A Letter from your Associate Priest

 

Dear Friends

Whilst the last 8 weeks has no doubt been strange and frustrating for all of us, there have been some benefits. As I have said before, I have made a lot of use of the local footpaths, accompanied by Zinnie our dog, during exercise time. In last months piece I mentioned that Zinnie was extremely cautious around water – well I am happy to say a breakthrough has been made! Walks down to Turnerspuddle and a paddle in the ford, after a little encouragement, are now being enjoyed. And imagine this – we have a small paddling pool in the garden for cooling off and Zinnie, with the enticement of a ball, has been known to jump delicately into the pool with her back legs aloft, rather like a handstand, and then lower her back legs with the minimum of splash to retrieve the ball and then jump out again. Progress indeed!

Another benefit, because I have had to walk from home, has meant that I have really noticed how nature is constantly changing, each day there is something new to marvel at or a new sound to hear. The lack of traffic has certainly helped and, as someone said to me only last week, ‘it’s as if the sky is bluer’. We were only a couple of weeks into lockdown when I first noticed the bluebells appearing—which seemed incredibly early, but then we have had a warm and sunny spring. I notice now that they are beginning to fade, what was once a blue carpet is now patchier, but other flowers are arriving to take their place—the foxgloves and rhododendron's for example are looking splendid on Black Hill.

In a passage from St Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is telling his followers not to worry, he says, ‘I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? … Look how the wildflowers grow… (they) are here today and (gone) tomorrow’… (from Matthew 6:25-34).

We know that the wildflowers such as the bluebells and other spring plants will be back again next year, it is one of the amazing things about nature, they will rest now ready to stun us again with their spring beauty. But they will not be quite the same as they were; the roots and stems may grow in a slightly different position, there may be more or less petals etc.

This teaching from Jesus, telling us not to worry has such resonance for our current time. Things will gradually change, lockdown will ease, but what happened before—’normal’, if you want to call it that—may never happen. Things will change, even if, at this present time, we cannot imagine how. We can only worry about what is going on in this present time.

In the church calendar we’ve just celebrated Rogation – which traditionally asks God to bless the crops. In the past I have always held this service outside, in my last parish we always held it at the village allotments. This year, of course, we had to stay at home, but I was able to use photo’s that I have taken during the lockdown of the local landscape where crops are growing, and farm animals are flourishing. The view seems to change constantly, but that is how it should be, it is only us who are standing still for a moment in time.

And so this year, whether it’s from our homes, or individually out on our walks, we can still ask for God’s good blessing on our land, our farms and communities, we can pray for those suffering because of this pandemic, we can pray for a better future for the world as a whole, for justice and peace and we do it remembering that God is with us wherever we are.

Take care and stay safe

 

Blessings Rev Sandra