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August 2020

Our letter this month comes from Rev Preb John Lees

Enjoying the moment

It’s a shock isn’t it, seeing so many people in East Devon. It’s good for our local economy, and good that people can have a holiday of course, but we have got used to things being…… well, quiet.

Many of us have missed seeing friends and family in person. Others have enjoyed the calm and peacefulness of life with less traffic and less frantic dashing from one event or meeting to another. It’s been good for us, in that respect, because it’s enabled us to find time to reflect, to enjoy our countryside and gardens – and we have had more time to connect with people, by phone or on screen.

I’m writing this just after coming home from the first church service I have attended since March. It’s good to be back, even with restrictions, and one of the best things was to see people face to face, all of us comparing hair very much in need of a cut.

People are good for us. Everyone has their preference about how much company they like. Some people say they don’t know what they are thinking until they talk to someone else; they get their energy from other people. Quieter types are usually happy in their own company, but not all the time. It’s good to have conversations even if they are about nothing in particular, to enjoy companionship.

Companion – that’s a good word. Literally, people we break bread with. Perhaps what we have missed most is having a meal with friends or the whole family sitting around one table. It’s what our communion services are really all about – coming to a table, sharing a meal, celebrating all the gifts we are given. Other kinds of meals are also special moments, where we can just be ourselves and not want to be anywhere else but in the moment, enjoying each other’s company.

A writer I came across this week talks about the way happiness is linked to the way we think about the future. If I can save more, work less, ease back on some of my retirement activities, if I can find time for the things that matter, then I’ll be happy. Of course, when the future arrives it’s never as perfect as we hoped. Of course happiness isn’t far away. Being in good company reminds us that all we need is here in the moment; right now.

Jesus was asked when the kingdom of God was coming. His answer was that the kingdom isn’t something you to be observed, nor is it somewhere far off in the future. He said something which turned his listeners’ world upside down: the kingdom of God is among you. We know it’s here by the way we live together, and because we see God in all things.

Don’t always feel you have to match the world’s speed, its hunger for activity. Hang on to peace and quiet if it’s been good for you. Enjoy what you have, and who you are with.

Revd Preb John Lees, Associate Priest

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