Dear Friends across our Parish
Greetings, spring has sprung! Everywhere nature is turning wonderful shades of green, with bulbs and buds of multi-colours appearing to brighten up our glorious countryside.
We are now in the Church season of Lent and my aim for these weeks is……. to be more joyous and happy! Following a sermon from Doug Chalk, who reminded us that Jesus is our ultimate joy and happiness, and challenging the common perception that Lent is dour and miserable, I have decided it is time for the Good News of Jesus to show visibly through a smile and more positive demeanour! As we approach the anniversary of the first ‘lockdown’ there is still much to concern us, but the Christian message is always one of hope and re-creation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ we have every reason to be filled with joy and happiness.
However, that doesn’t mean that, as Christians, we are unaware or unconcerned by life’s pain and suffering. Jesus confronted such situations head on during his earthly ministry by attentively listening to the struggles and strife of the people he met. It was only then that he offered help and guidance. As Christians we can be a willing ear to people around us – from family and friends to neighbours who need to share their worries and problems. We don’t need to ‘fix’ problems, just to be that compassionate companion, listening more and talking less.
Truly listening to people around us can be a transforming experience and help us to think more deeply about how other people see life and circumstances. Even as Christians within the same denomination or congregation, we don’t all think the same or see the world in the same way. Some are concerned for the environment and ‘green issues’, others about finance, social injustice, moral questions, religious belief/doctrine etc., and we may wonder why other people don’t share our concerns or viewpoint. We want people to see things as we see them and respond as we think appropriate. It is when we listen, pause and consider a different understanding of a situation that we can grow closer to those people around us, loving our neighbours as ourselves instead of trying to change them into versions of ourselves. Then we spread something of the joy and happiness God intended to be ours.
May this Lent be a blessing to you and those you love. May joy and happiness be yours in Jesus name. And may the love of knowing God and the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, uplift and encourage you.
Love and blessings