I’m frequently told what a lovely place Preston is to live in. There are its many excellent amenities, like the pub, the cricket club, and the primary school which I have the pleasure of going to every week to lead the singing assembly. There is the church, offering regular services, fellowship and the marking of life events, like weddings and funerals and baptisms. And behind all this, there is the important fact of neighbourliness – the support people give to each other which I hear about all the time.
When we come together, whether for the cricket club dinner, or the harvest supper, we are sharing in something valuable and really worth doing. And we can say the same when we assemble to worship God on a Sunday, whether for holy communion three times a month, or once a month for our family service, well attended by children and families. All very welcome, by the way!
What we focus on grows. If our village in Preston has very much going for it, as it does, it’s also worth saying that we as a nation have a huge amount to be thankful for, even as we criticise aspects of the nation’s life which are imperfect and need to be improved. (When was that not the case?)
Last month, at St Paul’s Walden Church, we held our open-air annual Pet Service. And I talked at that service about the celebration of life: animal life, yes, and human life too – and the love that connects them, which flows to and fro and back again.
For love is what we need. And if we can go a bit further, we can surely say that the world needs love and care – the big world of God’s creation, as well as every family and every community.
Love and care build the Kingdom of God, which is God’s promised new future: and love and care are its values and hallmark.
With every blessing