Bourne Valley Methodist Church

Dear friends

I have been used to writing an article for inclusion in the Village Link Magazine for some years now, however, moving with the times happens to us all, and I now write this for inclusion in the new Parish website, which is excellent.

So, we find ourselves moving towards the summer months when, hopefully, we will be able to enjoy the open air with warm summer days that will lift our spirits. Something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) seems to have an impact on a good many people, and although it’s not fully understood, it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. One of the affects, so experts believe, is that a lack of sun can lead to lower levels of serotonin (the hormone that affects our mood) being produced, and therefore some people develop symptoms of SAD during the winter months.

When I was thinking about this, I remembered a story I once heard about Billy Graham, who once said, “Whenever anyone asks me how I can be so certain about who and what God really is, I’m reminded of the story of a little boy who was out flying his kite. The wind was brisk and large billowing clouds were blowing across the sky. The kite went up and up until it went so high that it was entirely hidden by the clouds. “What are you doing?” asked a man who was passing by. “I’m flying my kite” the little boy replied. “Flying your kite?” the man said, “How can you be sure? You can’t see the kite.” “No,” said the little boy “I can’t see it, but every little while I feel a tug, so I know for sure it’s there!”

By accepting the Gift of Faith given to us by God through Jesus Christ, we know that the warm and wonderful tug on our heart strings is proof enough that He’s there for sure, and that He lives today in the hearts of each and every one of us.

The other thing that is happening for me this summer is that I am going to be on sabbatical, which happens every 7 years of ministry. It’s a 3-month period of study and rest that allows ministers to reflect on the past 7 years and to plan for the next 7 years! 

When someone takes a sabbatical, it’s because they need time to rest and recharge their batteries. God took a sabbatical: ‘On the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day’ (Genesis 2:2 KJV). Now, the Bible says that God ‘neither slumbers nor sleeps’ (see Psalm 121:4). So, if He took a day off in the week, we need one too! 

Not long ago most families went to church on Sunday morning, came home and ate lunch together, and spent the afternoon resting and enjoying one another’s company. These days we huff and puff seven days a week, hurtling down the road towards burnout or even an early demise. Scientists say that our bodies are genetically wired to require one day out of every seven for physical, emotional, and spiritual restoration in order to perform at our highest potential. 

When Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant in 1946, The Dwarf House, he established the tradition of closing on Sundays. Back then that was an accepted practice, but now it’s extremely unusual, especially for a restaurant chain with hundreds of outlets. 

But Cathy, a committed Christian, never wavered. And rather than costing him, it paid huge dividends. He built one of the most popular and profitable food chains in the United States.

God knows that the fastest way to burn out is to try and burn the candle at both ends. That’s why the Bible says, ‘The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work’ (Exodus 20:10 NKJV). Every week we all need a one-day sabbatical.

I am very much looking forward to being able to recharge my batteries so that I can return in September to experience what God has planned for Bourne Valley Methodist Church, and for my ministry within the Salisbury Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Yours in Christ

Rev Steve Hawkes

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