Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 21st February 2023

The perfect pancake

Dear friends,

How do you like yours? Lemon and sugar? Syrup? Chocolate sauce? Fruit compote? Thick, like a waffle, or thin, like a crepe?

We like to jazz them up a little, but the pancake on Shrove Tuesday harks back to leaner times, when it was actually possible to clear the larder ahead of the penitential season of fasting. The empty food store being then a daily reminder of our dependence upon God’s provision, and a challenge to throw ourselves once again upon His mercy for our lives. Today, however, our cupboards stay full, and we’ve found an easier way to get rid of sin. We’ve abolished it. We say it doesn’t matter, and that God is big enough not to be offended by our impurity, our greed, our lies, and our corruption. So we don’t need to be sorry for anything. Moral relativism is the order of the day and we wonder why the world is in chaos.

There is another usage of the word “pancake”, however. This is in military slang, to describe what happens when a pilot lands a plane without the wheels down. It is extremely dangerous, frightening, and not what the plane was designed for. In human terms the mechanism of sin and forgiveness is our “undercarriage”, keeping us safe when we’ve been in the wars, allowing us to “come home to base”.  In the Bible, sin and forgiveness are firmly tied to truth, justice and right relationships. It really does matter what we do. Do have a look at Isaiah, chapters 58 and 59, where the prophet argues that the collapse of human flourishing is, fundamentally, the result of alienation from God. Sin is real, no matter what you cover it with.

Ash Wednesday Team Service 22nd February

7.30pm Team Service of repentance and ashing at St John’s Stoke Row. An informal, prayerful service for the start of Lent.

Worship Services for Sunday  26th February

9.30am Holy Communion at St John’s, Stoke Row with Revd Angela Linton

11am Holy Communion at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Revd John Blair

Midweek zoom service: Ash Wednesday Evensong at 5.00pm  410 935 129

Woodcote news

The appointment panel for the Woodcote Team Vicar post will be meeting this evening to shortlist, ahead of interviews which are scheduled for March 15th. Please do hold us all in your prayers. The panel consists of Archdeacon David Tyler, Team Rector Kevin Davies, Area Dean John Blair, Team Council representatives David Kelley and Brian Turner, Woodcote representatives Barbara Penniall and Martin Fowmes, and a representative from the Oxford Diocese.

In your prayers, please also remember those among us from Ukraine, and their hosts. One year on we pray that we will never “get used to” war, and that we can all continue to work and strive for a better world.

May the Lord bless you, and keep you in his love.

Your Rector, Canon Kevin.


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