Good morning friends
One thing I can still remember from my New Testament Greek lessons at Spurgeon’s where we were studying Mark’s Gospel is how our lecturer described it as ‘a Gospel in a hurry’. Mark frequently uses words and phrases like: “Immediately…”, “At once…”, “After this…” and so on. It’s almost as Jesus’ ministry happened in a matter of a few weeks rather than over 3 years!
Interestingly, though, there are times when Mark slows things down and tells us of when Jesus took time out between ministry opportunities – time to go sailing with his friends, get away from the crowds and to spend time with his Father. He took time to be refreshed. In the past I have referred ministers to Nicholas Allan’s lovely children’s book Jesus’ Day Off to make the point that he needed to take time to be refreshed.
During the Covid-19 lockdown I have found myself weary at the end of a day of phone calls and video meetings in a way that I didn’t use to when life was ‘normal’. My Spiritual Director helped me realise why – I am not driving between meetings. I used to use the time between meetings to reflect on what had happened and been said, pray about it and then ‘decompress’ to get ready for the next activity in my diary, but sitting in my study all day does not naturally give me that liminal time. I zoomed from video meeting to video meeting,; in a corresponding way I logged into email-writing mode and kept corresponding; and I dialled in to phone-call mode and made serial calls to people without pausing between them. No wonder I was feeling tired. I had forgotten to follow Jesus’ example of taking breaks.
So I have created myself a mini-liturgy (yes I know: me… liturgy, but it’s only really sort of liturgical!) to help me to ponder, pray and progress through the day (sorry, I couldn’t avoid the Spurgeonic alliteration). Between activity I ponder what God said in the previous encounter, and what I may need to do in response; I pray gratefully for the conversation, interceding where necessary and seeking God’s blessing on those with whom I have spoken; and I progress on towards the next thing, but making sure that I am refreshed (physically as well as emotionally), moving around to keep healthy and even disengaging for a while if needed. I am finding it helpful and have also created a new background for my computer screens to help remind me to do this. I have put all of this online for you to use, if you would like to, and you can download it from here: https://easternbaptistassociation.box.com/s/mnf1dawf72ik5up4zzqqpm0thptn64a7
Whether or not you choose to use this approach I hope and pray that you are taking care of yourself, that you are not overworking and that you are experiencing God’s blessing even as you seek to bless others. If Jesus needed to, how much more do we need to?
During this time of lockdown Beth has offered either an afternoon or one day a week to the Norfolk and Norwich Chaplaincy team. This will either be on a Monday afternoon or a Friday morning starting on 4th May. Please pray for her in this, but also be aware that she may not be available at those time to answer your calls, feel free to contact one of the other RMs at this time.
This Sunday Beth will be zoom-preaching at Braintree Baptist Church; Graeme is virtually with Sudbury Baptist Church and I will be joining the service with my home church.
This week we are praying for Bar Hill Church in Cambridgeshire.
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