Thank you to those who have kindly enquired after my drumming, following my February letter. It’s going well and – big excitement – I’ve been advised to put in for my Grade 1 exam.
The music for the exam pieces comes in a glossy booklet, along with technical exercises and general guidance about the standard required. For me, the booklet is not just a source of information but a marker of how far I have come. When I first got it, I couldn’t even read the notation; now I can bash my way through two of the pieces and am working at a third. I have every hope that by October, when the exams take place, I will be able to play all three with confidence.
It hasn’t been plain sailing. Certain passages have stretched my coordination to the limits, and have required much wrestling not just to hit the right drums at the right time, but also to avoid hitting the wrong drums at the same time in a kind of sympathetic reflex. But it is worth it for the satisfaction of eventually getting it right.
It is often good to look back and give thanks for what we have already been able to do. We have many blessings in this church, including gifted and thoughtful people who are more than ready to share their time and talents for God. We have been privileged this year to walk with Joseph Dankwa through his TLS placement, and we are truly grateful for his careful preparation and sound preaching. This month, we have also welcomed three new people into church membership, which is a real encouragement to us all. And on a practical level, we have beautiful new drapes in the gallery, and fine tidy grounds outside.
Looking back, however, is not the whole story. At the back of my drumming booklet, just when I was feeling pleased about getting towards Grade 1, I found a new piece of music – the preview for Grade 2. There is always a new challenge to face. We have been asked if we will host another session of the Winter Night Shelter next year, and we to think hard about the amount of work involved and whether we can take that on again. We will be looking at ways to deepen our personal discipleship, which might take us out of our comfort zone. And we need to think about our mission, and what we are here to do.
Looking back with thanks, and looking forward with hope and faith, we see God at work throughout our church life, always wanting to draw us closer, ever shaping us into the likeness of Christ. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth it for the joy of knowing that we are part of God’s plan and purpose.