This is the season for holidays, for a slower, reflective time and for doing something different. At the time of writing I’m hoping to visit friends in Worcestershire and see some cricket in Somerset. It is really important that we take a break from our usual routine even if the current restrictions mean that we can’t do what we’d originally hoped. Such times enable us to rest and recover and to reconnect with friends, family and even with God.
Susannah Wesley had an imaginative solution to finding a quiet time…
When she was young Susannah promised God that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give to Him in prayer and in the Word. Taking care of the house and raising so many children made this commitment almost impossible to fulfil. Susannah looked after the gardens, milked the cow, educated her children (she gave birth to 19) and managed the entire house herself. Even with this workload she pledged to devote two hours a day to prayer!
Susannah struggled to find a quiet space but eventually found an imaginative solution. She advised her children that when they saw her with her apron over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn’t be disturbed.
The story is also told of Methodist minister, Rev. James T East (1860 – 1937) who desperately wanted to visit the Holy Land. He saved for many years in order to do so but just before the trip could be arranged, James felt compelled to pay for a young relative’s life-saving operation; this was in the years before the NHS.
The hymn he wrote subsequently, Wise Men Seeking Jesus, (often sung during Epiphany) expresses the assurance that we can meet with Jesus right where we are. It contains this verse :-
But if we desire Him,
He is close at hand;
For our native country
Is our Holy Land.
Whether you’re able to visit the beach, pack for a journey of pilgrimage, or are to be found at home with an apron over your face, I hope that there will be moments of rest, relaxation and holiness this summer.
God Bless, Deacon Pru