Going into school this morning I was reminded of the difficulties which a variable date of Easter and a Prince & Princess can pose to our hard-pressed teachers who now have to somehow shoe-horn six weeks work into four before the term finishes and a new one looms. We seem to be forever catching up with ourselves these days as time becomes an acutely precious commodity.
But I can’t help feeling that ‘Wills ‘n Kate’ have done us all a massive favour by getting us to stop for a moment and ponder some of the deeper currents in our own lives and in the life of our Country. Now, when wedding couples come to me and ask for reading suggestions I can happily point them to Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 12, and remind them how well the bride’s brother read the passage on that day; ‘let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good’. The Bishop of London, who knew the couple, was able to remind them in his sermon that; ‘marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we don’t harbour ambitions to reform our partners. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom.’ As for a marriage, so for a church; the Extension we’re striving for at St.Agatha’s should give us the space to transform and renew our church life and, in doing so, the life of our community too. It was with a real sense of excitement that I learned that Tony Lascelles and his team have helped us reach the half-way mark in our fundraising (some £85,000). In these hugely difficult times for the economy and for every family, I’m very grateful indeed that there are people in and around this village who believe it is still possible to strengthen the ties that bind us – be they School, Shop, Church, Parish Council, Cricket or whatever we give our time to.
So…having turned a few cartwheels down the nave, I sat down to ponder how it might be possible to encourage the widest possible use of our new room once it finally gets built! The School will certainly be invited to use it, not just at key festivals but for any of the other parts of their curriculum. There will be opportunities for different clubs, for mums & toddlers, for youth groups, to name a few. In order that we don’t miss anything, I’m hoping to convene a group in the next few months to help us discover who we should be making our new Extension, and indeed the Church as a whole, available to. If you would like to join this group, or just add your suggestions, please do contact me on 01491 837626.
The royal wedding helped us to ‘suspend our disbelief’ that good things don’t happen any more in these seemingly dark days. The freshness of the green trees lining the nave of the Abbey reminded me that there are times when we are all called to look at life and the world around us in new ways, and of some of my favourite lines from a Welsh priest-poet about the Kingdom of God, which we hint at each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer…
It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
Festivals at which the poor man
Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look
At themselves and love looks at them
Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured
By life. It’s a long way off, but to get
There takes no time and admission
Is free, if you purge yourself
Of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
Of your faith, green as a leaf.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events, or just around the village. Blessings,
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