Dear Minster and Friends,
“The purpose of a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” (Proverbs 20:5)
The water of London starts when it falls in the Chilterns. When we get rain…years later it keeps Londoners alive and healthy and refreshed. Where there are no rivers to draw from, or streams to irrigate the crops or rivulets to provide water, wells and boreholes are needed to get this water. Roman engineering reached its pinnacle with the building of perfect aqueducts, bringing the bubbling mountain stream water to the exhausted and parched lands, but the digging of wells takes skill, expense and dedication. Stampwell farm is named after such a deep, precious and ancient well that once belonged to the Stamp family. This well is a thousand years old, or more, currently sited beneath the farmhouse.
The human heart, said proverbs many years before that, has its purpose deep within like an aquifer below the surface of the earth, and it takes dedication and skill to help us discover our own unique purpose. Jesus is that ‘man of understanding’ who, as fully human and perfectly divine, has the insight and perspective to help us discover what we ourselves could never know about ourselves. Only someone who truly understands water, and truly understand the depths, can be trusted to find a way to draw this water, this purpose, out.
Who can say; “I have made my heart pure, I am clean from sin.”? (Proverbs 20:9)
Secondly – water cannot purify itself, and no person can purify their own heart, we cannot make ourselves clean, no matter how much ‘detoxing’ or ‘clean eating’ we attempt – it may help the body but it will not and cannot penetrate the heart. The Chiltern waters, purified by years and filtered through dense chalks and fissures, arrived in London as clean and drinkable, especially when turned into a mild local ale! As the population of London grew, more and more people put rubbish, refuse and sewage into the rivers. Jonathan Swift wrote in 1710 of what happened to the rivers of London after a rainstorm;
Sweepings from butchers stalls, dung, guts and blood
drown’d puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud
Dead cats and turnip tops, came tumbling down the Flood
Where there are humans – we produce rubbish and filth…this refuse and waste flows unavoidably from our lives. In 1854 it was the main cause of a devastating Cholera epidemic and provoked an outcry and a ‘water fountain movement’ to bring fresh water from the deep pure aquifers and make it available for free to the urban poor of London and other major cities. As water cannot purify itself – backpackers bring filters and purification tablets, sewage needs to be processed and purified, ultra violet light, leaching processes, seeping filtration through the earth, boiling…all of these are processes carried out upon water to make it safe, living and pure. Water cannot purify itself, and neither can we. The Cross plumbed the depths of human refuse and sin and there Jesus blocked this tide and changed the water course of history. There he filtered our shame, there he purified our hearts with drops of blood, there he passed years of history through his very body and opened up for us a new and living water source – the Spirit of God. In Christ we have access not only to fresh and living water, but also to a purification of our own hearts.
Perhaps we, as a church in the Chilterns, and this generation’s stewards of an ancient well and farm, need to pray for more of God’s spirit to fall upon us, to begin this work bringing water to a thirsty population. Maybe we need to ask the Lord to plumb the wells of our hearts and reveal our personal and corporate purpose.
With much love,
Welcome to our newest congregation member – to Rachel and Rich Mhendes, a new baby boy!
Coming Up – EASTER SEASON
Chilterns Churches Pilgrimage
On Tuesday 27th – Thursday 29th March the local churches will be PRAYING around the Chiltern Heritage Trail and stopping in various locations, including Stampwell Farm, to pray for that area. Email email@example.com if you’d like to attend and check out the route map here https://crosscountyrun.wordpress.com/
10:30am – 11:30am Join us for our Good Friday reflective service as we meditate upon the relentless love of the cross. All are welcome!
10:30am – 12pm All are welcome to attend our Easter Sunday celebration service as we remember the indestructible hope of the resurrection.
Lambing Day – 15th April
1pm – 3pm Pet our newborn lambs – Donkey rides – Bouncy castle – Face painting – Farm trail – Trailer rides – Bake off
For more information visit http://wildfiresfestival.com/
To pray for our plants and partners;
West London – The Message Trust will be moving into the Minster’s boxing gym in West London and calling other mission partners to meet, work and pray together for mission in London. Sam has been joining them and Graham Tomlin in a schools mission in the last few weeks.
Walsall – Ian, Sarah, Rebecca and Joshua will be with us this Sunday sharing how the Lord has been working in Walsall, and how we can support them.
Ascot – Pray for Tim, Ness and the team in Ascot as they plan a number of Easter events (website)
Windsor – Pete Matthew and the Windsor Fellowship, which was planted out of a partnership with Latimer Minster a few years ago, is going from strength to strength. Giving thanks for their progress and for their Easter Services.
Jos, Nigeria – Praising God for the safe and joyful delivery of a tent from Latimer Minster – but standing with them in prayer as several villages have been attacked and church members murdered. Hassan and Justice, who were with us for a year, are responsible for the pastoral care of these communities and crave our prayers at this challenging time.