'The vision of Christ on the cross is an inspiration to us all'
Christian Comment with the Rev Richard Amys, rector of the Cotswold Edge parishes of Eastington, Frocester, Haresfield, Moreton Valence, Standish and Whitminster.
HOW are you feeling at the moment? In good spirits I hope - the Olympics and Paralympics have done much to inspire and the diamond jubilee celebrations were uplifting. Despite the difficult economic situation we find ourselves in as a nation, there are always occasions that exude positivity, no matter how dire the circumstances.
Strangely the greatest visual inspiration in the Christian faith is the crucifix - Christ on the Cross. Although it depicts Christ's death, Christians believe it to also point to resurrection - new life, a new birth.
I see this too in the overcoming of various degrees of disability by athletes. Some of the stories behind the Paralympians we have seen on our televisions recently have been amazing and very moving, and the achievements almost unbelievable. What about the archer who won gold using his mouth and feet to draw and shoot his arrows? Wheelchair basketball and rugby - inspiring to watch - and the sheer excitement and joy of those competing has been heart-warming to behold.
These are exceptional events but can you be similarly inspired by what you see and hear on your own doorstep? Do you get inspired by buildings, scenery and paintings, or by people, activities and relationships?
There are many struggles in life, but the struggle to overcome our own problems can so often encourage others with theirs. I spent some time the other day visiting two parishioners in two different hospitals. Both were ill but cheerful, and both loved the hospital food. Their outlook endeared them to the staff and to me, and I came away from both feeling uplifted. I hope we can all do something to inspire another this week.