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August - September 2015

posted 12 Nov 2015, 10:31 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 12 Nov 2015, 10:31 ]

Dear All,

On my facebook page recently, a number of my friends have been celebrating their approaching summer holidays. For most, it appears, August is a time of long tranquil days in the warmth, no pressing deadlines, no major events... hmm. Not here on Upper Deeside. Activities seem to be winding up, not down. My diary is full of the business of life - festivals and games, exhibitions and weddings. I live in hope for the warmth and sunshine to reappear!

But looking at my diary, I've noticed something. My own Lenten discipline has faded into the background with the season. My Lent discipline was to leave room in my diary for God and for me. To not fill morning, afternoon and evening with things that need to doing, but to leave space for being. To refocus, step back, think and ponder. To reclaim the sacred space in my life. And somehow that concept of space I have allowed to be crowded out. It would be easy to blame the pressures of ministry – to talk of how difficult it is to not answer the phone, to not be present at a community event, to not visit people when I have a spare afternoon. One of the problems of ministry is that the work is never done. But it is my responsibility how I deal with that.

A lot of ministry does not produce concrete evidence that I can look at and say 'I've achieved that today'. And I like achieving things. Ministry is counter-intuitive – often the work you put in will not show results for years. It's difficult to deal with, and leads to overwork, for me. It's something which I have to fight with and cope with within me, and with God's help. Not a new battle by any means. But when I get over- busy, or stressed, it's one that rises up yet again. A matter of self-discipline – so I have gone through the diary and blocked out time.
But it is not only me that struggles with this. The world tells us that what is important are our achievements, what we produce, our monetary worth. We are surrounded constantly by that message. And we live in danger of swallowing that. But the greatest achievements we have are our relationships with God and with each other. If we do not have that, then the rest of our lives is empty. We will find ourselves striving for fulfilment, for happiness, for the temporary buzz we get from doing something. Rather like hamsters on a wheel, always active but not getting anywhere.

So this is my encouragement to you. Pause. Breathe. Be. Focus on the things that God tells us are important – faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

Every blessing,

Vittoria

Rev'd Vittoria Hancock