|Act 27: Gratitude by Mark Murthen|
|Imagine you’re making your acceptance speech at the Oscars. Who would you mention as the people who have made the most impact on your life? The ones you could say you owed it all to? Grab a pen and paper and start making that list.|
Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words.”
(2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT)
I am going to do the ‘amber’ challenge: Which teacher, pastor, youth leader or former boss had the most impact on you? Find out how to contact them and say thank you for shaping your life through their kindness.
There are many people who have influenced me and who I thank God for: my parents and many friends. However, the challenge is to think of people in specific roles. There are two who come to mind. The first is my dear friend Valerie. She was the vicar’s wife and deaconess who didn’t give up on visiting me to invite me to church. I had had the girls christened and ignored quite a few invitations when the older one got to Sunday School age. Eventually, Valerie told me later, she told God that if there wasn’t a parking space and/or I wasn’t in she was giving up, having tried to visit me several times. There was a parking space and I was in. I was unresponsive, didn’t even switch the TV off and she left thinking that it was a waste of time. Little did she know that her prayers were being answered. I did go to church with the children and the rest, as they say, is history. I attended Sunday mornings and the mid-week toddlers’ church where the mums had a discussion with Valerie while ‘Aunty Brenda’ amused the children. We had a craft activity and bible story and worship with the children.
I was encouraged to grow in faith by Valerie’s example and teaching, her encouragement and listening as I poured out my troubles. She prayed for me, and helped me to know that God loves me, despite my failings. She let me stay in her house in Shropshire to have a holiday with my husband and children, and then a retreat, without charge. She was always there for me. In time our relationship shifted from pastor/congregation member to friends. I now consider her to be my big sister.
So I thank God for Valerie and will send an email to tell her so.
The other person who was a big influence is the vicar who trained me when I was a curate. He is now my archdeacon. The last email I had from him was to say that he wasn’t able to visit yesterday to formally induct me into being the vicar here. All the legal stuff had been done – I am legally the vicar with a new license but as the Church of England has various customs involving congregations. His email included this:
The service runs thus:
The Bishop says
Mr Archdeacon, having instituted/collated N, I ask you to induct him/her into the real, actual and corporeal possession of this Church and Benefice, and to defend him/her so inducted.
The people stand and face the principal door.
The Archdeacon and the Churchwardens take the Incumbent to the main door of the Church. The Archdeacon lays the Priest’s hand on the handle and says:
I, N, by virtue of my office as Archdeacon of N induct you N into the real, actual and corporeal possession of this Church of N
Needless to say, despite not having done this, I will defend you nonetheless. Perhaps we must practice “spiritual” induction.
I haven’t yet replied to the email, but have just ‘flagged’ it and will reply, thanking him for his continuing support and the foundational years of his influence when I was a curate.
As it was my day off Terry and I went for a long walk up a lane and then across some fields nearby. I saw the words ‘Cuckoo Cliff’ and lots of close lines on the map so I knew it wold be steep at that point. I am glad I took 2 walking poles with me as my left knee has been painful lately (if it still hurts when life returns to normal I’ll go to the doctor). I attempted the Nordic Walking method which meant that when we got home my knew was no worse than when we started. We did the 3.5 miles in glorious sunshine with a cooling breeze – perfect walking weather.
I had to laugh when I saw the photo Terry had taken on his phone of the cliff. I wondered what the tripod was in the foreground then realised it was me leaning on the poles taking a breather.
Footbridge at the base of the cliff where 3 streams converge.
According to Strava that walk burned up 573 calories – which makes me feel better about the cake I baked and then ate a huge slice of in the evening.
Have finished typing this up with morning cuppa – and so glad I could find the photo from church. I had to search through albums. And so to another day of this very different Lent.