not-from-the-vicar’s-letter

With the imminent return of our parish priest, Nick, from his sabbatical leave, this will be my last letter with the silly title.

During Nick’s absence we have been greatly supported by other Team clergy and I have been happy and privileged to have been able to play some part in that. As well as some Sunday services and many Wednesdays I was particularly pleased that I was well enough to carry out the ‘occasional offices’ which I had said I would - a Baptism, a wedding, a funeral and memorial service, the interment of ashes and a Thursday evening ‘Be Still’ service and a Eucharist at Netherthong. All that until on the first of August I became quite suddenly very ill and spent four days in hospital and have since then been gradually recovering day-by-day with occasional set backs.
I think we sometimes tend to try to impose on others the things we do ourselves – because something works for us we think it would be good for them. My own daily practice of prayer follows a modified version of the Daily Office along with Bible Reading Fellowship notes, but while I’ve been ill my mind has just not been capable of that kind of concentration. And so my prayers have followed a very different and variable pattern – and in many ways that seems to me to have been a very positive experience. What I’m recommending in mentioning that is that we should not become too fixed in the way we carry out our spiritual exercises. The ‘Be Still’ services have been, for example, a revelation to many. Be ready to let circumstances direct the way you should go.
And one morning when I was feeling somewhat better the words of the hymn ‘New every morning is the love’ came to my mind and I sang it quietly to myself – words I presumably I had learned by frequent repetition many years ago during Sunday Mattins. I found it a surprisingly good experience. If you know the hymn I recommend your bringing it back to mind – it can be re-assuring and refreshing. And if, brought up since the days of Mattins, you don’t know the hymn may I suggest you look it up on line (where it may even be sung for you!) or, failing that, get a copy from church. It’s number 2 in the church hymn book. Its author, John Keble, knew what he was writing about. And it’s as relevant today as on the day it was written.
Finally thank you for all the prayers and support over the past month. Much appreciated.
Geoff Bamford