Priest's Page...

'Maureen's Musings'

May 2009

This last year I have spent a lot of time 'de-cluttering' as I have moved home, and begun to dispose of my late Mother's household effects. Mind you, the latter sometimes worked against the former as I found myself transferring items and photographs and files to the Vicarage - 'to think about later' !... So more bags end up being pushed into my spare rooms and cupboards!
Maybe I am just an incorrigible boarder...

But of course many of these things represent precious memories - which is what makes them hard to dispose of. Then again, do our memory banks too need de-cluttering; de-fragmenting sometimes (for those familiar with computer housekeeping!). Do our minds get just too full of experiences and emotions?

The period after Easter and before Ascension - the season of Eastertide - is one where Christians are urged to focus on the joy of resurrection, of the promise of new life. We are lucky in the Northern Hemisphere that this coincides with Spring and the promise of new growth, new life all around us. But sometimes it is difficult to feel really joyful after the events of Easter. And - as a colleague reminded me recently-perhaps this is understandable; for resurrection starts with death. We are coming from a pretty dark and deep point of despair and it takes a while to climb up to anything approaching joy. The disciples too found themselves overwelmed by emotions and experiences after the events of that first Easter. They knew the total despair of seeino their friend and teacher die horribly on a cross. Then the unexpected and mysterious experience of his appearances - once more alive and yet changed. They found it hard to make sense of initially. What to do next?

Some of them found refuge in going back to old familiar ways... John the Evangelist tells us of a fishing trip when Peter and some of the others decided to try their luck back in their old job. But even their old skills seemed no longer to provide the solace, the consolation they were seeking. Only when someone on the shore hails them and tells them to try once more - on the other side of the boat - do they discover the miraculous catch of fish.... Only when they trust in the word of an 'unknown' stranger - rather than their own professional expertise - do they begin to experience God's blessing on their labours. And then Peter had to learn to lay aside his personal problems and concerns and instead to take on the agenda of the other - who of course, turned out to be the risen Christ - offering him total acceptance, forgiveness for his shortcomings and a fresh commission - a new task that would occupy Peter for the rest of his life.

Presumabiy; from that moment on Peter had to let go of all his old ways - his bnai hic nets and nil, the paraphernalia of a professional fishermen - in order to make way for his new career as an Apostle and founder of the Church? I wonder if he needed help to de-clutter his life too?