The Rev’d Dr. d. Paul Dalzell
0467 682 036
Monday 23rd March 2020.
Dear Members of the Congregation,
Today is a particularly sad day for me because we have heard that all places of religious worship will be closed for the time being. How long this will be, no one knows as yet.
So, this means no more Lent, and particularly no Holy Week and Easter. I have been thinking about what else we can do, and here below are some promises, and suggestions.
- I will continue to produce the service booklet with readings and prayers in them. You may use the part of the service up to ‘The Peace’ as a family or group. (The testimony from Jane Freemantle will be included with this letter).
- There are two applications that I know of that are free which will give you morning and evening prayer for each day including psalms and readings. The links to them are here: https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/apps (This is the Church of England Daily Prayer) or Using the Australian Prayer Book https://www.epray.com.au/Pages/Company/MobileApp.aspx
- There are several places that will be streaming their worship online. We will not be doing that, but please log in to one of the following (on your Smart TV or device) to be a part of the service. Links to several are here.
St. Paul’s Cathedral In Melbourne:
Wangaratta Cathedral: https://www.facebook.com/Holy-Trinity-Anglican-Cathedral-Wangaratta-166105570117107/ (8.00 am and 10.00 am)
https://cityonahill.com.au/melbourne (Go to ‘Digital Gatherings’ 9.00 am. 11.00 am 6.00 pm, 8.00 pm
- I will continue to send out my weekly reflections.
- You might like to gather in small groups and work through the ‘African Model’ of bible study together (it’s simple to follow).
- I will continue to come to Mansfield on Thursdays and I will be available to speak with anyone who wishes me to visit them, or to bring them the reserved sacrament. Please contact me on the phone number above.
- Go to the parish Facebook page (just type in Mansfield Anglican Parish in the search function) and let us all know how you are going and what you are doing during this time of ‘exile’ from our usual communal worship.
- The Church will remain open for private prayer and devotion as usual.
A Theological Reflection: I have been thinking about our present situation which has not been of our choosing, but which has ‘come upon us’. I have been reading the book of Jeremiah during morning prayer. The situation of the people in Jerusalem is terrible. They are besieged by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah has been saying “God has forsaken you and is with the besiegers. Go over to them now! Your sins have found you out! Not even having the Temple will save you!” Everyone is in fear of being killed by the sword, pestilence or famine. In the midst of this, Jeremiah offers a number of images of hope. He goes and buys a field in his home-town and says ‘See, one day, there will be fields bought and sold here again. God will bring you back.‘ That is what I think. Now we are suffering the loss of something. But there will be a time when we can gather again. We will never take our being the Church, gathered, for granted again! One day (and in the not too distant future) we will have one mighty celebration when we can gather again.
Second, I love the dismissal that says ‘Our worship in Church is over, our worship in the world now begins. We go into the world to walk in God’s light, rejoice in God’s love, and to reflect God’s glory.’ While we cannot meet in Church, the proportion of our lives spent in ‘worshipping in the world’ will increase. But this is no less worship than what we do on Sunday: It is simply more ‘extended’ form of the worship we offer symbolically on in Church. Both are necessary for our lives as Christians, but for the moment we are ‘fasting’ of necessity from our ‘Worship in Church’ while we concentrate on our ‘Worship in the World.’ As St Paul Writes (Romans 12:1) ‘Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.’ There will be information coming soon about how you can contribute to this spiritual worship.
I will continue to pray for us all, as I hope you do for me, until we can resume ‘normal transmission’
I remain yours in Christ’s service,
The Rev’d. Dr. D. Paul Dalzell.