Dear Family of St John’s

Who would have thought spinach would make me laugh?

My first real memory of anything spinach-related must be Popeye the Sailor Man. Anyone remember him? As young children my brother and I loved Popeye. Our cousins, who were vegetarian, tried to convince us that Popeye was stronger than Superman because Popeye ate spinach.

I even remember the opening verse to his song, “Oh, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man / I’m Popeye the Sailor Man. I’m strong to the finich / Cause I eats me spinach. / I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”

And now you have that in your head too, it’s a pleasure!

However, I didn’t think anything about spinach was particularly funny, until my eldest described his attempts at cooking it.

I’ve been pestering him to eat more green veggies ever since the Carrot Incident of 2023 (I’m saving that story for another time). He tries to convince me that Granny Smith apples count. I don’t agree. Nevertheless, he thought he’d give spinach a go.

And so, he tackled a big bag of chopped spinach. His description of the overflowing pot and trying to subdue the mound of spinach had me crying with laughter! He ended up cooking it in batches as there was too much to deal with in one go.

And then, after it was all done, he was astounded at how little of the vegetable there actually was. I suspect he thought the effort far outweighed any benefit and don’t expect to hear that he’s cooking spinach again in the near future.

I think life can feel a little like that overflowing pot of raw spinach.

We often encounter challenges that appear insurmountable, overwhelming us with their magnitude. Whether it’s financial struggles, health issues, relationship conflicts, or simply the weight of daily responsibilities. There’s too much to deal with at any given point and we can feel completely overwhelmed.

But, our faith reminds us that our perspective on these challenges can shift when viewed through the lens of God’s Word. The Scriptures offer us wisdom and encouragement, reminding us that what seems overwhelming to us is never beyond the reach of God’s grace and provision.

Look at some of these examples:

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Paul reminds us that our strength to overcome challenges doesn’t come from our own abilities alone, but from the power of God working within us. When we feel inadequate or overwhelmed, God’s strength is there to sustain us.

And what about the Psalms? – “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps 34:17-18) Not only does God hear our cries but He also delivers us from our troubles. Even in our darkest moments, we are not alone; God is near to us, offering comfort and salvation.

Isaiah 41:10 says, “… do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” This verse highlights the promise of God’s presence and support in our lives. When faced with challenges that seem overwhelming, we can take refuge in the assurance that God is with us, providing strength and assistance.

Perspective through Faith

When life feels a bit like that pot of uncontrollable spinach, lets hold fast to these truths. What may seem like an insurmountable obstacle today can be transformed by God’s grace into an opportunity for growth, resilience, and deeper faith. By anchoring ourselves in prayer, turning to Scripture for guidance, and supporting one another in community, we can find the perspective needed to face challenges with courage and hope.

Let’s never forget that our God is greater than any problem we may encounter. If we rely on His strength and wisdom, we can approach life’s difficulties with confidence, knowing that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). May this knowledge bring comfort to our hearts and encouragement to our spirits as we continue our journey of faith together.

With God’s help, that overflowing pot of spinach can cook down to nothing!

With love
Your friend and rector,