Rector's Letter - September 2016

Dear Friends,

"There's no place like home!" - so the old song goes. We all need a place where we feel that we belong. Pat and myself have very happily made our home in these villages these last 10 years and it has gone all too quickly. Now, we are on the move again, and it will be hard for us to leave! For me this must be about my 35th move of home. My father was in the Navy, and we were often on the move, and "vicaring" is another nomadic way of life. All this can leaves me feeling rather rootless and unsure of where I belong, where "home" really is.

The Bible tells a story all about belonging and I have found it a very reassuring, because fundamentally it is a story of hope and the promise of a future "home". The story starts with Adam and Eve secure and settled in a world where they belong and everything lives in harmony. They are God's children looking after God's world. Then, through their own fault, they spoilt it all by rejecting their place as God's children, and as a consequence lost that sense of security and belonging. The rest of the Old Testament is a story of a peoples' restless search to find, once again, that home where they really belong. After many struggles and disasters, they arrived at the Promised Land, with God, their Heavenly Father, "dwelling in their midst" (symbolised by the Temple in Jerusalem). But, once again, having found home, they messed up again. Home is not just a place, it is about the people who live there too. And once again, people turned their backs on God. They left Him out of their "home". If we are God's children, then ignoring Him, means that Someone vital is missing. So people could not even feel at home in the Promised Land! They rejected God, and ended up in exile. And the same sad story has been repeated down the ages to our day. We are restless and looking for something more in life, somewhere we feel truly "at home". St Augustine put it like this in his famous prayer:

“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”

Then Jesus came, and He opens for us the way "home". The Baptism Service puts it... "We all wander far from God and lose our way; Christ comes to find us and welcomes us home. In baptism we respond to His call". Jesus came to make His home amongst us, so that we might find our true home in Him. Let's face it, this world cannot ever be more than a temporary home. I believe that we can all find our eternal home in Jesus. That is where we truly belong.

So, it is with heavy hearts that we are leaving you. I hate saying "Goodbye", but we can be comforted that in Christ, our "goodbye" is only "God be with you till we meet again". And in Christ, we can be sure that we WILL meet again one great day, never having to say "Goodbye" again, for at last we will be HOME, where we really belong, for ever.

With my love, prayers and best wishes,
In Christ, John.

Verse for the Month

“Here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”
Hebrews 13:14

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