What we do 

The Team Vicar Writes…

downloadDo you keep a diary? Not just to note up-coming appointments, but a journal in which you reflect on the past day’s highs and lows.
There have been famous examples of diarists who have recorded significant public events for posterity in their private diaries; like Samuel Pepys whose detailed personal diary, begun in 1660, provides an eye witness account of events like the Great Plague and Great Fire of London. The last recorded event in Pepys’ diary was on 31st May 1669.  Though still a young man, Pepys stopped writing his diary because his eyesight was troublesome and he feared that writing in dim light was damaging his eyes.
Almost every day since 1976 I have kept a page-a-day journal in which I note significant historical events in the life of the world around me  - like Margaret Thatcher becoming the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 4th May 1979,  and Queen Elizabeth II and French President Mitterrand officiating at the opening of the Channel Tunnel on 6th May 1994.
Mainly though, I record and reflect on my own life-story - both the ‘small’ occurrences of daily life and ‘big’ events like my marriage to John 30 years ago this month; the birth of our daughters (one with a May birthday); the joyful celebration 10 years ago of my father’s 90th birthday and our sadness at his death a few days later.
My journaling stopped just before Christmas when the nasty fracture of my right shoulder left me unable to write anything for several weeks. I missed this, particularly because, for me, the most important purpose of keeping a journal is to nurture my relationship with God. At the beginning of each day, as part of a time of prayer and Bible reading, I write down anything that challenges or encourages me from my ‘Quiet Time’; at bedtime, recording the highs and lows of the past day helps me to identify those things for which I need to ‘say sorry’, as well as blessings for which to ‘say thank you’ to the Lord. No one else reads it, but God knows what is written on every page, and putting it in writing is a good reminder of being accountable to Him (Romans 14:12).
If you don’t already, why not try keeping a daily ‘prayer journal’? Do you easily forget what God has done in response to your prayers? I do! But looking back over answered prayers jotted down in a journal enables us to end each day with a prayer of thanksgiving. And writing stuff on paper, especially before settling to sleep, provides a way of pouring out our worries - whether they be about Brexit, knife-crime and the desperate humanitarian crisis in Yemen, or more private problems. The act of writing them down can help us to commit our concerns to our Heavenly Father, asking for His peace in our hearts and minds for the coming hours.
Here’s a prayer I put in my journal one morning in May 1984; it remains my prayer for myself, and now for you, today:
“Almighty God, before the fret and fever of the day begins, we turn aside to seek the quietness of Your Presence. May there fall upon us now, O God, a sense of Your power and glory, so that we may see all earthly things in their true measure. Let us not forget “that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day” (2 Peter 3: 8). Help us to trust Your timing, that we may be both discoverers and channels of Your peace; in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
                                                                                                                  
 mary The Revd Dr Mary Barr

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