Ancient wells, living water – a reflection from the Bishop of Brixworth

In June we celebrated the 900th anniversary of the original founding of Launde Abbey, now our wonderful retreat and conference centre which we share with the Diocese of Leicester. It was a super weekend of special events involving our own Bishop Donald and Bishops Martyn and Guli from Leicester. The choirs of both cathedrals sang together for the Festival Service.

My personal highlight was David Newman’s dramatic performance of St Mark’s Gospel entirely from memory. We were in awe of his achievement but, more importantly, deeply moved by this simple retelling of the whole gospel story. It was good to hear again the loving tale of Jesus’ life and suffering for us, upon which good news Launde Abbey was founded.

Later that same weekend, Gleneagles New Church in Wellingborough hosted a record number of people for the annual Richard Beadon Lecture. This diocesan event seeks to make connections between our faith and our working lives. The speaker this year was Dave Male, Director of Evangelism and Discipleship for the Church of England and a member of the Archbishop’s Council.

In one particularly striking part of his talk, he compared our Sunday worship to a coach’s half-time team talk in a sports match. “It’s absolutely vital,” he said. “It can guide, re-focus and inspire the team and can even change the result of the game, but it’s not actually the match.” To reinforce the point, he quoted the famous saying: “The service begins when the worship ends”. Our worship matters deeply, but our daily lives are where we work out our faith in practice. Much discussion then followed over a wonderful prosecco cream tea!

What linked the two events was a profound appreciation of God’s call to practical Christianity. David Newman wrote in his programme notes about St Mark: “My hope and prayer is that you might experience something equally powerful and life-shaping as I did when I first heard the gospel … and will be inspired to respond afresh to the life-changing commitment of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

You may wish to use this wonderful prayer which was written for the Launde 900th anniversary, and which I have found really helpful;

Eternal God,
who calls us to draw water
from the ancient wells of salvation,
and whose Son is the living water
from who we can drink
and never be thirsty:
resource, renew and refresh us,
as with gratitude for the past,
we step out with confidence
into your future;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With my prayers and best wishes,
Bishop of Brixworth

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