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June's Daily Message

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1 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Tuesday 1st June 2021

Thought for Today

Last week, I shared a few thoughts about prayer. This week I’m going to share a few thoughts about what it might mean to live as a Christian in our day to day lives.

I’m going to base my reflections on a short book in the bible, known as the Letter of James. We’re not quite sure who wrote it, or when it was written, but the Early Church felt it was important enough to include in the collection of writings which we know as the New Testament. The letter is full of practical advice as to how we should live our lives, and it has lost none of its relevance today.

I’m going to start my series of reflections with the importance of showing mercy. James writes as follows: “judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment”.

For James, the value of mercy lies at the heart of the Christian life. God has been merciful with each one of us; so, we should be merciful with one another. James adds a practical consideration: other people often treat us as we treat them. If we are hard hearted to others, the chances are that others will be hard hearted to us.

And I wonder what James meant when he wrote that “mercy triumphs over judgment”? It is possible that he meant that when God comes to judge us, he will take into account how we have behaved towards others. Have we tried our best to be kind and merciful? If we have, God might well choose to overlook our many failings, and consider that our acts of mercy outweigh the sins which we will undoubtedly have committed.

Of course, there may be situations in which the value of showing mercy has to be balanced by other considerations. But showing mercy is still an important Christian value, not least because God himself is merciful towards us.

To whom might we show mercy today?

Prayer for Today

Lord, help us to treat others as we would wish to be treated ourselves:
help us to show respect and compassion, and help us to be merciful to one another. Amen.
2 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Wednesday 2nd June 2021

Thought for Today

This week I’m writing some reflections on various Christian virtues, all of which are referred to in the Letter of James. Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of mercy. God is merciful with us, so we should be merciful to one another.

Today I wish to share some reflections on another Christian virtue: the virtue of patience.

I wonder if you would consider yourself to be a patient person? I think patience comes more easily to some people than to others. Perhaps much depends on what we are waiting for: it can be easier to be patient if we are waiting for something which is not actually all that important.

The Letter of James encourages us to be patient: “Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient”.

Why should we be patient? According to James, there are two reasons. One is a practical one: some things will happen in due course, and there’s nothing we can do to hurry their coming. If you have a planted a crop, there’s no point getting impatient over its growth. Our anxiety won’t make the rain come any sooner, or the sunshine any brighter. The other reason for patience is that in due course, Jesus will return, and he will put things right by means of the Last Judgment. In other words, as Christians, we try our best to put things right with the time, resources and knowledge that we have available. But we won’t have all the answers, and we won’t be able to solve every problem. We have the prospect of Jesus’ return, at some unspecified date in the future, and Jesus will be able to complete the work which we have left unfinished.

I don’t know what you think about the idea that Jesus will return one day. But I think everyone can take something from James’ example of the crop ripening in the field. Patience is what gives a crop the time it needs to ripen.

I wonder where we might ned to be more patient in our own lives?

Prayer for Today

Lord, sometimes we can get impatient over things that don’t really matter;
help us to learn the value of patience and give us the courage to wait. Amen.
3 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Thursday 3rd June 2021

Thought for Today

Do you find yourself envying other people? Perhaps you envy what they have achieved in their life, their status in society, or their wealth. Perhaps you envy those whose health is so much better than your own. Perhaps you envy people who seem to have always found themselves in the right place at the right time.

The Letter of James contains an honest recognition that envy, and selfish ambition can be found within the Christian community. In chapter 3 of the letter, we find the following piece of advice: “if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth”. This is in many ways a surprising statement. You might have expected James to have stared by telling his readers that they must rid themselves of all envy and ambition. But he doesn’t take this line. Instead, he recognises that envy and ambition exist. However, James encourages his readers to limit the damage which can flow from our envy and ambition, by instructing them not to be boastful and not to tell lies.

A little later, James makes it quite clear that envy and ambition can be profoundly destructive of community life. James doesn’t mince his words. This is what he writes: “where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.” Perhaps these words seem a little exaggerated, but it’s not unknown for organisations to be torn apart by power politics, in which ethical principles are sacrificed on the altar of personal ambition.

In a nutshell, I think James is telling us to keep a careful watch over any feelings of envy which we may have, because envy can be so very destructive in its effects.

I wonder if we have our envy under control?

Prayer for Today

Lord, it can be so very easy for us to be envious of others;
help us to know that we are loved by you for who we are,
and teach us to be satisfied with what we have. Amen.
4 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Friday 4th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we have been looking at some of the Christian values which are promoted in the Letter of James. We’ve looked at the importance of mercy and patience, and how we need to keep careful watch over any feelings of envy which we might feel towards others.

The final value which I wish to write about is the value of humility. Humility operates in two different dimensions of our lives: in our relationships with one another and our world, and in also in our relationships with God. Today I’m going to focus on the latter.

First of all, let me say that humility is about honesty. It’s not about being a doormat or pretending that we lack relevant skills or experience. Rather, humility is about an honest assessment of who we are and what we can do, and a willingness to face up to our mistakes and our limitations.

This is why humility in its true sense is so important for our relationship with God. Our humility allows God to work in us and through us. It allows God to pour his Holy Spirit into our lives, giving us the gift of new beginnings and new life.

James puts this in a pithy sentence: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you”. Interestingly, James does not pause to explain what he means by saying God will “exalt” the humble, and no timescale is provided. Perhaps we can understand James better if we remove the word “exalt” and replace it with the words “lift up” or “raise up”. For all of us, there are times when we are weighed down and overburdened. We need God to raise us up to new life, and this is what God wishes to do, through the power of his Holy Spirit. But we need to be honest enough, with ourselves and with God, to admit that we need God’s healing touch and his helping hand. And this is where true humility comes in: the humility which recognises our need of God, and his great love for us.

Prayer for Today

Lord, help us to come before you in a spirit of honesty,
trusting in your mercy and confident that our present
and our future is safe in your loving care. Amen.
5 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Friday 4th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we have been looking at some of the Christian values which are promoted in the Letter of James. We’ve looked at the importance of mercy and patience, and how we need to keep careful watch over any feelings of envy which we might feel towards others.

The final value which I wish to write about is the value of humility. Humility operates in two different dimensions of our lives: in our relationships with one another and our world, and in also in our relationships with God. Today I’m going to focus on the latter.

First of all, let me say that humility is about honesty. It’s not about being a doormat or pretending that we lack relevant skills or experience. Rather, humility is about an honest assessment of who we are and what we can do, and a willingness to face up to our mistakes and our limitations.

This is why humility in its true sense is so important for our relationship with God. Our humility allows God to work in us and through us. It allows God to pour his Holy Spirit into our lives, giving us the gift of new beginnings and new life.

James puts this in a pithy sentence: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you”. Interestingly, James does not pause to explain what he means by saying God will “exalt” the humble, and no timescale is provided. Perhaps we can understand James better if we remove the word “exalt” and replace it with the words “lift up” or “raise up”. For all of us, there are times when we are weighed down and overburdened. We need God to raise us up to new life, and this is what God wishes to do, through the power of his Holy Spirit. But we need to be honest enough, with ourselves and with God, to admit that we need God’s healing touch and his helping hand. And this is where true humility comes in: the humility which recognises our need of God, and his great love for us.

Prayer for Today

Lord, help us to come before you in a spirit of honesty,
trusting in your mercy and confident that our present
and our future is safe in your loving care. Amen.
6 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Friday 4th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we have been looking at some of the Christian values which are promoted in the Letter of James. We’ve looked at the importance of mercy and patience, and how we need to keep careful watch over any feelings of envy which we might feel towards others.

The final value which I wish to write about is the value of humility. Humility operates in two different dimensions of our lives: in our relationships with one another and our world, and in also in our relationships with God. Today I’m going to focus on the latter.

First of all, let me say that humility is about honesty. It’s not about being a doormat or pretending that we lack relevant skills or experience. Rather, humility is about an honest assessment of who we are and what we can do, and a willingness to face up to our mistakes and our limitations.

This is why humility in its true sense is so important for our relationship with God. Our humility allows God to work in us and through us. It allows God to pour his Holy Spirit into our lives, giving us the gift of new beginnings and new life.

James puts this in a pithy sentence: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you”. Interestingly, James does not pause to explain what he means by saying God will “exalt” the humble, and no timescale is provided. Perhaps we can understand James better if we remove the word “exalt” and replace it with the words “lift up” or “raise up”. For all of us, there are times when we are weighed down and overburdened. We need God to raise us up to new life, and this is what God wishes to do, through the power of his Holy Spirit. But we need to be honest enough, with ourselves and with God, to admit that we need God’s healing touch and his helping hand. And this is where true humility comes in: the humility which recognises our need of God, and his great love for us.

Prayer for Today

Lord, help us to come before you in a spirit of honesty,
trusting in your mercy and confident that our present
and our future is safe in your loving care. Amen.
7 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Monday 7th June 2021

Thought for the Day

You might be thinking to yourself: what will the Rector be writing about this week?

Well, I thought for a change I would share some reflections on some of the opportunities which are currently being faced by the Church of England, as it seeks to serve the people and communities of our nation. I’ve chosen the word “opportunities” quite deliberately. There can sometimes be a temptation to look at the future in negative terms and talk about the “challenges” facing the Church. But I prefer to see these “challenges” in terms of “opportunities”.

We have no reason to be fearful: God is good, and through his Holy Spirit, he continues to be at work through the Church, through the lives of individual believers and also through the formal structures of the Church. The future Church of England will undoubtedly look different, in some ways, from the Church of England of the past. But we should expect this, and rejoice in it: when an institution changes, it means that it is alive. If the Church of England didn’t change it would mean that it was dead, rather than alive with the Spirit of the living God. I would also add that change can be for the better!

This is a large topic, which I look forward to exploring further in the week ahead. However, I need to start this series of reflections somewhere, so let me offer the following thought. I should warn you it is a radical thought! The Church is able to train, deploy and manage thousands of clergy across the country. Historically, the vast majority have been allocated to parishes. There are many opportunities at present for ministry in the education sector, especially in secondary schools, Further Education and in the University Sector. Should we be moving some clergy to work in our schools and colleges, where there are so many opportunities to serve our young people, and share the Christian faith with the younger generation? As a national Church, we have the opportunity to provide a Chaplain for every school, college and university in the country – if we chose to do so.

Prayer for Today

Lord, the future is full of opportunities to learn more about ourselves and about you,
and to serve our communities in new ways;
help us to be open to the opportunities you give us,
and a willingness to try something new. Amen.
8 June 2021Rector’s Reflections: Tuesday 8th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week I’m writing about some of the opportunities open to the Church of England in the years ahead. Yesterday, I wrote the opportunities to engage with our young people through work in Secondary Schools, Further Education and Higher Education.

Today, I want to write about the role of conscience in public life. Might the Church of England have a role to play as the conscience of the nation?

I think the Church would have much to contribute in this role. To start, it draws its members from every section of society, and from every area of the country. The views of the Church as a whole can probably be considered to be pretty representative of the views of the nation as a whole.

Furthermore, the Church is not concerned about selling things to people, or about political power. It doesn’t have to worry about trying to please an electorate. It is one of the very few organisations which exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members. This comment was made by Archbishop William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury, and the comment remains true 80 years later.

Another consideration is that the Church is part of a worldwide Communion of Churches. While it is committed to serve the people of this country, it is also committed to serve the people of every nation, especially those who are the poorest and most vulnerable.

Finally, the Church seeks to base its teachings on the principle of love: love for God and love for our neighbour. There can differences of opinion as to what this principle might mean when it is applied to the specific circumstances of any particular case. But I think few could argue against love as good foundation for an ethical system.

So, what do think: might the Church of England have a role to play as the conscience of the nation? Or does this too arrogant a role to play in our diverse and multi-faith society?

Prayer for Today

Lord, you have given us a conscience and a sense of right and wrong;
give us the courage to speak out against the injustice and selfishness in our world. Amen.
9 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Wednesday 9th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week I’m looking at the some of the opportunities facing the Church of England in the years ahead.

I think one of the challenges we face as a country is learning how to disagree well. What does disagreeing well look like? It means that we are prepared to listen to one another, and especially to views which are opposed to our own. It means that we don’t try to misrepresent or parody what other people might be saying or thinking. It means that we are honest about those areas where we disagree - but also recognise those areas where there is common ground. And finally, it means that we can disagree with someone and still remain friends.

In other words, disagreeing well is what allows us to preserve and deepen our relationships with one another. It allows our communities to think things through together, and if possible, to come to a common mind.

The Church of England has been trying to practice the art of disagreeing well since the 16th century. It has to be said that, initially, the Church didn’t do a particularly good job in this area, by the end of 17th century it had learned some valuable lessons. The Church continues to try its best to model good disagreement. How does it do this? In many different ways but let me mention three in particular. First, the Church tries to be honest, and accepts that people can hold a wide range of views on different issues. Secondly, by encouraging reasoned debate, and allowing different voices to be heard. And thirdly, by recognising that over time, views can change. So, the Church will typically revisit topics which were debated some years ago, on the grounds that circumstances and perspectives can change.

Is the Church always a place where people can disagree well? Of course not. The Church has its failings, like all institutions. But at least it tries very hard to promote the art of disagreeing well. In a nutshell, the Church teaches us that it is possible to disagree while at the same time preserving our relationships with one another. And at the end of day, our relationships are what matter.

Prayer for Today

Lord, we pray for those relationships which we find difficult;
and when we disagree with one another,
help us to do so without nastiness or bitterness. Amen.
10 June 2021Thought for Today

Do you enjoy reading books? Have you read a recent book called Re-imagining Britain - Foundations for Hope? The book was first published in 2018, and a revised and expanded edition was published in April of this year. It’s been written by the current Archbishop of Canterbury, and it sets out his vision for 21st Century Britain.

The Archbishop’s book is wide-ranging, looking at issues such as health, housing, education, the environment, economics and immigration. The Methodist Recorder describes it as a “bold, visionary book which deserves to be widely read”. The Bishop of London comments that it is “an important contribution to understanding how the UK can not only move forward but flourish by reimagining its narrative of hope”.

I am struck by the Bishop of London’s phrase: “reimagining [the] narrative of hope”. When we look at the scale and complexities of the challenges faced by our country, it is easy to become anxious and dispirited. But there is always hope, and the Archbishop’s book can help us to look to the future in a positive spirit.

Hope is at the heart of the Christian faith: it is one of the foundational values of the Christian life, alongside Faith and Love. Every society needs grounds for hope, and the Archbishop has shown how the Church can offer a vision which crosses religious and secular divides: a vision which is accessible to all faiths and none. He also shows how it is perfectly possible for a Christian to remain true to their own beliefs and yet communicate these beliefs in a way which values people with different beliefs and perspectives.

Of course, not everyone will agree with all that the Archbishop says, but that doesn’t matter. The key thing is that the Archbishop has had the courage to share a Christian vision which gives hope for our nation. There are so many opportunities for the Church to offer hope, now and in the years ahead. Let us seize those opportunities!

Prayer for Today

Lord, when we get worried about what lies ahead,
for ourselves, our country or our planet,
remind us that your love and care remain constant,
and that all our futures are safe in your hands. Amen.
11 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Friday 11th June 2021

Thought for the Day

This week I have been reflecting on some of many opportunities open to the Church of England, as it seeks to serve the people of this country in the years ahead. I’m going to finish this series of reflections with a few words in relation to the issue of Climate Change and care for creation.

Tackling Climate Change and learning to live more sustainable lives are quite possibly the most important challenges facing our society today, and there are so many opportunities for the Church to make a positive contribution in this area. Over the last 20 years, the Church of England has become increasingly committed to environmental work. The Church has a national environmental programme, which aims to enable all its members to address issues of Climate Change and Creation care. For many Christians, caring for the environment has become a key aspect of the ways in which they live out their faith in their everyday lives. There are many Christian charities and organisations which exist to encourage and support Christians to take better care of the environment and to reduce their carbon footprint. Some churches take part in the Eco Church scheme run by A Rocha (arocha.org.uk). There is also the Creation Care scheme, which focusses on helping households become more eco-friendly: see creationcare.org.uk.

Working on environmental issues will, I think, become increasingly important for our Church, as it seeks to serve our country now and in the years ahead. Not least, it demonstrates that the Church really does care for our world. And it provides a way for Christians to connect with like-minded people of other faiths, or no faith at all.

So, what might I say by way of conclusion? I think we can be optimistic about the future of the Church of England. Of course, the Church has its failings, but it is looking at many new ways in which it can serve the people of this country.
There are opportunities ahead, and we can be confident that God will continue to guide and encourage us. There is much for us to look forward to!

Prayer for Today

Lord, give us an openness to the future,
and a willingness to embrace new opportunities for service. Amen.
12 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Friday 11th June 2021

Thought for the Day

This week I have been reflecting on some of many opportunities open to the Church of England, as it seeks to serve the people of this country in the years ahead. I’m going to finish this series of reflections with a few words in relation to the issue of Climate Change and care for creation.

Tackling Climate Change and learning to live more sustainable lives are quite possibly the most important challenges facing our society today, and there are so many opportunities for the Church to make a positive contribution in this area. Over the last 20 years, the Church of England has become increasingly committed to environmental work. The Church has a national environmental programme, which aims to enable all its members to address issues of Climate Change and Creation care. For many Christians, caring for the environment has become a key aspect of the ways in which they live out their faith in their everyday lives. There are many Christian charities and organisations which exist to encourage and support Christians to take better care of the environment and to reduce their carbon footprint. Some churches take part in the Eco Church scheme run by A Rocha (arocha.org.uk). There is also the Creation Care scheme, which focusses on helping households become more eco-friendly: see creationcare.org.uk.

Working on environmental issues will, I think, become increasingly important for our Church, as it seeks to serve our country now and in the years ahead. Not least, it demonstrates that the Church really does care for our world. And it provides a way for Christians to connect with like-minded people of other faiths, or no faith at all.

So, what might I say by way of conclusion? I think we can be optimistic about the future of the Church of England. Of course, the Church has its failings, but it is looking at many new ways in which it can serve the people of this country.
There are opportunities ahead, and we can be confident that God will continue to guide and encourage us. There is much for us to look forward to!

Prayer for Today

Lord, give us an openness to the future,
and a willingness to embrace new opportunities for service. Amen.
13 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections: Friday 11th June 2021

Thought for the Day

This week I have been reflecting on some of many opportunities open to the Church of England, as it seeks to serve the people of this country in the years ahead. I’m going to finish this series of reflections with a few words in relation to the issue of Climate Change and care for creation.

Tackling Climate Change and learning to live more sustainable lives are quite possibly the most important challenges facing our society today, and there are so many opportunities for the Church to make a positive contribution in this area. Over the last 20 years, the Church of England has become increasingly committed to environmental work. The Church has a national environmental programme, which aims to enable all its members to address issues of Climate Change and Creation care. For many Christians, caring for the environment has become a key aspect of the ways in which they live out their faith in their everyday lives. There are many Christian charities and organisations which exist to encourage and support Christians to take better care of the environment and to reduce their carbon footprint. Some churches take part in the Eco Church scheme run by A Rocha (arocha.org.uk). There is also the Creation Care scheme, which focusses on helping households become more eco-friendly: see creationcare.org.uk.

Working on environmental issues will, I think, become increasingly important for our Church, as it seeks to serve our country now and in the years ahead. Not least, it demonstrates that the Church really does care for our world. And it provides a way for Christians to connect with like-minded people of other faiths, or no faith at all.

So, what might I say by way of conclusion? I think we can be optimistic about the future of the Church of England. Of course, the Church has its failings, but it is looking at many new ways in which it can serve the people of this country.
There are opportunities ahead, and we can be confident that God will continue to guide and encourage us. There is much for us to look forward to!

Prayer for Today

Lord, give us an openness to the future,
and a willingness to embrace new opportunities for service. Amen.
14 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Monday 14th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week I thought I would write a series of reflections on some of the parables of Jesus. All the parables I’m going to write about can be found in the 4th chapter of Mark’s gospel.

But to start with, what exactly is a parable? Basically, a parable is a story which gets us thinking about important questions, especially questions about how we should live our lives and what God might be like. The key thing about a parable is that it aims to get us thinking, rather than trying to provide a straightforward answer. A great Biblical scholar of the 20th century, C.H.Dodd, said that a parable “tease[s the mind] into active thought”. Jesus used parables in his teaching so as to get his audience thinking, and they have continued to “tease the minds “ of his followers ever since.
The parable I wish to write about today is the parable of the Sower. You will know the story. A sower went out to sow: some seed fell on the path, some fell on rocky ground, and some fell among thorns. But some fell into good soil, where it brought forth a wonderful harvest, yielding thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

I wonder what you make of this parable? What might it tell us about human nature, and about the way God works in our lives and in our world? Here are two thoughts from me. The first is that is reminds us of the importance of context: so much of our flourishing as human beings depends on the context in which we live our lives. It is hard for a seed to flourish if it has no depth of soil in which to put down roots. I think this is one reason why it is so important for us to try and ensure that our schools and workplaces and church communities are as healthy and life-giving as possible. A healthy community allows all its members to flourish.

My second thought is around the generous goodness of God, who is able to bless a single seed so that it produces thirty, sixty or a hundredfold. God wants us to bear fruit in our lives: I wonder what we might need to do in order to be more fruitful?

Prayer for Today

Lord, thank you for all who help us to flourish, especially those who surround us with love and encouragement.
15 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Tuesday 15th June 2021

Thought for Today

Do you enjoy planting seeds and watching them grow? Have you ever planted a tiny seed and then been amazed by the size of the plant which has grown from this very small beginning?

At the time of Jesus, when people thought of a tiny seed, they might well have talked about a mustard seed. If it were planted in the right conditions, a mustard seed could well grow into a plant that was perhaps 8 foot high, or even higher. The contrast between the tiny seed and the fully grown plant was quite impressive.

The image of the mustard seed appears among the parables which are recorded in the 4th chapter of Mark’s gospel. Jesus told his listeners that the Kingdom of God “is like a mustard seed, which, when it sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

I wonder why Jesus wanted to compare the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed?

Perhaps Jesus wanted to remind us that we should never underestimate what God can accomplish through the life and action of an individual human being. Think of someone like St Francis of Assisi – he was only a single human being, but God used him to transform the lives of millions.

We too are only single human beings, with all our limitations and our failures. But there is no limit to what God can achieve in us and through us, in his good time. We are like the mustard seed. God has been working in us and through us, to further his Kingdom of love, and mercy and justice. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of what God is doing through us, but more often than not it is hidden from our eyes. But God’s kingdom is growing, none the less, and God is at work in and through each one of us, as he brings his kingdom to fruition.

Prayer for Today

Lord, help us to trust that you are already at work in our lives and our communities; help us to work with you, and be hopeful for the future.
16 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Wednesday 16th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week, I’m writing a series of reflections about some of the parables which appear in the fourth chapter of Mark’s gospel. The parable I’m going to write about today is particularly intriguing. It only appears in Mark’s gospel and I wonder what you make of it.

It’s been called the parable of the growing seed and the parable of the fruit-bearing earth. This is what Jesus said :“The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Perhaps Jesus told this parable to get us thinking about the process and reality of spiritual growth. It reminds us that the process of spiritual growth is sometimes hidden and beyond our knowledge. The seed has been planted, and it is growing, but the growth is underground, so we do not see it. And then the time comes when the first shoots appear, and the growth is apparent to all. I am sure this is true in our lives : God’s work of inner transformation can sometimes be hidden for months or even years. But it is happening, nonetheless, and in due course God’s work of transformation will bring forth its fruit.

And that is another aspect of spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is what God’s Holy Spirit is doing in us. It is a dynamic process, because God’s Holy Spirit brings the gift of new life. In God’s good time, his work of transformation will have reached the stage of completion; but the process has its stages, and it will take its time. In the language of the parable, the seed which God has planted will have had the time it needs to have grown into a mature plant, and it will be ready to be harvested.

It is reassuring to know that God is always at work in our lives – even at times when we might have lost touch with him, and think he has forgotten about us.

Prayer for Today

Lord, you plant seeds of new life, in our lives and in the lives of others; help us to nurture those seeds, with love and faith and hope. Amen.
17 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Thursday 17th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we’ve been looking at some of the parables to be found in chapter 4 of Mark’s gospel.

Today’s parable is particularly short. It’s sometimes called the parable of the candle under the bushel, or the lamp under the bushel. This is what Jesus said: “ Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light”.

I wonder how you would respond to this parable? What might it mean?

One interpretation is to see it as a comment about Jesus and his teaching. In the New Testament, Jesus is sometimes referred to as the Light of the World, and his followers are sometimes called children of light. In the Bible, there is a close association between light and God : God is said to live in light, to be clothed with light, and it is even said in one passage that God is light. So perhaps the reference to a lamp in this parable is to be understood as Jesus’ reference to the light of God’s love, which radiates from Jesus himself. The light of God’s love, shining out from Jesus, is not be hidden away. Quite the opposite in fact : it is to put somewhere prominent, so that it enlighten its surroundings.

Or perhaps you would interpret the parable in terms of the gifts and skills which God has given to each one of us. You might know the song which begins, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” God does n’t want us to hide the gifts and skills which he has given to us. He wants us to share them others, so that everyone benefits. Of course, modesty is a virtue, and no one likes someone who brags about how wonderful they are! But at the same time, what is the good of hiding our light under the proverbial bushel?

Our gifts and skills are an opportunity to serve others: an opportunity to let the light of God’s love shine in our lives, and in our communities.

Prayer for Today

Lord, we pray that the light of your love will shine in our lives and our communities, and dispel the darkness of selfishness and injustice. Amen.

18 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 18th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we have been looking at some of the parables to be found in the 4th chapter of Mark’s gospel. We’ve looked at the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the growing seed, and the parable of the sower. We’ve also looked at the parable of the lamp under a bushel basket.

Three of these four parables seem to focus on the experience of spiritual growth, and I want to finish this series of reflections with a few general thoughts on this topic.

My first thought is that the spiritual life is always a call to growth. I wonder how we are growing in our spiritual lives? Spiritual growth comes in many different forms. It might be that it results in a sense of feeling closer to God, or having a better understanding of who God is, and how he is at work in our lives. It might be that our spiritual growth results in a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals, and a greater degree of honesty about our failings and shortcomings. It might be that we gain a clearer sense of the needs of our world, and what God might be saying to us about the direction of our own lives. Spiritual growth comes in many different shapes and guises.

Where does this growth come from? It is the work of God himself, his Holy Spirit, working within us and transforming from us from within. Sometimes God’s work is hidden from us, just as we cannot see the seed and its roots, buried deep in the earth. It can take time before the shoots of the new beginning appear above ground, but they will be appear, in God’s good time. This means that we can trust God for our spiritual growth, even during those times when we feel that we are far from him.

And my final thought about growth is that it looks to the future. God has plans for our future. God is love and so we need not fear what lies ahead. God will continue to be at work in our lives, and he will continue to guide us and bless in the years ahead.

Prayer for Today

Lord, we thank you for the spiritual growth which we have already experienced in our lives to date; and we thank for the growth which will be your gift to us in the years to come. Amen.
19 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 18th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we have been looking at some of the parables to be found in the 4th chapter of Mark’s gospel. We’ve looked at the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the growing seed, and the parable of the sower. We’ve also looked at the parable of the lamp under a bushel basket.

Three of these four parables seem to focus on the experience of spiritual growth, and I want to finish this series of reflections with a few general thoughts on this topic.

My first thought is that the spiritual life is always a call to growth. I wonder how we are growing in our spiritual lives? Spiritual growth comes in many different forms. It might be that it results in a sense of feeling closer to God, or having a better understanding of who God is, and how he is at work in our lives. It might be that our spiritual growth results in a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals, and a greater degree of honesty about our failings and shortcomings. It might be that we gain a clearer sense of the needs of our world, and what God might be saying to us about the direction of our own lives. Spiritual growth comes in many different shapes and guises.

Where does this growth come from? It is the work of God himself, his Holy Spirit, working within us and transforming from us from within. Sometimes God’s work is hidden from us, just as we cannot see the seed and its roots, buried deep in the earth. It can take time before the shoots of the new beginning appear above ground, but they will be appear, in God’s good time. This means that we can trust God for our spiritual growth, even during those times when we feel that we are far from him.

And my final thought about growth is that it looks to the future. God has plans for our future. God is love and so we need not fear what lies ahead. God will continue to be at work in our lives, and he will continue to guide us and bless in the years ahead.

Prayer for Today

Lord, we thank you for the spiritual growth which we have already experienced in our lives to date; and we thank for the growth which will be your gift to us in the years to come. Amen.
20 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 18th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we have been looking at some of the parables to be found in the 4th chapter of Mark’s gospel. We’ve looked at the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the growing seed, and the parable of the sower. We’ve also looked at the parable of the lamp under a bushel basket.

Three of these four parables seem to focus on the experience of spiritual growth, and I want to finish this series of reflections with a few general thoughts on this topic.

My first thought is that the spiritual life is always a call to growth. I wonder how we are growing in our spiritual lives? Spiritual growth comes in many different forms. It might be that it results in a sense of feeling closer to God, or having a better understanding of who God is, and how he is at work in our lives. It might be that our spiritual growth results in a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals, and a greater degree of honesty about our failings and shortcomings. It might be that we gain a clearer sense of the needs of our world, and what God might be saying to us about the direction of our own lives. Spiritual growth comes in many different shapes and guises.

Where does this growth come from? It is the work of God himself, his Holy Spirit, working within us and transforming from us from within. Sometimes God’s work is hidden from us, just as we cannot see the seed and its roots, buried deep in the earth. It can take time before the shoots of the new beginning appear above ground, but they will be appear, in God’s good time. This means that we can trust God for our spiritual growth, even during those times when we feel that we are far from him.

And my final thought about growth is that it looks to the future. God has plans for our future. God is love and so we need not fear what lies ahead. God will continue to be at work in our lives, and he will continue to guide us and bless in the years ahead.

Prayer for Today

Lord, we thank you for the spiritual growth which we have already experienced in our lives to date; and we thank for the growth which will be your gift to us in the years to come. Amen.
21 June 2021Rector’s Daily Reflections Friday 18th June 2021

Thought for Today

This week we have been looking at some of the parables to be found in the 4th chapter of Mark’s gospel. We’ve looked at the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the growing seed, and the parable of the sower. We’ve also looked at the parable of the lamp under a bushel basket.

Three of these four parables seem to focus on the experience of spiritual growth, and I want to finish this series of reflections with a few general thoughts on this topic.

My first thought is that the spiritual life is always a call to growth. I wonder how we are growing in our spiritual lives? Spiritual growth comes in many different forms. It might be that it results in a sense of feeling closer to God, or having a better understanding of who God is, and how he is at work in our lives. It might be that our spiritual growth results in a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals, and a greater degree of honesty about our failings and shortcomings. It might be that we gain a clearer sense of the needs of our world, and what God might be saying to us about the direction of our own lives. Spiritual growth comes in many different shapes and guises.

Where does this growth come from? It is the work of God himself, his Holy Spirit, working within us and transforming from us from within. Sometimes God’s work is hidden from us, just as we cannot see the seed and its roots, buried deep in the earth. It can take time before the shoots of the new beginning appear above ground, but they will be appear, in God’s good time. This means that we can trust God for our spiritual growth, even during those times when we feel that we are far from him.

And my final thought about growth is that it looks to the future. God has plans for our future. God is love and so we need not fear what lies ahead. God will continue to be at work in our lives, and he will continue to guide us and bless in the years ahead.

Prayer for Today

Lord, we thank you for the spiritual growth which we have already experienced in our lives to date; and we thank for the growth which will be your gift to us in the years to come. Amen.
22 June 2021
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