Rector’s letter – March 2015

Bishop Given of Kondoa
Bishop Given of Kondoa.

What a wonderful month we have just had in our communities and part of that month was looking at the story of ‘Transfiguration’ the setting on a mountaintop. In biblical tradition mountains are the usual settings for supernatural revelation and theophany’s-God appearing being made present This incident came at a crucial moment in Jesus’ life and ministry. He had begun his journey to Jerusalem because before this point he had worked mostly in Galilee. The journey was tough; the wilderness between the fertile plain of Galilee and fertile Jerusalem. He had met with opposition even in Galilee from Religious Leaders and he must have sensed that the same fate awaited him as had all the prophets; a violent death. Naturally he recoiled from such a fate but Jesus chose to walk up this mountain to pray. This was the most important thing in Jesus’ life, His relationship with His Father; it was the ground beneath His feet. So, at this moment when the powers of darkness were massing against him it was to His Father that He turned for guidance and strength. We do not know exactly what happened on the mountain. But it seems that on the mountain he heard again the words of affirmation from his Father that he heard at His Baptism: ‘You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ (Mark 1:110.) On that mountain Jesus felt himself comforted and affirmed. He knew that his father was pleased with him and would give him the strength to face the ordeal ahead. With God on his side he could face anything. We also have dark moments when we must do what Jesus did and seek God in prayer. If we do we will hear a voice in our hearts; ‘You are my beloved son and you are my beloved daughter and in you I am well pleased. Once we have grasped as Jesus and come to a deep inner knowledge, a knowledge more of the heart than the mind, that we are born out of love and will die into love, then all forms of illness, death or evil lose their power over us. Despite the uncertainty of life with disappointments and losses, we are upheld by God’s infinite goodness. And infinite goodness is what we experienced this week here in the Benefice. The wonderful visit by Bishop Given from Kondoa in Tanzania. He came to Hever School for an assembly then to the Rectory to meet us all for coffee and cakes- he came to discus with us a possible mission link for us all and he has chosen Tarkwa. It is a very remote forgotten part of Africa where the slave traders used to stop. Bishop Given says the most important thing that we can do is to pray for them and to write to them to let them know they are not forgotten- so letters, photos, stories is what he would like us to send to them. Money is not the issue but relationship. Some of us have managed to send letters and photos before he left and we will soon have an address for us to write too. In the meantime if you would like to join us in this mission then let me know or send me your news and letters and I will forward them on. I am sure that all of us engaging in this work of mission in Africa will be transformed as we get to know a people who love God like we do not know and rely on God as we do not know. I am sure we will find a depth of God’s love that we might never have found and be transfigured as Peter, James and John on that mountaintop. (Mark 9:2-9)

Bishop Given of Kondoa, Tanzania pictured with parishioners of the Benefice of Hever, Four Elms and Markbeech, in Kent UK. From left to right: Leslie Grtiggs, Jill Linden, Marie-Louise Linklater, Rev Jane Weeks, Bishop GIven Gaula, GIll Lambert, Carole Feakes, Jane Rosam, and Len Linden
Bishop Given of Kondoa, Tanzania withfrom left to right: Leslie Grtiggs, Jill Linden, Marie-Louise Linklater, Rev Jane Weeks, Bishop GIven Gaula, GIll Lambert, Carole Feakes, Jane Rosam, and Len Linden
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