ALL of us who live in Henley are very much aware of the time it takes to prepare for the
ALL of us who live in Henley are very much aware of the time it takes to prepare for the royal regatta, festival and all the other events in and around the town.
The regatta tents start to appear around Easter and slowly the tented villages, both at the Henley end of the course and at the Remenham end, take shape. Boat tents, grandstands, bars and restaurants all emerge.
And there has been much preparation before all of this happens, both in offices around the town and also in the grounds where the marquees et al will have their place for the next few weeks.
We are very used to making preparations some of us are good at it, others perhaps less so.
As a parish priest, I am very much aware of how much preparation goes into the celebrations surrounding, for example, a wedding.
Bride and groom and their respective parents will usually be busy for months on and off. All this preparation goes into one day, a few days, a week at the most.
In a very real way all of us spend a lot of our lives engaged in preparation for something or another, even if it’s only for something quite fleeting. Even a visit to the shops necessitates some preparation making sure you have your wallet for a start (which several shopkeepers will tell you is not always an act of preparation yours truly succeeds in!)
How seriously do we take our preparation for life and for eternal life?
Even Jesus made good preparations for the Last Supper and the whole of his life was spent preparing for the cross and the foundation of his church by handing on the Gospel to the Apostles. Yet so often we fail to prepare.
We would not expect one of our rowing athletes to appear on the regatta course without having undergone extensive preparation.
We can be only too aware that an act at the festival might be under-prepared by the poor quality of the performance (I’m sure that has never happened, by the way), so why do we take the preparation for life so carelessly?
Outside St Mary’s there is usually a notice which says that the church is open for silence, peace and prayer.
Amid the hubbub of the next few weeks, perhaps we should all find time for those three acts of preparation for things that really matter!