God is the ultimate expert craftsman.

Team Rector’s Letter                                   January 2020


If you feel the need for a little bit of light relief in these gloomy post-Christmas days, when the huge credit card bills come home to roost, and the joys of spring seems far away, can I commend you to watch the BBC programme called “The Repair Shop”.  The trailers describe it as “an antidote to the throw-away culture”. It is filmed mostly at the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton, West Sussex. Expert craftsmen and artists work together and pool their skills to repair and restore heirlooms and treasured family antiques such as music boxes, vases and clocks. They are repaired and restored, not necessarily to a pristine condition, but in a way that shows their history and reflects the passage of time. It is an inspiring programme, and sometimes quite moving, as people share the way in which the treasured family possession links them with times that are past, and loved ones who are no longer with them. There is a story behind every item.


So it is with us. God is the ultimate expert craftsman. He repairs and restores what is broken in us – but always uses our past experiences to shape the person we become. The broken and grieving places are not hidden, but repaired and made strong.


If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that someone who pretends to a slick and over-confident capacity for achievement is not a particularly attractive person. Think, for example of another TV programme. Think of the contestants on Lord Sugar’s series “The Apprentice”. The boastful hardness of those competing against each other feels brittle and false. The gloss and glamour of a worldly success is an illusion. And sometimes as they are confronted with their own failures, we glimpse what seems to be a far more attractive human being beneath the mask.


Perhaps we need to recognise our own vulnerability as part of the common, shared human condition, recognising within that the frailty that is shared by us all. 


As this New Year begins, you may be making resolutions to change yourself – eat better, exercise more, watch less television (!).  Perhaps a better resolution would be to give up the endless requirement to appear to be ‘perfect’ and concentrate on being fully human instead. And leave it to the expert, divine craftsman to repair your sad and broken places. Be very sure – he never throws anyone away!


Reverend Ren Harding (Team Rector)

contact me at Joydens Wood Vicarage,

6 Tile Kiln Lane, Joydens Wood, Bexley, DA5 2BB  

01322-528923                         renharding@hotmail.co.uk

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