David Hall – 23rd March 2014

Dear friends

“Daddy,” asked one of my children, “are we going to go to war over the Ukraine?” “No, I said, I don’t think we will ever go to war again.”  Her question was a reminder to me that the problems in the Crimea had attracted the attention even of those too young to understand fully what it was all about.  And I suppose, my bold response was to reassure her; but none of us really know what the future holds.

On Friday, I had the privilege of leading the funeral of Margaret Pawley, who died aged 91 after many years of distinguished service of both her country and the Anglican Communion.  Her early adulthood was shaped by the restrictions and opportunities of war.  Born in the American Military Hospital in Coblenz, Germany, on 22 March 1922, she was still a young child when her father was appointed High Commissioner of the British Occupied Forces in the Rhineland, departing only as Fascism took hold of Germany in the 1930s.  Aged 21, she was recruited into the Special Operations Executive to provide support to resistance movements in Yugoslavia and Italy during the war.  When peace came, she married Bernard, who became the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Observer to the Vatican 2nd Council in the early sixties.  Despite early widowhood, she raised a family and wrote scores of books.  The last time I visited her, she was very much at peace, anchored in Christ and ready to meet him face to face.

As well as being our Confirmation service next Sunday, March 30th is also Mothering Sunday. We give thanks to God for mothers everywhere, their loving care of the young, the prayer they offer and the many sacrifices they make in challenging times.

Who do you rely on when trouble comes?  In these uncertain times, there is great strength to be found when we hide ourselves in Christ and it is inspiring to meet Christians, whose faith has remained strong through both the turbulent events of history and personal trials of their own.  It is also encouraging to see the younger generation step forward in faith and begin to assume leadership roles within our church family as part of their preparation for the future service of God.  We rejoice also, with those who will shortly be Confirmed.

Psalm 91 v1-4 reminds us:  “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge…”

Whatever the future holds, let us “dwell in the shelter of the Most high”.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is more than able to provide the peace and protection we need….

Yours in Christ

David Hall