Mat’s March Letter

The other evening I was enduring Channel 4’s ‘One born every minute’ with my family (it’s filmed at Southmead) when we were blessed with an advert break. I was surprised to see McCain advertising their Jacket potatoes which are ‘ready in 5 minutes from the microwave’. And this got me thinking.

What kind of culture are we living in when we don’t have time to bake a potato? Now I realise that some people only have microwaves in their flats and so for them this is very useful, but are we really saying that we are so busy, and lead such immediate lives that we don’t want to wait for a potato to bake, or worse we don’t have time to do that? Don’t get me started on already grated cheese!

As I thought more about this, I realised that this is further evidence of what other writers have termed, ‘hurry sickness’. Life has become incredibly fast paced for many of us. Modern technology has speeded life up rather than made it easier. The ease with which we can communicate through email, phone, Twitter, Facebook (other platforms are available) combined with the increasing expectations of work and the ability to plan in our so called ‘leisure time’ means that many of us rarely, if ever, actually… stop!

For her funeral Jill Woolley chose a reading from Ecclesiastes 3Open Link in New Window which reminds us that God created us to live through seasons of life. Solomon begins, 3:1 “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Later in the chapter he reminds us that work, and food and drink and companionship are a gift of God and there to be enjoyed; rather than planned and executed as efficiently as possible. We are gifted life by God to enjoy and encouraged to face the inevitable challenges knowing that God is sovereign and they will pass. As Joyce Caithness used to say to me, ‘God’s in control’, and because God is good we know we can trust that ‘all will be well’.

As we enter the period of Lent perhaps rather than (or as well as) giving up Facebook, or chocolate, or alcohol we could also choose to give up some time to ‘be’; to ‘be’ with others who perhaps miss people ‘being’ with them, to ‘be’ with our church community, to ‘be’ in church on a Sunday, to ‘be’ with loved ones, to ‘be’ with God. That may mean all of us making choices about work or other time; it may feel like we’re wasting time, but perhaps we’ll rediscover the gift of life that God has given us. We may even have time to bake and enjoy a good potato!


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