All we need to help us begin is a sense of our own frail humanity (not difficult as we know how easily we can make a mess of things), but, importantly, the ability to wonder-to see the beauty of creation - the natural world - and ask questions of the Creator.
The snowdrops are a visible sign of the wonder that surrounds us. They affirm that there is 'something more' to life and we must search for the beyond in the everyday.
Religion, faith, spirituality, call it what you will, is infinitely mysterious and easy to mock, but there are those wonderful occasions when we experience something that connects us to that mysterious 'something more'.
It may be through a special person or a life-changing event that we understand that 'something more', but equally it can be through the sorrows and disappointments of life, when we know that the strength we need to see us through comes from a source 'beyond'.
To the edge of the abyss
The expression T don't know how I found the strength to carry on' is one that Jesus himself would identify with perfectly. His Gethsemane experience took him to the edge of the abyss but he drew strength from the 'One beyond'.
As we look again at the wilderness experience of Jesus (paralleled through Lent) as a preparation for his ministry we begin to see how our own faith and belief is tested and refined. The 'something more' is the key question to examine.
Enjoy the snowdrops.
something more by Rev Dilys
Stubbings' churchyard is awash with swathes of snowdrops which, given a few mild days, have suddenly appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
The flowering has been transformational and is a good analogy of how the warmth and love of God can bring in us a human flowering that is transformational.
We all feel better when the signs of spring arrive and provide a much-needed energy boost. We are more motivated to seek new ways of looking at how we can be more involved and active in our church and community life.
At the moment I am reading John Pritchard's latest book entitled Something More. As many of you will recall, John was the previous Bishop of Oxford and, during his seven years with us, he was able to roll out his Living Faith model of discipleship across the whole Diocese. This in itself was quite an achievement, given the diversity and size of the Diocese. His greatest skill (of manv) was his ability to tell stories. Using a story he could get his message across in a simple and effective way.
In Something More, John is seeking to help ordinary folk (not just believers and church-goers) to 'encounter the beyond in the everyday'.
His starting point, as he writes in his introduction, is to 'respect the doubts and difficulties that people have with the conventional language of faith. And I want to invite even the believer to accept that, on a dark night with a cold wind from the north, there's an agnostic in all of us'. Through storytelling and discussion, we are led through a series of key questions on issues which make us think and examine our own faith or lack of. I am finding his relaxed and non-judgemental approach to faith in today's world deeply refreshing and I commend the book to you.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and using Something More through the next six weeks is a good place to begin.