Fr Ron Johnson
Christ is Risen, he is risen indeed Alleluia.
Hard to believe that a week and a bit has passed since I began as your Vicar. I find myself asking: “Where has the time gone and what have I done this week?” Perhaps you at times have said the same thing? We can all be consumed at times about how ‘productive’ we might be, how much ‘quantity’ we have managed to fit into the time we have. But I wonder if as a way of measuring the time we have spent, if this is the way to go. Perhaps instead we should be reflecting on the ‘quality’ of our time.
Many might say my life as priest doesn’t ‘produce’ much, at least according to the world’s unit of measurement. In ministry I will often inherit things I did not start, and have to leave things I had begun. It can be a very ambiguous, hard to quantify sort of life. Many people when they start their day, begin with the ‘to do list’, the ‘what I hope to get done today’ sort of list. I on the other hand start my day differently.
On the mornings I am working from my office at St Nicholas, after dropping of my bag, I head into the church to pray, in this case morning prayer. It is only after, that I think about what has to be done today. At the end of the day there is a repeat of the morning, and I am back in the church, (or at home) and end my day with evening prayer.
Over time I have found that if for any reason I don’t ‘bookend’ my day in this sort of prayer routine, then that is a day where I feel I haven’t done much at all. It is as if, without beginning and ending my day in prayer, the day itself (often filled with many and varied things), doesn’t have context to it. It doesn’t have a sense of meaning or purpose to it. Sure it will be a day where there are lots of ‘things to do’, but without praying morning and evening, I begin to lose sight of who I am in all this ‘doing’. The fact is, I will never be able to ‘do’ enough to feel I am of value. There is always so much to do, and it doesn’t end.
Perhaps many of you feel the same way. We get to end of our day and ask: ‘What have I done’, and feel it hasn’t been enough. But when I have periods of prayer in my day, in which I have to be focused on God and not on myself, I find I can be confident that in God’s eyes, the quality of my life, God given as it is, is enough and it is good. This is irrespective of the quantity of things I might achieve.
Together we are currently in the midst of our 50 day celebration of the resurrection (traditionally called Eastertide). We could ask ourselves how are we spending the time? Are we doing so counterculturally; in prayer, in service to others, amongst other things, or just in conformity to the world, constantly worrying that we can never do enough?
Always know that when I pray morning and night, you are always with me, but if you wish to join me more physically, then from Tuesday – Friday at 8.30am I pray morning prayer.
Yours in the Risen Christ.