March 2011

“Grandma! … Grandma!” Euan and Zach arrived and wheeled right and left. Euan ran to Diane, and with the cry “Grandma”, wrapped his arms around Diane. He and his family were down for his 5th birthday; Diane had been feeling very pressured by work demands, and wasn’t sure she wanted a family weekend, but with one hug and squeeze, her oldest grandson melted it all away. It really was lovely to see him. Zach meanwhile had wheeled in the opposite direction and with the cry “Grandma” – gave me a big hug and a smile! Although it is really great being Grandad, I’ve not quite got a separate identity with 2¾ Zach, being variously ‘Grandma’, and occasionally ‘Grandma-grandad’. Later that weekend, Zach made some progress: he wanted some chocolate which was deemed to be Grandad’s, so he managed a creditable “Please can I have some chocolate, Grandad?’ followed by ‘Thank you, Grandma.’ It’s just possible that by the end of the weekend, he has mastered this permanently. Euan, meanwhile, has developed to the point where he can see the funny side of his brother calling me Grandma.

Euan is quite sensitive to others around him – asked what he would like to do for his birthday, and knowing that Emma and Carl were going to collect a few small beach stones for their wedding table plan, he opted to ‘go to the beach’, so we would all be together. Diane and Jenny went for a stroll, and the rest of us collected stones and did a little digging on the beach. Euan and I built a dam across a small stream – and Zach jumped in the water, fully clothed. Sunday, we were joined by the rest of the family for lunch, Tim and Natalie with Aedan (2) and Maayana (5 months), and Nat and Rachel with Ben – 2 weeks! Maayana was already sitting up to the table, having solids, and brightly gurgling at everyone while little Ben slept until being breastfed. I looked at the 15 around the table and the amazing progress each child was making in their development, physically, intellectually, and socially. Ben called round last night, a week later, and even in one week was showing his development in alertness and awareness of others. It is amazing fun, being a Granddad!

The boys are also showing spiritual development. Euan and Zach expect to have grace before a meal, and enthusiastically sing “Thank you for the world so sweet”. Euan can manage the ‘Amen’ involving rotating the hands and a ‘thumbs-up’, while Zach, focussed on his food, manages most of the words and a cursory attempt at ‘thumbs-up’ – Aedan expects to hold hands and smiles, and the youngest two are oblivious. All are developing and it is a great joy watching their development. Although each has made progress, we expect and anticipate further progress; if for some reason their progress was arrested, and there was no prospect of them going further, we would be saddened – going further is a normal expectation.

This is why we have a long weekend (31st March – 3rd April) with a national missioner, Roger Murphy, entitled ‘Going Further’. Roger will be helping us all in our development, our ‘Going Further’. There will be a ladies event ‘Puddings R us’ on Thursday evening 31st March, a family/young people event on the Friday evening, a men’s breakfast Saturday morning, followed by afternoon tea with the Tarnbank Quartet, together with the main services on Sunday at 9.30am, 11.00am and 6.30pm when Roger will be speaking, helping us in our ‘Going Further’ with God. It is for those who have questions and also for those who having made progress, realise it is time for going further. Full details will be available from the Rectory, and you are warmly invited to join us for these social and fun events to help you – and us – as we seek to progress in our walk with God.

As a biologist, I learnt nothing living is static; it either grows or it dies. Jesus uses this picture when he describes himself as the vines and us as his branches; we are to grow, going further, and bear fruit as his branches, or be cut off as dead wood. (John 15.1-6) This is a wonderful opportunity to explore our most important relationship and growth – come and join us.

Praying that you may find in Christ Jesus life in union with him, and in that life , growth, fullness and his fruit.

Your servant in the Lord Jesus Christ,

Simon Cox.