St Lawrence Church Bidborough

St Lawrence Church, Bidborough

Know God, Show His Love, Grow His Church

Southborough Team

Vicar's View - October / November 2017

Bidborough Church

This photograph was taken in the summer, on the day of a tea party that we were holding at the Rectory. It was a day of sunshine and heavy showers, which in the end thankfully skirted Bidborough and did not spoil our afternoon. However, just before we were due to start, a heavy and ominous cloud blew swiftly up the valley from the west, and I went briefly onto the churchyard to take this dramatic picture. The flag was at half-mast, standing out from the pole in the breeze, and the grey cloud hung over the church. As I took the photo, a Graham Kendrick song came into my mind. This is the first verse -

O Lord, the clouds are gathering, the fire of judgement burns,
How we have fallen!

Sitting here on an October morning, I had to look online to remind myself which of the horrors of this year the flag had been lowered for. There have been so many. How prophetic Kendrick's song, written 30 years ago, long before we had urban terror attacks with vans, knives and suicide vests, sadly turned out to be -

O Lord, dark powers are poised to flood
Our streets with hate and fear, we must awaken!

This week, the previous killing sprees have been eclipsed by the shooting in Las Vegas. Once again, parents and children, husbands and wives went out to enjoy an evening and never came home - never said goodbye, never had a chance to speak words of love, or apology, or gratitude, or forgiveness. I am so sad this week, and I am so angry that anyone, anywhere, is allowed to own, and carry into a hotel, such an arsenal of weapons. I am angry for the innocents that always seem to suffer, everywhere. A line in Kendrick's song always chokes me -

O Lord, while precious children starve
The tools of war increase - their bread is stolen

It is reckoned that it would cost $175 billion a year to eradicate world poverty in 20 years. Next year the US military budget alone will be $825 billion. Kendrick's song is a lament, in the long tradition of the Psalms - songs of sadness and anger at seeing God's creation so fractured by those He lovingly created.

O Lord, you stand appalled to see your laws of love so scorned
And lives so broken.

After each verse of lament there is a refrain, in which we acknowledge our own responsibility for some of the brokenness of the world, and plead for mercy and for transformation -

Have mercy, Lord. Forgive us, Lord, Restore us, Lord. Revive your church again.
Let justice flow like rivers, and righteousness like a never failing stream.

And in the song there is a prayer - for comfort and healing for those who suffer innocently today, and for hope, transformation, and a new reality, in which God's kingdom of justice, peace and love prevails.

O Lord, let love reclaim the lives that sin would sweep away
And let your kingdom come.

Amen - let it be so.

Stephen Hills

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October 2017

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What's On ?

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Thursday 4:00-5:00pm in the small village hall.

Crisis Recovery

The Day Centre would be happy to receive donations of second-hand clean clothes and shoes for their guests (particularly men’s clothing). If you can help please get in touch with Alan Richards on 528916.


There is a Traidcraft stall in Church on the first Sunday of every month. Please support this worthwhile project.

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