Pastoral Letter

Dear Friends

Happy New Year to you all. I’m not quite sure when you stop saying that but since this is the first issue of 2020, it is my first opportunity to do so. So, pausing for a moment to think about this statement is it not hard to see that for some people it really will be an amazing year; a year of opportunities, new adventures and exciting discoveries, whilst for others it may feel quite daunting and uncertain, especially where there are real losses and lack of security.

To those whose prospects look rosy and full of hope I say, go and live your life to the full, enjoy it. Reach out and seek to achieve your goals. I wish you all the best and pray God’s rich blessing on all you do.

For those who are struggling a little more it’s worth reminding ourselves that life is full of joys and sorrows, that life is powerful and creative but also holds a measure of brokenness and darkness. It is worth reminding ourselves that no matter what situation we are in God is still with us. Remember that God never did say that he would take away the bad things in this life or that we would avoid pain and difficulties. What he does promise is that he will be with us in every circumstance. It is easy to feel blessed when times are good and it can be easy to feel abandoned in times of sorrow and despair. The reality is that he is with us in our times of celebration and he is with us in our times of pain.

Some people experience God’s presence at a spiritual level in the sense that they feel him close to them. Most people, however, don’t. I know that my experience of feeling God close to me is inextricably linked with my relationship to those around me who offer their love, care and support. The friendship of those around me is a gift from God and a sign of his love and presence made real through human interaction. It’s worth noting that it is a blessing to be on the receiving end of such kindness but it is important to offer that kindness when we have the strength to do so, so that we can support each other and build a mutual sense of “God with us” in our daily lives.

For those whose prospects are good this year I would encourage you to include in your thinking those around who need encouragement and support so that the good that you are receiving can be shared with others. Two verses of a song that we use in church sometimes express these values.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
til we’ve seen this journey through.

May God give you peace and blessing whatever this year brings.
Stephen

Email: vicar.sb54rev@gmail.com

The Servant Song by Richard Gillard © Copyright 1977 Scripture in Song, a division of Integrity Music. Administered by Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

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