Rector's Ramblings: May 30th 2021

 

 

The other night I woke at 3am – suddenly and completely awake as can happen in the middle of the night. My brain got going and anxious thoughts abounded; round and round they went following on from a whole Zoom day for clergy on Shaped by God Together. How could these proposals work? What might be better? What might the result of all this be? I’m sure you all know the syndrome; I worried about everything big and small, whether I needed to or not.

  I suspect I am not alone in the anxiety and confusion stakes about what the future might hold: what Shaped by God Together might mean for the churches here and across the diocese; what the 3 models mean. What all of this means for the Church of England at large. I’ve loved and served the church for many years as lots of you have and now we enter on to strange territory. It is anxious-making. We all have those times when we wake in the night and the anxious thoughts start – whether about personal life, family difficulties, the world situation.

  I mentioned I’d been worrying to Derek Tomlin. Back came an email with Luke 12:22 which is the beginning of a well known passage where Jesus says: “Listen to me. Never let anxiety enter your hearts. Never worry about any of your needs, such as food or clothing. 23 For your life is infinitely more than just the food you eat or the clothing you wear. 24 Take the carefree birds as your example. Do you ever see them worry? They neither grow their own food nor put it in a storehouse for later. Yet God takes care of every one of them, feeding each of them out of the abundance of his love and goodness. Isn’t your life more precious to God than a bird? Be carefree in the care of God! 25 “Does worry add anything to your life? Can it add one more year, or even one day? 26 So if worrying adds nothing, but actually subtracts from your life, why would you worry about God’s care of you?” (The Passion translation) Words that were good to read again.

   Later I was walking in the woods at Calke Abbey amongst the magnificent trees that have stood for centuries. Those trees have seen so much – war, hardship, blessing; they have experienced good weather and raging gales. And they do not worry. Even the ancient oaks, hollowed out, gnarled are showing a spring display of fresh green leaves – still fruitful and still so beautiful. It was the equivalent of Jesus saying ‘Look at the lilies of the field. Not even Solomon was arrayed in clothes as fine as these.’

    What a corrective to the worrying of the night time. Jesus goes on: “Don’t let worry enter your life. Live above the anxious cares about your personal needs. 30 People everywhere seem to worry about making a living, but your heavenly Father knows your every need and will take care of you. 31 As you passionately seek his kingdom, above all else, he will supply your needs. 32 So don’t ever be afraid, dearest friends! Your loving Father joyously gives you his kingdom with all its promises!” Trust in God’s care – everything in life will not work out as we would wish, however much we long for that. It is certain however that God loves and cares for us. He won’t dance to our tune and do what we might think is best but let’s seek his kingdom passionately in it all, in the whole of our lives, and not turn inwards away from him.

  Some more words from the bible, God’s word to us: “Go ahead and make all the plans you want, but it’s the Lord who will ultimately direct your steps.We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct.  But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive.Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not in yourself. Then every plan you make will succeed.The Lord works everything together to accomplish his purpose” (Proverbs 16:1-4a)

  What a relief that all is in God’s very safe pair of hands. If like me, you’re anxious right now, let’s turn our eyes on Jesus and look full in his wonderful face – he will lead us through whatever lies ahead in our personal lives and in our world and in the life of His church.