Rev Anthony (Tony) Grainger
“New every morning is the love,                                                                          
our wakening and uprising prove;                                                                     
Through sleep and darkness safely brought                                                      
Restored to life and power and thought.                                                                                                                                                                                             Words by John Keble, Blue Hymnal #3 v.1

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ                                                                         July 22nd, 2020
How do you ‘greet’ the Lord each new day – with relief, surprise, gladness, hope; perhaps with an agenda? Whatever our first thought or expression is, that is our perspective of that moment we remember to acknowledge the Lord’s presence. And I’m sure it makes a difference if we are inclined to be a ‘morning’ (or an ‘evening’) person. However, we also know (and sometimes need to remind our self), our Lord is always with us, always aware of us, always watching over us. And it is good to give thanks for that!

Years ago now, Dianne gave me a copy of David Adam’s book, Border Lands. Written from the perspective of one who delights in the Celtic tradition, it has provided much solace for me. I read it and prayed through much of it during a sabbatical in 2005; relaxing on a shaded balcony in the heart of Athens, Greece. A blessing in itself. And it has continued to be a great blessing and inspiration for my personal faith journey.

The interaction, perhaps typical of Celtic prayer, of invoking God’s presence, through the sights and sounds that surround us, and within our self, can often be like opening a door or window to something new; a thought, a perspective or inspiration. In and of itself such moments can bring new insight and awareness into our prayer life, which in turn may play into our everyday life. And I believe the Holy Spirit may use such moments to reach into our soul (as into our whole being) if we are open to that. Such moments and revelations may provide good impetus for ongoing thanksgiving to the Lord (for our life and breath, for every sense; for wonders and beauty etc.)

Consider the recent appearance of the comet Neowise. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Covid-19, although its appearance around the same time might be more than a coincidence. Both that ‘tiny’ virus and the vastness of space, with room for billions of stars, planets - and comets, can remind us of how great is our God. The detail, the beauty and the interdependence of all creation is awesome and wondrous.  That we have such a God who is sovereign over the smallest detail of our lives and over the vastness to the ends of the Universe.  A God who would use us, tiny as indeed we are, in the ongoing work of extending His Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

Be encouraged in prayer; nothing of our prayers goes unheard, unheeded and is eventually answered (in the best ways only God knows). I share with you one of David Adam’s prayers, entitled Morning Prayer. (If you pray alone, try substituting ‘me’ for ‘us ’- and be prepared to be surprised.)

Lord, you are in this place,                                                                                    
Fill us with your power,                           
Cover us with your peace,                                                                                     
Show us your presence.
 
Lord, help us to know,                                                                                           
We are in your hands,                                                                                      
We are under your protection,                          
We are covered by your love.

Lord , we ask you today,                                                                                   
To deliver us from evil,                                                                                         
To guide us in our travels,                                                                                     
To defend us from all harm.

Lord, give us now,                                                                                                
Eyes to see the invisible,                                                                                      
Ears to hear your call,                              
Hands to do your work,                                                                                      
And a heart to respond to your love.

As some might say, ‘It’s been a funny sort of year – so far’. So, fix your eyes on what is unseen, on what is promised, on who is coming (Yes, a new rector, but also Jesus!); on what is possible and most of all, what is eternal. May you know the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirt, today and for ever.
Your brother in Christ,
Tony                                                                                                                                                                
Interim priest-in-charge.
 
A clergyman walking down a country lane sees a young farmer struggling to load hay back onto a cart after it had fallen off. “You look hot, my son,” said the cleric. “Why don’t you rest a moment and I’ll give you a hand.” 
“No thanks,” said the young man. “My father wouldn’t like it.” “Don’t be silly,” the minister said. “Everyone is entitled to a break. Come and have a drink of water.” Again the young man protested that his father would be upset. Losing his patience, the clergyman said, “Your father must be a real slave driver. Tell me where I can find him, and I’ll give him a piece of my mind.”  “Well,” replied the farmer, ‘he’s under this load of hay.”

The philosopher Rene Descartes is sitting in a bar. The bartender says, ”It’s closing time. You want one for the road?” Descartes says, ”I think not.” And with that – poof – he disappears.

                                                                                                                                                                         
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