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Have you felt the pleasure of rediscovering something you once loved, which had somehow disappeared from your life?
I had that experience on holiday recently. I rediscovered the joy of wild swimming, enjoying daily dips in the North Sea while on holiday in Fife.
Not for me the wetsuits and equipment which are now so widely used. Put on a pair of swimming shorts and get into the sea, knowing it will be freezing and that it will be a fairly quick dip before heading for a warm towel and a hot coffee, that’s my preferred technique.
In my early years I was constantly in and out of the sea. Back then, it wasn’t called wild swimming – it was just swimming. We had no swimming pool to offer a “tame” alternative to the sea. Over the years it just became less and less part of my life. Perhaps I might brave the waves on holiday once or twice a year, but that was it.
My recent rediscovery was how good it felt to return regularly to something I once loved. Many people have faith stories like my experience of swimming/wild swimming. There was a time when their faith was alive and vibrant, important to them, but for no obvious or planned reason, it just became less and less part of their lives. Maybe it was moves of location, changes in family responsibilities, new jobs. Maybe something changed or went wrong in a church or faith group. Maybe finding opportunity to share a service or make time to pray just slipped down the agenda.
As someone who recently discovered the joy of something I once loved which had unintentionally slipped out of my life, can I urge you to rediscover whatever it was about your faith that you once loved but which disappeared along the way?
The letters to the churches in the last book of the Bible contain reminders that there isn’t much satisfaction in a lukewarm faith, and an encouragement to rediscover the joy of our first our first love.
What might rekindle that fire for you?
Reverend Richard Baxter, Fort William Kilmallie and Kilmonivaig Church of Scotland