January/February 2019

Dear Friends

Writing for the first two months of the year with a head full of Advent and Christmas - a first time round in these parishes for me, has proved a considerable challenge. It is hard enough to work in the present and have some perspective on the next four weeks, let alone think about the future as far ahead as New Year. I have very little idea about the details of what I will be working on and
thinking about in January and February. But that has led me to reflect on beginnings, endings, and what goes on in between, this whole business of time. If you like Douglas Adams (Author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) you may remember his line ‘Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so’ from that work. Science tells us that any idea of time as something fixed and universally quantifiable, is indeed an illusion, Adams makes the point beautifully. And in fact we know it in our own experience. At 50 a year passes for us very differently from the way it did when we were five.

This came to mind as I was thinking ‘I don’t have time for......’ insert in the space a whole list of things, some of which I would like to do, some I feel I’m expected to do, (sometimes but not always the same thing) and some I’m glad to have an excuse to leave undone, as well as a long list of things I enjoy doing for fun. At time of writing of course, there is (was) – I must make time to write the Gazette letter, whether I think I have time or not. Which I suppose is an important point. We make time for the things we consider to be necessary. The French worker-priest Michel Quoist in his book ‘Prayers for life’ writes powerfully in his meditation on time of how, at each stage of our lives, we focus on different things we feel we must make time for, and which get in the way of living perhaps as we might. Quoist, in imagination, addresses God (the Eternal maker of all things, whose nature is Love which transcends time) with the reasons why we don’t have time for worship and prayer – the child has play, the teenager study, the young adult earning a living, finding a partner, making a home, raising a family, the older adult has grandchildren, the old person their illnesses etc. Sounds familiar? It is the way most of us live at least part of the time, some of us all the time. At the end, Quoist points out, we have run out of time. Surely there is a mistake somewhere, Almighty God, there isn’t enough time to do everything that needs to be done? The response for this man of God, is that there is no mistake, that we have been given the moments, hours, days and years of our life to fill to the brim with living, with loving, not in selfishness, but in the outward-facing love that is God’s gift.

So, my prayer for us all is that, in whatever we are doing, we make time for the most important thing, the one thing that really matters, that God-centring of our lives. For when we do that, it transforms everything we do, however we are spending our time.

Adrian and I are committed to doing this ourselves, and thereby enabling others to do the same. So do please join us, ideas will be shared as they take form, and if you are inspired with ways to spend time well in this business of God’s Kingdom, let us know. May God bless us all in our Kingdom tasks.