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Letter from the Minister - March 2017

FROM THE MINISTER

Dear friends,
There’s a big thing on at the moment to keep Ministers “flourishing”. I don’t know if the word-choice came
from a Glaswegian (!), but it is true that many Ministers have to take some care about workload and
expectations and health. I have been very blessed, but was glad to accept the chance to go away for a week
this last month to a conference aimed at people of my vintage. How do we think about the question, what
next?

Reading as we are on Sunday mornings through Luke’s Gospel, Jesus likewise had thoughts both about
proximate goals and ultimate purpose. And like any of us, he had plenty of interruptions, for these are the stuff of life! And so I find myself writing to you this month about setting a course. What next?

One helpful aspect is for us to look back. But not to look back vaguely, rather to chart our past. For example, we might chart the phases of our lives which stand out (jobs? relationships? geography?); or we might chart the people who have shaped us (positively and negatively); or we might (more difficult?) consider our spiritual
journey. We will need paper and pen, and at least an hour or more to do this. And then if we possibly can, have someone to talk it through with, to share what you have majored on. It would be great if it were someone who might then in response tell their way of doing it to you. This is all about listening, mind. The past is past.
Everyone’s story is different. And if we can pray through it at all, after the hour or more of working it out, focus on thankfulness! You are still here!

The next stage is to contemplate what this day/month/year gives you. What are you happiest doing? What unravels you? Where are you most energised? What only makes you more tired? Again, don’t just think vaguely; put it down on paper, even just for yourself, looking for positives and for negatives; and thinking about the mind
and the body, and about your soul, the longings and loves God has given you. We are different every one of us, and knowing who we are before God – well, God is there to help us, to support us through trials and to inspire us at all times. We all know there is lots we cannot change, but all this is set up to help us be more
conscious of who we are. God knows us as we are. He loves us as we are. To offer self to Him, that was Jesus’ way. We are church when we gather to hear God speaking to us. We are church when, with God’s Word anchoring us, we see what we are meant to be about. A final, imaginative but not easy task might be this one. Write
a brief obituary of yourself, thinking about what others would have seen in you, or heard from you. Write it. And how would we like that story to be filled out? What is there to be done that we have not (yet) done or to be said not (yet) said?

 Always, if I can help you (or Heidi, or Morven, or Struan, etc) please ask!
Yours, Peter