Series 6 of Bishop Steven Croft’s popular podcast, Come and Eat, encourages us to put ourselves in the way of God’s grace: to come and eat.

We are undoubtedly living through one of the greatest crises of our lives. Series 4, Reflections for a Church in Lockdown, and series 5, Comfortable Words, aims to resource the Church during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Series 1 – 3 of My (extraordinary) Family saw Bishop Steven talking with someone he’s come to know in his travels about their faith, their work and their story. What does it mean to them to become more Christ-like: contemplative, compassionate and courageous for the sake of God’s world?

God is a righteous judge
Reflections for a Church in Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has led the news bulletins every single day from mid March. But on 31st May, a different – though related – story at last broke through. Six days earlier an African American man named George Floyd was arrested by police. Tragically, George died in police custody. At the heart of the riots that have followed is a cry – a cry for justice. We need to remember as a society our deep instincts of fairness and goodness and justice. Psalm 7 is a very good place to begin and it is a prayer for help.

The music at the start of this episode is taken from a recording of ‘O Lord My God, In Thee Have I Put My Trust’ available on YouTube and also to stream on Spotify.

Photo: Steven Buckley

Abstract image as if looking at a church cross through tears

Lord heal me for my bones are racked
Reflections for a Church in lockdown

Episode 6: In our journey through the Psalms we come now to a psalm which focusses on illness, on anxiety and on healing. The episode begins with the opening lines of Psalm 6, beautifully set to music by Orlando Gibbons.

O Lord in thy wrath rebuke me not
Neither chasten my in thy displeasure
Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak
O Lord heal me, for my bones are vexed
My soul also is sore troubled

The music at the start of this episode is taken from a recording of ‘O Lord in Thy Wrath Rebuke Me Not’ sung by the Choir of New College, Oxford, available on YouTube.

Abstract image: ‘Through tears’ by Steven Buckley

I will come into your house
Reflections for a Church in Lockdown

Episode 5: Samuel Wesley’s beautiful setting of Psalm 5.8 is my starting place this week. Wesley crafts a peaceful song of trust out of the middle of a Psalm which refuses to hide from life’s difficulties.

The music at the start of this episode is taken from a recording of Lead me Lord by Samuel Wesley by Somerville College Choir (Psalm 5.8 and 4.8). I’m using several commentaries on the Psalms to prepare these podcast episodes, but particularly Professor Sue Gillingham’s commentary: Psalms through the Centuries: A reception history commentary on Psalms 1-72 (Wiley Blackwell, 2018) and John Goldingay, Psalms in the Baker Commentary Series (Baker Academic 2006).

Photo: Shutterstock 205634728

Commune with your own heart and be still…
Reflections for a Church in Lockdown

Episode 4: The lockdown is an invitation and an opportunity to come deeper with God, to address our spiritual poverty, to dare to explore that inner space, to be still and to wait for the winds and the earthquake and the fire within to pass and then to listen for that still, small voice speaking in the silence. Psalm 4 is our guide as we dare to explore this inner space.

Image: Shutterstock 613289762

I will lie down and sleep… because the Lord sustains me
Reflections for a Church in lockdown

Episode 3 of this series explores psalm 3; a psalm from the middle of a crisis.  What can we learn from the psalmist in the current crisis and when we are feeling overwhelmed?

We are undoubtedly living through one of the greatest crises of our lives. Reflections for a Church in Lockdown is a new series of reflective podcasts and online audio by the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft. The series aims to resource the Church during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Programme notes: ‘The effects of tragedy on congregations‘ by Christopher Southgate, Carla Grosch-Miller and Hilary Ison.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

You are my Son – reflections for a Church in lockdown

This is the second episode in a new series of reflective podcasts by the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft. The series aims to resource the Church during the period of lockdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Episode 2 – exploring Psalm 2: You are my Son

Image credit: Shutterstock (1282399183)

tree by river

Like a tree planted by streams of water – reflections for a church in lockdown.

This is the first episode in a new series of reflective podcasts by the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft. Each episode aims to resource the Church during the period of lockdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Episode 1 – an exploration of Psalm 1: Like a tree planted.

Image Credit: Shutterstock (73606720)

Many listeners will know of Bishop Ossie, the Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman, our South African link diocese. In this latest edition of My Extraordinary Family, Bishop Steven chats to Bishop Ossie about his vast, rural diocese on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, his forthcoming retirement and what it means for our two dioceses to be in close partnership. For more, read a brief report of Bishop Steven’s visit to K&K in September 2017.

Bishop Steven and Katie Tupling

Katie Tupling is Bishop Steven’s first guest for series 2 of My (extraordinary) Family. One of the people behind Disability and Jesus, she is also Chaplain among Deaf People and Disability Advisor for the Diocese of Oxford – her dream job. She shares her own faith journey as someone with cerebral palsy (CP) and what it means for disabled people to be in church and society: celebrated, not pitied. You can read a profile of Katie in Pathways magazine and find Ability Sunday resources on the Diocesan website.

Olivia Graham with Bishop Steven in the background

The Queen has approved the appointment of Olivia Graham as the next Bishop of Reading. In this special edition of My (extraordinary) family Bishop Steven talks with Olivia about her Christian formation, her ministry since ordination and her hopes for the role she is about to take on. Olivia will be consecrated in a service at St Paul’s Cathedral on 19 November, you can find further details on the Diocese of Oxford website.