We were kindly sent the following article written by Reverend Peter Cornish, Rector and Methodist Minister and published in a local church magazine:
Two or three times a year I block out a day in the diary for a Quiet Day, usually at The Living Well which is the Canterbury Diocesan Centre for Healing and Wholeness, not far away at Nonington. Typically, 10 to 12 people attend a Quiet Day and it will consist of a couple of periods of prayer and worship, a couple of informal talks, some space during which you can do your own thing, and the whole day enveloped in gentle hospitality.
A recent one gave an unexpected opportunity to do something different: to make a jar of promises. Jars of promises can come in a range of different styles but these were promises that God gives us in the Bible, or in some cases things that God wants to say to us taken from the words of a hymn. The leader provided us with glass jars, ribbon and a pack of coloured paper guillotined to the right size and our task was to write suitably encouraging words from the Bible or from a hymn and then fold them into a pentagon and pop them into the jar. Not the sort of thing I had ever done before (and those who know me know that I am not generally good with my hands), but over that hour or so I was reminded of a number of encouraging words and managed to achieve some surprisingly good results. So, I was enabled to take away not just the physical jar of promises but also a reminder of grace-filled promises and words that our Father God has given us.
A few days later, on a day off, came a wonderful opportunity. A friend who parks his private plane at Maypole was needing to fly to Thurrock to pick up fuel and a passenger – did I want to come along for the ride? The weather was clear and bright, the views over Sturry & district and Canterbury were amazing, and then flying on past Rochester and over the Thames estuary to Thurrock, with the Dartford Crossing and the Shard over to the left. Recognising familiar landmarks from a different perspective was fascinating; and having the opportunity also of taking control for a very few minutes – shortened by turbulence and an increase in other air traffic around Medway. Great fun, a wonderful experience and a brilliant afternoon.
From time to time we get these amazing moments of grace which break in upon our regular routines and upon the issues which we are constantly facing: moments when God (as it were) breaks in. In musical terms a ‘grace note’ is something that is brief, that is (strictly speaking) unnecessary but which embellishes the whole. These moments of grace can make a real difference to our lives, bringing a sense of joy into the day, and they are things for which we want to thank God. And if we have appreciated such recently, or even in past years, the obvious question is how we can be alert to the possibility of creating a moment of grace for someone in our families, within the community or even for someone whom we haven’t yet met – a moment which demonstrates that they are loved, that they are valued and that, behind the scenes, God has time for them.