There is a version of Christianity we sometimes encounter, which portrays faith in Christ as some sort of protection against the trials and sufferings of life. The sort of view that says if you turn to Christ life will be full of blessings and all your troubles will be over.

The Gospel begins with the incarnation: God coming into the messiness of our world and sharing in the experience of humanity. It proclaims the God who is with us in the joys and the sorrows as one who knows what it is to suffer, to be misunderstood, rejected, ridiculed and plunged into the depths of intense torment and trial in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was recorded to have uttered the words of the psalmist from the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Darkness and despair, confusion and anxiety are part of the human condition, and wrestling with the question “where is God?” is an important part of our spiritual journey. St John of the Cross spoke of the dark night of the soul, the psalms resonate with cries of abandonment and angry appeals to God from the depths of desolation. The book of Job catalogues the dreadful calamities that befall a devout man of God and his struggle to comprehend God’s meaning in it all.

To witness to the power of love breaking in to the intense heartbreaks and tragedies of life is to encounter the profound reality of the God who is with us. It can be lonely and confusing when life becomes unbearable or hope is lost. The distress of a suffering individual will naturally cause an impact those who witness it. We may feel helpless to know how to respond or feel we have failed.

In the midst of life’s struggles, little shafts of light can pierce the darkness. The unexpected note shoved through the door, a gesture of compassion, a conversation resounding with empathy, or simply accompanying someone in their darkest moment.

These are the times when a situation is transfigured by the undeniable presence of love.

This week the cathedral community responded to a shocking and tragic situation. Our prayers go out to the young man who fell from the central tower for his recovery and restoration to well-being. It is not appropriate to speculate about what caused him to climb the tower. What we can do is enfold him in Christ’s healing embrace through our prayers.

As a cathedral community, it has been encouraging to see how much care and concern was shown both for the man who fell and for those staff and volunteers who found themselves caught up in the immediacy of events. We have been flooded with kind and compassionate words from numerous people across our networks, both from other cathedrals and here in the city.

All of us live with struggles, doubts and messiness at some time in our lives. The events of this week reinforce our commitment at Lincoln Cathedral to be a place where God’s love is made known. To be channels of peace and a conduit that guides anyone in need to professional services and support across the city. A safe space.

THE VERY REVEREND CHRISTINE WILSON, DEAN OF LINCOLN

Worship & Mission

Weekly service schedule
The service sheet for the coming fortnight can be viewed on the cathedral website (click link to visit)

Stillpoint
8 August
The Stillpoint silent contemplative prayer meeting takes place monthly, in the Ringers Chapel. The next meeting is on 8 August, 8.40am-9.20am, hosted by the Chancellor and then 19 September, hosted by Rev Anne Mazur.

Community

Richard Bickmore RIP
Richard died peacefully on 9 July in Stones Place Methodist Care Home. Formerly resident in 14 Minster Yard, Richard served the Cathedral as Bishop’s Verger and Cathedral volunteer in many capacities since 1991.

Richard’s funeral will take place in St Hugh’s Choir on Friday 19 August at 11am followed by cremation at Lincoln Crematorium before refreshments at Washingborough Hall to which all are invited. For catering purposes please register your intention to attend refreshments with John Campbell on 07733276335 or wyverntalks@aol.com

Minibus drivers needed
The music department is thriving. We have a fantastic group of established choristers and a number of new probationers.  Our choristers come from a range of schools both in Lincoln and around Lincolnshire.  We provide transport for them after morning rehearsals and school pickups for afternoon rehearsals. We are always looking to expand our team of drivers to help with transporting the choristers. If you are interested, please contact us for more details.  Drivers would be needed from 8.15am to 9.30am in the mornings and 2.45pm to 4pm dependent on the actual journeys preferably 3-4 times per week. This is a paid role.
As one of our drivers, you will have the opportunity to be a part of the music department and a much-valued member of the team.
To register interest or enquire for further details please email Melissa, Liturgy and Music Administrator at music@lincolncathedral.com

Summer Bible Study – 1 Peter
The Chancellor is leading a bible study on 1 Peter in the Wednesdays of August at 4pm-5pm in the Wickham Reading Room. This will be using a Lambeth study guide, ‘The First Letter of Peter: A Global Commentary’ by Jennifer Strawbridge, which is published by SCM and is for sale at £14.99 per copy in the Cathedral shop. We shall meet in the Wickham Reading Room.

Cathedral Community Book Group
10 September
The Cathedral Community Book Group looks at issues of Christian theology, life and spirituality. Meetings are on alternate months, between 10.30am-11.30am on Saturday mornings. You are invited to any meeting to discuss a book, without further commitment, but please buy and read the set book in advance of the meeting. They are available in the Cathedral shop. The venue is yet to be confirmed.
10 September, Like there’s no Tomorrow: Climate Crisis, Eco-Anxiety and God, by Frances Ward (Sacristy Press 2020)
12 November, Priesthood of All Believers: Clericalism and How to Avoid it, by Simon Cuff (SCM 2022)

Lincoln Cathedral Common Good Project
Social Theology Lecture Series
27 September 2022, 6.30-8pm
JUST BEING? On the dignity and divine calling of the human person. Can people be who they truly are in the modern world? By Edward Hadas, who is a Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, a freelance journalist and author working on moral economics and finance. His latest book is Counsels of Imperfection: Thinking Through Catholic Social Teaching.
Tickets available from the Cathedral website.

Events

Green Man exhibition
18-31 July
Chapter House
The Green Man is a mediaeval symbol preserved in the stonework of many old churches. John Allcock’s series of pictures reflects upon the ways in which the Green Man suggests the need to realign our theology of nature and of creation.

Lincoln Mystery Plays
24-30 July
The historic Lincoln Mystery Plays are being performed at Lincoln Cathedral in the last week of July and then – for the first time – heading on a countywide church tour.
Because of the pandemic, this is their first airing since 2016 after the scheduled 2020 shows had to be cancelled; making it a rare occasion not to be missed.
Revived and refreshed for 2022, the historic exploration of the miracles and mysteries of Bible episodes has the power to be life-changing and life affirming as the company of community actors focuses on telling the stories with playful humour and poignant sincerity much as their predecessors did over the centuries.
There will be six outdoor performances on the Dean’s Green from 25 to 30 July, at 7.30pm nightly. Gates open 6.45pm for picnics. Bring your own chair and choose your spot. On 30 July there will be a special BSL-signed performance.
For the first time, performances then move to indoor church venues: St Mary’s Horncastle (2 Aug), St Deny’s Sleaford (3 Aug), St James’ Louth (4 Aug) and All Saints Gainsborough (5 and 6 Aug).
Tickets cost £12 and £15 at www.lincolnmysteries.co.uk, plus booking fee. Or can be bought on the door. Booking is advised. Performance lasts around 2hrs 30mins.

Lincoln Cathedral Flower Festival: Vision
Thursday 4 – Monday 8 August
The Lincoln Cathedral Flower Festival will celebrate 950 years of Lincoln Cathedral, and the visionaries who had the inspiration to build such a wonderful building and those who followed, changing our lives throughout history.

Grand Summer Organ Concert Series
13 August – Jonathan Hope, Assistant Director of Music, Gloucester Cathedral – Silent movie improvisation – ‘Phantom of the Opera’
20 August – Stephen Farr, Director of Music, All Saints, Margaret Street – programme to include a new work by Francis Grier
3 September – Colin Walsh – Organist Emeritus, Lincoln Cathedral
10 September – Darius Battiwalla – Leeds City Organist
17 September – Alana Brook – Assistant Organist, Lincoln Cathedral
24 September – Jeffrey Makinson – Organist, Lincoln Cathedral

For full details of events, and to book tickets, please visit https://lincolncathedral.com/forthcoming-events/

Bible Readings

Sunday 24 July Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Eucharist
Genesis 18. 20-32
Colossians 2. 6-15 [16-19]
Luke 11. 1-13

Evening Prayer
Genesis 42. 1
1 Corinthians 10.1-24

—–

Sunday 31 July Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Eucharist
Ecclesiastes 1. 2, 12-14
Colossians 3. 1-11
Luke 12. 13-21

Evening Prayer
Genesis 50. 4-end
1 Corinthians 14. 1-19

—–

Sunday 7 August Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Eucharist
Genesis 15. 1-6
Hebrews 11. 1-3, 8-16
Luke 12. 32-40

Evening Prayer
Isaiah 11. 10-end of 12
2 Corinthians 1. 1-22