CLERGY TEAM

   

Rector


The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

 jmath@btinternet.com

Associate Rector


The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 854451
revstephenbroadie@
gmail.com

Assistant Priest


The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624
wsmullenger@
idnetfreemail.co.uk

 

June Leader

Theresa May caught us all by surprise when she called for a snap General Election two months ago. On the 8th June the nation as a whole will once again go to the polls, for the third time in just over 2 years, if we include the EU referendum.

We can be grateful that we do get to have a say in some very significant decisions, including who will lead us as a nation. However, I am also reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 15:16, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you’. In the Christian walk, it seems to be that spiritual growth is often found in letting God take the initiative with our lives, in letting him be the one who chooses. Increasingly in my own spiritual journey I have found that it is when I let God take the lead that exciting things happen. I may have all sorts of plans and ideas for myself, but in fact God’s ideas seem to go above and beyond what I may have planned for myself. I sometimes cite our own family’s move to Orpington as an example of that. God had prepared something for us that we could never have imagined a few years ago, and his plans have proved to be far better than any of our own.

As the Franciscan Richard Rohr says, ‘it’s not what you do for God; it’s what God has done for you.’ He relates this to what he calls the first and second halves of life*, and cites Jesus’ words to St Peter in John 21:18, ‘Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’

The first half of life is the time when we get to create our own identity, when we build up a list of labels that define us, perhaps through our academic achievements, or maybe our careers, or through different status symbols that we might accumulate. We take the initiative. If you like, we ‘dress ourselves’ and we ‘go where we want’. However, in the second half of life we have to learn to let go, to ‘stretch out our hands’. Many of the things that have helped define us will eventually disappear, including our titles, our jobs, our family structure, and quite possibly our homes. If we don’t learn to find a deeper identity than the one we have simply created for ourselves, we will be in trouble. In the second half of life, the task is to ‘switch from trying to love God to just letting God love you.’ As much as our own initiative might seem important in the first half of life, it seems to be that ultimately we need to recognise God’s initiative if we are to move towards spiritual maturity. This is a lesson that I am definitely still in the process of learning!

When we go to the polls on the 8th June, we can be grateful that we can participate in such an important choice. We can be grateful for how we as an electorate get to take the initiative. However, in our spiritual walk, let us also begin to find the courage to let God take the initiative with our lives.

Stephen Broadie


* Rohr, R. (2011). ‘Falling Upward: a Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life’.

FAITH AND WORSHIP

 

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