Rector's Ramblings: January 3rd 2021

 

 

The days after Christmas Day saw me rather down in the dumps. I was on my own for the first time in my life for those days as opposed to having a friend visit and going back to Norfolk to catch up with old friends. On top of that, my faithful Bran isn’t too good and I find it hard to know how to help him. I was, as I say, down in the dumps. It may be you’re down in the dumps as we have ended up in Tier 4 with all that that means.

   Now it may be that you think we vicars can just turn to prayer and tune in to God and all is well. It doesn’t work like that I’m afraid, but I will share with you the journey I made as it may be helpful. I started with wanting to pray though what that desire produced didn’t seem to be up to much. Could I focus? No way. But I did have the desire to be with my Big Friend Jesus and that tends to be enough.

   Failing to have any decent conversation in prayer, I had a look at the bible readings set for the day. What did I find? This passage: “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’15 ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” (Isaiah 49: 14-16a) A good and needed reminder for me and for all of us and I savoured it but it didn’t help me settle to pray.

  So on with the TV, which isn’t the best answer really. As you’ll know, the TV schedules haven’t been wonderful over Christmas and I found myself watching Long Lost Family US.  The theme (as with the English version) is that people who were adopted want to know where they came from and that they were wanted. Parents who gave up their children for adoption want to know their children fared OK and that adoption had been the best thing to do. Many recognised that their letting go had enabled their children to be a blessing to the adoptive parents. These searchers want to know who they are, where they came from and whose they really are. Without answers, they felt unwanted, a mistake, an inconvenience. It reminded me too of The Dog Rescuers where we see dogs just longing to have a family and be adopted after difficult times.

  Which led me to the Bible readings for today which use the language of being children of God and adopted by God to try to put into words our relationship with God. Biblical writers are always seeking to describe something that is beyond description so it is always a case of ‘ It’s as if.....’ and ‘It’s like...’ and they use the language of father and child, of adoption. ‘It’s like we’ve been adopted by God’

  Paul in the Ephesians reading says this: ‘Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)’ (The Message) while St John has it like this: ‘So he gave them the right to be the children of God.13 They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children.’

  Again that reminder that we are God’s, we belong to him and he is our heavenly Father. He chose us and wants us. I was eventually able to rest in that truth. To forget my ‘down in the dump-ness’ and say ‘It’s OK because I am His and He hasn’t forgotten me. He knows what I’m feeling and he’s not judging me for it but is sitting here with me, his arm round me.

    That was my journey this week but I felt it might be helpful to all of us to be reminded that we are God’s children and he has chosen to adopt us. Whatever buffeting life throws at us, we have that place in God’s heart and being. With me, have a read and ponder on more of that Ephesians passage and be glad:

“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. 7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” (Ephesians 1:3-12 – The Message)

    We are firmly adopted into God’s family because He wants us there – in the terms of The Dog Rescuers in our forever home. He is our true place of belonging.  He does understand when we are down in the mouth and he gives us reassurance in whatever way is right for each of us – if we want that. I simply share my journey as an example, not as a model for all. It’s not a ‘fix all my problems’ answer but it is a secure way ahead.

 Let’s walk into 2021 secure in the knowledge of who we are, and whose we are


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