Vicar's April's Letter

Revd. Angela WalkerDear friends

I have had trouble with my oil boiler recently, it kept cutting out and the engineer has been out several times to put it right. However, it then packed up completely and I was left with no heating for ten days. By the 3rd day I was so cold that I went to stay elsewhere. Brr! Poor Charlie had a groom just days before I returned home and even he was shivering, New parts were ordered for the boiler and finally it was fixed just in time before the heavy snow hit us. As I write we have just had two days of heavy snow. Yesterday I spent 3 hours clearing my drive of a good 3” and last night it snowed another 2”. What a waste of time that was. Charlie braved a short walk up to the church and back today but half way back he was yelping and couldn’t walk any further so I had to carry him home. He is now snuggled up beside me and pressing in to keep warm. Even with the heating on this house doesn’t get that hot. But sitting here in the warmth of my lounge looking out through the patio doors it does look very beautiful, like a picture postcard. I have seen at least two families with young children out with their sledges already.

It is amazing how something so beautiful can bring such joy on the one hand and yet such discomfort on the other. My dad’s water pipes have all frozen today leaving him without water which apparently can’t be fixed for another two days, fortunately though the repair company supplied him with some water to drink. I hope that you have fared better and that you have managed to keep warm and cosy through the snow.

The one thing I do like about snow is the stillness it brings. Everywhere seems so silent and still, a sort of muffled quiet. A sense of everything being wrapped in a blanket. I wonder if you like silence or whether you are someone who always has to have background noise like the TV or radio playing.

I rather like silence, especially when I am alone with God in prayer. I have recently been attending some teaching on Ignation  prayer. This is a form of prayer that uses the imagination. The idea is that you read one of the gospel stories such as the 3 men who carried their friend on his mat and lowered him through a hole in a roof to the feet of Jesus so that Jesus might heal him. You read the story through twice slowly absorbing the content and then you close your eyes and imagine the scene, listening to the conversations of the people involved and then you imagine yourself in the story. You might see yourself as a bystander watching from a distance or in the middle of the crowd. You might be the one being carried or one of the friends. And as you imagine yourself in the story you might speak with Jesus and he might speak to you. It is a wonderful way of interacting with the bible story that becomes quite real. I have used this method many times and each time I have heard God speak to me in the most profound way, touching deeply into my spirit.

If you have never tried this method of praying I would recommend it to you. Just find yourself a nice cosy quiet spot where you will not be disturbed, choose one of the stories from the bible, read it and let your imagination take you on a journey.

You might like to choose the one described above from Mark 2:1-12, or the feeding of the 5000 from Mark 6:30-44, or John 1:35-39

As you imagine yourself in the story ask yourself, how do I feel? What can I hear? You may imagine the scene in traditional pictures from the bible or as modern day people it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you allow yourself to go with the flow speaking with Jesus and listening to him as you enter into the story. And if you do try it please let me know how you get on.

Afterwards use what you experienced to stimulate your prayers.

God bless you, keep warm and safe and enjoy the silence.  

Revd Angela Walker