This really is the end of the journey. It was a great joy to celebrate the Eucharist with the folks at McAdam this morning. I was also asked to dedicate some new red hangings for use in the church. We had a fine time of worship with some lively hymns, including Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, which has definitely become a bit of a theme song. It was good to see some people from other parts of the Archdeaconry, who had joined us earlier in the pilgrimage, sharing in the final act of worship. Perhaps they came to make sure we had made it. The last official act for me was to visit some of the residents and staff in the Lodge. It is not easy being limited by the weakness of our physical or mental condition, but I was very impressed with the care people clearly receive there. Then Trevor and I jumped into our borrowed car and covered much of the route it had taken us two weeks to travel in about two and a half hours.
As I sit to write this I have just returned from meeting with two churchwardens, men concerned about the future of ministry in their Parish. It has reminded me of the journey we are on together as a Diocese. We are definitely on a pilgrimage. As the hymn says it can feel at times as if we are passing through a barren land, yet it is Jehovah who will guide us. We are weak, but he is mighty and his hand is powerful. In an earlier posting I said that we cannot lean on our own understanding and this evening as I conclude this blog I want to reflect on this idea.
We say that we believe and trust in a God who is all seeing, present everywhere and all knowing. Therefore there is nothing which is a surprise to him. He also does not have any plans which are not perfect. The problem we face is that all too often we fail to align ourselves with God’s purpose. Too easily we become fixed on our agenda. This is not a shock to God and he seeks to weave our failures to follow his will into his plans for his creation. He does this because he is gracious. The better way, however, would be for us to spend more time in prayer seeking to discern as closely as we can his way ahead for us. To do this we have to spend greater amounts of time in prayer, both individually and corporately. Not seeking to bend God’s will to our way of thinking, but to bend ours to his. Before I walk again next year each of us in the Diocese needs to commit ourselves to redouble our intention in prayer. To seek out new ways of praying and to determinedly discipline ourselves to pray. This will not be an easy task, but it must be done.
We are pilgrims on an uncertain journey. We cannot see the end and there are often surprises on the way. There is only one guide, Jehovah, we need to gaze upon his fire and cloudy pillar to lead us all our journey through. We will then be able to sing songs and praises to him forever.
Good Night, God Bless. Thank you for following this road with me.