“Let mutual love continue” is a fittingly poignant scripture passage to have as a text for my final contribution to the column which goes online and in the pew sheet.
Our vision as a parish is to be a “Christian community growing in faith, hope and love” – and, as I am regularly reminded at weddings, St Paul declares that “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13.13). So, with the fifth anniversary of the Ball family moving in to the Rectory having just passed, I look back and recall my response to (I think) Bishop Mark at my interview.
Q. “What would you plan to do as Rector?”
A. “I’d want to love the people of the parish into a fuller experience of the joy of life in Christ” (or words to that effect).
Of course, I’ve failed more times that I’d care to admit. But, even when struggling with parish admin late at night or perceived hostile comments, that motivation of love (received as well as given) has been a constant encouragement. As another interregnum looms, I pray that I am not kidding myself in feeling there is a spirit abroad of greater confidence, a deeper sense of community and even some excitement amidst the anxiety for the future. The fruit of mutual love, perhaps?
Going forward please, “do not neglect to do good and to share what you have”. Most especially share, with each other and those who know it not, that precious gift of joy in the life of Christ.
Thank you for your love – receive mine.