Church of England · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Lent · Sermon · The Velveteen Rabbit

Becoming Real – Day 33

Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit

Day 33 – Friday after Passion Sunday – 26th March2010

To Read:

Near by he could see the thicket of raspberry canes, growing tall and close like a tropical jungle, in whose shadow he had played with the Boy on bygone mornings.  He thought of those long sunlit hours in the garden – how happy they were – and a great sadness came over him.  He seemed to see them all pass before him, each more beautiful than the other, the fairy huts in the flower-bed, the quiet evenings in the wood when he lay in the bracken and the little ants ran over his paws; the wonderful day when he first knew that he was Real. 

from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams

To Reflect: 

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

         Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

Have you ever heard Gracie Fields singing that song? Even though she was not of my generation I heard it frequently on a radio programmes in South Africa called “The Silver Lining”.  Full of reminiscences – its name coming from a song title of a similar genre to “Count Your Blessings” – it was broadcast on Sunday afternoons and helped encourage people to reflect on all that was good in life, no matter what their current day circumstances where.

Our rabbit is doing just this.  Counting blessings, looking back over the raspberry plants, the fairy huts, and the bracken and trying to draw some strength for the bonfire of the morrow.  He is remembering that, even though ‘a great sadness’ is beginning to consume him, there were times when life was good and everything was summed up in the one word ‘Real’.

He is treading a path very familiar to people of faith.  Down the ages when they have met with adversity they have not given in to despondency but have instead remembered that God has been with them in the past so will be there for the future.

“My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?”  4These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival……..

….I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?” 10As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?” 11Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Psalm 42. 3-4,9-11

As Lent draws to it’s sacred close in Holy Week – often a time of pain for those who would stand next to our Redeemer – it may be good for each of us to pause and write a list of ‘blessings’ that we have received.  A list of personal raspberry canes and fairy huts which will help us look beyond the gathering gloom of our personal Golgotha’s to the promise of the Easter Dawn.

Which blessing will be at the top of your list?

 

To Pray:

Loving God,
Your eternal watchfulness keeps me safe from harm.
I am filled with a great happiness
when I feel your endless love for me.
Thank you for your care for me, one of your children.
Please continue to pour out your blessings
on all of us who have been giventhe lifegiving waters of baptism.

 

© Andrew Dotchin – 2018

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