Rector's Letter - July 2015

Dear Friends,

I used to enjoy the TV series Friends about the ups and downs of the lives of five friends in New York. They are all rather immature and self-obsessed, which make amusing viewing. Eventually, two of the friends, Monica and Chandler, fall in love and "everything in the garden is rosy". But then they have an enormous argument, and Chandler is convinced that it is now all over. But Monica says "Welcome to a grownup relationship!" and they eventually work their way back together again.

Disagreements are part of life, and can cause great distress if we have a profound disagreement with someone we love. Sometimes this can even lead to the end of the relationship, or, surprisingly, it can lead to a stronger, deeper love. How we handle disagreements plays a big part in the final outcome. Are we prepared to be humble and generous enough to have a "grownup relationship" and work through the issue? Are we going to remember that love is about giving, a commitment to give (for those who are married "For better, for worse") it's about being mature enough to be able to listen, to talk honestly and to come to an understanding of the other person's point of view. Sometimes, outside help is needed, sometimes, sadly, the differences are too great, but hopefully the disagreement can be sorted out and the relationship can find new strength and joy.

Our relationship with God can have similar ups and downs. There have been times when God and myself have fallen out... sometimes "big time"! I have felt betrayed and angry with God. "You're supposed to be a loving God so why have You allowed this to happen?" It is quite in order to be angry with God, after all it's no good pretending. He is not fooled! Sometimes it is the only real, honest response.

And we are in good company, the Psalms are full of angry cries of despair, as are the prophets. Indeed, Jesus Himself cried in bewilderment from the cross, "My God why? Why?" And sometimes that is all we can do, shake our fist at God and cry "Why?" That is what happens in a "grownup relationship".

And sometimes, most times perhaps, we won't get a satisfactory answer. But if we are going to have a real, mature relationship with God, that is how it has to be. But as we express our feelings, we can still trust, despite the questions, in God's unfailing love that will never let us go. That is His promise! And I, and countless others, have never found that trust misplaced. It has eventually led to a deeper, truer grownup relationship with God, as we come to see that we are loved, and nothing, absolutely nothing can change that!

With my love and prayers,
In Christ, John.

Verse for the Month

“Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

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