May Blog 2024

A good question! You probably recognise this as part of a campaign to try to make people more aware of how much it costs when we don’t turn up to doctors or hospital appointments.

I was recently in a meeting where Petra (P.A. to Hennie) was quoting Pastor Agu. Pastor Agu is the pastor of Jesus House Church, a black-majority church in London. Pastor Agu was talking about the importance of spending time with God. He was commending his wife for her faithfulness in spending time with God.

If someone asked her to do something or invited her somewhere and it cut across this time she always replied ‘I’m sorry I can’t manage that, I already have an appointment’. She made time with God a priority.

What struck me was that she didn’t need to make a decision every time someone asked or invited, she had already made that decision.

She didn’t feel obliged to change it, juggle it or cut it short. Time with God became a priority booking! Her choice was already made and she was going to be ready and alert to Him.

When I was in South Africa during my curacy, I heard a lot of stories about Bishop Desmond Tutu who was then Archbishop of Capetown.  One story was told of when he was taking his annual 8-day retreat. The centre he was staying in received a call from Nelson Mandela the then President of South Africa. Tutu declined the call – obviously realising that he had a previously scheduled appointment with Someone more important.

Desmond Tutu is famous for his joy despite witnessing the horrors and degradation of the Apartheid regime. However, his hurt and anger never led to bitterness or hate. Through prayer and nonviolent protest, he was instrumental in ending Apartheid.

He wasn’t wringing in hands about the dreadful state of the world although he saw and felt it in his work every day. He wasn’t in despair - because of his strong relationship with God.

When I hear about him, I am filled with hope and I want to share that hope with you as you read this blog.  When I hear about him, I am stirred and inspired. I realise that I need the breath of God – the Holy Spirit to breathe in me to motivate and sustain me in my life. Not just when I’m doing religious things but all of my life - whether I’m at home or work or relaxing with fr

It was through prayer that Tutu was able to hold together compassion and justice, conviction and openness, prayerfulness and action.

Tutu didn’t burn up or burn out but he drank deeply from God. He made meeting with Jesus a priority saying ‘no’ even to a President.

Someone said about him ‘He was a man of consistent action on earth because he was a man of consistent contemplation (focus /communion) on the things of heaven.

I’m not deluded by any means, thinking that I can fully aspire to someone of the stature of Desmond Tutu but we can all aspire to be fully intentional about being close to God and to aspire to be fully who he has made us to be.

What I’ve been thinking about is that we can only be inspired as we come close enough to His face and receive that breath.

To return to the opening picture God is saying ‘Where are you?’ I thought we had an appointment?

At my doctor’s surgery as you walk in there is a screen now telling you how much money it is costing the NHS in missed appointments.

In 2019, approximately 7.2 million GP appointments were missed annually in England, costing the NHS around £216 million.

How much, I ask myself, is it costing us to miss our appointments with God?

Love and prayers, Rev Liz