Here is 'The Messenger' downloable for free: September Magazine.
Dear brothers and sisters,
In the time before Amelie, in our family we call this B.C. (before children), I used to go mountain walking. I enjoy being outside with a challenge ahead of me, a peak which I can see, and a good pair of boots on my feet. As with any form of exercise, and indeed for life in general, making sure you drink regularly is extremely important. When I used to go mountaineering with the Army Reserves (OTC) the Sergeant Major would regularly come round and check our water bottles to see if we had been drinking… and if we hadn’t, boy, would we be in trouble! I remember one climb, this time with some friends, to the top of Galdhøpiggen the highest mountain in Northern Europe (situated in Norway) standing at 8,100 ft and from which on a clear day you can see the Alps. I had been climbing for a few hours and I had been so taken by the scenery that I had forgotten to drink. Quite quickly I started to get a headache, and eventually this got so bad that I was forced to sit down, I wasn’t going any further, my body simply quit. Water is absolutely critically, and without noticing, I was extremely thirsty. Sure enough, after a couple of bottles of water, my body came back to life, and I made it to the top of the mountain, and, yes, I got to see the Alps! However, I learnt my lesson and always make sure that I’m drinking enough water.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve noticed the new art work which is situated in our Baptistry, called ‘Faith on Tap’. It’s an interesting and thought-provoking piece which at its centre is a cross made of copper pipes with a tap attached to the bottom under which is a bowl. The imagery is clear, from the cross flows water, and water which we’re encouraged to drink. For it’s installation in our Thanksgiving Service on 15th August we read as our Gospel reading these words from Jesus:
‘Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.’ John 7:37
Here Jesus lays out for us, what the ‘Faith on Tap’ hints at, that as each human being is both body and spirit, and just as the body grows thirsty from too little physical water, so the human spirit grows thirsty from too little spiritual water. Jesus says we get spiritually thirsty, whether we realise or not, and what quenches our thirst is Him. It is, admittedly, easy in life to forget to drink spiritually, particularly in a culture like ours which denies the spiritual side of life. Like when I was walking in Norway, it is easy to get distracted by the scenery, or to get so busy with life that we don’t think to drink spiritually. However, if we go for too long, we get spiritually thirsty and cease to function in the right way. How do we take this spiritual drink? Well, reading the Scriptures and praying on our own, is like taking small sips from a bottle, and it is a crucial thing to be doing each day, however, we also need to be having big long drinks and this is where the Sunday (or Wednesday) gathering comes in. Hearing the Scriptures together, praying together, and doing this as part of the Eucharist is where the proper drinking goes on. The Eucharist is where we feed on Christ in the sacrament, where we literally come to Jesus and drink, and without this each week we will slowly get spiritually de-hydrated. As your priest then, and as someone who has often forgotten the importance of drinking (both physically and spiritually) let me encourage us to make Sunday mornings a priority. Making coming to Communion a priority (and if you’re not baptised or confirmed then come and talk to me) for without having this staple in your week, you will, whether you realise it or not, slowly become spiritually de-hydrated. Whilst you’re in the building why not take a look at ‘Faith on Tap’ and reflect upon Jesus’ saying above.