Pastoral Letter from Rev Ann Fox

Hello friends

Psalm 143:
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
(New Living Translation)

I recently went on a walk along the Nidd Greenway, and then turned off to walk along the Nidd Gorge. I wasn’t sure where the path was, so decided to climb down the banking, it didn’t look too bad and I was sure that I would get down easily enough. I did, but not in the way that I expected….

It was a very hot day and the ground was so dry, that my foot slipped, and I slid all the way down this steep banking on my backside! It took me by surprise, and happened so fast, that when I reached the bottom I laughed – and hoped that no-one saw me – well, I thought, that was quick! I picked myself up and brushed most of the mud and dust off my denim shorts and sauntered down by the river. What a nice spot for a good photo…only to find that my phone had fallen out of my pocket! I had to retrace my steps, and climb back up the banking – which was no mean feat – but I did find the phone, luckily – note to self, put it in the rucksack! – and then, slid back down again!

The walk was quite gentle after that and I sauntered along for four hours in total, and two days later I am aching all over, especially in my shoulders, which I suspect was because I pulled myself back up the banking. Ay dear! What a daft thing to do!

So, I laughed when I came across this Psalm.

There can be a pattern in the Psalms; praising God and his faithfulness, reflecting on the times when things have gone wrong, and remembering how God helped the people, praising God. This Psalm is no exception to this pattern, as the Psalmist pleas to God’s faithfulness, remembering God’s great works, as ‘the enemy’ has knocked him to the ground, and putting his trust in God “for I am your servant.”

We don’t know ‘who’ or ‘what’ the enemy is, and the Psalmist’s ‘depression deepens’. He wants to hear of God’s ‘unfailing love every morning’ because he trusts in God, he comes to God, pleads with him to show him where to walk….

I guess we’ve had some of those feelings during this time. This is a completely unexpected situation that we find ourselves in, and more people are turning to prayer and to a God that they had not known before. So, we turn to God for strength, to help us through this time, and to lead us forward personally and as a Church.

We’re approaching Pentecost when we celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to the disciples and the birth of the Church. That’s why I like the line from verse 10 “May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.”

nidd-pic-2The Spirit of Jesus is within each and every one of us, encouraging and uplifting us through this time. When we have those occasions when we feel like we are sliding, when perhaps we feel our faith slipping, and when we feel that we are knocked to the ground, the Holy Spirit has got hold of you and me and is able to pull us back up again.

Let’s not give up on Hope. Celebrate Pentecost.

Take hold of the hand of Jesus, let the Holy Spirit guide you and “lead [you] forward on a firm footing.”

God bless
Ann

This is intended to be a resource for your personal use, and perhaps you might also like to share it with others over the telephone call, say, during a pastoral call.

Please be assured that you are all remembered in our prayers within our Circuit staff team. Remember that I am only a phone call away and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need to. If anyone would like to share a prayer with me, or if you know of someone who would like a pastoral call, you are welcome to telephone me.

Rev Ann, Tel 881116, email: ann.fox@methodist.org.uk

 

Bible readings

Anxiety:
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 37:5

Bible Blessings:
How joyful are those who fear the Lord – all who follow his ways!
Psalm 128: 1

Encouragement:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psalm 23: 1-2

Faith:
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26

Fatigue:
I can do all things in Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:13

Hope:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

Joy:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5: 22-23

Lonely:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.
1 John 1:7

Praise:
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
Psalm 47: 6-7

Prayers

Lord, you call us to be more than we could ever hope to be, to step out into the unknown in faith, to take the risk of living in circumstances that we might not have chosen and to put you first.

As we encounter Christian friends from Partner Churches, enable us to worship, work and serve alongside them.

Make us colleagues and equals, respectful of our differences but aware of our common calling to be your people in this generation.

Amen.
(Wendy Kilworth-Mason, Superintendent, Whitehaven Circuit, from the Methodist Prayer Handbook, day 31)

From the Methodist Worship Book:

Prayer of the Morning
Blessed are you, Lord our God,
Giver of life,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
At the opening of this day
you call us out of darkness
into your marvellous light.
Blessed are you for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Evening
O God, in whom there is no darkness,
with whom the night is as the day:
enlighten us by your presence,
that waking or sleeping
we may dwell in your peace,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.