Frensham Village Churches

Letter from the Vicarage - April 2017

BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

April is very much a time of change and growth. We can see it all around us as nature changes – as new shoots are emerging from the soil and rising up; little lambs are being born and are learning to stand; the sticky buds of trees are opening into leaves whose unfolding raises them toward the sun and the chlorophyll within them is making the oxygen we need to breathe and live.  Creation in April is such a blessing – it gives not only the hope of continued life after the harshness of winter but even more than that – the blessing of new life…

‘Blessing’ or ‘Blessed’ are words that are not used as much nowadays – possibly because some associate it with organised religion which they don’t think is a blessing anymore. This a great shame because using the words ‘blessed’ or ‘blessing’ could have great meaning and impact.

I was reading a story recently of a man waiting for a repeat prescription from the doctor in a waiting room. Someone walked by and said to the man, “Have a blessed day.” Another person in the room said, “Now that’s a great phrase”. The first man agreed and said, “Absolutely – did you know that ‘blessed’ means ‘God will make you rise’?” The second person said, “Wow! What a marvellous way to think about being blessed. If God is going to make you rise, then God is going to bring new life and love and energy into your life! That is very healing. That is indeed blessedness!”

What a good way to think of being blessed - being raised up.

What raises us up? People’s thoughtfulness... People’s kindness… People’s love and care… Being respected and valued by all…

This may feel like I’m going off on a tangent, but have you ever wondered why God made God’s existence known in and through a human? Well, I can tell you it wasn’t because God wanted us to idolise the man Jesus, although many Christians and churches still make that mistake. No – I believe God became incarnate as Jesus Christ so that the dormant seed of God in us - the ‘hidden divinity’ within each person - could be revealed with all its potential for healing and goodness; so that through this revelation, the natural intrinsic divinity within us could wake from its ‘winter slumber’ and rise again (just like the shoots and lambs and buds) so that we may be God’s blessing to each other. So that we can help in God’s plan to raise each other (together with all creation) up in God’s and our love. When the divine joins with creation, creation is blessed – it is healed and raised up…

Blessing is naturally intrinsic in all creation as I alluded to in my opening comments. But humans with all their intelligence and freewill for the most part seem to have lost that essential connexion and thus the catalyst for the awakening of their divine nature. In short – for the most part we are stuck in winter – a bit like the story in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. If you remember the White witch – she wasn’t thoughtful in any good way, or kind; there was no love or care, just selfishness and greed; neither animals nor humans were respected or valued… she made life a deathly misery – indeed she caused death. But when the divine crept in, when Aslan the Lion (the representation of Jesus Christ) came, the snow began to thaw and the animals gained hope. As Aslan then went through death and rose again, all the animals grew in strength and faith as the blessing of life returned.

As the blessing of life returns and becomes apparent to us this April, may we reflect on what or who or which system is holding us and the world in wintertide. Then, when we join and journey with Jesus Christ through the end of Lent, through Holy Week to Good Friday – as we recount his life of service and healing, his suffering, sacrifice and death  - may we leave those things that are harmful and detrimental to life at the foot of his cross – may we let them die with him. As we then recall his resurrection – the blessing – his being raised up - may we follow his example too and with God’s help rise up as New Easter People full of the life, love and energy of God in creation. And, as we are released and transformed, may we not only give thanks to God in songs of praise and shouts of ‘Alleluias!’ but also remain connected and remember to put into practice the blessing and the raising up of other people too…

With love and Easter Blessings to everyone,

Jane