Being Fed

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

As I sat down, early on a Monday morning, to write this letter and then get on with a long list of other desk-bound tasks, I found that I was unable to type a single word on my computer!

Not being the most technically-minded person in Alnwick, I very quickly began to feel the frustration rising within me. So much to do, so much planned – and I couldn’t get on with any of it.

Then I noticed a tiny light flashing and slowly (very slowly) it dawned on me that the batteries which power the keyboard to the computer had worn out. A quick walk to ‘Wilko’ and I was back in business!

As I walked back from buying the life-giving batteries two thoughts came to mind from the readings we had heard in church the previous day: in the morning Jesus teaching his disciples about the importance of spiritual food and, in the evening, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminding them of God’s promise that he would never leave us or forsake us.

Without being ‘fed’ from the batteries my computer could do nothing. It was, in effect, useless. Perhaps we can use this experience of mine to consider if we are being adequately fed in our spiritual lives in order to function as best we can.

On reflection, I can now see that, for a few weeks, my computer had not been quite as efficient as it usually was. Obviously the batteries were running down – and yet I didn’t recognise the warnings until there was a complete breakdown.

Our regular, ongoing relationship with God is how we are fed spiritually – how we grow and how we can be of greatest use to him. Our prayer life, our regular attendance at worship, our reception of Holy Communion all ‘fuel’ us in the same way as the batteries allow my computer to function. If you’re ‘hungry’ do make sure your spiritual batteries are topped up!

Secondly, in my frustration over all my plans going awry, it was good for me to remember I’d been advising others in my sermon the previous evening always to remember God’s promise that he would never leave us or forsake us.

Of course I was thinking of much greater instances in life than a malfunctioning computer – but how often do we allow the little irritations of day-to-day living to irk us and get out of proportion? How often do we feel that God has let us down because things simply aren’t going out way when, more often than not, the solution is in our own hands?

The two situations are closely linked. Being nourished spiritually also helps us keep the issues of daily life in proportion. The more we are fed, the more we will know that God, in his great love, will always be with us!

These words from the Iona community seem fitting:

The peace of God comes close to those caught in the storm,
forgoing lives of ease to ease the lives forlorn:
the peace of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk his way.

The joy of God comes close where faith encounters fears,
where heights and depths of life are found through smiles and tears:
the joy of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk his way.

The grace of God comes close to those whose grace is spent,
when hearts are tired or sore and hope is bruised or bent:
the grace of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk his way.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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