Why do I find it so hard to write the ‘vicars letter’ in the parish magazines? I surely waste too much time agonising what should go in them. This month I really have nothing to say. Here is my effort:
What is it that gets you out of bed in the mornings? What is it that really energises you and makes you want to get on with the day? Perhaps it is the smell of freshly ground coffee or the thought of a cooked breakfast? Perhaps it is the sheer joy of living?
The children at St M’s First school start their day with ‘wake and shake’. The whole school gathers on the playground and does ten minutes of easy aerobic routines to loud pop music. On Mondays before assembly I get to join in too, and although I don’t know what passersby make of a seemingly mad priest dancing around with the children, it is great fun! It’s wonderful to feel fully alive and I love seeing all those smiley faces around me, clearly enjoying every minute. The idea is that the physical exercise energises the children who often arrive to school in a sleepy state and it gets them into a state of readiness to learn. It also results in improved concentration in class.
What is it that energises you and makes you want to greet the day, full of life and bounce? My favourite verse in the Bible comes from St John’s gospel where Jesus says, “I have come that you may have life in its fullness” (John10.10). The sort of life that makes you feel fully alive.
As I bounced around the playground with the children this week, a lovely hymn set to a lively tune and written by John Bell from the Iona Community popped into my head.
Today I awake and God is before me
At night as dreamt, he summoned the day;
for God never sleeps, but patterns the morning
with slithers of gold or glory of grey.
The first verse is beautiful. It focuses on God the creator and reminds us that God is always at work in his creation, even while we rest.
Today I arise and Christ is beside me.
He walked through the dark to scatter new light.
Yes, Christ is alive, and beckons his people
To hope and to heal, resist and invite.
The second verse focuses on God the Son, the redeemer and the light in the world. Christ invites us to join with him in bringing hope and healing to the world. He invites us to resist the darkness and evil we see around us and invite others to join us in enjoying life to the full in all its goodness.
Today I affirm the Spirit within me
at worship and work, in struggle and rest.
The Spirit inspires all life which is changing
from fearing to faith, from broken to blest.
The third verse focuses of God, the Holy Spirit, the sustainer and giver of life. The Spirit is always at work, not just when we worship but when we work and we play. Here John Bell, the hymn writer, declares that the Spirit does some of its best work in the midst of change. The Spirit inspires change and encourages us not to be afraid but live in faith.
The last verse finishes with these words:
Today I enjoy the Trinity round me,
above and beneath, before and behind;
the Maker, the Son, the Spirit together –
they called me to life and call me their friend.
This is the key verse for me and what gets me up in the morning re-energised and ready for each day, the knowledge that God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are surrounding me and calling me to new life. Perhaps I need to bounce around each morning to this hymn.