“Be still and know that I am God.”
We have witnessed some extraordinary and alarming scenes this week as protesters stormed the Capitol, the very seat of democracy in America. Here at home crowds of covid-deniers have caused disturbances at our hospitals and reports continue to flow of civil disobedience over the lockdown regulations. The impact caused by heightened levels of stress is inevitable. The socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic have brought anxiety about food and job security, frustration about lockdown restrictions and discontent with those tasked with leadership. In just the opening days, 2021 has already proved to be an eventful year!
I was reminded of that very successful piece of branding that was around a few years back “Keep calm and carry on”.
Alongside this practice and wisdom of seeking to remain steady in stormy times, we can find a rich resource in the spiritual discipline of contemplation: making space to foster a deep consciousness of God in the midst of everything. It is what we call Presence.
Richard Rohr the Franciscan friar and teacher suggests that only the contemplative mind can bring forward the new consciousness that is needed to awaken a more loving, just, and sustainable world.
“We practice letting go of personal agendas, our own anger, fear and judgments. In the empty space created by this release, we invite God to speak and seek to listen.”
It is essentially about a spirituality that practices attending to God in the present moment. As well as the classical contemplative practice of prayer, others use the daily dog walk or their running regime to tune their heart, mind and body Godward. Yoga, mindfulness, lectio divina and meditation, could also be described as vehicles for contemplative practice.
I have been reading a book by Susan Beaumont entitled How to lead when you don’t know where you’re going. She offers some thoughts on mastering the art of Presence.
“The good news is that the grace of God covers it all. We simply need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, engaging in the journey that emerges. In the end Presence is a gift of God.”
We live in unsettling times and perhaps more than ever need to draw deep to sustain equilibrium. As a community our practice of Presence could be the leaven society needs to dampen down unrest.
By the grace of God, may we reach towards that place of stillness and calm where we can say with the great mystic and contemplative Julian of Norwich: all shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
Worship & Mission
Worship during lockdown
In line with government guidance, Lincoln Cathedral remains open in a limited way for private prayer and worship, however, we ask people to take seriously the advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
Sung Eucharist at 10am on Sundays and Choral Evensong at 5.30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays will continue to be streamed live on the Cathedral’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Lincoln.Cathedral – so that people can join us in prayer without needing to be physically present.
We encourage all those who are able to take part in the services from home, to do so.
There will continue to be daily public services in the Cathedral. We are aware of the increased risks at this time, and there will be increased measures in place for those who do decide to join us – including enhanced social distancing which will significantly restrict the number of people able to be present at times of worship.
For those who may find the need to offer personal prayers, light a candle for someone they know to be in need, or just find a safe place for quiet and reflection, the Cathedral will remain open for private prayer between 10am and 1pm each day.
Stillpoint – a message from Ann Mazur
As we will be unable to meet for Stillpoint at the moment I thought the following may help us to find some time to be still with God and to gain strength and hope for the days ahead.
‘There should be in the soul halls of space, avenues of leisure and high porticos of silence, where God walks.’ (Bishop Jeremy Taylor)
W.H.Auden in the Christmas Oratorio puts these words in the mouths of the Wise Men.
‘To discover how to be truthful now
Is the reason I follow the star,’ says the first.
‘To discover how to be living now
Is the reason I follow the star’, says the second.
‘To discover how to be loving now
Is the reason I follow the star,’ says the third.
Then the Wise Men speak in unison and say.
‘To discover how to be human now
Is the reason we follow this star.’
Give us hope
to look forward.
Give us courage
to face hardships.
Give us faith
so that the joy of Christ
may lead us to serve others.
From the Vergers
“The Vergers would like to thank the members of the community who have sent cards, gifts and goodwill to our department. It has been very much appreciated in these trying times. We hope that you have all had the best Christmas possible and that we can all look forward to the coming year with renewed vision and a sense of God’s blessings.”
Pastoral Care – a message from the Dean
I am seeking to gather information together from various quarters about the current provision of pastoral care amongst the cathedral community.
I would be very grateful to hear comments from members of the community about this provision and also how we can best make sure that we are aware of pastoral needs and prevent people from “slipping through the net.”
To that end it is helpful for us to draw on the “eyes and ears on the ground” during this time when face masks and social-distancing prevent any meaningful conversations after worship.
It goes without saying that alongside the service of our duty chaplains, the Precentor and I see this work as part of our priestly ministry and while we discern an effective and co-ordinated future provision please be in touch with us, should the need arise, for any spiritual counsel or pastoral support.
Administrative arrangements regarding requests for weddings, baptisms or funerals should be directed to the canon precentor for the time being.
Lincoln Cathedral has been awarded a Sandford Award for its commitment to providing high quality heritage education.
The accolade promotes and celebrates formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools and colleges by heritage sites, and recognition is also given to informal learning and family programmes.
Lincoln Cathedral Community Association Annual General Meeting
Due to the situation we have been under over the past few months, the LCCA were unable to hold its Annual General Meeting in October. However, the Executive Committee have been able to arrange a virtual AGM which will be held on Tuesday 16th February 2021, please book this date.
We will be looking to elect a new Lay Vice Chair and new Committee Members, more details on this to follow.
Tuesday 16 February 2021 is Shrove Tuesday, there will be no LCCA pancakes, but we do hope you will join us on line for the AGM.
Sunday 10 January
First Sunday of Epiphany
Genesis 1: 1-5
Acts 19: 1-7
Mark 1: 4-11
Isaiah 42: 1-9
Ephesians 2: 1-10
Sunday 17 January
Second Sunday of Epiphany
1 Samuel 3: 1-10 [11-20]
Revelation 5: 1-10
Isaiah 60: 9-end
Hebrews 6: 17- 7: 10
Sunday 24 January
Third Sunday of Epiphany
Genesis 14: 17-20
Revelation 19: 6-10
John 2: 1-11
Jeremiah 3: 21 – 4: 2
Titus 2: 1-8, 11-14