Here’s the link to our packed September 2019 magazine:
There’s a lot going on in the Walmersley Benefice at the moment and you’ll find plenty of news about upcoming events. There are also articles from the Walking Group, Open Group and Mothers’ Union. But there’s space too for prayer and reflection – plus some celebratory photos (including the one above with Vivienne and Barry being photo-bombed by the Bishop).
You’ll also find this letter from Margery Spencer…
A bolt from the blue
“I didn’t see that one coming!”
Have you ever made that statement when there has been a sudden change in your life?
It certainly was my reaction when our younger daughter announced that she was going to work in Chicago for an extended period of time. It was a surprising and unexpected development. We would see less of her certainly but there were bonuses; two wonderful holidays when I got to travel business class, paddle in the Pacific, avoid bears in the Yosemite National park and attend Jazz Communion in downtown Chicago.
If anyone should have said “I didn’t see that coming” or whatever the first century equivalent was, it was Mary the mother of Jesus, and not just once in her life.
Yes, the angel stopping her in her tracks telling her that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit would certainly be a shock and a life changing event. But the birth in the stable with shepherds arriving with tales of angels singing would hardly have been foreseen.
Nor would she have expected oriental gentlemen to appear, bearing extremely unusual gifts for her son.
I doubt if a flight to a foreign country with her husband and young son, leaving behind all that was familiar and comfortable would have planned in advance. And I think that she would have been surprised and disturbed by what she was told by Simeon when she presented her son in the temple. And yet again when he wandered off to talk to the priests and said he was doing his Father’s business.
God of the unexpected
Throughout Jesus’ ministry she would have been surprised by his teaching but did she really know that she would kneel at the foot of a cross on which he was crucified? And what of Easter day when the tomb was empty. That must have been surprising, shocking, hopeful but totally unexpected.
Throughout her life Mary was frequently surprised by God and responded with obedience. How often are we taken by surprise by God, presented with a challenge we never expected?
Like Mary do we listen, trust, accept and persevere and open ourselves to new experiences? Or do we close our ears and pretend the message was for someone else?
God of the unexpected:
- Challenge us to new ways of service
- Inspire us to respond with enthusiasm and vision to the tasks you place before us.
- Give us courage to trust in your plan
May we like Mary respond with faith when we find ourselves saying “I didn’t see that one coming.”
Yours in Christ, Margery
[The magazine cover features the discipleship initiative ‘More than Sunday’. For details on this please follow this link to the Manchester Diocese website. For the July & August magazine please press here]