For all that has been, thanks
The recent Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations gave welcome opportunities to gather together and look back over the past seven decades.
Within our circuit we give thanks for the ministries of Revd Soon Cheol Choi, Revd Nadine Wilkinson and Mr Bennie Harms. We remember their contributions to our lives and the collective life of our churches and circuit. We look forward to the circuit leaving service on Sunday 24 July at 6.30 pm following a tea from 4.30 pm.
On a more sombre note, I write this letter on the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. We remember the 72 people who tragically died in that fire and the survivors and bereaved families who have worked together for justice and change in their memory.
Rowan Williams and Joan Chittister wrote the book For All That Has Been, Thanks: Growing a sense of gratitude. I share some thoughts from the chapter written by Joan Chittister entitled Future. It is in times of remembering that it is good also to consider the future. Choi and Sarah, Nadine and Francis, Bennie and Jenny leave the circuit to begin a new phase in their lives. We who remain continue to prepare to welcome Revds Gyula Fiak and Richard Lowson and all they will bring to our life together.
The future is a vessel into which we tend to pour our hopes and fears; it can be a panacea for some and a threat to others. “It is at the edge of the future that we walk off the side of a cliff into the arms of God.” The spiritual challenge presented by the future is to accept it before we know it. However, rather than embrace the unknown, from day to day, intent on the future we want for ourselves, we may be inclined to escape the present or cast it in stone. However, it is not so much what happens to us in the future that counts but the attitudes we take to it that make all the difference between a future that is full or frustrating.
The future, the unknown factor in all our lives, calls us always to live with untried courage. Only our willingness to face the future can enable us to discover more about ourselves than we realised was possible. When we embrace the future we can discover how the opportunities, challenges and choices we face allow us to grow in ways that may seem improbable or impossible. Embracing the future is taking “the courage and faith and effort it will take to wring out of us every last drop of character, every ounce of faith, every trembling “yes” to the God of surprises.”
May God help us to embrace the unknown future with courage, faith and hope.