Little Gidding

Dear Friends,

I have had a message of encouragement every day for the last 194 days from one of my best friends. I admit, I havent read them all, but God has a way of making sure I am reminded when I need to read a particular one. It is one of those amazing spiritual connections I have with a few friends who know when I need prayer and I know when they need it.

I had a reminder last week when my mobile pinged as I was reading our Word for Today from United Christian Broadcasters, something Virginia and myself do together each morning. When we finished the reading I looked to see why the phone had pinged and it was a message from my friend of 194 messages encouraging me to read what I had just read! That must mean it was important, mustnt it? Or, do you believe it was one of those many reminders that we call coincidences?

I believe too much of what God does for us is dismissed as coincidence so I assume Delroys encouragement from a ping on my phone is a message for me, and one to be shared. So, here is the reflection for that day:

One day Jesus saw at the waters edge two boards, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon: Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.Simon answered: Master, weve worked hard all night and havent caught anything. But, because you say so, I will let down the nets.When they had done so they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

Are you sitting today where Peter sat? Your outlook is bleak, your nets are empty, youve tried everything you know and youre ready to give up? It happens; you get to the place where you simply stop expecting anything good. Youve experienced too many disappointments and youre afraid to dream, reach, stretch or broaden your horizons. Jesus knows how hard youve tried and today hes inviting you to try again — this time with him!

Even though youre wrestling with depression and tormenting memories, unemployment, addiction, financial failure or sickness, the Lord of new beginnings wants to come on board. If you let him in, he will show you what to do. Now, what he says may not initially make sense to you. But, if you are willing to respond like Peter — ‘Because you say so, I will’ — youre on the threshold of a miracle. Today, invite Jesus on board and watch how your situation changes.

A lot of what is happening to us doesnt make any sense, but because Jesus says try againwe will, in a different place (John 21: 6), and I pray this is a message for you too. The Lord doesnt want us to give up and sits beside us encouraging us to keep trying!

Initially it was annoying when the garage in Birmingham told me at 3-30 in the afternoon on Tuesday that my car was not fit to drive. Oh no, I was stuck in Birmingham for the night. That evening I spent the time watching Power Rangerswith a grandchild snuggled up either side of me thanking God that I couldnt get home! I also thanked God for getting me safely to Birmingham in the morning in a car that wasnt safe to drive! Had it also been unsafe since we first broke down on the way to Lymington? Thank you, Lord, for looking over us!

It was good to visit Susan Nuttall on Monday and one of the things we talked about was finding our way, following my letter on Monday. She was trying to remember a poem and has since written to say, “this is the quotation I was trying to remember and it includes a gate!

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

It continues:

Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
—T.S. Eliot, from Little Gidding,Four Quartets (Gardners Books; Main edition, April 30, 2001) Originally published 1943.”

Patrick Murunga writes from Kenya saying, thank you so much for the invitation to participate in your zoom meeting. It is always a pleasure for me to be part of a congregation right across the world.

As you requested, allow me to share my prayer requests: Pray . . .

1. . . . for a pastor couple whose child is going through treatment. She’s been diagnosed with bipolar.

2. . . . for pastors in Nairobi (known to me) who are struggling to pay rent, put food on the table for their families, and now have to pay school fees for their children to return to school

3. . . . for our new pastor’s ministry (The Leadership Connection – TLC) as I raise funds to run this ministry.

4. . . . for me as I give leadership to TLC

5. . . . for pastors to be the light of Christ in Kenya.

THE PANDEMIC PRAYER

With Pentecost approaching we trust you afresh Lord, our God of surprises.

With the Holy Spirit within us we say with confidence; we are not shaken but strong!

With the joy of your presence we declare victory is yours over everything we face.

With praises on our lips we sing a new song of hope, life and fullness.

With peace in our hearts we live in rest and know with certainty that you show us the path to follow.

Amen

Jo Patel, local leader at Wattisfield URC, Eastern Synod

Interviews will take place for the Outreach Worker on June 7th so please pray for the candidates and for those involved in interviewing and greeting so that the right person will be appointed.

The Church in Society group say that once the Emergency Fund has received £100 — and we are nearly there this amount will be sent off to the Oxygen for India Fund and the Emergency Fund will then return to being a non-specific collection.

Naomi still values prayer as she struggles with poor health, but it hasnt stopped her prayer ministry with her neighbours. They meet this afternoon in her flat so prayers for that ministry and her health!

God Bless, Richard