Starting with a quotation from Lamentations would not perhaps be considered the most optimistic thing to do as I write my first ‘Reflection’, the very name of the book carries an image of gloom and doom. But in Lamentations 3:22-24 we read: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.””. You cannot get much more encouraging than that – which just goes to prove you shouldn’t judge a book by its title!
I was formally established as Churchwarden at a service in St Barnabas Church, Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday. It was great to join with others – some new like me, some with much experience – and be charged to serve our churches and to live out our love, God’s love, with generosity, joy, imagination and courage. We also heard a little about what being a churchwarden was all about and the priorities for the year ahead. On that note, Julie got me a book as part of my birthday present last week, it was called “Churchwardens – A Survival Guide” …like Lamentations not the most inspiring title. Why would ‘survival’ come into it? As I read through the history of wardens and the different customs, practices and law surrounding the role, I could see why they got that title, but all the evidence I had was of wardens who had not just survived but who had been radiant examples of God’s love, so I carried on reading and the encouragement grew.
When the role was created way back in the 15th century wardens were expected to work as ‘spies and informers to ensure that reformed principles were being applied’. They could also report the vicar if he wore a scruffy surplice! I am happy to say that this is no longer the case; the role now is to be part of a team supporting David, Dave and Anne and, working with the PCC, to make sure everything runs smoothly here…oh, yes, and to eject any noisy canines from services!
So, back to that quotation from Lamentations: the only way any of us can serve God effectively is because He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide and support, to encourage and challenge, to strengthen and comfort. His love never ceases. As we wake each morning we can know His mercy, no matter what the day holds. Whatever our role is, and I don’t just mean role in the church, but our role in life, at home, at work, in all our communities He is there to help us. His steadfast love is always there whether we are conscious of it or not.
As we are so loved…then we are better able to love others. When we first came to Christ Church the way in which people cared for each other, worked together and supported each other was just such an amazing witness to the fact that God’s love was present, was all around. We still feel that. It really is a privilege to be part of a praying, learning, caring, celebrating and loving community and which reaches out to share the love of Christ with others.
Geoff Roberts, Warden