From The Vicar….
My dear brothers and sisters,
The Gospel reading this Sunday covers much ground, but one small sentence from
the mouth of Jesus has always struck me:
Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.
He is speaking to the first disciples after they have returned from their first lone
ventures out into other towns. They have many stories to tell, and are filled with
fervour and excitement. Jesus teaches them that it is important to rest as much as it is
to be active.
On my day off this week, I was reminded of the same thing. A day at a leisurely pace,
some quality time with a good friend, some time at the beach, and a visit to a
second-hand bookstore. I stumbled upon a book by Evelyn Underhill that I already
own, but do not have with me at present.
When I returned home, I lay on the couch with the dogs, and flicked through the
book. A passage leapt from the page that was so in tune with this week’s Gospel:
After all, it is those who have a deep and real inner life
who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.
To have that ‘deep and real inner life’ we need time away from others and all the
noise and bustle of the world. A deserted place, as Jesus suggests to his disciples.
S. Michael’s is that place for many, and it can be for many more within our city. I
would like to thank all those who are involved in the hosting ministry. You keep our
doors open, so many can experience such a peace.
Further into the Gospel passage, those same disciples have found themselves all at
sea, straining at the oars against an adverse wind. An irritating detail of outer life,
indeed. Christ becomes present to them, but in their fear, they are unable to recognise
If we are distracted by the world, only being busy, and not spending time in prayer and
contemplation, we too find ourselves against an adverse wind. We can become too
busy fighting against things we don’t need to bother ourselves with, to the point that
we fail to recognise the presence of Christ in front of us.
Jesus’ simple words: Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. They calm the water, they
soften the heart. They remind us to not get lost in the busyness of the world and to
seek him in the peace of the quiet present moment.
Peace be with you all.
> Vicarage Building Fund: today is soup and home baking Sunday again. Please come
and choose your favourites. A donation to the building fund is all that is required.
> St Michael’s School: Term 3 begins tomorrow.
> Vestry meets on Tuesday, beginning with Mass at 7:00 pm.
> Meditation Group: meets in the Lady Chapel, Wednesdays 12 noon.
Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Pat Evans (358 0127).
> The Christchurch Meditation Community: Day of Reflection, Revd Hilary
Oxford Smith. Saturday, 10:00 to 3:00 pm, Chapel Street Centre, Harewood Rd.
> Chamber Choir Concert: Saturday 3:30 pm Oxford Tce Baptist Church.
Programme features Byrd Mass for Four Voices. Free entry with retiring collection.
> Peace Lecture: Kevin Clements, 10 August 7:00 pm at Knox, also workshops
11 August, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Details on flyers.
> Bible Study Group meets next on 6 August, 7:15 pm in the parish lounge.
Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
> Health & Safety Committee invites more volunteers to join the group.
Please speak to Michael Graveston.
> Electronic Devices wanted for recycling: old mobile phones, tablets etc.
> Book Swap: in the parish lounge. Koha to parish.
> Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts
of groceries and other household items, particularly during the winter months.
Suggested items: baked beans, spaghetti, tinned soup, tinned fruit, cereal,
toilet paper, toothpaste and soap.