What impact does faith have on our day to day lives? In the latest of our Everyday faith series, Rick shares how he lives out his faith in his everyday life.
Where would we find you and what would we find you doing in a typical week?
In accordance with Parkinson’s Law that work expands to fill the time available, in retirement I’ve taken on extra responsibilities at St Luke’s at a time when so many others are time poor. After forty years social work with children and families I retired from paid employment almost four years ago. Nowadays no week is typical. Much time is spent on the responsibilities I’ve taken on at church as well as supporting Liz in her ministry as Rector. I take great pleasure in being a grandfather and keeping up with my growing family.
How does being a Christian makes a difference to your week?
It gives shape and purpose to everything I am and everything I do. It is faith in God the Creator. I believe we are all made in God’s image and are called on to love generously and unconditionally. It’s up to all of us to discover what this means in practice and how we can serve God in serving others. Service takes many forms.
What challenges your faith?
Overthinking things and forgetting to trust in God’s plan. Alongside my tendency to catastrophise, I often make myself too busy to make time for rest or prayer.
What strengthens it?
As a child I’d grown up in a congregational church where the message I now realise was to be seen but not heard – church was a holy place but only because people told me it was. As a teenager I became deeply uncomfortable with what felt like badly delivered evangelism and indoctrination. But coming to St Luke’s as a young adult felt different and unlike any church I’d ever been to; a sanctuary where all were welcome and the theological liberalism was radical. To have become part of the church has been and remains a privilege. I am strengthened by the knowledge that God is always present.
Where and when do you feel God’s presence most strongly?
Everywhere – in nature, in everyone I meet, in my children and now in my grandchildren, in sacred buildings like St Luke’s and in the ministry of so many. Among us are many living saints. The richness of a church is the people and it is they who embody the love of God and in whose presence I feel God most strongly.
Where and when does God feel absent?
I never have a sense that God is absent even when waking at four in the morning with my mind buzzing with self-doubt or the never-ending ‘to do’ list. In a world of injustice, cruelty, natural and unnatural tragedy, oppression, inequality and injustice I feel constantly challenged to be present to God’s plan. It is not that God is ever absent, only that we have a tendency to absent ourselves from God.
Do you feel comfortable talking about what you believe?
It’s not that I feel uncomfortable talking about my faith, more a case that I struggle to articulate what I believe in, other than to assert that life without God would be meaningless. I often feel that what I believe probably isn’t good enough or theologically grounded. But from an early age I’ve had an unshakable belief in God, a faith that evolved with my growing appreciation of God having taken human form in Christ to walk among us and teach what it means to “love your neighbour as yourself”, whatever the cost.