As we enjoy the spring sunshine and some warmer weather, I see the trees have burst into leaf within the last week or so and the other day I caught sight of a swallow zipping through the air. Summer is on its way; it will be, surely, most welcome after such a long cold winter.
And just as Sunday is one seventh of the week, the Easter season is one seventh of the year. It is the high point of the Christian year, celebrating the possibility of growth and new life which comes from the presence of the risen Jesus in our midst. That which we thought was dead is now alive with possibility.
One of the most important things about belonging to a group of parishes is the way we can all join together as a family of diverse people, yet one in Christ. Our Group Eucharists are most successful. It is always uplifting to see over a hundred faithful people coming together in worship. Another important reality about being a group of parishes is that we have the opportunity to worship and pray in a holy place every single day of the week throughout the year. We need to train ourselves to listen to God’s voice; and listening is to pray. Prayer is the basis of all that we do.
When I was a young boy I remember my sister and I used to go to our grandparents’ house for tea every night after school. Whenever it rained, the huge fern that used to hang in the window of the back room was to be found in a large bucket in the middle of the back yard. When I asked my Gran why she had left the fern out in the rain, she used to reply, “So that it can soak up God’s good rain.”
And that is about as good a definition of prayer as I’ve ever come across. Prayer is not about bending God’s will to ours, but about simply placing ourselves in His presence; allowing his love to rain on us so that we will be transformed into healthy beings capable of loving each other as He loves us.
I encourage you all to attend the weekday prayers and Eucharists in our churches when you are able; and at other times, to use the daily prayer leaflets available in each church at home.
May the love of the risen Jesus be with you all this Eastertide, in your homes, your families and your neighbourhoods and above all in your praying hearts.