Dear Family of St John’s

I own a few items of furniture that belonged to my grandparents. In fact, I recently received a pair of chairs from my dad that he remembers his grandfather having. They’re pretty old, but in great condition!

I also have a small chair that I remember sitting in as a child on my grandparents’ farm. My grandmother apparently sat in this same chair when she was a child.

Another item that I own from my maternal grandmother is her old Kenwood Chef stand mixer. As best as I can tell, it’s from the mid-1970’s. It still works without any problems. And, I bake often!

Another prized possession, which I’m really sad to say broke recently, was my gran’s whisk. It had a 1980’s-orange plastic handle. It was sturdy! It could whisk for longer than my arm could hold out. And, since it broke, I haven’t been able to find another whisk that is up to the task. They’re too flimsy.

I have a pair of poultry shears from my gran too. I have no idea how old they are, but look to be at least 40 years old. I haven’t used them often, but they’re still as good as new.

These items were made to last! None of it was packed away for ‘special’ occasions or looked after as a particularly high-valued item. They were day-to-day pieces of furniture and appliances. And yet, they’re still in good condition and perfectly usable today (except for my whisk).

It’s almost a standing joke today that if you buy an appliance, it will break one day outside of its warranty period. Has anyone else experienced this with kettles and irons? Is it just me?

I know that I’m sounding old as I write all of this. But it’s true. We don’t make things to last anymore. We’re not surprised when we need to buy a newer version or a replacement.

Have you considered how this disposable and dispensable attitude permeates other areas of our life?

How does it affect the way we view our jobs? Our commitment to the work we’re doing, where we volunteer and how we give of ourselves? How does it affect our relationships, our ability to deal with conflict? I suspect it does have an effect.

Perhaps we’re too quick to say, ‘I quit. This job / situation / work / relationship doesn’t suit me anymore. It isn’t fun. It’s more difficult than I thought. I’ll try something else.’

Now, in many ways this is wonderful – we have a world at our fingertips to explore and be challenged by. But, do all these options and the easy way out allow us to develop ‘stickability’. Stickability is a person’s ability to persevere with something, it’s staying power.

Stickability is an important characteristic. It speaks of determination, that ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. It tells me that you’re committed, I can rely on you, you’re here through thick and thin.

We also need to consider whether our faith has been affected by a society that is geared towards the disposable and dispensable? I think that it has been affected in many ways.

For example, many of us would have experienced a childhood where going to church every Sunday was normal, it was important. In fact, unless you were deathly ill or there was a family emergency, you just never ever missed church. That’s not the case anymore. Church attendance is now a dispensable activity.

But, if this is how we view our faith, what are we passing on to future generations? Are we teaching them that we only go to church, or pray, or read our Bible when we feel like it / are in a good mood / need God’s help / have nothing else to do / it serves our purpose?

Are we laying a foundation of faith in our future generations that is made to last?

In James 1:2-4 we read, ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’

There’s something to be said for persevering through a difficult season, sticking to a task we’d rather give up on, hanging in there. When we do this, we learn to rely on God, we develop a closer relationship with Him. We mature in our faith. We develop a faith that’s made to last.

Perhaps we should each consider where we need to work on our stickability, when it to comes to our faith. Are we growing in a faith that will last, and see us through the good and the bad? How are we passing this faith down to the next generation?

‘As for me, I shall always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long – though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds. Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.’ (Psalm 71:14-18)

With love

Your friend and rector