The Lay Reader's Letter (written by Gordon Gray) extends the tradition of the Vicar's Letter which has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002
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Lay Reader's Letter

July 2010

At the end of May I became a grandfather to a baby girl, Imogen - it was an event that made me stop and ponder on the miracle that is a new life. Through Imogen's mother, Rachel, I have learnt more about the relationship between a mum-to-be and the developing baby than I ever did when I experienced fatherhood. Rachel regularly described how the unborn infant was responding to external stimuli and, as she did so, I felt very close, as many expectant parents must, to the Psalmist who wrote of God's complete knowledge and care some 3,000 years earlier:

"You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother's womb. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there - you saw me before I was born.".... Psalm 139

And, on Bank Holiday Monday, a tiny, totally dependent child entered the world and began that wonderful, terrifying, blissful experience that is life. It made me wonder "What do I wish for her? What would you wish for a newborn child?" Well here are a few characteristics I hope she will have as she grows up:

  • Generosity - so she can experience the paradox that the more you give the more enriched you become.
  • Courage - so she can stand up against those who would promote injustice and fear.
  • Love - so she may treat all people, equally, as her friend.
  • Perception - so she can fully experience God in the created world, and be thankful.

I am moved by words of Alfred Wainwright, of Lakeland map-book fame:

Sunshine and colour and love; these make life worth living. Not success or wealth. The warmth and brightness of sunshine, the arch of a rainbow, the tenderness of a smile; these are pure gold even when pockets are empty. To have these with me always I would joyfully forego the most coveted position; I would choose happiness rather than affluence. And I cannot be persuaded that I have a false sense of values.

Finally, all new born babies need a sense of urgency. The life we have been given is a wonderful gift, but one that flies by all too quickly - as the Prayer Book says "Man that is born of Woman has but a short time to live". So I'll finish with a paraphrase from my favourite poem, Rudyard Kipling's 'If':

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run'
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And, which is more - you'll be a woman, my delightful grand-daughter.

-- Gordon, Reader, St Mary's Eaton Bray

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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 area for these.