Vicar's Letter May 2018
Spring is in the air!
As I write this (17th April) we are promised some warm weather following the very wet conditions we all had in March and April. All over Burnham people are slowly making progress in their gardens and I often hear a lawn mower somewhere close by to Rectory Road. You may recall from school days that plants need water, air, light and warmth to grow. This is a metaphor for the Christian life.
As baptised Christians we have been through an initiation with water to mark our ‘turning to Christ’ just as every believer who has been baptised has done. It is in one moment of time, a point from which our journey as a follower of Jesus begins and marks our membership within the Church. This journey is fed and nurtured by the Light of Christ in the Bible teaching us and forming us into his image in terms of beliefs and attitudes.
Someone has said – and I cannot recall who – that prayer is like air for Christians – it is vital and without it we die. Prayer is the means by which we keep our relationship with God alive. It would be an odd relationship should we never talk to God. That talking is more than a shopping list for the Almighty to do on our behalf.
The final part of the metaphor is warmth. Baptism is a rite that parents choose for their infants. Reading the Bible is an activity as is prayer. We might think therefore that Christianity is just a matter of our will and obedience to these activities. It is not.
It is the role of the Holy Spirit, who we recall at Pentecost this month, to warm us – with God’s warming and encouraging touch. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to encourage growth in us by letting us know that our faith is much more than the observance of a historic faith or obedience to activities – it is a living relationship.
In a garden you can have all the water, light and air you have but until the ground in warmed up – the growth does not happen.
St Paul writes in 1 Corinthians: I planted, Apollos watered – BUT God gave the growth .
God alone through His Holy Spirit gives growth in the spiritual life. So, may we be attentive to the Spirit of God in our lives as we are faced with the dilemmas of life and the conflicts and confusions we hear about daily on our television screens. Then we can not just express a human opinion, but live the story and tell the story of our Living God
Your Friend and priest