Be Lifted Out Of Yourself. Discover a Better Self Strength

Notes on the Sunday address by Dr Francis Macnab, 3 January 2016.

“What are the predictors of a good and long life?” asks Dr Macnab in this first address of a new year. The future is difficult to predict; and the past isn’t always a reliable guide. “The task before us is to discover our better, and our best self-strengths, by which to live each day.”

Dr Macnab lists just three things you can do for your best self-strength:
1. Find your magical “bag of beans”: something in your life that will help you to step over past mistakes; little things that can transform your life into something unanticipated.
2. See that the ugliness of life need not last. The challenge is to give some shape to a new goodness in life.
3. Lift yourself up to see life from a different perspective; and be inspired by the higher things.
Dr Macnab also spoke of the value of the Sunday gathering at St Michael’s. In his book, Gratitude, Oliver Sachs wrote of the importance of the Sabbath for the Jewish people. Christians are not as carefully committed to observing that one day of the week. Yet, on Sundays at St Michael’s, many things come together to contribute to a stronger sense of self, which Dr Macnab elaborates:
• It is a time and a space to reflect on the various ingredients of the past and possibilities for the future.
• A time to reduce life’s stresses and find some balance.
• A time of remembering and gratitude,
• Of music, poetry, talking and quietness.
• It is a time to regather a sense of caring for others, for our place in the world, and for the world itself.
• It is a time to renew our ideals, to renew good beliefs, about ourselves, about others, about life.
• It is a time to renew our hope.
• It is a time to be aware of our own acceptance, to remember that you are fully accepted,
• To experience a moment when it seems your cup overflows, as a remedy for the sense of emptiness that can accompany everyday life.
• It is a time that, in making one day special, every day can take on a different, special value.
• It is a time to sing and celebrate, to come together, recognising “the enormous privilege and adventure of being alive together on this beautiful planet.” (Sachs)

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