If I asked to lean on you

Dear Friends,

If I asked to lean on you many of you might say Im too old and fragile or I dont have the strength to take your weight. Ive got news for you because you are stronger than you thought: Im already leaning on you!

When we were younger we used to play a game of trust in which we would fall backwards to be caught by someone behind us and thats the real life situation we are in right now, however old or fragile you might feel. We are called to trust each other to catch us as we fall. (Please, dont try it for real now because I dont want anyone doing themselves serious harm!) What we have is a spiritual trust in each other that when we fall someone will be there to catch us or pick us up.

As I was leaning on my gate in the snow on Sunday I realised how the church family is my gate and each of you is a gate that I can lean on for support — and YOU have a gate to lean on as well. It was my most encouraging image during the first lockdown when I leant on a gate in prayer and was reminded of what Jesus said: I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved!(John 10: 9) I can lean on Jesus in prayer and will find the support and encouragement I need.

As Christians we invite Jesus into our lives, promising to try and be like him and as the Church we represent his Body in our communities of the world. We can lean on each other for our support and YOU are a gate on which I am leaning!

If a gate is old and rusty and falling from its hinges with its frame too fragile to take the burden of a crisis we can always look to another field and a new opportunity to be saved. One gate broken can be repaired and thats what we do for each other — mend the broken through our love! Jesus is THE Gate that leads us to find many gates on a farm of many fields with a harvest of opportunities from which we can richly reap.

I’m leaning on you on my journey… and the Gate can lead from crisis to opportunity!

Following my encouragement for you to read the Book of Jonah on Monday Susan Nuttall said she “was thinking about Jonah and the whale while watching Perfect Planet.

The whale opens its mouth so wide along the surface of the water to scoop up its prey. I could imagine in the story Jonah being caught up and then jumping out!

If I see the whale coming for me Ill start praying BEFORE it catches me and do what God asks of me!

There are fewer cars in Broadway because of lockdown but I have seen the parking more often than ever before and was disappointed to see her find the car of a carer and giving a parking ticket. As if carers dont have enough to cope with during the pandemic!

Pat Wallace wrote to say: “I’m not sure if I’m preaching to the converted and you already know about this but its an alternative to detergent. Pat Davies gave me some soapnut shells to try for clothes washing. I am now recommending them to others. Organic soap shells are dried fruit cells from India and contain natural soap and are completely free from synthetic and toxic ingredients. Some of their benefits include – organic, vegan, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, palm oil free, cruelty free.They come with a small bag and you place 5 shells into the bag and put it into the machine. The shells can be used up to 4 times. If you want to know more you can go to www.soapnuts.co.uk

If you could be a bird what sort of bird would you be? Before you answer that question take some time this weekend to pause and watch the bird activity in your garden, from window, balcony or as you walk round it with God. Count the different birds you spot in the garden, marvel in the colours and hear their songs. Then answer the question: What sort of bird would you be? It is one of the activities in the Great Garden Bird Watch this weekend and you can take part if you google Great Garden Bird Watch 2021and sign up so that you can find out what sort of bird you are: Are you a sociable starling or a happy house sparrow? Or maybe a much-loved robin. There is a quiz on the RSPB website so you can find out your bird personality and compare with friends and family. It is a wonderful way of spending time with God in prayerful reflection this weekend and, by counting birds and the different kinds, helping the RSPB at the same time.

And, if you dont register you can still use the prayerful exercise of feeling the presence of God in your garden!

God Bless, Richard