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Parish letter

From Revd Denise


Dear Friends

As I write this letter, I am not sitting in my usual place, my upstairs study.  The window frame in that room is rotten and the builder is hammering away above my head replacing it.  So I have the unexpected blessing of sitting in the dining room and looking out on the garden, full of summer flowers.  This is so lovely.  Perhaps I should make it a more permanent move!!

Summer is a time when for many of us the pattern of normal life is disrupted.  Perhaps by the opportunity to go on holiday and see new places and people.  Perhaps with a changed routine as children are home from school and college. The long lazy days of summer stretch ahead of us.  I remember as a child feeling that they would never come and then when they did, they seemed to last for ever. But as we get older time passes ever more quickly.  Perhaps that is because we have so much more to fit in as we take on responsibilities in life at work and at home.

 A few weeks ago I enjoyed listening to a sermon delivered by one of my colleagues.  During the sermon, he quoted a saying from a 12th century French monk, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who said ‘We are given life so that we can learn how to love and time so that we can find God.’

 I have thought a lot about that.  There is no doubt that humanity cannot flourish without the love that builds relationships between individuals, within families and communities and at national and international levels too.  It seems to me that we could do with a lot more of that today. The expression of selfless love, putting the needs of others before our own, is the way to build God’s Kingdom around us. And as we do that we can be surprised to discover that we are enveloped by that Kingdom and our lives are enriched. Love is never a one-way gift.

 And what about the gift of time?  That illusive quality which we experience sometimes flashing past and sometimes dragging by.  Well, I think life and time cannot be separated because we exist as physical beings in both space and time.  (St. Bernard lived centuries before Einstein and the Theory of Relativity so maybe he had a different perspective on such things?)  Life would be unavailable for our use if we were not given time to experience it.  But perhaps what St. Bernard was trying to express was what he saw as the primary purpose of our existence: to discover the deeper meaning, the invitation we are offered beyond all the human relationships of love to enter into the ultimate loving relationship with our creator God.

 So, when we discover a free moment, when the busyness of life relents a little, I invite you to think a little upon these things. 

Yours in Christ, Denise