Sharing God's Love
I wonder what you thought of my suggestion last month, to begin and end every day with a quiet ‘Thank you God for today. Amen.’ Maybe you didn’t agree it was a good idea, but now we are approaching February and often we are already beating ourselves up over failed New Year Resolutions. So I ask the question as a reminder, that’s all. Have you taken it up?
This month, I leave Marden just on 8 years after I arrived. Then, I thought I might stay for 10 years until I was 70, but like resolutions, life develops and changes. For the record – yes it has been my decision and mine alone to retire now. I am a person who is ‘all or nothing’, so I have given my all to the job and my personality dictates that I am seemingly unable to slow down or put less into it, which is why I have called time now. As far as I know, I am perfectly healthy too by the way! I referred to the ‘job’, as I have always been very aware that whilst I believe God called me to the ministry of Priesthood, in the Church of England, unless that ministry is exercised part time and unpaid, it offers a leadership role to go alongside – a job, be it as a Chaplain (in the forces, hospital, prison, school etc) or as in my case, as a Vicar. However, my initial calling to ministry is as a Priest, the added extra has been the job as a Vicar. Primarily I accepted ordination as a Priest and that will stay with me to my death (and beyond). So, I retire from the job, but not from the Priesthood.
I would like to leave you with a reminder of that simple resolution from last month – that we all say a quiet thank you to God for each day faced and each day lived. In February we celebrate St Valentine’s and advertising etc will have us focus on love for others; expressing that feeling to those closest to us, with chocolates, meals, holidays even – but what of God? The one who gives us the greatest gifts? That of our lives, His love and His Son Jesus, His forgiveness, His care etc. By simply saying thank you twice a day, we are saying that we love Him too and I believe that’s what He wants to hear from us.
I have tried my best (as a Priest) to express His love to you all and I ask you now to continue to share His love, as we are commanded to do, by the two great Commandments: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love each other as much as ourselves. Acknowledging Him at the start and end of each day with ‘Thank you God for today, Amen.’ will, I am sure, breed and nurture that further expression and spread of love.
Thank you for extending to me personally, your love and care during my time here, and for allowing me to love you. I believe in prayer. As a Priest I will continue to pray for you all and for the calling of a new Priest and Vicar for Marden parish - please support the inevitable change of that new Vicar and help as much as you can.
I pray too that the village will continue to flourish as it grows not just in size, but also into the loving maturity that God promises will produce good fruit i.e. the Church will be a place of love, of nurturing and growing faith, particularly in these politically and climatically unstable times.
I do hope to see you at my last Church service; 10.30am February 9th – a celebration of Holy Communion, with God and each other. I understand we might even enjoy cake and a glass of something afterwards too! It will be for me, a final act of sharing love together and will mean a lot to me.
The Lord bless you in all the good that you do as you love Him and others.
Thank you God for today. Amen.