A Time to Reflect
Mike and I have recently returned from a week away. As I work for myself it is normal, that, aside from Christmas, this week in September is my only scheduled time off in the year, so it is very precious.
Having this time to stop, rest, notice the world around me and think is such a blessing and during the week I scribbled a couple of notes in my diary of reflections that had come to me.
The first was the pleasure in a hot cup of tea. I rarely sit down with a hot cup of tea and just take the time to enjoy it. The first couple of sips will be hot, but invariably it will sit on my work desk and the last half at least will be lukewarm at best. It made me think of people who practise mindfulness and talk of the benefits of being very present in the moment, enjoying the smell, the steam, the feel of the hot tea. It reminded me of the importance of taking the time to be refreshed and that it is good to work those moments in to everyday, not just with tea, but also in just sitting with God and being renewed and refreshed.
As we were driving and walking through the Norfolk countryside, one of the things that struck me was the abundance of berries in the hedgerows. The bushes were groaning with hips and haws and all things autumnal. Folklore tells us that this is a sign of a bad winter to come. Science will tell us that it has far more to do with the weather conditions in spring and summer. But that thought that the reason these bushes were so laden, was to provide for the hedgerow creatures in the testing months to come was actually comforting.
It reminded me that God does provide for us, for whatever lies ahead in these times of great uncertainty. And we are certainly living in times of uncertainty. Whether you are looking at Global warming and pollution; the worldwide political situation; the national political situation and that “B” word, or whether we are thinking about our Churches and having a vacancy, these are all reasons why we may be feeling uncertain.
Last week as I was on holiday, I took comfort from the fact that God will provide in these times. It was therefore very encouraging this morning to hear that we have a new incumbent joining us in April. What better time to welcome them than immediately following the Easter services. As we are still celebrating the resurrected Jesus and we are hopefully surrounded by the signs of Spring and new life, we will be looking forward to new things in our Church. A new incumbent; new challenges; new ideas; all breathing new life into our Parishes.
We have obviously got to be patient a while yet. Their existing congregation has probably got to be told and at the right time. Handing over of the reins has to happen and plans put in place. We know about all of that. We have just experienced it ourselves. But in a couple of months we will have a name. In the meantime, just because we don’t have a name doesn’t mean we can’t be praying for this person. Asking God to bless them as they prepare to join us and pray for the work and the people they will be leaving behind.
It is good to be excited and filled with hope for all the possibilities. It is also human to be a little anxious.
I want to share one last reflection with you. As I was walking barefoot along the beach at low tide I was really struck by the patterns in the sand. In some places the ripples ran one way, in other places they were almost like little squares in the sand. The sand in relationship with the sea and the tides left a visible pattern. That pattern wasn’t the same everywhere, but I found it equally beautiful and intriguing. The patterns in the sand we make in relationship with this incumbent may look very different form patterns we have made before. But that doesn’t make them any less beautiful and worthwhile. They are all as God intended.