Pastoral Letter 10th January

´╗┐PASTORAL LETTER: JANUARY 10th

 

Hello everyone and welcome to this first Pastoral Letter of 2021. Unfortunately, we’ve had to suspend any services at The Mission currently due to the virus and the fact that it’s spreading more rapidly but I shall continue to keep in touch through these letters each week. Thank you so much for all your recent prayers and kind thoughts regarding my health condition. I’ve now spoken to the doctor who advised me not to jump to any drastic conclusions even though there is a neurological problem. I now come under the care of the Neurological Consultant who will be sending for me and will go into more detail about the problem and who will hopefully be able to proscribe some treatment to help deal with the symptoms. So please continue your prayers and thank you for your support.

So, I wait and see, but that’s what we are all doing at the moment. The waiting seems endless: waiting for appointments, waiting for the vaccine, waiting for the schools and non-essential shops to open, waiting for hospital numbers to fall. It all seems to take so long! And so, what we’re left with is lots of time on our hands and the question of what we do with our time whilst we’re waiting. I guess that for many younger people and those with young families the answer is either working from home or supervising the children plus regular shopping trips. For key workers it’s probably just catching up on rest and sleep before the next shift. But, for us older folks, how do we manage our time? 

One of the problems of our society is that we chase about and are generally overactive and spurred on by the feeling that we ought to be doing something even if our physical health prevents us. After a lifetime of “ought’s” I find myself particularly prone to this with all the guilt that comes with it. But the Psalmist tells us to “be still and know that God is God.” Perhaps this is a time for us to really learn what being still means and to really live in the consciousness of the moment and to be reminded that each second is a second lived in the presence of God. It doesn’t mean total inactivity although it does involve times of doing nothing and meditating on God’s goodness and loving presence with us. It sounds easy but I personally find it very challenging as my mind so easily wanders. It takes time to learn to do nothing, but I’m convinced it’s time well spent. If you can’t do anything to change the situation in which you find yourself why not stop and do nothing? Why force it? I believe that these are lessons in which the Eastern Religions have so much to teach us and which Jesus Himself often practiced when He withdrew from those around Him to be by Himself and with His Father God in a “lonely place.” But, of course, no place is lonely if you truly know God’s presence with you. Jesus was never truly alone, and neither are you. It’s often the case that we haven’t consciously taken the time to remind ourselves that we have a travelling companion who loves us.

Then, out of this stillness, comes prayer which isn’t always a matter of speaking words. I feel sometimes that God has far too many words thrown at Him and, as you well know, I’m one of the chief offenders! Isn’t it time to use less words? Sincerely loving thoughts and feelings can often be just as prayerful, if not more so bearing in mind that our deepest feelings are not easily expressed in words. God doesn’t just hear the words coming from our lips but reads the thoughts and feelings of our hearts. 

It really is all about living consciously in the presence of God. Someone once sent me a lovely card with the following words written on it: “Lord, I don’t know what this day will bring but, whatever it is, I know that we can handle it together.” Yes, we can, and you can as well. And so I’ll end with the words of a 16th Century mystic, St Theresa of Avila: “Let nothing disturb you: let nothing frighten you: all things are passing away: God never changes: patience obtains all things: whoever has God lacks nothing: God alone suffices.”

Written centuries ago, but just as relevant today: relevant for you, right now, just where you are.

I’m here if you need me: just leave a message or send me a text or an e-mail and I’ll get back to you. 

 

With love and blessings from Peter

 
Sent from my iPad


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