Vicar's October Letter

 

Revd. Angela Walker

Dear friends, well the summer clothes are almost all back in the closet for another year as the leaves on the trees turn golden. I do love the colours of nature as autumn appears and spreads across the land. It reminds me of a hymn we often sing at church…

Through all the changing scenes of life,    In trouble and in joy,

The praises of my God shall still     My heart and tongue employ.

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,     With me exalt His name;
When in distress to Him I called,     He to my rescue came.

Life is full of ups and downs isn’t it? One minute all is well with our world and we are flying high and the next it feels as if the ground gave way beneath our feet and swallowed us up.

I spoke last month of my excitement of going to a Christian event where I would camp for a week whilst worshipping and listening to some great teaching. It was another wonderful week where the presence of God was tangible. It was a week of great worship and brilliant teaching. And as always God spoke in a variety of ways. I guess the main message for me was to keep going and to be prepared and ready for God to act in new ways. I came away thoroughly refreshed spiritually and then headed off to Canada to spend two weeks with my sister. We had a great time taking in some absolutely beautiful scenery, it was wonderful.

But then of course comes the good-byes, and the tears, the 8½ hour flight home and jet lag. Straight back into a full schedule of work the next day I was feeling rather as if I hadn’t been away at all.

But that is life isn’t it? We take the rough with the smooth and of course the jet lag soon lifted and the mist began to clear a little. And as the hymn says I still can praise God even in times of trouble, because even when the darkness threatens to overwhelm us God is still present. Yes many were healed at the Christian camp again this year, thousands of pounds were given to charity, and many people became Christians as they met with God for the first time. But all of those people have to go home at the end of the week and live their Christian faith out amongst their family and friends and some of course will face very difficult circumstances at home.

Does that mean that the healings were just our imagination or wishful thinking, does it raise questions of why him and not her? Of course the questions are there and the healings have to be tested but at the end of the day the reality is Christ with us in the good and the not so good. Because he comes when we call upon him, even people who express no faith at all in the darkest moments often call out to God for help. And he comes, he responds, not always in the way that we would want him to but you can be sure that he is there the moment we call. As the hymn says, ‘When in distress to Him I called,   He to my rescue came.’

 My own experience of God is not that he always changes the circumstances so that we do not have to face them or go through them. Instead, it is that he is with us in them. He transforms the situation by his presence with us. We still face the difficulty but we face it held in his arms, we face it bathed in his love, we face it knowing we are held and loved and strengthened and knowing that God is good. We can therefore still lift our voices and give him praise even in sickness and in death, not for these things but in these things because God’s presence is always a tangible reminder that there is always more than our present circumstances try to dictate.

May God make his tangible presence known to you in whatever you face in this next season of your life.   

Blessings Revd. Angela Walker.