Letter from the Vicarage – Feb 2017

Published April 11, 2017 by Vicky Newhouse in Clergy Letters, Parish Magazine
Letter from the Vicarage…
I think I have now got to that age in life, when time seems to disappear more quickly. Having gone to see the excellent SADS pantomime back in December, we got back to the Vicarage from the Saturday night performance and watched a couple of old episodes of Top of the Pops from 1982.  I was 13 then, and watching all the bands, singers and songs from that year took me right back in a bittersweet kind of way.  So many good memories but also a sense of some sadness – where have all those years gone?!  On a plus note, watching those episodes reminded me that I own a lot of old vinyl from those days so it has been good over the past few weeks to rediscover my passion for listening to music as a way of relaxation, rather than just sticking the TV on after a long and hard day.
I know from the many conversations I have that I am not alone in feeling the more galloping nature of time the older one gets.  The wisdom that comes with age reveals to us that time is a precious commodity and life is a wonderful gift, one that is easy to take for granted, or to just let slip by, when we are much younger and see it stretching out before us in a seemingly endless way. 
2016 was a year in which we saw the loss of a lot of good people – both celebrities and locals.  When someone dies, we who are left appreciate the gift of life all the more, because we grasp more fully the finite nature of our time on earth. Christians believe human life has the hope of a mysterious, eternal dimension as promised and won through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  
And at funerals, that is always something I encourage people to hold onto but I also urge the living to live well and to make the most of every opportunity and the time that our finite life on earth gifts to us.
As we all move steadily forwards into 2017, I urge the same – let’s embrace life fully, rejoicing in it, making the most of every day.  Even when life is hard – and it really hard sometimes – there are good things, good blessings to know and experience if only we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear them.
I know I have used it in previous letters for this magazine but Christian Aid’s slogan is, “We believe in life before death”.  This captures the importance of making life on earth a better experience for all those who need it to be so.  I would like to thank all of you who affirmed the good truth of this by contributing to our special Christmas Collections:  The Crib service raised £267.92 for the St George Foundation and its work with street children in Sierra Leone.  The collections at the Carol Service, Midnight Mass and Christmas Day services raised £1038.37 for Christian Aid’s work in Syria. 
On the world stage, 2017 is, no doubt, going to be an ‘interesting’ year.  I hope it will be a healthy and happy one for you, your families and friends.
Every blessing.
Claire