‘What a difference a day makes …’ so the popular song goes – ‘twenty-four little hours…’ And indeed it does. On 13th June we remembered Grenfell one year on – lives lost, and lives turned upside down, never again to know the relative peace of a life that was ‘the day before…’ And of course, scattered amongst these front-page tragedies are a myriad lower-keyed but no less poignant life-changing incidences and experiences of life known at a personal levels – happening every-day that seemingly challenge our faith if we have any – and keep us from seeking faith if we don’t. How can a loving God who created us – and who wants the best for us allow such havoc, we ask? It’s an age-old question and one that can’t be answered in a magazine letter but one that can and should be explored and reflected upon so that we can find the best answer that we can – the answer that makes us as peaceful and as hopeful as we can be. (Let me know if I can explore this big question – or any other for that matter – with you over a cuppa sometime. It would be lovely to meet you. Tel: 716431)
If ever there is a time when we need encouragement and reassurance then surely it is now. And it was as I began to write this reflection on 12th June, the day the Church remembered Barnabas the Apostle, that a message of encouragement did indeed shine through. Barnabas was a man who joined the early struggling Christian community and was given his name which means ‘son of encouragement’ – he sold all that he had and gave it to the central fund to help sustain the kitty (Acts 4:36). Encouragement from Barnabas took the form of good sharing and caring which is close to my heart and the heart of St Peter’s – and of many others who want to belong in community and friendship – to do the best they can for the place where they are rooted. There are many such places like that in Wrecclesham – our schools, community centre, community activities, community care services, the church – to name but a few.
En-cour-agement – at the centre of this word is a word that means the heart. The core of the gift of encouragement is heartfelt – the language of the heart. And it is in that universal language of love – lived out in acts of kind words and loving deeds – where we can dig deep and find the loving creator we so want to believe in and have faith in – and feel safe in.
By encouraging one another to keep walking through the darkness of the world’s brokenness that affects us all in some way or another nearly every day, we can help each other to enlarge our hearts and therefore the presence of hope through the life-giving gift of chivvying-along-encouragement rooted in love and enjoy the brighter side of things with a deeper thanksgiving.
And so, to end where we began, let us lift our hearts above the clamours and chaos of the world and invoke down-to-earth hopeful encouragement as we sing with trusting confidence the end line of that famous song: ‘..what a difference a day makes, when that difference is You…’
Wishing you every blessing for this coming holiday season – may you find rest and relaxation…
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