Helen Marshall

helenFarewell Message from Helen: Secure in the Midst of Change
Most of you know that I will soon be moving to Geneva where David has started a new job with the World Council of Churches. I don’t have a job to go to, but I am exploring various different possibilities of ministry there. It is both exciting and daunting.
As I prepare to leave, I look back on the nine years I have lived in Keswick with deep gratitude. It has been a great privilege to be part of the community of St John’s and to share some of your joys and sorrows. There have been many changes during that time both for individuals and for the church as a whole; many of us have gone through times of struggle and suffering as well as times of joy and new opportunities.
Sometimes as we face change of all kinds – good and bad – we can be filled with anxiety and a sense of insecurity. I certainly feel some nervousness as I approach a new life situation! This prompts me to reflect again on where our true security lies. I am reminded of the collect for Night Prayer:
‘Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may rest upon your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen’.
In all the changes we face throughout our lives, the one thing that remains unchanging is God’s love for us. This is where our true security lies, and nothing can take that away from us.
One of my favourite spiritual writers is Mother Julian of Norwich who wrote her Revelations of Divine Love in 14C England during a time of great suffering, change and insecurity. The plague, the Black Death, was a frequent threat, and could wipe out whole families and neighbourhoods in a matter of weeks. In addition to this, there was the ongoing misery caused by the 100 Years War, and the unrest and violence of several peasant revolts.
Mother Julian wrote her Revelations during this time of great insecurity and fear; yet one of her favourite words is the old English word ‘seker’ (which means ‘secure’). She writes frequently of being ‘seker’ in God and finding in him our ‘sekernesse’ (security). This is a challenge to all of us. We may face different kinds of insecurity: personally, from ill health, family difficulties or bereavement; nationally, from the ongoing chaos caused by the Brexit process; or internationally, from the global threat of climate change and environmental disaster. Yet, we can still find our ‘sekernesse’ (security) in God and his love for us, for our families, for our church and for our world.
May the firm security of God’s love be the foundation of all we are and do, in our individual lives and as a church community, now and always.
‘I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love which surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’ (Ephesians 3 v17-19)