Personal welcome
About St James
Officials
Mission Statement
Benefice Newsletter
Over-Wyre Benefice?
St. James' history
Church activities
Baptism
Marriage
Prayer
Study Courses
Safeguarding
From the Vicarage

 

As not all parishes publish a separate magazine for August, I too will take a break and my next article will be for the September issue.  After an age of being confined and constrained in ways we never imagined, we seem to be seeing the start of things being unlocked – weddings and baptisms are happening and confirmation is planned for October.  This is going to be a time of mixed emotions because, whilst it will be cause for great joy and thanksgiving, in some ways, for some people, this will be a more difficult time than going into lockdown.  The damage done to people’s mental health, self-esteem, confidence, etc., and the losses that people have suffered (jobs, contact with others, death of loved ones or close friends) is not just a matter of taking off a face covering and going to the pub.  Many around us will need time to lament, to use a Biblical term, and we need to encourage that and be alongside people as they do.  There will though be, quite rightly, celebration and we need to hold those two things together appropriately and sensitively.

 

Fortunately for Christians, this should be something that plays to our strengths because it relies on relationships.  Humans are, generally speaking, social animals and one of the biggest problems of the last eighteen months has been the loss of the opportunity to socialise, to have contact with the people we love and enjoy.  Relationships are important to us all but for the Christian it goes beyond that.  For us, relationship is at the heat of our faith.  Right back at the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis, God recognises that man needs a companion, the model of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.) is a relational model. We speak of the communion of saints, the ‘new commandment’ from Jesus in the New Testament is about our relationship with God and each other (As were the Tex Commandments of Exodus) and that very familiar prayer ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ is about ‘our’ not ‘my’.

 

I say it is something that should be our strength but, unfortunately, it is a gift that is not always recognised or nurtured.  We can, all too easily become insular and protective, especially in times of crisis, and by doing so we miss out on so much and deprive others too.  The message on that first Easter morning was ‘go and tell’ – not go and form a committee, or go and build me some architectural masterpiece, and we need to be careful that we don’t lose that focus and purpose of sharing the gospel; the good news of God’s love and saving work.  I am not saying we should neglect the buildings we have or that we don’t need to manage finances and plan things; we live in a material world and these things have to be done and I am always grateful that we have such a committed group of people in our parishes who do an excellent job on these things but we need to get things in the right priority order.  An empty building, no matter how fine, is of no use to anyone and will not, in the long term, do much for our bank balance.   The old adage – make a friend, be a friend, and bring that friend to your good friend Jesus – was never more appropriate.

 

God is here with us, in the midst of our everyday lives, and we need to help people to know that.  So, over the coming months, and years our priority, in this benefice of Over Wyre, needs to be relationships, in all their mysterious, difficult, and wonderful forms.  I know this is what people want from the responses to the questionnaires/surveys that so many people filled in.  We can start now, without Boris’s permission, by looking at the relationships we have and what condition they are in and then, perhaps, daring to build some new ones.  It will take time and will demand our patience, our trust, our energy, our ideas, and, most of all, our prayers but God has put us in this place at this time for a reason.  He has given us the gifts and talents we need (even if we have not yet discovered them; or have but haven’t used them for a while).  So, let’s rediscover the excitement, joy, and fulfilment of relationships as we live and love in Jesus’ name. 

 

I hope and pray that you will have an enjoyable and safe summer.


God bless        

 

Fr Andy

Top