Team Rector letter February 2020

rectorstroudwater@gmail.com                      The Rectory, Church Lane

07466 858 975                                                Leonard Stanley, GL10 3NP

Rector’s Letter, February

The preacher at our Living Waters evening service last Sunday evening was Rev Andrew Blyth, the Rector of Trinity, Cheltenham. While I’m talking about that let me say that I am so humbled that Trinity encourages and releases people to come and help run this lovely time of worship and teaching. It’s a real offering of service and we are blessed to receive it.

Andrew was saying how he gets the blues in winter with the long periods of darkness, particularly this winter which has been so overcast and wet. This bluesy feeling caused by weather has a scientific term, you’ll have to Google it though, to find out what it is. This led me to wondering how often we allow external things, people and circumstances, to determine how we feel. I don’t want to be dismissive of people who suffer depression or anxiety, or those recovering from shocking and uncomfortable news. I’m not talking about that.

Some of us though live constantly reacting to the world around us. When circumstances are good and people nice, we feel great, but if you’ve been treated badly or life is tough, then you feel lousy. Some people describe it as an emotional roller-coaster.

As Christians, our lives should tell a different story, where we display the reality of the Holy Spirit living in us, where we are secure in who we are because we have a God who loves us infinitely. Of course life will bring us challenges, but facing them knowing that God is on our side changes the story, from defeatism to courage. Our colleague, Rev Liz Palin, is fond of saying, ‘Remember, we are a resurrection people.’ I find that so hopeful, and it helps me respond to life in a different way, knowing that out of all types and forms of death, God can bring all types and forms of new life.

We need to stop focussing on what others think of us and look to God for our identity, we need to stop being consumed by slights and offences and live in forgiveness and patience, we need to stop expecting perfection in others and remember that we are all walking this imperfect life on earth.

My prayer is that each one of us would know Christ’s freedom, that we would truly love ourselves and allow God’s grace to be our security, and that we could walk, not free from pain and suffering, but knowing we carry the power of God in our hearts.

Rev Stephen Harrison