St Peter & St Paul

South Petherton, with the Seavingtons

and the Lambrooks

The Rector’s Letter for June

Dear Friends,

This period of the church’s calendar can be a stirring one. As the Easter celebrations settle we move into a slightly restless time in the road of Jesus’ life and ministry.The period around Ascension and Pentecost has great promise with it but also a sense of anxious questioning: Where is Jesus going? What will happen next? Why can’t he stay? Who is this ‘helper’ that Jesus promises will come, and will this ever take place?

In the flow of God’s plan there is a certain necessity to this disruption as it creates the gap into which the creative life of the Spirit can enter and the Church can be born. But this restlessness does seem to speak into life in so many ways that is worth holding and even savoring.

At the moment we face a general election with all the feelings and implications surrounding this and that lie beyond it. Many young people are sitting or preparing to sit exams. There are a good number of ‘for sale’ signs up around our villages. There seem to be too many global tensions to list or prioritise and many national issues of, ‘what next’? So many questions and causes for restlessness. Even writing this makes me want to get up and pace!

Perhaps with all of this around, over the last couple of days I have had the prayerful words of St. Augustine travelling with me, “you have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our  heart is restless until it finds its rest in you”. This seems to me to be a vital (life giving) prayer for this time - the church’s year and within our world.

We learn of Pentecost that what is given of God in answer to restlessness is far from passive, but does quiet concerns (or maybe re-educates us to what those concerns should be). It is not an easy pre-packaged answer, but does obliterate having to face anything alone, ‘casting out fear’.

Augustine’s words have been formed into a collect, which I will print below. You might like to use it as your prayer, for wherever your heart is restless, for wherever God needs to answer (as God promises to do) the stirrings, gaps and uncertainties within you.

Almighty God,

you have made us for yourself,

and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:

pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,

and so bring us at last to your heavenly city

where we will see you face to face;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.                                                                           Thanks Rev’d Tom Handy