Vicar's June Letter

Revd. Angela Walker

Dear friends, it seems along time ago that I wrote for the magazine, in fact it was just two months ago. My Church Warden, Janet, wrote last month in my absence. I took the month of March out as study leave. It was a much needed and welcome break from the normal day to day workings of parish life.

I chose to look at the subject of prayer while I was off, beginning my time, as mentioned in my last letter, with an evening on Ignation spirituality. I was led initially into the story of the two disciples who were with John the Baptist when Jesus walked by. The two disciples began to follow Jesus and when he saw them following him he asked them what they were looking for. In response the two men asked Jesus where he was staying. Jesus replied “Come and see”.

As I entered into this story in my imagination I was one of the disciples following Jesus. I saw Jesus enter a house and I followed in my imagination and I saw Jesus lay down on a couch. I was reminded of the fact that Jesus would often withdraw into a quiet solitary place to be alone with his Father in prayer. And I was also reminded that God himself rested from all his work of creation on the 7th day.

However, initially I was a little bemused, Jesus was simply resting, not speaking, not teaching, not healing or doing anything. Perhaps I had wanted him to speak, to say something to ease my discomfort, but he said nothing. I remained in the room just waiting, watching, and being with him.

As I have pondered on this and prayed it through. I have been led to Hebrews 4. Which speaks of us entering into God’s rest.

Life can become so busy at times. I look at some of my parishioner’s and see them buzzing around busy doing so much. All good stuff but so busy. I see this in myself too and it isn’t always a good model to be setting.

God is calling me to rest in him, to keep a Sabbath rest. A period of time that I set apart just for God. Sometimes we mistakenly think that we need to prove our worth by being busy. We can feel guilty if we are not ‘doing’ something. But time spent with God, reading his word, praying or just ‘being’ with him is never time wasted. In fact how can we give out if we are not first of all taking in?

In the week running up to Pentecost the church is once again called to prayer. To spend a whole week in the presence of God. I am reminded again that when God created humanity he created us on the 6th day.

This means that our first day of existence was the 7th day, the day of rest. Our first call is to rest with God. We often see our weekend or day off as a day to rest from work. However, thinking of the creation story, it may well be the other way round. We do not rest from work, we work from rest.

Setting apart time for ‘being’ alone with God, for resting in him, is not always easy but it is essential to our spiritual well-being. We cannot do everything in our own strength, if we do we will eventually wear ourselves out. When Moses was called to lead God’s people he was asking God who would go with him. God replied, “my presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”.

When faced with impossible tasks or grim futures, the only truly reliable source of strength is the presence of God with us in it. Take time to be alone with God now for a few minutes and ask him to visit you with his divine presence and to give you rest. He loves to hang out with his children.