Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
I wonder, when something is worrying you, do you make a note of it, just in case you forget it? No, I don’t do that either. In fact, the opposite is true. Unless I focus on other things, whatever I’m anxious about takes over my thoughts. It’s like my mind is full of fog, slowing down my thought processes such that things seem to take longer to complete. Anxiety and worry are distracting, and being told not to worry doesn’t really help.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul understands that for us to worry less, we must consciously think of other things. Addressing the church in Philippi, Paul writes “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil4:6-8). Paul advises us to focus on the things we are thankful for, and stay alert to the little signs of hope and blessing in our daily lives.
With the miserable weather of late, the shorter, darker days and the ongoing and frustrating impact of the pandemic, we might be forgiven for worrying and thinking that this crisis will never end, that life will never be ‘normal’ again. When such thoughts invade my mind, when ‘lockdown fatigue’ strikes, I try to keep a mental list of the good things that are happening in my life, however small they might be, and I thank God for them daily. These positive things are like little seeds of hope, reminding me that whatever my circumstances God is always with me.
Most surprisingly for me, one of the positive things recently has been the little rescue dog, Niamh, that my son adopted five months ago. She has been a great source of laughter, joy and de-stressing and has got us out of the house, regardless of the weather, to take her for regular walks. Walking her around the Rectory garden in recent days, I’ve noticed little yellow flowers (aconites?) pushing up through the mulch of damp, dead leaves and crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils putting up shoots, despite the frost, rain and snow. These really are little signs of hope, reminding us that after the winter comes the spring, just as the growing number of people who have been vaccinated tell us that this pandemic too, will pass.
Please be assured of my continued fervent prayers for all the communities in the benefice, and especially for those impacted by the coronavirus through illness, isolation, hardship or uncertainty. If there is anything else the Church or I can do to help, please let me know and we’ll do what we can.
With prayers and blessings,
Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile: 07511 544375 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org