Dear Family of St John’s

There are weeks where I feel that I barely see my husband. These are the cycles where my day starts particularly early and ends very late. We might manage a quick coffee together in the morning and that’s about it, apart from WhatsApp messages advising him that he should expect a Sixty60 delivery! (Have I mentioned what a lifesaver Sixty60 is?!)

However, we have both realised over the years that if we just allow that cycle to run, we’d never see each other. We all know this doesn’t make for a healthy relationship. And so, we’re quite intentional in finding time during those busy periods to see each other in other ways.

We’ll WhatsApp each other during the day to check if there’s an opportunity for a half-an-hour coffee catch-up at one of our favourite coffee shops. He loves his coffee almost as much as I do! Or, maybe we’ll grab a quick lunch together every now and then. These moments help us to stay connected when life feels a little too crazy.

Well, we had one of these coffee-catch-ups a couple of weeks ago. We were sitting chatting about everything and nothing, when a lady approached our table. I hadn’t noticed her before. She was also a customer, and on her way out. I didn’t know her, and she didn’t know me. But, she came over because she wanted to pay me a compliment.

She took the time to share a kind word with a random stranger in a coffee shop. And, boy, that made my day! That compliment was so unexpected and unnecessary. Yet, she took the time to come over and say it.

I was reminded of this incident during the week when, as a staff team, we watched a short video by Craig Groeschel entitled “100 Reasons to Be Encouraged: Stay Positive”. We were all encouraged watching it, and challenged to think about how we encourage others, and are encouraged ourselves.

We all know that there’s so much negativity in the world. Certainly, the media portrays the negative before the positive. Bad news sells, right? But all this negativity does something to us. It affects us. Slowly we become conditioned to see only the negative, to speak only the negative!

Have you noticed how difficult it is to remember positive words? And yet we don’t easily forget the negative things that are said to us.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us how powerful our words are, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Hebrews 3: 13 also instructs us to “encourage one another daily”.

So, we know how powerful our words can be. We also know that we’re supposed to be speaking words of encouragement to each other. Groeschel challenged us in his video to speak the good thoughts that we have. Tell those around you about the good you see in them. Say it face-to-face, WhatsApp it, email it, send a voice note.

Each person we encounter is facing a struggle of some kind. We each carry worries and challenges. For the most part, we don’t share these with everyone. We put on our brave face and carry on as if all is well.

When you share an encouraging word, you can’t begin to know how much that could change someone’s day. Let us encourage each other. Let us remind each other, and ourselves, about the words of faith and the words of life that God speaks to us. Let us remind each other of His promises and that His words are true.

So, would you accept the challenge to share a word of encouragement each day with someone who wouldn’t expect it from you? Your words could be just what they need to hear. Your words could remind them of the love of God.

With love

Your friend and rector


P.S. The link for the video is included below, if you’d like to watch the video yourself.