Reverend Canon Rachel Harrison
66, Aske Road
Tel: 01642 490700
A LETTER FOR JUNE
Ascension Day and Pentecost have come and gone and there are no great church festivals in the near future on which to focus. Due to lockdown, it is difficult to find anything to focus on or look forward to which is what we would normally be doing to give our lives a structure. Within church, we would be planning social and fund-raising events, looking forward to the Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Messy Church. At home we’d be planning family visits, possibly anticipating a holiday planning a special birthday celebration, but we can’t do any of these because we don’t know when we’ll be free to participate in them. It’s only in these strange times that we perhaps realise how much of our time is usually spent in looking forward and planning for the future. And so we have to engage with the here and now and appreciate what is right in front of us. As we read in Matthew chapter 6, 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Yes, today is all we need to concentrate on, even though that might be easier said than done.
I have been trying to hold on to these words for myself because this is a doubly strange time for me, as I am now in my last month before retirement. Plans for moving and what next have all been put on hold due to the turmoil coronavirus has thrown us into. ‘We’ll have to wait and see’, is heard time and again in the vicarage as plans are made and then discarded. Cupboards are sorted, papers shredded, but waiting to see is still where we’re at. There are only two definites at the moment. One is that I will retire on 30th June, however I will not have said goodbye and will still be in the house until – well, who knows, we’ll have to wait and see!
The second definite is that I am not in this alone, that my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is accompanying me. I left school as a sixteen year old, trusting in Jesus and I am just as sure of his presence now, even though I am less sure of what will be happening in the immediate future. Jesus promised the gift of the Comforter to his disciples long ago, and they experienced that gift as reality at Pentecost. The reality of Pentecost is the same for us because Jesus promises to bring his comfort and peace to us too, and resting in that peace is reassuring. Reassuring because tomorrow may be unknown but today is to be appreciated for itself.
I have decided that instead of concerning myself about what’s happening, or not happening, I am going to identify a new blessing for each day of my countdown to retirement. Thirty things for which I am particularly grateful, and then we’ll have to wait and see what next.
Your friend and vicar