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Rector's Letter

The Rector's letter for April 2018

Dear Friends,

The recent bad weather meant that something unusual happened to me, I suddenly found that my very busy diary became empty.  Meetings were cancelled due to the snow and cold, events and visits were postponed and my diary gave me space for doing other things and sometimes nothing.  An email from Harry’s school reminding us that boys sometimes needed to be boys and that snow days should be enjoyed as they happened too infrequently, struck a chord.  It can be blissful to suddenly have space and time in a busy schedule, an excuse to slow down and enjoy the moment.  As I reflected on time, on free time, it struck me that for the occupied and busy this is a luxury, but for those who are not busy time can be a burden of great weight.  Time is only a pleasure for those who do not have enough of it, those who have too much of it just want it to be filled.  We have all experienced the moments when time seems to drag on forever,  when we are waiting for news or alternatively when we are waiting in a traffic jam, for an appointment in hospital or standing in a queue.  There are other periods when time moves far to fast,  like an enjoyable holiday, when you are busy or when you are not looking forward to something.  Of course we all know that time moves at the same pace during all these times and that the difference is in us.  How we view the passing of time is the real issue.

I remember as a student in London waiting for a night bus very late on a cold evening and thinking that time had stopped, a twenty minute wait seemed to be forever.  People talk about when accidents happen time slows down and it seems that you are experiencing things in slow motion. As we approach the Easter season and reflect on the Passion of Christ we see moments when time must have seemed to have gone very fast and times when it seems to stand still.  For the disciples the moments following Jesus’ arrest must have moved very fast, not only were they filled with confusion and fear, his trial and subsequent punishment and death really did happen in a short time. The journey Jesus made carrying his cross was really very short but seems to have taken some time due to his exhaustion following being flogged and the grief of those who watched. After his death it was a short time until the resurrection, days having been measured slightly differently to how we do today, but for the disciples it must have felt an eternity.  The disciples were not waiting expectantly for the resurrection but were plunged into the desolation of grief and an end to hopes and dreams.  They did not understand enough to realise that Jesus’ crucifixion was confirmation of those hopes and beliefs that he was the messiah, instead it seems like a failure, like an end to their big adventure.  How heavy time must have felt in that Upper Room huddled together with their grief and fear about what might happen next, and what they should do next. After Jesus’ resurrection time must have moved more quickly as there was so much to take in and so many new challenges to come to terms with.

 Time and its ebbs and flows are all part of the pattern of life.  The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die….. (Ecclesiastes 3)  It could perhaps have included ‘a time to be busy and a time not to be busy’  Harry’s dance show last year included the song ‘ Seasons of love’ which has the lyric:

525,600 minutes,

 525,600 moments so dear.


 How do you measure a year?

In daylights?

In sunsets?

In Midnights?

In cups of coffee?

In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?

In 525,600 minutes.

How do you measure a year in a life?


We all have the same time in a year but how do we measure that time?  Is it by what we have achieved, what we have experienced, or  who we have spent our time with.  Maybe some or all of these but however busy or not we may find ourselves I am sure we judge our time and its worth in more than just minutes.   This Lent and Easter let us make our time count in the slow times when we have time for God and in the busy times when we need to make time. Let  us stand at the foot of the cross, let us feel the desolation and let us experience the joy together.