After one of the finest summers any of us can remember, we are back into the autumn routines. It is so easy just to be swept along by the pressure of events and sheer force of habit that we sometimes don't stop to think what life is really all about.
I read recently of someone who always had three candles on her birthday cake, to remind her on her birthday to stop and say thank you for all that she had, all she enjoyed and for all the people who had enriched her life. The three candles represent today, yesterday and tomorrow.
Today we remember gratefully our health and homes, family, friends, job, love, pleasures and all the other personal blessings we enjoy.
From yesterday we remember with grateful affection all the people who have made a difference in our lives - those who have cared for us and nurtured us, borne with us through all life's difficulties, taught us, inspired us, showed us what they knew of God's way of life, helped us to know, love and serve Jesus. If we stop to think about it we will realize just how many people have been generous with their love, time and resources, indeed with themselves.
For tomorrow there are all our hopes and fears, our dreams and our plans. But tomorrow also raises questions about why we are here, and about our priorities. What shall I do with the rest of my life? How can I show my appreciation of everything people have done for me? What can I share with others? What can I give to others? How can I become a better person?
Facing questions like this may help us to escape from our unthinking routines. Life is a precious gift, not to be wasted. This is an outline of a sort of personal thanksgiving parallel to the thanks we offer at this time of year for the blessings of the harvest. St Paul spoke of the "harvest of the Spirit", suggesting that we should look for the growth and ripening of particular qualities in our lives - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. If more people focussed on developing these qualities in their lives, how much better a place our world would be!
One of the benefits of joining in public worship in church is that it can help us to find a wider context in which to ask questions like this - and may even help us to find some answers! Why not come and try it? MALCOLM
- February 2003
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About the Vicar's Letter
The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.
The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the Vicar's Letter area for these.