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Wanting to Go Back.

Ovingdean News February 2022

Despite the ongoing challenges I hope 2022 has started well for you.

Church life remains busy as we look to continue our improvements to the Daphne’s field for wildlife and look to make better use of your small woodland area for environmental education. Our main efforts though remain focused on the new heating system and conservation of the historic and beautiful Kempe ceiling. You may be aware that our gas fired heating system is coming to the end of its life and we have been looking at new more efficient electrical systems that should help us in our plans to reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

This move to a new heating system has become more urgent following a review of the Kempe ceiling. Unfortunately it appears that the damage and deterioration we can see is being caused by the existing convection based heating system we are using in the church. The new heating system and the repair of the ceiling will be considerable and whilst there are some grant funding sources where we can get help from we will I’m afraid be left with some large bills. A fundraising campaign will soon be underway to help us raise the funds for this important and much needed work. More details to follow and any help or support you can give will be much appreciated.

In the previous edition of Ovingdean News I talked about New Year resolutions and that my resolution this year is to take Sabbath more seriously. Last time I reflected on Sabbath as both a time to rest in the love of God but also as an act of resistance because it is neither work nor play and so it runs contrary to the demands of the world we live in. The book I am reading on the Sabbath is by someone called Walter Bruggerman and he describes the Sabbath, set out in the 10 Commandments, as a gift that is freeing and life giving. He suggests that we can best understand the 10 Commandments in the context of the Israelites wanting to go back to Egypt after they had escaped from slavery.

Lost in the desert for 40 years the Israelites missed the home they had known, the food they had had, the life they had come to know there…even though they knew life in Egypt meant slavery. The question of course, when we read this story, is why would they want to do this?! But if we look around, at others and of course at ourselves, we can see that very often we do just the same thing. We keep going back to the places, the damaged relationships, the addictive behaviors, the same mistakes and poor choices over and over again, even though we know it's just no good. This is of course easy to see in others (including those poor Israelites in the desert) but more difficult to see in ourselves.

Walter Bruggerman says that if we live the 10 Commandments we will become and stay free. By ‘having no other God but me’ and taking the gift of the Sabbath we are reminded and helped in not going back to slavery ….where there was no rest, no peace and no liberty. Where there was no time to know what is important in life…to appreciate the gift of life and the love of God. The 10 Commandments are saying we are not slaves and that we are free - and the Sabbath helps to remind us of this. More on Sabbath next time and I hope your New Year resolutions are going well?

Easter will soon be with us and Lent starts with Ash Wednesday on the 2nd of March. There will be an evening service at St Wulfran's with the imposition of Ashes and it would be great if you were able to join us.

Every blessing

Fr Richard

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