01 Jul Vicars’ Blog – July 2017 – Lord, teach us to grow, pray and go forward.
Lord, teach us to grow, pray and go forward.
Lord, teach us to grow. Summer is here! Some will say “Hooray!” and at others will grumble. Apparently the British like a good grumble, especially about the weather! Well I’m not grumbling, because God is faithful every day whatever the weather! And with the joy of the Lord in our hearts, we can be content in all circumstances! It was certainly a lovely sunny day when 21 Year 4 children from Ashley school came to do some planting in the church yard at St. Mary’s. They completed a makeover project that a few willing volunteers from church have been doing. Do take a look at the totally redone flower beds either side of the path inside the gate that leads to the church with neat hedges transplanted from the vicarage garden and lovely hydrangeas, cornus, hellebores and geranium. Many thanks to Louise Cummins who has been generous in this project including her landscaping expertise and to Ashley school for sponsoring a flower bed. Also for those few who have tirelessly watered new plants in the warm weather. (Not that I am grumbling, of course!)
Lord, teach us to pray. What do I do with my fridge magnets? During the sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer there has been an opportunity to collect magnets each week. There are seven in total, all limited edition, designed by a church member, with a clause of the Lord’s Prayer on each. If you missed out, the full set will be available after church services for the first couple of weeks in July for a donation of £5. We would love to know where you have put your magnets, especially if your fridge is not magnetic. Do email us [email protected]. The more important answer to ‘What do I do with them?’ is how can they help my prayer life? Here are three suggestions.
Firstly, use the whole Lord’s Prayer as some use the Orthodox Jesus prayer, repeating the whole prayer slowly again and again in the rhythm of your breathing so it becomes woven into the fabric of the subconscious, calming and nourishing the soul. Secondly, use it as a framework for regular daily praying. Taking each clause at a time, call to mind the particular things you want to pray for under that heading. Under thy kingdom come, for instance, you may want to pray for peace in the world, mentioning places that have particularly struck you this week. The important thing is to let the music and the medicine of the prayer encircle the people for whom you are praying. Thirdly, you could take one magnet each day, so you might take ‘Our Father’ on Mondays, ‘Hallowed be your name’ on Tuesdays, and so on through the week. Use the clause on that magnet each day as your private retreat into which you can step at any moment, praying for the things you are doing, the people you meet. The prayer of the day becomes the lens through which you see the world. These are just a few suggestions, there are many more. It’s a great encouragement to help us to pray.
Lord, teach us to go forward. Although every church has the same identity, to be the people of God, and purpose, to love God and help others to love him, each church is also unique and God’s direction and vision is not the same for all. Over the next couple of months, we are asking two questions: “Who are we as a church?” and “How does God want us to go forward?” Stage 1 “Who are we as a church?” will be an exciting process of gathering the thoughts of church members about the story of how we as the church came to be who we are today. Our story will be pieced together with anecdotes and photographs of what people see as the significant events of the church’s past and present, the changing town and people in our community. Please do take part in the questionnaire and have your say. We aren’t looking to produce a complete history of the church, but what matters to the people who are here now. We would love to make a display of some of these prominent events with photos etc in August, so if you want to take part, pick up a questionnaire and let us know. Stage two will follow in September.
Enjoy growing, enjoy praying and be part of the Vision process. Above all enjoy summer!
Jonny and Cathy