After two and a half years of living with you in our beautiful three villages of Four Elms, Markbeech and Hever, when I write these two words ‘Dear Friends,” it is no longer just on paper, that I call you friends but in my heart.
Joanna Smith who recently died amongst us has taught me that. She had been for many years a Church Warden in our Benefice living in Markbeech.
For me personally she has been that most gentle ‘spiritual cairn’ that I needed in the midst of coming to live amongst you, changing from Prison Ministry to Parish Ministry. It has been an eventful journey; a life changing experience, but you have become home.
The Bishop, on appointing me here as Rector, said that I would not find it that much different! Hever and Prison – I questioned his judgement? But, in one way they are in juxtaposition to each other and in another exactly the same.
We are all human and have wounds and hurts, as did those first apostles living in hiding filled with doubt, grief, fear, failure and above all, by a sense of inadequacy before the coming of the Holy Spirit. A great task had been entrusted to them yet they had neither the strength, nor the will to begin it! But, after Pentecost they were changed people.
We are no different and our wounds and our hurts keep us from realising our true and full selves. We need someone to awaken us to what is inside us; someone who will bid us to live and help us to grow.
For us, just as for Jesus, that someone is the Holy Spirit. The power that changed the apostles is available to us too; this mysterious power within us gives us life and helps us grow.
The poet Pablo Neruda said: ‘ I want to do with you what the Spring does with cherry trees.’ That is what the Holy Spirit of God does.
Enjoy your garden!