LETTER FROM THE VICARAGE
Very sadly, our Vicar, Rev Pauline Lucas, died in April 2020. Therefore we are reproducing here the monthly letter from our Licensed Lay Minister Janice Taylor as it appears in our parish magazine, the Parish News.
Letter from the vicarage
JANICE'S JOTTINGS - SEPTEMBER 2020
Thomas Merton, the American Trappist monk and theologian wrote in one of his journal notations - “We are not satisfied with what is currently our situation because we have it in our mind that our life won't be happy until something else occurs: when I have one more thing I want, when I get rid of that personality flaw of mine, when I finally have life as I have always dreamed it to be, when I am truly successful, when I learn to pray better, when I find the right person in my life, when , when, when....”
Waiting for the 'when' keeps us from appreciating what we have. What we do have is the 'now', this present time. So often we spend our time, our 'now' reliving our past, whether it be our past mistakes or our past 'happy times' and wishing we were back there again. Of course its good to enjoy happy memories, especially with others who have shared them, but it's important not to lose sight of where we are in the present moment.
The trouble is that right now, living and enjoying the present moment is quite difficult for many of us in the middle of this terrible pandemic. Yet this is where we are and we need to help one another to enjoy what we have. We need to put aside all our thoughts of “when this happens”, “when things get better” and take a long grateful look around us for what we do have. We can actively pray for one another, pray for an end to this pandemic and pray for world leaders who will have the vision and the courage to seek better ways to co-operate with each other to bring an end to poverty, disease and war. We can live in our present moment in time and wait with hope for the future even when we're tempted to despair.
The problem is that we don't like waiting - we're not good at it. Maybe its because we are forced to spend a lot of our time waiting in traffic jams, waiting in queues at the supermarket checkout or even worse, waiting in a telephone queue to the sound of awful music whilst we try to remember which number we were told to press for whatever service we thought it was we required! Yet waiting can be a positive experience and is certainly presented as such in the Bible. Waiting for the promised Messiah was a time of learning more about God for the children of Israel in the Old Testament, a time for them to experience more of his forgiveness and kindness.
“Blessed are all who wait for Him,” says the prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 30v18)
In the New Testament the disciples were often left waiting for Jesus while he prayed alone with His Father. After his resurrection Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. What happened later, after their wait, turned out to be greater than their wildest imaginings. (Acts 2) Those waiting times were not empty times when nothing happened - God was always active within them. God is active now in all our waiting times. God is active in our midst in our present moment.
We live in difficult times when it is not always easy to see the hand of God yet He is nevertheless always active in love in our world. The full verse from Isaiah quoted earlier reads,
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him.”
While we are waiting perhaps it would be good to ask God to help us to know that he is close to us and especially to those who are suffering. You might like to use this prayer in your moments of quiet: -
God of all,
we cry out to you for help.
In your mercy, hear our prayer.
Protect us, Lord, and be with us
especially those of us most vulnerable
during this coronavirus crisis.
Move us to reach out in love
to our neighbours near and far.
So that the humble may be exalted,
the hungry filled with good things.
Grant us the courage
not to rush back to our old ways,
but to rebuild our world together,
creating foundations of justice,
with equality and peace for all.
Love and blessings