Spring is a long time coming this year. As I write this on Palm Sunday there are daffodils and blossom, but to my eyes at least they look slightly harassed, despondent, a bit provisional in the grey light. And can you blame them? After all, it’s only a week since the beast from the east was rampaging across our hills and valleys for the second time this year, and it appears that we are due a third visit on Easter Day itself. (Note to self – check with Robert that we have the brazier for the dawn fire, which we may need even more than usual this year….).
Yes, spring may be a long time coming, we may be wary of yet another blizzard, bringing more tales of icy hills and acts of neighbourliness; we may even have to rethink our Easter services at the last minute. But there is one thing we can be sure of. Whatever the weather in the world, whatever the weather in our hearts and lives, whether or not Hindhead and Shepherd’s and Hammer Hills are blocked again, Jesus Christ is risen indeed, yesterday, today and forever. We can be sure of this: even surer than that spring will come in its fullness.
This time last week I was in Greece (OK, I admit it, I was following the weather stories on Facebook not in person!) travelling in the steps of St Paul, with detours to visit some places of particular spiritual significance – including the ancient monasteries of Meteora, hovering on their rock pinnacles over the plain below, and a modern convent high in remote mountains, where a community of nuns of all ages and nationalities live a life of prayer and practical, self sufficient holiness. It’s inspiring to remember that St Paul and his companions, the monks who built and lived in the high monasteries and today’s remote but connected mountain nuns all shared and share the same belief that we celebrate today. Christ is risen indeed: Alleluia!
We share their belief, and we are challenged to live it out in our own place and time. Sandy has written elsewhere in the magazine about the process of discerning our vision and mission. There will be a parish weekend where we can come together to think more about who God is calling us to be and what that means in practice – what we re called to do to deepen our faith and serve our community and the wider world. Please do put the date – 18- 20 May – in your diaries and come along to eat, drink, talk, plan and have fun. There will be something for everyone, and on Sunday morning as we celebrate Pentecost we will be inviting the Holy Spirit to give life to our planning and dreaming.
On a very practical note, before we get to Pentecost we have the annual parish meeting, which this year is on 22 April at St Christopher’s, beginning at the 10 am service when we remember the year that’s gone and offer it to God, and continuing afterwards with business part, including the re/election of churchwardens and of new members for the PCC to replace those who are stepping down. These are important roles for the parish and if you would like to know more about what is involved and discuss what gifts and experience you might be able to bring to our leadership team, please do contact me, Dorothea or Robert to arrange this. As I learnt once again in Greece, the life of the church depends above all on God, but God works through the talents, dedication, commitment and sheer hard work of his people, whatever the weather.
With the assurance of my prayers for a joyful and blessed Easter,