Things We Cannot Do, the Something We Can

‘Father, I place into Your Hands,
the things that I can’t do.
Father, I place into Your Hands
the times that I’ve been through.
Father I place into Your Hands
the way that I should go,
for I know I always can trust You.’
(Jenny Hewer.1975 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music)

It was a Wednesday morning and because our own clergy were otherwise engaged, Reverend Peter a retired Priest answered the call and came over to help. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Reverend Peter and no distance too great to travel when thanked his gracious reply is always going to be, ‘Oh but it is a privilege.’ This is no courteous reply, He means it, it comes from his heart.

Well on this particular morning standing in the small church kitchen with coffee, his attention is drawn to the flower girls, (one in her 80’s, the other in her 70’s) planning their next task whilst someone else checks the cleaning cupboard’s stock.

‘See, Reverend Peter says, ‘You all do something, just as it should be and here comes Mother Superior!’

The one referred to and just entering the kitchen dissolved into laughter along with everyone else. Taking not the least little offence with the chorus of. ‘Yes. that’s her.’

Dressed in old jeans, trainers, and gardening anorak, the one with the stitch in the torn sleeve seam, hardly the picture of a nun.

‘Oh, but I mean it.’ Reverend Peter says. ‘You are always so calm, so serene, you should be a sister in Holy Orders.

The dishevelled one, brushes windswept hair from her eyes, and with index finger pointed in the direction of up, replied,

‘Well I do take orders from the Holy One, I suppose. I do whatever he says without picking and choosing, but I leave it to Him to do the hard part.’

Tuesday evening and the visiting speaker at the ladies class gives a gentle message using Ephesian 3:7-21 as his text. As he finishes he gives each person a slip of paper with the following words to think about:

“We cannot do everything.
and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something;
and to do it well.
It may be incomplete;
but it is a beginning.
a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter
and do the rest.”

Here is the secret to the anorak lady’s calm and serenity; she is forever taking a new step along the way, providing that opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

She has taken no religious vows and wears no habit except the one given by the Lord, prayer.

Serene Swan


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I'm grateful to God for all the blessings of this life but a pilgrim on earth and a stranger. Blessed with many friendships, happy to be a friend to all who are seeking ....

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