Letter from Rev. Cathy Bladen

Dear Friends & Neighbours,

As we head into Autumn, I’m reminded of the words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 that were read at the Queen’s Service of Remembrance at Edinburgh Cathedral;

‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…’

For me as a Christian, Autumn with its harvest of crops and fruits is a wonderful reminder that no matter what is happening in the world the seasons keep turning and there is always hope of new things and times to come… even if in the moment we find it hard to feel the hope.

We have been and still are in many ways living through a time of challenge and change; the pandemic, the rising cost of living, strikes, the uncertainty of a change of Prime Minister and now the loss of our Queen. There’s much uncertainty and we could find ourselves individually and as a Nation feeling rocked, our resilience waning and perhaps our emotions raw.

So, I found it moving that just as the flags were being lowered and we enter a time of national mourning the media captured images of two beautiful rainbows… one over Windsor Castle and a double rainbow over Buckingham Palace. Since the Biblical time of Noah and the great flood, the rainbow has been a symbol and sign of God’s unfailing love and steadfast faithfulness… It gave me a sense of hope that there will be better times ahead.

Now, it might just have been a coincidence… but the thing I know about coincidences is that the more you pray, the more they seem to happen; I like to think of them as God-incidences. And why wouldn’t God want to speak through a rainbow at such a moment?

How Wonderful then… that at the end of an era… at the point the Nation was being told of her Majesty’s death …that we see Rainbows. A reminder for us that whatever happens, whatever mountains be shaken, and hills be moved… whatever life throws at us or how ever uprooted we may feel….

‘God’s steadfast love won’t depart from us, and His peace won’t be removed and His compassion will rest on us’. (Isaiah 54 paraphrased)

The Queen trusted in Jesus and her faith shaped everything she did… He was the source of her Hope. In her 2002 Christmas message she said,

“I know just how much I rely on my own faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning, ….I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”

And in August 2022 in a letter to Church leaders gathering at the Lambeth Conference from around the world she wrote,

“Throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find hope. It is my heartfelt prayer that you will continue to be sustained by your faith in times of trial and encouraged by hope at times of despair.”

I think this would be her prayer for us too.

God Bless, Rev Cathy