The Revd Howard’s thoughts for May……

Spring, when  thoughts turn……………..

I wonder how often it is that we recognise as important those unexpected and surprising events that change in some way our path of life? Some can turn our life upside down whilst others bring change that is barely detectable…  In   the last few weeks I have had at least three such events that were, to say the very least, totally unexpected .
The letter that arrived via Holme Pierrepont Hall from a former colleague at BGS in the 1960s was a real surprise, as was the phone call a couple of weeks ago from another one of my BGS team members whom I have not seen or heard from since 1993…  neither demanded a great deal from me but did furnish the opportunity to reflect on and to some degree relive that part of my life experience of years ago. Neither of these were in any way solicited, but were totally unexpected  and I guess that most of us have had similar and more dramatic unexpected encounters any of which had some impact on our life

This year the month of May contains a trio of Christian festivals that encompass and celebrate  the unexpected…Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity the former two of which fall very obviously into the category of the unexpected and surprising happenings for those early disciples of Jesus . It is true that they had failed to  understand the early warnings they had been given by Jesus as they travelled with him  and were consequently surprised at the permanent effect and changes that were made to their lives as he left them [Ascension] and as the Holy Spirit reappeared at Pentecost. The record that we have of these events quite clearly demonstrate the changes that the ‘unexpected and surprising’ had on their lives and provide us, too, with the assurance of the constant presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
This is God’s unsolicited gift to each one of us.

How can we fail to see God at work in the daily changing world about us as Spring arrives with the renewing of life in plants and creatures ? Or recognise that God is somewhere in this crazy mixed-up and often cruel world as we hear of acts of mercy and kindness enacted by ordinary folk upon others – even towards us from unexpected sources
Perhaps the reawakening of the Spring could /should be accompanied by a renewed understanding that God does act in unexpected ways…  will surprise us…  but only I fear if we accept that not only is his promise to be with us always is true,  but that may well be in ways that can surprise us…  conforming not to our expectations but to His greater pattern and plan not only for the world but for us too…  and I cannot but wonder what changes to us and the world  would be brought about if we really believed and lived our lives knowing that God is actually present and with us!!
The mind boggles…………….