Rector's Ramblings: August 22nd 2021

 

 

I seem to be writing a lot about change in these Ramblings. It’s what my head is full of because of all that needs to be done to get retired and moved on. Here’s what home looks like now and what it will look like.

 

 

  Measham Vicarage and here Skipton:

 

 

 

 

 Change is on your agendas too though, both as regards life in the Woodfield Team churches and also looking at the world stage. However, I have to say, I pull myself up short when puttering about change that I don’t like when I look at the people of Afghanistan. I feel ashamed at my grumblings when I look at what is happening for them. Why do we well-off residents of the West makes such a fuss?

    Back to my small changes. Last week I went up to see my new house in Skipton. A new kitchen introduced me to an induction hob. Induction hobs may be old hat to you but new to me, who still uses her 24 year old electric cooker with ‘normal’ rings. (Living in tied accommodation as I have for 31 years now, I accept the house I am given and clergy houses are not updated every 5 minutes. Plus I am the sort of person who won’t throw out the old while it still works or there is wear in it). Anyway living with my 24 year old meant I was unaware of the change in kitchen technology and it was a shock. I was faced with a hob that I couldn’t fathom how to turn on. A search of Mr Google was needed.

   Induction hobs are small fry. We get used to life as it is. It’s all working OK and we don’t go looking for change much of the time. Remember that with the living world, if there is no change then it means the creature or plant is dead. Our bodies change every day. For example our bodies make 2-3 million red blood cells every second (about 30 trillion cells in total in our bodies). Even if we think we aren’t changing, we are every second, until the day we die.

   In church life, we can become used to ‘how it’s always been done’ and fail to realise that change has been going on around us; fail to realise that some new ways might even be better!? In the Woodfield Team, clergy wise you have had some years of being extraordinarily well resourced (beyond what others have had).  Now there are going to be times of less clergy resource.

    It reminds me of Joseph in Egypt when there were 7 fat years, and then 7 lean years as regards food supply. It is how life is, however much we don’t welcome it and want it all to stay the same, especially when it is good. I’m reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 with its statement: ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven’. It is only relatively recently in terms of human history that we came to imagine that the path was one of constant growth and improvement, of things getting better and better.

  Life isn’t constant, much as we might wish it to be. Take the gospel story today. The crowds had flocked to Jesus when he ‘simply’ gave them something to eat. Once his words became hard to take, they deserted. The following verses are so poignant “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.67 ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” May we be those who echo Peter’s words and stay true to Christ.

  I know we prefer to be able to see the path ahead, to understand it all. It’s not easy when we are discombobulated. So a couple of passages from scripture:

 

“Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” (Psalm 31: 2-3)

Enjoy that image of God as our rock and fortress when we feel like life is shifting sands.

 

And then:

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1a-3)

     Let us focus on Jesus and when we feel it’s all too hard, know he is there but also remember the cost he paid before we moan about how hard it is for us to follow him, and why doesn’t he make it easier.