Saturday 25 July 2020

from Val

Dear Friends
This week’s readings focus on the Kingdom of God.Two of today’s Kingdom parables have growing images, the tiny mustard seeds become great trees, the dough added to the flour grows and increases to make the loaf.  But they are also waiting images, the dough of course rises far quicker than the tree grows, but patience is still required. Throughout lockdown we have been waiting for life to return to normal. It has taught us patience and allowed us time to pause and reflect.
We have learnt what is important in life and now we ask God to show us how to use that wisdom as the world gradually unlocks.Wisdom is a great gift.
In the story of Solomon, we have a young man used to a privileged lifestyle who could have requested anything he wanted, yet when God says ‘Ask what I should give you’, Solomon asks not for wealth, or privilege but for wisdom. God is pleased with Solomon’s reply.  And because Solomon had not requested riches or some other selfish gain, God blessed Solomon as a ruler.
Wisdom is something that we can’t learn from a text book, we can’t buy in a shop, more often than not wisdom is gained over many years of careful consideration of the situations around us. Wisdom is gained by the ability to see to the heart of the matter and to discern a way forward. 
A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?
Written by Edward Henry Richards

We are now in the ‘new normal’, things aren’t quite the same but we are grateful for every step forward. As life picks up once again may we take the time to pause, to seek God, to know that he walks with us every step of the way. God knows the prayers of hearts and he hears us when we call.
Continue to take care and stay safe.
With Every Blessing…Val

Sunday 12 July 2020

from Val

Dear Friends

I hope you have been able to be out and about this week as restrictions on travel have lifted. The joy of being able to drive more than five miles is something we can now treasure after the limitations. Most cars need a good run and the sense of freedom is a joy.

The parable of the sower is well known, we often use it in our schools at Harvest time.  Sometimes when a story is familiar, we need to pause and read it afresh in order to seek out the deeper meaning. The heart of the parable is the coming of God’s Kingdom and how people will receive it.

Jesus is asking us to hear his word, to listen carefully in order to understand.  Just as a seed needs good soil to grow, so we need to allow God to deepen the seeds of faith in our hearts. 

‘Let anyone who has ears hear’ says Jesus. Are you a good listener? Most of us are not that good at listening, we listen with one ear on the television or maybe we are also doing something else. We may get the gist of what is being said, but taking on board the deeper meaning requires us to be attentive, to listen and to respond. There is a quote that says ‘the first duty of love is to listen’ and if that is true of our human relationships how much more is it true of our relationship with God. 

In the parable of the sower some listened but did not want to know, some listened but did not understand, some listened and heard but didn’t feel strong enough to respond, but some listened, heard and responded and their harvest was good. 

In the absence of Church Services we have missed that precious time on a Sunday to be still, to focus and listen. Many of us have found a quiet place within our home and garden to be still and spend time with God. I hope that even when we are able to return to public worship, we will still use that quiet place to be still before God. To be attentive to his word, to listen and then to respond.

As everyday life begins to open up once again, we give thanks for all who have sustained and cared for us in these difficult times.

Keep safe and well.

With every blessing…Val