The Minister's Message for September
Shirley and Tom Hall moved to Rustington from Epsom in April 2014 and got involved in the life of the church family from the start. Sadly Tom died in December last year and Shirley in June this year.
I try and bring something of the individuality of a person to their funeral service so, for example, at Tom’s service we talked about his love of birds and aeroplanes. With Shirley I knew something distinctive but was not sure how to include it. She loved vinegar! She carried sachets of it in her purse and handbag, and would sprinkle it on any and every sort of food!
In John’s gospel (chapter 19) when Jesus is on the cross he cries out “I am thirsty” (v28) and those standing nearby soak a sponge with vinegar and offer it to him. I had always thought this an unkind, even cruel, action so not fit for Shirley’s service. With nowhere else to turn I looked in more detail and made an amazing discovery. The liquid on offer was not the sort of vinegar we sprinkle on chips but a drink made from low quality, slightly vinegary, wine with additional ingredients. Its proper name is posca and it was a staple drink of the Roman legions full of vitamin C and much safer to drink than water. The soldiers who offered the sponge were not being cruel rather they were sharing their rations with one in need. No recipe for posca has survived but I have put details of an approximate recipe at the bottom of the next page.* The discovery about posca encouraged me to think about thirst and hunger and opportunities for hospitality in the life of our church.
Last month you may well have read about the idea of a new and additional style of service called “Food for Thought”. The idea is to have a service where together we can listen to a talk, or poetry or music and have time to share our response and also share food/hospitality. All of this in the context of some appropriate worship. The current plan is that “Food for thought” will gather on the third Tuesday evening of the month and will be held for the first time on October 16th.
Before that, and for one evening the “Cakes, Bakes and Faith tour” will be at Lindfield on Wednesday September 12th. Organised by TEARFUND the tour features Martha Collison (the youngest ever contestant on (The Great British Bake Off ) and Will Torrent (Sunday Brunch and Ready, Steady, Cook) talking about their careers, their faith and hospitality. It would be good if someone who goes along could write a piece for the October edition of the Link.
I invite you at the start of the new church year (September) to listen out for the voice of our neighbours close at hand and far away.
*No recipes for posca are known to have survived. A version of the drink can be made by combining 1½ cups of red wine vinegar with ½ cup of honey, 1 tablespoon of crushed coriander seed and 4 cups of water. The mixture should be boiled in a saucepan to dissolve the honey before being allowed to cool to room temperature. After straining out the coriander seeds, it can be served.