The last eleven days have seen my in silence and contemplation and prayer, with words returning slowly. In that time, you have sustained me with your prayers, your love and your kindness. Debbie and I are so very grateful to you all for your wonderful support. People from across the world, from churches we are currently involved in and have associations with through the years, have all shown their support. It has been humbling, encouraging and exhilarating to have seen Christ, met with Him and be changed by Him in your ordinary acts of kindness. Love shown from five continents and in simple and profound ways - a thousand thank you's to you all.
From this evening, I may not be writing on the blog every night - but I will continue to to write. You may see more of what I often put on here - comments on the political landscape, issues of justice, comments on poverty and observations about mission and engaging with the world, but I will also continue to write prayers, reflections and simple observations. Please let me know if they have been of help - or if you would like me to continue. Thanks for the emails, facebook comments, texts, calls and cards. Maybe m simple observations have helped you in a small way.
I was in one of the churches that I lead today, and unable to be in the other. It was a joy and a privilege to be with folk at The Chapel as we witnessed another baptism, but I was very sad not to be with my Warham family - and missed them. However, tomorrow will see me returning to work and pushing on with a great many things that have had to be put on hold in these last few weeks. Public speaking remains a challenge, but I am trusting that when I see the consultant on Thursday he will give me a better idea of when I can preach again - I'm hoping I will be able to preach again by Christmas.
There are many lessons that this time has taught me - and I am sure those lessons will 'eek' out of me in the the months and years to come - but today I contined my practise from across the last ten days of praying individually for all those in the churches that I lead and the people with whom I have had close connection this year. It has been such a joy - and an honour. As I have prayed for you - people that God has brought across my path, I have imagined 'cameos' of you in ordinary events and occurences. Time we have chatted after services, enjoyed a coffee together, looked at the Scriptures with one another. I have remembered 'ordinary' days - days that we all have, when we have wept together, laughed together and learned from one another. I get the privilege of teaching you, of opening Scripture to help and encourage you to draw close to God. As a pastor, and a leader, I have the honour and privilege of sharing precious and private moments with many of you - rites of passage that are an open door into who you really are.
Yet as I have prayed for you, I have been so blessed, so encouraged, so inspired that I have found myself thanking God that far from me ministering to you, you have each ministered to me so powerfully and so strongly in your ordinary lives, and ordinary acts of kindness, and in your ordinary faithfulness and love for Christ. You may never grace a stage, or preach a sermon or stand before an audience of people, but you have taught me. You have led me to more intimacy with Christ. My debt to you is much, much greater than your debt to me - and for whatever length of time we walk the path of faith together, I count it a privilege as an ordinary man to have been touched by the beauty, wonder and transfiguring grace of God displayed through your lives and words and actions.