having spent 36 years of my life as a school teacher, September 1st has always had a special place in my psyche. It marked a watershed, a moment of change – new pupils, new teaching colleagues, a new time-table. Today, September 1st reminds me I’ve survived another year as a pensioner and have, after 23 years, made a profit on the pension contributions I paid in over those 36 years! This September is, of course, far from the normal start to a school year but I’m sure there will still be optimism aplenty, enthusiasm to get started, excitement with new faces, subjects and expectations.
Especially in recent years there has been a greater emphasis on ‘success’ and measuring it – SATS scores, GCSE and A Level grades, league tables, university places gained.
Jesus might well ask, what are the characteristics and achievements of a successful Christian? Exams passed in Divinity? A bulging Facebook file of social contacts? A salary that enables you to weigh down the collection plate?
We are encouraged to be ‘like Christ’. Well, in the world’s terms he appears a loser. He shunned the family business and became an itinerant preacher, living off the generosity of those he met. He had no home, no family, no financial stability. He was notorious, but for the wrong reasons. He was deserted by his closest friends and died an unjustified criminal’s death - a disgraced preacher nailed to a cross for alleged crimes he never committed.
So, are we members of a religion of losers, asked to walk in the footsteps of a God who failed by the world’s standards? I suppose the straight answer is yes – and no! Yes, in that God’s criteria for success are tests of our humility, vulnerability and love – not our bank balances, academic qualifications and Twitter followers as the world might measure. No, because we have all been given gifts by the Holy Spirit and we succeed in God’s eyes if we use them in his service. Some people have wonderful empathy and are brilliant visiting the sick and advising the anxious. Some have talents of a practical nature and keep our churches in good order and welcoming. Some can lead services, organise music, arrange flowers, polish brass and silver, look after the churchyard. I’m sure God wants us to celebrate the variety of successes his followers achieve when they use their varied God-given talents.
Finally, we should focus our hearts on God’s transforming success when Jesus’ death is conquered by his Resurrection. This inspired the early church whose members were often despised as slaves and whose leaders were often imprisoned or executed but who, nevertheless, spread the Good News far and wide in time and space. We are on the winning side and, as believers, will share in the triumph of the Resurrection when we are united with Christ in glory.
With every blessing,
Readings for September
6th September Trinity 13 Ezekiel 33. 7 - 11 Romans 13. 8 - end Matt. 18. 15 – 20
13th September Trinity 14 Genesis 50. 15 - 21 Romans 14. 1 - 12 Matt. 18. 21 - 35
20th September Trinity 15 Jonah 3. 10 – end of 4. Philippians 1. 21 – end. Matt. 20. 1 - 16
27th September Trinity 16 Ezekiel 18. 1 – 4, 25 – end. Philippians 2. 1 – 13 Matt. 21. 23 – 32
We are still facing worrying uncertainty about when we can return to proper face to face scouting and all the fun and excitement that this brings. We hope that as schools get back to some sort of normality we may not be too far behind. Our risk assessments are all complete and we are desperately hoping that the incidence of Covid 19 falls and allows us to return safely. Our young people are still engaging with scouting as much as possible and working towards badges at home. We already have hundreds of badges ready to present when we can.
Seven of our cub scouts entered the Charing Gardeners Virtual Summer Show. First place was awarded to Thomas . Well done! All the others received a certificate of merit.
We are still hoping to expand our leadership team. The beaver section especially needs some help. When we return we hope to hit the ground running and not be hampered by lack of leaders. If you think you can help please contact me or any of the beaver leaders.
Group Scout Leader
1st Charing Scout Group
Tutt Hill Farm Cottage
Derek Robert TAMSETT
Derek died on Monday 18 May 2020 aged 84. His graveside funeral and burial took place at Holy Trinity, Charing Heath
on Wednesday 22 July 2020.
Raymond Arthur George SHRUBB
Raymond died on Sunday 5 July 2020 aged 83. His funeral took place at
St. James the Great, Egerton,
followed by burial in the churchyard, on
Tuesday 28 July 2020.
May God enfold Derek and Raymond in his tender love and care.