Have you had a good summer? Personally I was very pleased when the sun finally decided to put in an appearance as I’d had a horrible feeling we were in for one of those years when spring, summer, autumn and winter all blended into each other in an attempt to engulf the British Isles in soggy depressing greyness.
It’s been quite a year so far hasn’t it? The Jubilee, the Olympics and then the Paralympics have certainly given us a much needed boost. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Olympics and how involved I got – by the time the Paralympics came around I was really looking forward to it!
It’s strange isn’t it? I’m not really a sporty person but there’s something about the determination and hard work that the athletes put in that captures the imagination – especially, I think, in the Paralympics. The way these athletes are overcoming the physical challenges in their lives and not letting anything stop them is surely an inspiration to us all. So often we hear about people who have lost that ability to overcome challenges and just accept their lot and the depression that goes with it. There is no doubt that for many today, life is a struggle that sometimes seems overpowering and such a burden that they are paralysed by the load they carry. These Olympians show us a different way but it would appear they didn’t do it alone. They had help.
I have listened to a few interviews with some of the competitors and all of them have said they couldn’t do it without a considerable team behind them encouraging, training, organising and supporting. All too often we can feel alone with our challenges and don’t have anyone to encourage and support us.
It made me think about church and how grateful I am that there are people there for me, a team of people who, unasked and unrecognised, hold me up and enable me to do the things I do. What about the people who don’t have that? The quiet souls who struggle on, unheard and unseen.
At our café worship on 9 September we asked the question, ‘what message do we want to portray to the community around us?’ We may get some new visitors at any time. When we do, can we offer them the radical welcome that Jesus offered to so many?
Finally I want to say thank you for all the kind wishes for our daughter’s wedding. The day went so well, the sun shone and all the arrangements worked. What more can you ask for?