Reflections

Find all of the Spiritual reflections and inspirational words from our chaplains that we share on social media, all in one place. 

Palm leaf, wooden cross and the word Easter

Easter

I have pondered Easter for over 40 years.

Is it all about us ‘becoming’ – becoming effective human beings while we live through ‘self giving’? Ultimately expressed, for Christians, in Jesus, who became the Christ at Easter in all His self giving.

Is it a mixture of God’s grace and human freedom? The necessity for human beings to grow in both personal and social holiness or completeness while we live; to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves, including the neighbours we consider to be our enemies?

Is it about trying to work out how God might be at work in us and through us every moment, offering us the best possibilities for co-creating the future and promoting the common good while we live right now, here on earth-today?

Is the whole story about God’s desire to see love, compassion, healing, liberation, beauty, and truth flourish in each of us and in the world?

The more I/we choose these intentions, directions, and actions, the easier it is to respond to God’s revelations in one another, nature and all our kin, which is everything two legged and eight legged…inanimate and alive.

Can these become habits of the heart, mind, and spirit while we live?

I have never believed Easter to be about some otherworldly thing focussed on saving souls from eternal damnation (the street preacher model?). It is only meaningful to me if this mysterious story has impact on human lives in this life for the good of ALL non-believers and believers. How do you imagine God is important? I do not see a tyrant Father sending his son to die. I see a loving parent coming amongst us to reveal how we can have life and live in all its fullness..

That’ll do Amen.

Rev’d Canon Alan Robson

 

God’s Promise

February has ended and the records say for some it has been the wettest ever.

Land is flooded everywhere and sometimes with disastrous, life -changing consequences for farmers and growers. Who would ever have thought that the government might pay farmers to store water on their land?

As someone said to me ’the rain has been Biblical!’  They were referring to Noah’s Flood which ‘cleansed the earth’ for God to make a fresh start. The flood ends with the rainbow – a sign of God’s promise: ‘while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not cease.’

Christians believe in a Creator God whose love and mercy is over all that he has made. The rainbow says, ‘there is always hope, there is always a new beginning, God’s loving providence cannot be drown or destroyed.’

Fr Andy Hawes

Man walking in a ploughed field with a rainbow in the sky above
Rev Andy Hawes and staff at Melton Mowbray Market

Ash Wednesday – The Start of Lent

Lent is very like laying a hedge. The hedge is our heart and mind: the centre of our being.

Lent is a time for cutting back all that is out of control: it is bringing order from disorder; it is new beginning for all that is out of shape and ineffective.

God does not wield a hedge knife or a chainsaw – rather he works with us guiding our wills and minds to do the work ourselves.

It is not without its hard work and sometime the odd thorn prick or cut is felt on the way – but God does it all lovingly that we might be more use to Him and everyone around us.

Fr Andy Hawes

The Feast before the Fast

Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is traditionally a day of feasting before the abstinence of Lent. Shrove comes from the verb ‘to shrive’ associated with confessing sins to a priest, who might impose a penance as well as offering absolution.

Although the marking of Lent goes back over a thousand years, the specific custom of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in Britain seems to date back to the sixteenth century.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras, the French for Fat Tuesday, when people indulged in a last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting, self-sacrifice and abstinence of Lent began. It was traditional in many societies to eat pancakes or other foods made with the butter, eggs and fat or lard that would need to be used up before the beginning of Lent.

Rev Andy Hawes and staff at Melton Mowbray Market
Rev Andy Hawes and staff at Melton Mowbray Market

Musings from Melton Mowbray livestock market

Ray said to me (having noticed my dog collar) “don’t see many of your type anymore, we haven’t got one in our village, in fact I haven’t seen a Vicar in years!” I was sharing a table with him having a cup of tea and a bacon roll at Melton Livestock Market.

He said, “I’ve had a dreadful journey”, and we went on to talk about changing times, how his brother was ill, how difficult the weather had been. Another chap stopped and asked him how he was, but before Ray could give an answer he said, “we’ve had the best times haven’t we?” Then he just walked off.  Ray mused about the future; he told me a lot of farmers he knew were ‘just packing up.’ He added “I’ll keep going ’til I drop, I could talk to you all day.” He left the table and went to see how the auction was doing.  

Chaplaincy is about being with people where they are, there is no agenda: just what is on people’s hearts. The present is full of challenges for farmers, some natural and some made by politics. There are changes too in the way that Christian ministry takes place in communities, as Ray said, “there aren’t many about in the countryside.” Supporting Agricultural chaplaincy is vital if its unique presence is to continue. There has to be someone around that Ray could talk to all day – if he wanted to.

Fr Andy Hawes

Positivity and Hope After the Storm

The destructive winds and torrential rain of recent weeks have been called ‘Biblical’! It is true that the Bible has the full repertoire of natural disasters.

I was pondering this as I dealt with another fallen tree! Usually, in the Bible, disasters are a pay back for human selfishness and lawlessness. The jury is out on how much of our current wrestling with the environment is caused by the human use and misuse of natural resources. Nevertheless, the central message of Scripture holds true -’the goodness of the Lord endures daily.’

Chaplaincy, at it’s heart, carries the same message – no matter what the situation it cannot kill off the hope that is found in the Christian message -’nothing can separate us from the love of God.’

And so … I have turned the tree into next winter’s firewood! In every situation there are seeds for a new beginning. ‘Hope springs in the soul eternal ‘ to quote the Good Book.

Fr Andy Hawes

Pile of chopped logs