Greetings to you all from Emmanuel Road. I hope that all remains as well as can be with you, your family and your friends and neighbours.
So, I’ve more or less managed to be in touch by telephone with everyone on the church mailing list who lives in the UK for whom I have telephone numbers. If you haven’t received a telephone call and would like to be included in my bi-weekly ring round, please send me an email with your number and I’ll ring next week.
As you might imagine everyone is sending everyone else their love and best wishes and I’m delighted to be able to pass them on.
To begin, as I did last week, I’ve written a piece which I hope may offer you a few interesting and, perhaps, useful reflections for the coming week. You can read that, if you are so minded, at the following link.
As most of you will be aware I have made available a recording of the evening service of mindful meditation and you can get an mp3 of this at the following link. For ease of reference below I also include a link to a pdf of the order of service.
Order of service for the Evening Service of Mindful Meditation: “The Mystery and Miracle of Life”
MP3 of the Evening Service of Mindful Meditation
The period of mindful meditation was introduced into the evening service just over a decade ago thanks to Mary Sharpe, who was a member of the congregation back then before she returned to Edinburgh. Well, Mary’s back in Cambridge for a a short while (greetings, Mary) and she has kindly sent me the following link to the current mindful mediations that are on her profession webpage. Some of you may be interested in checking those out so here’s a link to the relevant page.
Mindfulness Stress Reduction — Mary Sharpe
In my email I also attach a short film made by Tal of her playing a cello made a number of years ago by Celia as well as an mp3 of a Bach Sarabande played on the same instrument. Both Tal and Celia are, of course, members of the congregation and I thank them for letting me make them available to you all for your pleasure. (If you want these things please email me at the contact tab at the top right.)
On Wednesday, eighteen of us got together (including one person from Germany and a couple from London) on Zoom for our first Epicurean Gathering in the church for a number of years. If you are interested in joining that please give me an email and I’ll include you in the next invitation. We’re meeting each Wednesday between 6.30pm-7.30pm. The light, but necessary, ‘homework’ for the next meeting is as follows:
a) Listen to the “In our Time” programme
b) Read Epicurus’ “Letter to Menoeceus”
c) Watch, if you haven’t done already so, Luke Slattery’s short introductory film:
And, lastly, as I mentioned to folk at the meeting, on Thursday, quite by coincidence, a programme was broadcast on the BBC World Service: “In search of the good life: Epicurus and his philosophy” in which Bridget Kendall and guests discussed how the writings of Epicurus and his followers influenced the development of modern science and theories of evolution. The programme was another excellent introduction to Epicurus/Lucretius and also to their general contemporary relevance. Should you wish you can hear the programme at the following link:
In search of the good life: Epicurus and his philosophy
Penultimately, although I’m personally no longer theologically anywhere near where I was when I co-wrote it with an American, Unitarian Universalist colleague of mine, John Morgan, the prayer book we produced for the Unitarian Christian Association, “Daybreak and Eventide”, has been made available for free. If you are of a generally liberal Christian persuasion you may find the book of some use and interest. You can get a pdf of it at the following link:
Daybreak and Eventide by Andrew Brown and John Morgan
And, lastly, given that we are about to enter into Holy Week I will endeavour to record our Good Friday Communion Service/Meditation and make it available to you some time mid-week. Since, for obvious reasons, we cannot physically share the bread and wine together, I will write a short introductory meditation based on an observation made by the early twentieth-century Unitarian biblical scholar, Clayton Raymond Bowen, in his book “The Gospel of Jesus, critically reconstructed from the earliest sources” (1916). Bowen wrote:
All the symbolism is in the breaking and the pouring, having no connection whatever with the eating and drinking. When the disciples go on to eat and drink, the picture is dissolved, the figure dropped; the elements are simple bread and wine again. It is probable that Jesus himself, under the circumstances, did not eat or drink (p. 200).
The Gospel of Jesus, critically reconstructed from the earliest sources (1916) by Clayton Raymond Bowen
I think that’s all except, of course, to send you all my love and best wishes.