a man as accomplished as Rameses 2nd. The statue of Rameses 2nd referred to by Shelley was reckoned to be 57ft (over 17m) tall. It lies in pieces in the desert with nothing but sand surrounding it. The key words inscribed on the base of the statue are; “Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Lockdown has caused many people to reflect along the lines of those words. People have been re-thinking their priorities and their values. Whether we are still working or not, the words from Shelley’s poem have something to offer all of us. From time to time, we each reflect on what we are doing and what we have done. We can be overwhelmed by present problems be they worries over exam results and the choice of future careers, or concerns over health and getting treatment with the threat of COVD-19 hanging over us. Similarly we may despair over our past and its apparent futility.
There are stories in scripture of people who have remained unknown, like the widow who gave two “very small copper coins” to the work of the temple. Jesus said she gave more than anyone else. Her story has been passed down for 2,000 years and is known around the world but we will never know who she was. She has no statue to mark her life. She may well have gone to her grave thinking her life had amounted to very little. Jesus himself never wrote a book. There were no statues erected in his memory. He had no descendants. As he hung on the cross and looked around at the passing crowds it would have been natural for him to wonder if it had all been worthwhile. Yet today, 2,000 years on, his name is known worldwide. Even non-Christians quote him and refer to his stories.
We can allow Shelley’s view of life to bury us under more sand like the broken remains of the statue or we can raise ourselves up, shake off the grains and look for what we can do where we are with what we have. Remember, through our faith we belong to a vast body of people, a worldwide body, a body that is the living body of Jesus Christ, the Son of God Almighty. Whatever we do or have done contributes to that life in one way or another, a life that is vastly bigger than any individual, a life that is part of God’s ongoing work of creation.
THE GOLDEN LABRADOR WHO KEEPS ON GIVING
Stumpy is a handsome Labrador who was destined for a career as a guide dog. Sadly, problems with a deformed leg meant it wasn’t to be. But then Stumpy found a new way to help others: by giving blood. The nine-year-old Labrador has saved more than 100 canine lives since the age of one by donating blood for emergency transfusions.
Stumpy has been crowned the United Kingdom’s most prolific blood-donor dog. He has a negative blood type which is especially valuable because it allows his blood to be given to any group. Stumpy’s owner, vet Elly Pittaway, says: “Stumpy obviously has no idea what he’s doing it for, but if he did, I’m sure he’d be very proud of himself.” [Source: Daily Mail, BBC News]
23 AUGUST 2020
11TH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Exodus Ch. 1 vs. 8 – Ch 2 vs.10
Romans Ch 12 vs. 1 - 8
Collect Trinity 11
O God, who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity: mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
This service will be followed by HOLY COMMUNION using BCP. The service will start just after the Absolution with “hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith..”
A recording of the sermon at 11.00 am will be on the Website and on Eric’s Facebook page. Eric will take his final service as Chaplain at Little Malvern Priory on August 30th at 11.00 am. On this occasion only, this will be a service of Holy Communion using Common Worship and not using the Book of Common Prayer.
LYTTELTON WELL OPENING TIMES:
CAFE: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm
BOOKSHOP: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm
We are keeping a note of the names and contact details of people attending services. This is in case anyone contracts Coronavirus and NHS needs to track and trace people with whom they have been in contact. This information will be destroyed after 21 days.
"Sometimes I am amazed that my wife and I created two human beings from scratch yet struggle to assemble the most basic of IKEA cabinets.”
When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” —Nora Ephron
When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”—Erma Bombeck
"If you are not yelling at your kids, you are not spending enough time with them.” —Reese Witherspoon
"Sometimes you lie in bed at night and you don’t have a single thing to worry about. That always worries me!”
— Charlie Brown.
"Teach me half the gladness in a turtle dove’s song, For it must know in its heart that the world is listening on such a summer day” PK The countryside and our gardens have been full of baby bids calling from within hedgerows or high up in the trees waiting for their hard -working parents to feed them. It is safer for these youngsters than remaining in their old nest, as the noise they make will attract crows, magpies and sparrow hawks, all on the lookout for a free meal. Nature is red in tooth and claw!
Even during the worst days of ‘lockdown’, people were keen to record on camera or just to watch and listen, as nature provided some wonderful sights and sounds, For instance, a camera trap that caught a fox cub and a hedgehog sharing food from a dog’s bowl, a pair of robins that built a nest in a gardener’s coat pocket in a tool shed and fledged five youngsters . And a swift that was re-launched from a bedroom window by my granddaughter after it misjudged the entrance to its nest and landed on her bed.
Nature has certainly given us a lift and helped us through a difficult time. High up on the hills the meadow brown and skipper butterflies dance over the grass and the blue flowers of the harebell are making a show. Old country names include ‘witch bells’ and there have been some connection with the hare as an animal associated with witchcraft. They are known as Scottish bluebells north of the border.
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