Rector's Ramblings: September 5th 2021

 

 

               

 

My time of late has been about ‘goodbyes’ and I have found that saying farewells and goodbyes can be very tiring indeed. They have been about remembering times shared, wondering about what the future holds, feeling sadness as the parting of the ways approaches. That’s all pretty tiring work. I’ve found 2 images of ‘goodbye’ which go some way towards expressing the mix of feelings – see what you think of them.

    Some goodbyes we say very easily, almost casually: ‘see you’ we say. ‘Cheerio’. ‘Bye.’ We hardly think about them. Others are big and difficult goodbyes to say. For me, saying goodbye, farewell, is an important thing to do. To aim at doing the parting well, without the regrets that someone simply disappeared from our lives and we said nothing, helps us move on into whatever the future holds.

   I got to thinking about the meaning of ‘goodbye’. It came from ‘God be with you’ which over time has become reduced to ‘Goodbye’. Think about it. How lovely to say that to someone else. It’s a blessing in disguise.  It’s a blessing as someone goes on a journey, goes off to face something unknown. God be with you. Or take ‘farewell’ – ‘fare thee well’, again lovely but without the God dimension. ‘Adios’ from the Spanish is commending someone to God – again what a lovely way to part.

   As I come to the end of my time here in North West Leicestershire, I ponder all the many things I have said and written. What is the most important thing that I long that you all to hang on to? Without a doubt, I long for you all to meet Jesus at an ever deeper level and come to love him more. I long for you all to know that you matter to Him and that he cares. You are utterly loved of Jesus and whether life is hard or easy, he promises to be with you. Put your hand into his.

   The more we come to know we are beloved and that what is essentially ‘us’ (our soul in other language) is entirely safe in God’s hands, the more free we are to be his people in world – to be channels of his love and action. To live for Him and others and not just for ourselves.

   Have a read of today’s New Testament reading (here on this website) and see Jesus in action. Meet him again. We meet a Jesus who is human like us: he gets tired, wants a break from it all, he gets hungry, needs the company of others and so much more. He wasn’t pre-programmed with all knowledge. Like us, he had to receive God’s revelation as he went along. Here, it is about realizing that he is to reach out beyond the Jews (That’s not to say he never wanted to reach the entire world but for this time it seems he believed his call to be to the Jewish people only). Reading the gospels, it doesn’t seem he was pre-programmed to know that the cross was inevitable. He is like us having to learn. He knows intimately what it is like to be a human being and identifies with us. Meet him again as the Son of God.

      Read of Jesus sensitive to the needs of a deaf man, taking him away from the crowd so as not to be overwhelmed with the noise of the crowd when hearing was restored to him. The first person that deaf man heard was Jesus and the first person he spoke to was Jesus. Imagine that.

     Do we need to hear the voice of Son of God again? Has his voice been overlaid by noise of crowd and media? By the noise of our own desires and worries? Do we need to take ourselves away to a quiet place and know Jesus’ gentle touch on our lives? Do we need to listen to him – to hear things old and new – to see and hear afresh?

    My longing for myself and for all of you is to meet Jesus again and again at an even deeper level. For him to be our greatest desire, above all else.  That is what I long for you to have heard from me, and in some small measure to have seen in me. 

  I hope you can make it to my farewell service on 12th September 10am at Measham Church. To make a good parting of the ways.   As we say goodbye, let’s remember what that means: a lovely blessing ‘God be with you’.