Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
As a child, I remember I had a large, furry teddy bear, imaginatively called Ted! Ted had been pre-loved, handed down to me from another family member, and he was a little worn. If I was lucky, when I turned Ted upside down, he would emit a low growl, but that didn’t always happen, as his growler was a bit hit and miss. Nevertheless, Ted was much loved, and a constant companion through my childhood years.
Maybe you or your children (or your grandchildren) have a similar soft toy. Loved when it first arrives, perhaps as a gift from a favourite relative, the soft toy becomes a firm favourite; a regular honoured guest at the pretend tea party, a travelling companion on every family outing and holiday, and always there at bedtime. Over time, of course, such a much-loved, well-used soft toy begins to show signs of wear. Its once vibrant colours become a little grubby, its fur becomes threadbare, its seams split, and stuffing leaks out. Quick running repairs with a needle and thread, plus occasional visits to the washing machine perhaps keep the toy together and clean. Even so, ragged, grubby and patched up as it might be, that soft toy is greatly loved. Other toys and dolls might come and go, but like my Ted, the special soft toy remains the favourite, the real focus of affection.
As human beings, we’re rather like that ragged, grubby soft toy. We are all of us flawed, wounded, broken and hurt, whether by the things that happen to us in life, or our own missteps and wrongdoings. The Christian season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, 6th March, is a chance to pause and reflect on our own raggedness, and take some time for self-examination and self-denial. And it’s an opportunity to clean up our act, and make some running repairs, maybe giving up some unhelpful habits, and taking up others that will renew us as we go on with our lives.
But it’s worth remembering that God knows us in all our raggedness, and he loves us anyway. The Bible tells us that we are made in God’s image, the crowning glory of his creation. Raggedness is not our identity, nor is our destiny. God loves us just the way we are – ragged and careworn as we may be – but he loves us too much to leave us that way.
Yours in Christ,
Stephen – 01327 344436
The Streets we shall be praying for during March are: Close Rd, The Pound and The Peak in Heyford, The Avenue and The Glebe in Flore, The Old Dairy Farm in Upper Stowe and the outlying farms around Stowe and the Mews Houses in Brockhall.