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Letter from the Vicarage.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3-10)
Having been on holiday last week with our family, Terry & I felt truly blessed to have some real quality time with our nearest and dearest. It was wonderful to relax, walk, talk, and eat without any time pressures. It was delightful to swim in a huge pool with slides, splash pools and more, to play ten pin bowling, attend a pottery class with our 15-month-old grandson, search for squirrels and seeing baby owls close-up were also a great blessing, even if the muscle pains from the water flumes still linger!
This morning, I attended Belmont Primary School with members of the Open the Book Team to tell the story of The Calming of the Storm. As I walked to school, we had a random snow storm which led wonderfully into the bible story – what a blessing. The children delighted in the story, some of them dressing up to take part.
Afterwards I walked back with a member of the team and we talked of the exciting news of ministry and new models of ministry at that. Times are a changing and we live in a changing world. Change is not something that even the church is immune from and for some this may be uncomfortable. However, within this change more people are encouraged to share in the mission and ministry of the church, surely this too must be a blessing for the communities we serve.
Then, this afternoon I met with a bereaved family, what a privilege it was to listen to them as they poured out memories of the love they had for their loved one; lives which had been so richly blessed.
In our world today, there seems so much to be miserable about and if something good happens we might hear someone say, “you were lucky”. I wonder, what change of perspective we would experience if every time we heard or thought those words “you were lucky”, we altered them to “you were blessed”? What a different feeling it puts on to a situation just by saying “I was blessed” rather than “I was lucky”. I wonder also, whether we could look for blessings in our own lives and in the everyday situations we find ourselves in, even in the more difficult ones?
February this year in the church is quiet in terms of the liturgical season. Lent doesn’t begin until March this year. In February we have gone beyond the darkest of the winter days and ever so slowly the lightness is improving on an evening. There are signs of new life beginning to emerge, for instance, snowdrops beginning to open out. New life and the blessing of a new spring just around the corner.
So, this February, as we await the season of Lent, I invite you to a challenge. That challenge is to spend February, thinking about blessings. Blessings which God has given you in the life he has given you. Blessings which at first sight may not seem like a blessing, but, when you sit and reflect, you will see the glimmer of light and hope that somewhere in any given situation, if our hearts and minds are opened to God’s love for us, the feeling of his blessing will in time emerge and be made real. And then maybe consider how you can be a blessing to others.