Thoughts From The Rectory
On Sunday 15th September 1940, came what
Sir Winston Churchill called ‘One of the most decisive battles of the war.’ And with it the Luftwaffe’s greatest defeat. In Churchill’s immortal words, “The gratitude of every home in our island, in our empire and indeed, throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by the odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, turned the tide of the war by their prowess and their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
The event that Churchill referred to, has become known as the battle of Britain. In times of great trial and conflict, we tend to see the true nature and character of people revealed. Above our skies 80 years ago, that character revealed a defiance, as men and woman were prepared to sacrifice their lives, for something they truly believed in, to save and protect people they would never meet!
We are living in a strange time when we are fighting an unseen enemy. But again, there are those on the frontline, risking their safety for the sake of others! Our NHS staff are working longer hours and on limited resources, trying to fight this battle. Which is why it was so good last night to see on the news many thousands of people standing on their street, leaning out of windows, united at one moment in time to applaud them for all they are doing.
Keep praying for our NHS staff and the politicians at this time, that God will watch over them, protect them and give them the strength and wisdom for the days and weeks ahead.
Rev Wil North – Malling Area Dean
Just the other day, I was having a conversation with someone about super heroes. During the course of our chat I asked “if you could have any super power, what would it be?” Without hesitation, they replied “the power of duplication”.
I guess at some point, most of us have thought, “if only there were a few more hours in the day.” So this person’s logic made sense, if I can’t have more hours in the day, to get my jobs and tasks done, why not duplicate myself, for many hands make light work.
As somebody juggling a busy ministry and young family, I often wonder how I’m going to manage to get everything done! When Moses father-in-law, observed Moses taking everything upon himself, he challenged him and suggested that he shared the work load. As a result of Jethro’s advice Moses appointed 72 elders to help him!
Certainly learning the art of delegation and sharing can lessen the burden, but so too, can learning the art of prioritising!
I was talking with a member of staff recently in the school and the challenge about work load came up. I casually remarked, ‘the role of saviour has already been taken’.
I think we can all too easily fall into the trap of trying to be the saviour. We take on responsibilities and roles, to save the day, or because we think that no one else can do it!
The true saviour, Jesus had a different approach.
He said, “I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5 v19)
Jesus’ approach was simple, “what is our heavenly father asking of me?”
If will follow Jesus’ example, we need to learn to take a step back from the busyness in our lives, and ask ‘what is it God wants me to do?” Often our lives can be filled with things, that in many ways are good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right things!
When we learn to let God set the agenda, to direct us and equip us, we become more fruitful.
Of course if we are going to let God set the agenda, we must make spending time with Him a daily priority!
To help create that space for God, at St Margaret’s we now have two slots which we call ‘Early Bird Prayer’. From 7am to 8am on Tuesday and Friday mornings the church is open for a time of silent prayer and Wednesday evenings from 7 to 7.30pm. For those that attend, they’ve noted that setting aside this time at the beginning of the day to be in God’s presence, has had a positive influence on them that carries on throughout the day and week.
Why not, try setting time aside for God each day, and see what difference it makes in your life?
Wil (Rector – St Margaret’s Barming)
I have previously mentioned in these editorials that I’m a runner.
When running the long distances that I do, you will often find yourself running alongside others and chatting with them to whittle away the miles. During those conversations, you will discover some truly amazing stories, and it is one of these that I wish to share with you as we enter 2020.
The other month, I spent a few miles running with a woman called Jane* who had an incredible story. Her daughter Rosie* became seriously ill due to anorexia, at the age of 11. Such life changing events would cause most of us to re-evaluate our priorities in life, which is what happened in this case. Jane gave up work, to care for her daughter, and help her in the battle against this dreadful illness.
As part of Rosie’s recovery, she decided that she wanted to follow the couch potatoes to 5k running program, and that mum should join her. The pair of them did this, which eventually led to them joining their local Park Run group. For those of you unfamiliar with Park Run, they are 5km fun runs that happen on Saturday mornings all over the country.
Whilst at Park Run, Jane met some members of a local running group, who supported and encouraged her! Less than nine months after starting the couch potatoes regime she had run her first marathon and in under 4hrs!
I love stories like, Jane’s, because they reveal how strong humans can be in the face of adversity and what can be achieved when we apply ourselves!
In the bible St Paul wrote: ‘I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me’
(Philippians 4 v13)
We can all do incredible things when we team up with Jesus!
Jesus took 12 average men, trained over a period of three years and then changed the face of the world. 2000 years later, the organisation ‘The Church’ which they started still exists, with members in every country of the world!
At the start of a new year, it’s a great time to reflect on what has been and to set new goals. When Jane started the coach potatoes program to support Rosie, I don’t think she would have ever believed that nine months later she would be running a marathon in under four hours!
The bible is full of incredible stories of God at work through ordinary people. This year our Lent course, which is starting on Thursday 5th March, is going to look at an overview of the bible.
Why not come along, and be inspired to team
up with Jesus to achieve something amazing
Wil (Rector – St Margaret’s Barming)