Vicar’s Voice – June 2024

At this time of year, some people are on holiday, others are looking forward to going away, or maybe having friends come and visit. Some of you may just be looking forward to a “staycation at home”.
However and wherever we refresh ourselves,we all need space for ourselves to restore and recover from the daily tasks which fill our days. For some, this may be a ten-minute break a few times e week, for others it may be two weeks on a cruise. The circumstances of our lives differ so much and we can only respond to the opportunities available to us at any given time.

Jesus often needed his own space too, to refresh, to restore and to pray. He would go to a secluded place, to find that space when He could talk with, and listen to, his heavenly Father. He could also rest his body after the long days of walking, and restore himself after giving out so much spiritually and emotionally to the many people He helped and healed. Often, He would spend whole nights in prayer.

When God created us, He designed us to function by having regular rest. After all, we often feel somewhat restored after a night’s sleep. We all expect spend some time at least in bed every night. So, what is it that stops us from recognising that God also designed us to take one day week resting from our usual routine, and spending at least some of that day focused on Him, in prayer, worship or just “being” in His presence?

We know that in the Ten Commandments, we are told to ‘keep the Sabbath holy.’ To spend one day in every week set apart from earthly concerns. Yet we all have our excuses to carry on as normal, and of course many peoples Sundays are dictated by work or family commitment.

When Jesus lived on this earth, He showed us how to live that ‘rest day’ in love, Not through duty. What matters is our attitude to what we are doing even if we are bound to be involved in caring for the needs of others in any way (and for the Jews in Jesus’ time, this meant preparing their meals the previous day to avoid ‘working’ on the Sabbath!), or even working because we work shifts in a seven-day working week. While time to relax clearly helps our bodies, and time praying with God clearly restores our souls – the chief aims of our rest day – it is unlikely we will spend a whole 24 hours resting and praying.

So, what can we do? We can pray to God whatever we are doing while we cook a meal, do the washing up, mowing the lawn or while we are walking the children to school. We can all have an attitude of love as we deliver our neighbour’s shopping, feed a relative, or make a hospital visit. We can do everything through the love and strength given to us by God when we do His will in our lives. Enjoy any moments you can take with God, because He loves being with you in anything and everything you do through Him, and He will bless you abundantly.

This month sees the 80th Commemorations of the D-Day Landings. I will have the privilege and honour of once more going out to Normandy to officiate at some of the Services which will be taking place in such places as Bayeux, Coleville Montgomery and Arromanches. Sadly, there will be fewer veterans with us this year, as age and frailty take their toll. As those veterans who will make it out there pay honour and tribute to their comrades, pay tribute to those who came home and made lives for themselves and their families, despite the horrors they had experienced to bring freedom to the following generations.

They are heroes all.

With love and blessings, Rev Mandy xx

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