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November is a month when a number of occasions remind us of the uncertainty and fragility of life. At All Souls’ we remember those who have died and are now at rest with God, and Remembrance Day faces us with the tragedies of wars past and present and the loss and damage they have done, and that conflict still brings to the lives of people in our world.

   Coronavirus has also brought much uncertainty into our world. None of us knows how long the pandemic will last, how many mutations the virus will undergo, the length of time that vaccines will remain effective and so on.

   And for many people the rising costs of living, fuel prices, tax rises and so on have left worry and anxiety in our minds.

   And then there is the speed at which our world runs, and the busyness and over-high demands and expectations we put on ourselves and others.

   There are few people who can say they truly don’t know what it feels like to be stressed or anxious.

   One really good way of ensuring we stay grounded and centred in this vastly uncertain and ever-changing environment is by having a still centre to our being. How do we achieve that?

   There is a long tradition of Christian prayer that enables people to do just this, to find a still centre in their souls, as the world rushes on around them. Knowing that whatever happens, God is holding us and providing a firm foundation for our lives really can help us to withstand the demands and vagaries of 21st-century expectations and stresses.

   Contemplation and meditation have long been used by Christians to help find this calm centre that leads to the ability to stay unflustered and unhurried by life and its burdens.

   Retreats and quiet days are positive ways of finding time for cultivating a still centre. But we can’t be on a retreat or quiet day every day, much as we may like it. Times away from the hustle and bustle are wonderful and we all need them, but the real skill is in cultivating a still centre in the midst of every day.

   It’s a skill, but it’s one we can all learn. The first step is desire, wanting to find that space within us that keep us rooted in God and then making opportunities for that to happen in our daily lives. We can do it anywhere – standing in the shopping queue, waiting for someone in the car, five minutes’ peace before the children get up or after they go to bed, a lunch break away from your desk.

   We’ve become a society that finds silence and stillness very difficult. We’ve also become a society where mental health is poor.  I am sure the two are linked.

   Our church buildings are open every day, so if you have nowhere else to find quiet and stillness, please use them. It’s one of the gifts we can offer to everyone in our communities.



Best wishes


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