Jenny’s letter 9th June

Dear Friends, 

I am proud. I know that the Bible reminds us that ‘Pride goes before destruction…’ (Proverbs 16.18) but perhaps pride is permitted when one feels it not about self but about others? 

Whatever, I am proud of the way that the people of St Barnabas gathered to make the funeral of the Lt. Revd Canon Peter Christensen go so smoothly. In fact, it was more than smooth. It was a wonderful church community event. Thank you for the time so many of you gave, whether it was making food, car park or choir duty, ushering, welcoming, preparing the table, ringing the beautiful half muffled bells, attending the service, cleaning and clearing. You were brilliant, and I am hugely grateful. Thank you. 

There were 159 people in the building, almost all of who received Holy Communion. I think every one of them will have felt that you did a good job and that they were helped to feel welcome. Perhaps most of all, I know that Peter would have thought that too.  And so we move forward. 

I often write about time in this newsletter because I find it such a fascinating concept. The way it is perceived by us is so linear. We organise it into years, months, weeks, days, hours, seconds and so on. A year ago exactly I had a new hip. It was 366 days (a leap year) but how does a year feel? It feels like both a lifetime and a fleeting moment. The passage of time is often marked by events rather than a real awareness of how long in calendar terms, time has taken. 

 At Peter’s funeral I found myself preaching. It was not planned, as David Felix was going to speak. Sadly, however, David was not well (arthritis pain – he is improving) and so the three hours on Saturday morning fled past as they often do when we are faced with a deadline or something extra to fit into the allocated space. 

Thankfully, I had ‘enough time’. I spoke about the text from 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18. It begins, ‘…we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.’ 

It’s a wonderful text that reminds us of the hope that is set before all who say, ’Yes I believe.’ The hope of eternal life is not the kind of ‘luck’ we wish for when we gamble on a horse’ or the hope that have when we wonder if there is clean pair of socks in the drawer.’ This is a sure and certain comforting, uplifting hope. It is the promise of Jesus that this life is not all that there is. 

There is so much more for those who put their trust in God. Eternity with Christ is promised for all who seek salvation. And Paul, in his words to the people of Thessalonica, remind them that those who have died will be caught up into eternity first, but then we who are living will come next. 

And here is the thing. God’s time is not linear. He is at the beginning and at the end and in the middle. I am told the physicists are the people who are best blessed to offer an explanation that tells us how this can actually happen. Many of the world’s leading physicists have become Christians or at least come to a belief in God through their scientific understanding of time and matter. The point is, those who have died will not be hanging around waiting for those of us who continue to live. It is we who wait but at the last we will be raised together.  

 We can mark the passage of time in Bromborough by the rectors that come and go. Three since Peter. Each of us giving to this place the best that we can give, each a little different, each sitting in the rector’s stall. Each hearing those bells and taking care of the people that cross our path in church and village. I am very conscious that I am part of a great relay race, just as you are too. 

We are ambassadors for Christ in this moment, building on what has gone before and preparing foundations for what is to come. We are custodians of what God, by grace has given us now and what others have made possible. It is our duty and our joy to care for it and to share it and to make it more than has been handed to us.  

We move forward to the Summer Fair next week. We need your help then too, for without funds it will be difficult to live out the mission to which God has called us. 

Please offer to do whatever you can for as long as you can. Manning a 

stall may not feel very spiritual, but it is about showing our face and raising the money that helps us carry out the spiritual responsibilities to which we are called first.  

Wishing you every blessing in the week ahead.

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