In our series of Everyday faith questions, members from our congregation share how their faith im[acts their day to day lives. This week Michael shares his Everyday faith.
Where would we find you and what would we find you doing in a typical week?
As I write this, I’m finding it difficult to determine what is a ‘typical week.’ Most weeks will include some time with my family, supporting my rugby team (Blackheath) and preparing the church newsletter. Something the pandemic taught me was the importance of getting out each day. During the good weather, I love the river front in Woolwich. The water is calming, but the ferry and other traffic is fascinating.
How does being a Christian make a difference to your week?
I try to spend some time in prayer near the start of each day and find it easiest to follow a structured format. If I’m home, the Daily Service on Radio 4 Long Wave is excellent. It’s just 15 minutes at 9.45am each Monday to Friday and is made up of hymns, readings and prayers.
If I’m out and about, the Church of England Daily Prayer app is also excellent. Their daily services can also be accessed via their website.
And finally for when time is really limited, Bill Braviner (The Archdeacon of Halifax) writes a short prayer and posts it on Twitter every day. Just perfect for when I’m on the train or bus.
What challenges your faith?
I find it difficult to understand the actions of people who should know better but still do the wrong thing. Of course we are all sinners and in need of God’s forgiveness, but I do find it challenging when people with positions of responsibility abuse their power. And most sadly of all is when people who held high office in the Church of England have abused their power or failed to do the right thing.
What strengthens your faith?
I find acts of kindness and generosity by other people both inspiring and something that strengthens my faith. So many times I hear of people who have been so grateful for a relatively simple action by someone else. These actions might be something like welcoming a stranger, listening to a friend, or looking out for someone who needs a bit of support. It is often the simple actions of others that brings someone to know about the love of God. As I sit and write this, I realise what better gift do we have to offer?
Where and when do you feel God’s presence most strongly?
The pilgrimages I have made to the Taizé community if France have been something very special. It is wonderful to sit in a church with around 5,000 other people from countries far and near. They are people who are united in their love for the world, each other and God. It makes me wonder, is what heaven will be like?
Do you feel always comfortable talking about what you believe?
I don’t think I’d say always, but certainly much more so than when I was younger. Perhaps as a youngster you fear being the one who is different to everyone else. I guess it is experience that makes me realise other people will accept me for who I am.