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by ben last modified 14 Sep, 2017 01:59 PM

By the Rt Revd Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne

This summer I went on retreat to Glendalough in Ireland. It is a much visited place where St Kevin set up his monastery amongst the Wicklow Mountains around 1,500 years ago. It was a major centre of the conversion of Ireland to Christianity.

These saints of old had good sense. The scenery is fantastic, while the monastery and his hermitage were over a mile apart within a beautiful valley, providing the essential balance between work and prayer.

There is a legend around St Kevin, reflected in a poem by Seamus Heaney, that he prayed with his hands open for long enough that a blackbird came and made its nest there. A challenge for any retreatant!

Another story is that a friendly otter would visit daily to bring a salmon to feed Kevin and his fellow monks.

Christ in the Gospels demonstrates God’s provision both for our daily bread and for abundance. That means coming before God day by day faithfully in prayer, and asking for miracles.

As this autumn term unfolds there is much happening, which calls for both daily bread and miracles.

Our expectations can be simple yet extravagant.

In some ways I am daunted as we launch out on our diocesan project to grow the rural church. So much of that ministry is about daily bread.

However, knowing what is already happening and the great team of lay and ordained leaders we have in our parishes, and believing in a God of abundance, I trust that amazing things can and will happen. We should trust in God’s gifts, not just our own strength.

‘Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations’. Ephesians 3: 20,21

This thought appears in our latest Grapevine. Read it here; main page here 

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