Helen's Monthly Article - July 2019





There’s a picture of summer in John’s Gospel, chapter 15:1-17. It’s the passage that starts:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you.”

The word that struck me was abide. It’s possibly no surprise as the passage goes on to use the word a further 9 times after the above section! Abide means to remain, to wait, to continue to be held, to be present. It’s a gentle word.

This month the Pick Your Own season is in full swing; strawberries, raspberries and all sorts of yummy goodness but nowadays we can have the fruit we want even when it’s out of season and we can even grow our own strawberries or soft fruits early by forcing. The plants will produce fruit but generally at the cost of the plant itself, stressed by a disruption from its natural cycle and exhausted from the effort.

Life can be a little like that, can’t it? We feel like we have to force ourselves to bear fruit, to be successful, to keep up with the expectations of others, of society and even ourselves. The problem is that can sometimes be at the cost of our well-being. We are facing a mental health epidemic in this country. In a recent survey more than 74% of adults confessed to being overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past year. But it’s not just the adults, 1 in 8 children/young people aged between 5 and 19 has a diagnosed mental health condition.

In that kind of world this passage has a lot to say to us. We don’t have to conform to those expectations, we don’t have to continually push ourselves, it’s ok just to ‘be’ sometimes, in fact it’s more than ok, it’s essential! C.S Lewis sums it up brilliantly:
“A car is made to run on gas, and it would not run properly on anything else. God designed the human machine to run on himself. He himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other."

We’re heading in to summer, it’s the ideal time to slow down a bit and ‘abide’, to reconnect with ourselves, those we love and with God. I pray for lots of opportunities for all of us to do just that, I guarantee we’ll be better for it!
Every Blessing
Rev Helen.
(thanks to Gemma Fraser)

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Alan Measures,
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Alan Measures,
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