As I write the pastoral letter, for this double issue of our church magazine, the sun is shining and the temperature is rising on another beautiful summers day. The light and the warmth make it difficult to believe that we are living in the same place that experienced such a long, dark, prolonged and bitter winter – with all it’s snow and ice.
Plants that seemed dead and stunted throughout that time are now in full leaf and the birds that were silent, or absent altogether, are now to be seen and heard all around.
All of this effects our mood, our habits and even the way we dress. We may find ourselves experiencing the joy of long days out of doors; making the most of the stunning location that we are so blessed to live in.
It seems to me that the external natural world around us, with its changes in season; its intensities of light and colour; its movement from cold to warmth; can echo the interior spiritual life we also experience.
Sometimes we might find it easy to feel the warmth of God’s love for us. Sometimes we find that the discipline of prayer and of worship come easily as our blessings seem obvious and our spirit light.
At other times, even when things around us may appear to be fine, we can experience what spiritual writers have referred to as ‘The dark night of the soul’. A time of real struggle; of apparent abandonment and even of despair.
Here the natural world around us can teach us a truth. In both the bleak depth of winter and the light-filled hight of summer, the truth is that the sun shines with equal strength. It is only our perception of it that varies.
God, who made himself known to us in his Son Jesus Christ, keeps his promise never to leave us nor forsake us – no matter our circumstances or how we feel.
May we, who have been granted the gift of faith, also be granted the gift of grace always to perceive his loving presence and to trust him for all of life’s varied journey.
Yours in the faith,