Benefice of Harston, Hauxton and Newton

  • The Vicarage
  • Church Street
  • Harston
  • Cambs
  • CB22 7NP

01223 873284


5 April 2020 Palm Sunday



True and humble king,

hailed by the crowd as Messiah:

grant us the faith to know you and love you,

that we may be found beside you

on the way of the cross,

which is the path of glory.



Ride On! Ride On In Majesty




Matthew 21.1-11



When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.”  And he will send them immediately.’ …The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.  A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ 

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’  The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’



John 14; 1

Jesus said: "Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me.”

This next week (Holy Week) we will be working our way through Jesus’ last words to his disciples from John chapter 14.

We start today.  Jesus’ challenge to his friends, just as the going was about to get tough, was simple, “trust me.”

These are powerful words for us today.



Today is Palm Sunday, and normally we would borrow from Charles Dickens and call it the day of ‘great expectations’ . . but it’s quite difficult to think of high expectations at the moment, isn’t it?

Last year two of our children went through the process of buying their first home and we shared with them that whole process of moving, including  some of the joys of   Estate Agent Speak (in bold below) . . . and that business of expectation and reality...  let me remind you...

“Ideal for the first-time buyer or as a buy-to-let investment”
“The property’s small and in a terrible area “


“The property has excellent transport links”
“There’s a motorway at the end of your garden

“Tremendous scope for improvement.  A real blank canvas”

“Low maintenance rear garden”
The ‘garden’ is concrete.

“Conveniently located”
-above a take-away and next to the pub

“Situated in a stamp duty exempt area”
“There were riots there last year



Estate Agent Speak
“Within easy reach of local schools….”
“Teenagers will congregate outside your house at lunchtime and drop litter all over your driveway “





Joy dances down
the street,
grabbing us by the hand, twirling us round 

and round
as glad tears and songs make a carpet
of welcome
for the one who comes. 


But later ...
we’ll strip the branches to weave
a cross;
stones that echoed ‘Hosanna!’
will bloody the knees of the stumbling servant; 

we’ll dust off
our cloaks
and swaddle ourselves to ward off
the cold breath
of death 

sweeping down from the Skull. 


And when we
look back at everything we could have
it will be
too late.


Thom Shuman




From Beth:

 On this Palm Sunday, we remember how the crowds went out to meet Christ shouting out: 'Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'  This week, may we set out to meet Christ in his passion, in those last days of his suffering.

May we go out to meet him in order to follow him.  He said to us: 'If you want to be my disciple, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.'  So, in what we read in the gospel story and from our experience of life and what is going on in the world around us, the experience of the world's suffering is taken by Christ in order to sanctify it, to give it meaning and significance.

This week, may we follow Christ, hour by hour, in those moments of his passion.  Let us make this indeed a Holy Week, a different week, a week when we meet Christ in his passion, in order that when the resurrection is celebrated we can, after Easter Sunday, follow him more closely and witness to him- Christ who suffered, died and rose from the dead.

Lord, increase the faith of your people and listen to our prayers. Today we honour Christ our triumphant king by carrying our palm crosses. May we honour you every day by living always in him, for he is Lord for ever and ever.


Eucharistic prayer D on page 194 of Common Worship




Post communion prayer 

Lord Jesus Christ,

you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant,

and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:

give us the mind to follow you

and to proclaim you as Lord and King,

to the glory of God the Father.



O Worship the King, All Glorious Above, 
from Manchester Cathedral 



Church window





29 March 2020

Thank you to everyone who watched and took part in our online service last week (29 March 2020)!

I know it is not quite the same, but it is still good to keep a Sunday routine and if we each take part, we are still together :)

Psalm 130

1  Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord;

      Lord, hear my voice; •

   let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

2  If you, Lord, were to mark what is done amiss, •

   O Lord, who could stand?

3  But there is forgiveness with you, •

   so that you shall be feared.

4  I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; •

   in his word is my hope.

5  My soul waits for the Lord,

      more than the night watch for the morning, •

   more than the night watch for the morning.

6  O Israel, wait for the Lord, •

   for with the Lord there is mercy;

7  With him is plenteous redemption •

   and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.



Most merciful God,

who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ

delivered and saved the world:

grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross

we may triumph in the power of his victory;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Thought for the day 

Our service started today with a psalm, one of the ancient song prayers that believers in God have found comfort in from the ancient Jews to the modern church. And why shouldn’t we find comfort in it? For it expresses what we want to express:


1  Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord;

      Lord, hear my voice; 


If you’re anything like me at the moment you can find yourself in a normal day swinging from calm and hope, through to concern and worry... how will this situation pan out? What will the consequences be? Will I get it? Will I have enough to eat? ....and we feel ourselves less at the top of a hill looking out at glorious panorama and more like sliding down into mud and that is absolutely the time to pray:


1  Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord;

      Lord, hear my voice; 


because God hears. God is constantly listening. And we are called faith people, or believers when we take that on trust. When we believe that God is as the Bible and other Christian believers say God is. 


wait for the Lord, 

   for with the Lord there is mercy;

7  With him is plenteous redemption.


We may need strategies at the moment when optimism retreats. On Mothering Sunday I met my middle son on Newmarket Heath to share, at a safe distance, a dog walk. It is not difficult to stay at a safe distance there because there is so much space, and that was lovely. We felt the sun on our faces and the wind, still cold, in our hair. And we walked to the top where the trees stand, and we turned round to look at the panorama. 





The sky was blue, we could see Newmarket way below, and then beyond Newmarket more sloping fields and woods. Then I turned right and realised there in the distance was Ely Cathedral. A sight that people have seen from that very spot for a thousand years!


Newmarket 2


God knows the situation we are in now, just as God knew the situation of those who looked across the heath and land to the cathedral in the days of the plague, the days of the fire of London, the civil war, and the Great Wars. 

God knows it is hard for us now having suddenly to change our lives and to stay in, not to be able to shop as we normally do, not be able to see family and friends as we have done. God knows, and God stands alongside us, and gives us when we pray, spiritual resources, the ability to take a deep breath, to know peace and trust, and to look out again, with courage.


This is a month for courage on the 17th it was St Patrick's Day, and he was a man who knew all about taking a deep breath, stepping out into the unknown and trusting in God. Ireland was where he was taken as a teenager, when he was kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave. But he went back because he was drawn to take the love of God to the people he had seen who struggled in their ordinary harsh lives.

Patrick composed a prayer at one of the moments when he needed the greatest courage, when he stood up to the High King of Ireland: 

And how do we know we can trust God?

Because God arrived amongst us, at a point in history, as Jesus, the most extraordinary man, because he was all the goodness of God squeezed into a human frame. And so our reading today from the letter Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome says:


11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.


God was seen to work in power and in love through what Jesus did and said. -How he walked alongside people, literally and supportively. And that same Spirit of God who was in Jesus, is given to us. When we pray the Holy Spirit gives us peace, and also many other things. Paul describes these other gifts later in the letter to the church in Galatia: 


the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!


I believe courage is also something God gives us, courage because we do not rely ultimately on our own resources, but on a God who has all resources, and is a God of love, that’s what Easter tells us.


And at this time we need extra resources, we cannot rely on our own abilities, strength and ingenuity, although they always help, we need stuff that keeps us going right deep inside ourselves. And allows us to reach out to others.


4  I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; •

   in his word is my hope.

5  My soul waits for the Lord,

      more than the night watch for the morning, •

   more than the night watch for the morning.


Download that prayer of St Patrick song for yourselves. God is with us. 



Prayers from Anna:

Lord, No man is an island. This is painfully apparent at a time when our individual choices influence the life and death of others. It is apparent as, in our isolation, our sociable selves cry out that that we were not designed as island states.  We know that COVID is shining light on an interdependence that has always been present, and which will continue beyond this crisis, regardless of whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. We pray that this awareness of our unknown roles in the lives of others may continue beyond the current situation and result in a more compassionate and loving society. 


Lord, help us to know what is required of us at this time and to fulfil those duties to the best of our ability. Let this time of social distancing bring us together. Let isolation help us to feel part of the whole.


We pray for those whose reaction has been to take, may feel loved; may feel part of a bigger, hurting whole; and so may come to know that they are not alone in their fear, not alone in their isolation.


We pray for those who are socially isolated. For some, this may be a time of peace and reflection but many will find it a great challenge. Those who are entirely alone may crave any human contact; those who are living with others may long for time alone. Relationships will be tested, minds will be free to wander to dangerous places, the appeal of alcohol and other false comforters loom large.


We pray for those who must continue to leave home to work; knowing they expose themselves and their contacts to danger by doing so. There are many who long to be able to do more to actively contribute to the damage limitation, 

We all have different roles to play. All are important. Despite our isolation and our different roles, there is so much we share. Help us to recognise what we can and should do; and to accept what we cannot and should not do.


We pray for those who are ill; those who are grieving; those who are losing income, jobs, identity; those who are hungry.  


Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers

For the sake of your Son, our Saviour

Jesus Christ




Post communion

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us

that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters

we do also for you:

give us the will to be the servant of others

as you were the servant of all,

and gave up your life and died for us,

but are alive and reign, now and for ever.

22 March 2020 Mothering Sunday 

Welcome Everybody :)
On this Mothering Sunday:
Make us aware, dear God,
of your eye that beholds us
your hand that holds us
your heart that loves us
your Presence that enfolds us
now and always. 


One of our Psalms for today from the Anglican lectionary is very familiar. I copy it here in a form apt for the strange times we find ourselves in:
The Lord is my Pacesetter.
I shall not rush.
He makes me to lay down my worries and rest in His love.
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind
and His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is with me.
His timelessness, His all-importance, will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours
for I shall walk in the pace of My Lord and dwell in His house forever.
Perhaps you could listen to a version of psalm 23 as a hymn on YouTube? I particularly like the tune by Howard Goodall, which you may recognise:

Psalm 23
1  The Lord is my shepherd; •
   therefore can I lack nothing.
2  He makes me lie down in green pastures •
   and leads me beside still waters.
3  He shall refresh my soul •
   and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.
4  Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil; •
   for you are with me;
      your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5  You spread a table before me
      in the presence of those who trouble me; •
   you have anointed my head with oil
      and my cup shall be full.
6  Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me
      all the days of my life, •
   and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


From Iris:

Those of us lucky enough to have the gift of children, give thanks for the unique privilege of caring for and bringing them up.  We feel such a responsibility and often feel overwhelmed.  Help us to rest in the knowledge that we could not be asked to do a more important thing than to love, guide, and nurture a new life.

We pray for the families of the nation upon which so much depends.  Be among us to guide and bless us, and keep us safe. Keep safe these special people, both mothers and fathers, with their love, patience, and forgiveness.

Continue to show us the way of Jesus, who had the security of a loving home in Nazareth, so that we may be able to say with Mary, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour."

On this special day, we ask your blessing on our closest relationships.  We give you thanks for the love and protection of parents for their children.  At home we are truly ourselves, and are seen at our best and our worst.  Give us grace to be able to forgive and be forgiven,and to learn the value of honesty, fairness, and gentleness.

On this special day, we give you thanks for the Church, which is always with us, nourishing and helping us to grow in the love of an extended family.  Make us able to give back love, time, and energy to make real the goodness of Jesus.

We praise you, Lord, and ask your blessing on us all.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.
Some thoughts for today
Today I want to take you on a journey through poetry and some of the wisdom of the early Christian teachers, a journey for our soul.
I came across Malcolm Guite's poem: First Steps. You can find it on the internet, and it starts like this:
This is the day to leave the dark behind you
Take the adventure, step beyond the hearth,
Shake off at last the shackles that confined you,
And find the courage for the forward path.”
Today is Mothering Sunday and we may be aware as mothers to children, or as mothers to our own soul, that first steps occur at all stages of our lives.
Those first steps after something that has shaken us, something has been brought to a happy conclusion, or we or somebody else has moved on.
This is the day to leave the dark behind you,
Take the adventure, step beyond the hearth,
Shake off at last the shackles that confined you
And find the courage for the forward path.”
There are many first steps in our lives, and we are now as villages and churches and individuals learning how to take first steps in this strange environment of living with Coronavirus.  And how, in these times  do we move on?
How do we mother our own soul?
The Desert Fathers and Mothers took themselves away from the bustle of the cities and lived a really simple life in the 4th Century AD. they left some of their sayings behind:
Abba Poemen said about Abba Pior that every single day he made a fresh beginning.”
This is a time to take each day as it comes. If we start to look too far ahead it seems too much, and we wonder if we will manage. But we know it is possible to live well in one day.
And we will have times when we get to the end of our own resources. It is at those times that we can pray.
An old man said: constant prayer quickly straightens out our thoughts.”
Prayer, a heightened consciousness of ourselves and what and who is beyond us, above us, around us, caring for us - none other than a God of love, who wants nothing more than to hold us and cheer us.
A brother who was living amongst other brothers asked Abba Bessarion: What should I do?The old man replied: 'be silent, and do not measure yourself against the others.
It is easy at the moment to be looking round and seeing how people are  behaving and wondering if we should also be doing that? Lets follow the good examples, of those who are helping others, and spreading good humour and being creative.
“This is the day to leave the dark behind you,
Take the adventure, step beyond the hearth,
Shake off at last the shackles that confined you
And find the courage for the forward path.”
Bless you in this week ahead.
A Common Prayer:  Leunig
God be with the mother as she carried her child. May she carry her soul. As her child was born so may she give birth and life and form to her own higher truth. As she nourished and protected her child, may she nourish and protect her inner life and her independence. For her soul shall be her most painful births, her most difficult child and the dearest sister to her other children.
Our Collect is the prayer said across the Anglican Church today:
God of love,
passionate and strong,
tender and careful:
watch over us and hold us
all the days of our life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Listen again to the hymn The Lords my Shepherd.
Think again of that funny series: The Vicar of Dibley and be glad that we live together in a community, with other people of faith, and a God who loves us more than we can know.
May you hold us in your strong finger hands until we become a sacrament of strength to those whose hands we hold.
And the blessing of God Almighty: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you, now and forever.

Still waters