Rector's Ramblings: September 27th 2020

 

 

          Standing in the post office queue, I was trying hard not to look at the array of chocolates (3 for £1 is very tempting!). I allowed myself to look instead at the headlines on the newspapers:

‘Rishi: now it’s time to live without fear’ (Daily Mail)

‘Job fears as Chancellor scales back rescue plan’ (The Times)

‘Houdini Rishi’s daring £5bn escape plan’ (Daily Express)

‘We need to face up to the hard choices’ (Daily Telegraph)

‘Sunak warns of rising job losses despite rescue plans (The Guardian)

‘Too little, too late’ (Daily Mirror)

‘Sunak gambles with wage top up as furlough ends’ (Independent)

‘Groundbog day’ (Daily Star – panic buying of loo rolls)

(Sorry I can’t remember what was on the Sun)

  In the space of a few minutes, my feelings went from curiosity that the Chancellor had God’s urging ‘Do not be afraid’ on his lips, to doubt - I must admit none gave me real hope. Our thinking, our feelings, our emotions are pulled this way and that. We can go from ‘it’s a disaster, all is lost, there’s no way out’ to ‘it’ll all be amazing, we have it all in hand’ in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

   The danger is we become cynical and believe nothing. Yet without trust, society can’t function well. The truth is that we are on an unknown path, and nobody really knows the right path to take in it all. Strangely, I’m Ok with that because I believe it to be the truth. I can work with truth but not with shadow boxing all the time. Media reporting, politicians and pundits ‘play with us. As they take us to and fro, it’s exhausting and not a little depressing. It’s bad for our health as we bounce between optimism and scaremongering.

   The fact is we can’t predict the future. As I learnt long ago, we can’t ensure outcomes either; we can do something with the best of motives but we can’t ensure we get the outcome we wanted or imagined. How do we live with this? Particularly at a time when I sense we’re all getting down in the dumps anyway.

   I find myself going back to what I have said in these ramblings before which reminds me of  an old story: a parish received its new vicar who preached a wonderful sermon that first Sunday. They all thought ‘great’. The next Sunday he got up in the pulpit and preached exactly the same sermon as the first week. The churchwarden wondered whether to say anything but decided against it. Then the third week, same sermon again. The churchwarden felt he just had to say something. The reply from the vicar? “And I’ll keep preaching it until you listen and do something.”

    In essence, I want to say, as the old chorus has it:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

     When we’re perhaps rather low, it can be very hard to hear the call to work at being with Jesus. We haven’t the energy. Can I recommend that, if you feel you haven’t got a great spiritual feat to your name, just go on turning up? Turn up to time with Jesus. Carve out that time (long or short) and simply turn up and tell him you’re there and it’s all up to him. That time may not deliver wonderful feelings of peace or of ‘results’ but do turn your eyes upon Jesus. The more we ‘turn up’ we find strangely that with God’s help, we can act from that place of knowing we are beloved by the one who has all things in his hands. We can begin to live out of that place of love rather than the place of fear, or anger, or cynicism?  

   A starting place may be these verses from Psalm 62 – meditate on them this week:

“Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.”

   And remember if it’s all getting to you, talk about it; know you are prayed for. I’m here, Rick and Wilma are here, all the members of the ministry team are here as are the all important fellow members of your churches. Do turn up for your times with Jesus too!