A Letter from Tom

The days are gradually beginning to lengthen and the optimist in me is looking out for the first signs of Spring – let me know if you see any!

I am one of four siblings, and surprisingly three out of the four of us are ordained in the Church of England. My parents scratch their heads in bemusement as to how that happened!

My eldest sister, Clare, is chaplain of an Oxford College and has recently published a lovely book of forty reflections called ‘Unveiled: Women of the Old Testament and the choices they made’. I’ve been using it as my daily reading this month and, with a character a day, it’s been moving and inspiring to reflect on their lives and to learn of their strength and faith.

So many of these women are portrayed as marginal figures in scripture, written as supporting roles in storylines dominated by men. It’s safe to say gender equality wasn’t quite the priority it is today. But even though women like Miriam, Tamar or Jephthah’s daughter (you’ll have to get the book to find out who she is) are written as small parts in the grand story of scripture, that is of course not how God sees them, and it’s not how he sees you or me. 

To Him, the bible says, we are front and centre stage. It says He sings over us as we sleep (Zeph 3.17) and that we are ‘the apple of His eye’ (Psalm 17.8), which is another way of saying that such is his love, he can’t take his eyes off us. What a comforting thought. 

Below are some pictures  taken from ‘Unveiled’ which you may find interesting. They are painted by Clare’s son Micah, who is an artist. He has painted 40 beautiful portraits to accompany each character. These are a few of my favourites-  I hope you like them. You can get the book from most good book shops!

Clare and Micah are coming to St Michael’s to speak about their book at the next Saturday Breakfast on 12 February. Do come and join us if you can.

Be assured that you are regularly in our prayers.

Warmest regards,

Revd Tom Benyon, Associate Vicar