I am writing this feeling somewhat pensive and more aware than ever just how precious life is.
The past couple of weeks have seen two major terrorist attacks in Manchester and London; and now we are watching in horror the aftermath of the deadly tower-block fire in North Kensington. And on a personal note, I found out the date today of a forthcoming operation on my knee: 15 July, all being well.
So it all goes to heighten awareness of just how fragile life can be and how we never know from one moment to another, what may be around the corner . . .
For me, that is why faith is so very important and I feel very sorry for those who can find no convincing argument that God exists. I know, too, that there are others in the parish, who are facing much more life-limiting challenges than am I, that their faith is so important in helping them stay cheerful and positive. They serve as an inspiration!
So I had better issue a ‘general warning’ with this month’s magazine. While I will make every effort to ensure that services continue as far as possible in my extended absence through the summer, I cannot guarantee that we will be able to find cover for absolutely everything. Your patience and understanding is requested if, on occasion, things go a bit awry. DO NOT BLAME THE CHURCHWARDENS!
On a much more cheerful note, it seems likely that I shall be taking up to six adults to a confirmation service on 9 July at St Joseph of Arimathea, Merry Hill. Please keep them in your prayers and join with me in giving thanks to God for this sign of God’s love becoming real and vibrant to ever more people in our community.
Another encouraging sign: the second of our “Third Thursday Lunches” has taken place and was again a great occasion. Even more people and a wonderful atmosphere. Spread the word to others and come along yourself and see how lovely it is (and what a spread is provided! – Pattingham can certainly feed people!)
One of the heartwarming stories to come from the disasters I referred to above, is that of the generosity of people towards those caught up in violence or disaster. Untold accounts of heroism from the emergency services and members of the public; people of all faiths, and people of none, but still motivated by a great upwelling of the human spirit. A Christian blog to which I subscribe also struck me as appropriate today.
“The whole universe and all events are sacred, serving as doorways to God for those who know how to see. In other words, everything that happens is potentially sacred if we allow it to be. Our job as humans is to make admiration of reality and adoration of God fully conscious and intentional . . . Once we can accept that God is in all situations, and that God can and will use even bad situations for good, then everything and everywhere becomes an occasion for good and an encounter with God.”
Life is precious. May you encounter God in the ordinary and the extraordinary moments of your life.