‘Where has the year gone, I can’t believe it’s October already!’ This is a phrase I have heard a lot recently, and one which resonates strongly with me. Summer is firmly over, Harvest has been celebrated, and we find ourselves anticipating the end of another year. Returning from Harvest Festival in Church as I write this in mid September, I saw the first Christmas TV commercial of the year, urging us to order our new sofas in time for Christmas! The shops are now full of Christmas items and I can’t help but feel as though we are wishing our lives away somehow. Of course we need to plan, but we also need to pause, take stock, reflect, relax even. A friend recently commented that he spends his life in a headlong rush waiting for the moment he can relax, and I think that is how many of us feel.
Just because we can access goods and services 24 hours a day, just because we can connect with other people instantaneously at the touch of a button, just because our culture operates through a consumer driven lens, doesn’t mean that we have to. We are human beings made in the image of God, and our minds and bodies require rest and relaxation, in order to preserve and generate energy to function.
I find myself resorting to the question that gained particular popularity a couple of decades ago, what would Jesus do? Well, we see over and again in the Gospels that Jesus did something quite surprising when he found himself overwhelmed by crowds, or with a lot to deal with: he took himself away from the situation and spent time in prayer to God, his Father, and he frequently made himself radically unavailable. I wonder if we have the courage to do that too?
I have certainly found that sometimes when I have simply been unable to respond immediately to emails, the perceived urgent problem has somehow been resolved. I have also found that, when I am overwhelmed by circumstances, spending quiet time in prayerful contemplation has an incredibly calming and inspiring effect. Each day, whether I feel like it or not, come rain or shine, I walk my dog and when I return I often find that the solution to a conundrum, or inspiration for a sermon (and this letter!) has come to me whilst I have been walking in our beautiful countryside.
There is wisdom in prayer, reflection, contemplation and movement away from where the perceived action point is. Jesus showed it to be so.
With every blessing,
Rev Chrissy Wilson
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.