From the vicarage May 2009

This is the second of fourth, “From the vicarage”, first published in the church magazine in May 2009.

I’ve been in post for a whole six weeks. It seems much longer to me, as it might to you. I am beginning to come back to earth after all the disruption of moving (to our eighth home in 14 years of marriage). The dust is settling. I’m beginning to get to know people and become part of church and community life. I have seen various needs and my head spins with ideas and possibilities for church and community. As my feet hit the ground I need to remember to walk before I run. And so this letter is a request to be patient with me as I work out with the wardens and others just what is important and what is possible.

As always, God has reminded me to be patient as I have read his word this week. As keen as I am to rush on, God says “get perspective” and he gives us that right perspective in Psalm 90.

Psalm 90:1-6 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as, a watch in the night. 5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. (© English Standard Version. With permission)

God has been around for much longer than me, longer than Holy Trinity church, longer than anyone, even before the mountains were made. Our life is here today and gone tomorrow but God is from everlasting to everlasting. To him a thousand years are like a day. And so, as God is eternal he sees things from a different perspective and God’s perspective should be our perspective too.

So what are we to do? What am I to do? The end of Psalm 90 gives us the answer:

Psalm 90:12-17 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 13 Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. 16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. 17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! (© English Standard Version. With permission)

Will you pray this Psalm with me? Pray for a heart of wisdom. Pray that we’ll be able to number our days, prioritise, work out how much time we have to do what’s important. Pray for that deep satisfaction of God’s love, shown to us when Jesus died for our sins, that he’ll make us truly glad. Ask God to show us his work for us and that he’ll establish that work and make it prosper.

Thank you for praying this with me as we look to God for perspective, wisdom and priorities.

With love


About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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6 Responses to From the vicarage May 2009

  1. James Oakley says:

    Good stuff Neil – thanks for posting these. My equivalent letter only comes out once a month and goes out to the whole village, so is a little different.

    Patience and priorities are always hard, I agree. What is even harder is that, sometimes, changes and decisions get put upon me so that waiting to change things isn’t an option. Anyway – I’ll gladly join in praying that prayer for you – every blessing in all you are doing at HTWB.

  2. neilrobbie says:

    Hi James, thanks for your encouragement. Our parish magazine is also monthly. This week I’m posting the four monthly letters I have written to date.

    The magazine goes to church and town. I write as if to the church, knowing that the town folk might read it too. I try to put as much scripture in as possible knowing that God’s word is powerful.

  3. Ros says:

    I have to say, I can’t quite believe it’s only been six weeks!!! It feels like you’ve been there forever. In a good way. 😉

    I have been doing my best to advertise the ministry trainee job for you on the blog and elsewhere.

  4. James Oakley says:

    Great stuff Neil!

    (I wrote monthly, but should have written quarterly – I only write one every three months)

    I like the idea of including Scripture in generous amounts…

  5. neilrobbie says:

    Hi Ros, the “from the vicarage” I’ve posted was written for the May magazine. I’ve been in post 14 weeks. Thanks for the help publicising the MT post. Please pray that God might raise up a godly applicant.

  6. Ros says:

    Ah! Didn’t read the introduction properly but I didn’t think those dates added up. Hope you find the right person.

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