Rector's Ramblings: September 12th 2021

 

 

 I started these Rector’s Ramblings in serious way when we hit Lockdown last year, never thinking I would go on writing them for so long. You may get the odd update in the future but Rick and others will now be continuing this thought for the week. More than that, I am pondering ‘A Book’ on life as a parish priest, so might include some of what I have written. You never know so watch out.

  What to say for today? Last week I talked about ‘goodbyes’. This week I want to talk about ‘thank you’. Giving thanks is so important. It changes the temperature of our hearts and encourages the recipient.  I so want you to stop and say thank you to each other, to those who serve you in any way in church and beyond church. Those of you who know me, know I will have found all the being centre stage of being thanked embarrassing. Nevertheless, I thank you – it is good to hear. A cleric’s job is one where we rarely know the effect on others of what we do (except when we’ve  upset them). It’s lovely for me to go on with thank yous ringing in my ears.

   I too want to say thank you to all those whom I have met over the past 15 year, with particular thanks to those with whom I have served in the 8 Team churches. We have been a motley crew when you look at us. It might be said we don’t look up to much but think back over what we’ve done together. You will get an amazing list. I give thanks for you and for all those times which have made us what we are. I mean that. We’ve driven each other mad at times I suspect but that is a part of life. We’ve come through.

    I’d encourage you to develop a culture of thankfulness. Such a culture is so very attractive. The more it becomes part and parcel of a community, day in and day out, it draws others in. Take time to stop, to notice and say thank you.

    I know the next weeks of settling down without me will hold stresses and strains for you all – things won’t be as they were. The temptation to moan may be to the forefront– to say so quickly ‘Oh why isn’t that being done....’. There will be the temptation to look back. Please don’t. Look and watch. Who is doing something for which you need to say ‘thank you’. Please don’t take it for granted – saying ‘that’s the warden’s job, or his job. They should be doing it.’

    Be alert and say thank you – don’t be shy. Someone has done something – thank them. It encourages them – they’re not simply being taken for granted.

    Add into the thankfulness mix, thanks to Jesus – for all he has done and does do for us. Again, pause and look and say thanks. Thank you for dying on the cross, thank you for your resurrection, thank you that you are with us now by your Holy Spirit.  Make thanksgiving part of all your prayers. Just as with our human companions, we can have a tendency to complain when something we don’t like comes along, rather than give thanks for all the enormous generosity of God who is the giver of all. I can remember the story of a lady who had become bedridden. She gave thanks to God every day for her legs (which could no longer support her), for all they had done for her in the past. What an example of giving thanks to God in all things.

  St Paul was for ever giving thanks to God and thanks for all those churches and people. Let’s copy him. I want to end now with a prayer of St Paul’s which will feature in my Sunday sermon. It is St Paul’s prayer for you, and I borrow it as my prayer for you all:

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Eph 1:17-23)