Letter from the Vicarage - January 2019
NEW YEAR BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Happy New Year everyone! Did you make a New Year’s resolution? How’s this year looking so far? Got things planned? Gonna be a busy year, d’you think?
I was sitting at the dining room table the other day, transferring all my appointments (booked for 2019) from my 2018 diary to this year’s one, and was amazed to see how many meetings and actions are already scheduled throughout the whole year! In some ways it’s comforting to know what’s coming, so that I can plan accordingly with my family, with the church and other groups with which I am involved.
Planning is so important nowadays when we are all so busy. We have to prioritise time which is so precious. My husband Mark always says “to fail to plan is to plan to fail”…so nowadays I like to get a bit ahead of myself with planning, if I can, in the quieter times because, like most people, I hate the thought of failing in anything! However, seeing quite so many appointments in January was a little disconcerting and even a bit worrying because – well, I don’t know about you – but after a really busy Christmas and New Year – I sort of like to have a gentle start in January rather than hit the ground running! Often at times like these, various Bible passages come to mind, which can be a source of comfort and also bring calm and an objective view to most situations.
From Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 6 (verse 31 – 34), we read, “Therefore do not worry, saying ‘what will we eat?’ or ‘what will we drink?’ or ‘what will we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring enough worries of its own…”
I have learnt (over much time and many mistakes) that it really helps to reduce anxiety to spend time lifting out of a particular situation and then look back at it from a ‘God’s Eye view…’ Looking at something objectively, with the whole picture panning out around it, makes it much easier to see what might be needed or what might work better. (For those strategists
among readers, I know this may be a doddle for you, but I have always worked at the rock face as it were, and often firefighting life, death and bereavement situations – all quite physically, mentally and emotionally charged - so this is new and refreshing learning!) For me, looking from a God’s eye view is what ‘striving for the Kingdom of God’ is all about. It’s not about escaping from this world and getting into heaven as many Christians think. No, it is firstly realising that the kingdom of God is here and now. Then it is about seeing where good can be done here; where people can be healed or helped if that is what they want or need now; and where teaching can have improved focus, nurture and direction to give hope for the future. But most of all striving for the Kingdom of God is seeing where one can then plan and work actively and effectively to bring the gifts of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22- 23) - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - to a real situation.
Sadly in the past, I have failed many times to bring the gifts of the Spirit to many situations and for that I am truly sorry. Like many if not most, I have previously been drawn into the 21st ‘disease’ of having too full a diary and being too busy to plan well; but no more… I believe it is a lesson not just for me, but for us all as we start a New Year – let’s spend careful time organising space for grace in our diaries. Space for grace may mean just ‘being’ with each other; living in God’s bountiful world whilst really valuing and caring for it and for each other. God does indeed know what is good for us and does provide the means for us to grow and change for the better. That was what Jesus Christ coming in December was all about…!
So let us all fill the world with the gifts of the spirit, and make a real difference to 2019…
With love, prayers and blessings