For All Seasons

The last day of August, most children are returning to school and lessons over the next few days, we have to face it the seasons are changing, September is the herald of autumn and then, well, Christmas cards are appearing in some shops already. Why, oh why is everyone always rushing from one thing to the next, why can’t we just take one day at a time?

No morning Service in my church this morning, it being the 5th Sunday in the month we visited a neighbour parish, newly decorated they have a new hand crafted, and originally designed altar frontal. Designed and made not by a professional but by someone with a good eye and a desire to give glory to God. Liturgically we are in the green season, but this was designed to reflect the colours of all the church seasons, with The Cross the focus of them all.

Seems to me, that my heart should be good for all seasons too and faithfully abide with God, day in day out in whatever circumstance I find myself, whether the pastures are green, or snow filled the rest I can leave to Him, after all,

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down” (Psalm 104:19)

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Not The Least Pebble On The Beach

How easy it is to lose track of the time when busy, and sometimes how easy to lose track of friends. Did you have a Kaleidoscope as a child? Fascinating wasn’t it, how those tiny glass particles would come together form a pattern and then at a turn fly apart and form something new.

Life is like that, full of turns, comings together and, sadly partings.

I love reading but sadly don’t have much reading time nowadays, still I tackle a chapter or two when I can; (that is reading other than scripture which forms part of daily prayer.)

I have just finished reading “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini because the author writes from several character viewpoints, I think it would have been better to have had longer periods of time each session of reading, but that is not a criticism of the writer. I found the story/stories moving and compelling… The ending, like life, sad yet happy, satisfactory but not altogether satisfactory. I’m not going to give the ending away entirely just in case you are reading it now.

What was fascinating kaleidoscope wise was the interweaving of the characters personal stories. The way each person in some way overcame difficulties, the way in which they fly apart and come together interacting to bring about the final resolution of the two principal characters story.

Yes, I believe that things do work out, that what is lost can be found, I also believe that no one is ever lost to God, that if we seek we shall find, I think it is true also He is amazingly good at kaleidoscope making and that He knows every pebble on the beach, sure they all look alike but not one single pebble is the ‘least pebble‘ in His eyes, not one is overlooked and we may not count the ways He has of making sure all are washed up on the right beach .,

Go Write A Letter

Dear readers and writers,

I don’t get much time for reading and reading for me has been a lifetime’s pleasure; yesterday afternoon I made time to finish reading an edition of the “Complete Poems of Wilfred Owen” which also contains his collected letters. Touchingly the last letter is preceded by a page with just the words. “The Last Letter” within a few short days, Susan Owen’s loving son was dead, fallen in the war to end all wars, which sadly didn’t.

None of us can know what tomorrow will bring, if it is important to us we should say it today, better still write it down. If it is true, straight from our heart and our heart is a true heart those words will remain far longer than we will.

iPads, Tablets, mobile phones, hard drives, backups, all these in time will let us down, data will be lost, corrupted, the most powerful words in history the writings that have inspired mankind, have lived on, preserved on clay/ wax tablets, scrolls and humble paper and these words have been the words of the heart.

Bother the cost of postage, don’t put it in an email, write it in a letter use old fashioned paper, write in old fashioned ink, and trust it to the post man. You know in one of his letters, Owen writes that the soldier carrying the post had fallen in a river, but the post was still delivered, having been soaked it was still readable, those letters completed their mission successfully. And so will our words, honest words carry in themselves the power to encourage, to console, to strengthen, they give hope, most importantly they say,

“I love you.”

You can fold a letter up, keep it close.

I need not write any more, so here this letter ends, as all letters should with love and regards,

God Bless
Jean

Poppies to say it all

Not really much to say. Today, with five friends opened the church, to let anyone who would come in, to say a prayer for Peace on earth, to reflect on the Great War, light a candle … Yes even in these days the lights are going out … Where is compassion, where is love, in these days of great knowledge, why is it so dark? It is not that God has turned His face away, but perhaps we don’t seek it. My friends where ever you are, I light a candle for you .. In your darkest night .. May there always be hope.

These flowers were placed on the steps to the lady chapel in honour of all who fell 1914-1918.

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“Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ”

(Book of Common Prayer)

The Burden

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The photo is the cover-page of a battered, but still clearly readable church magazine and I found it whilst searching through a folder full of bits and bobs given to me as keepsakes, not what I was looking for, but, it certainly made for interesting reading. Today’s, magazine is called Tides and Tidings, not so formal, with lots of news of comings, goings and happenings; today’s usually had 24 pages, the 1906 one – just 3.

What is obvious from those 3 pages is that church, church number 3, bigger and more ornate than the first church consecrated around 1199, and it’s successor which had to be pulled down having become unsafe due to mining/ quarrying work in the area, was struggling to pay its way, and what is more, to finish paying for its building. Poor church, another 7 years down the line and church #3 was razed to the ground by a mysterious fire. Unfortunately it wasn’t fully insured so … rebuilding church #4 was really a struggle, a burden no one was rich and the Great War came along in 1914… So the present church was not rededicated until September 1923.

History repeats, so they say, but I hope, God willing that Church #4 will be around for many years to come .. It just seems to me that we are struggling against impossible odds, sometimes. As it is with church buildings so it can be with us, at such times of struggle I find this little prayer helps, the words are not mine and I cannot locate their author but they say a lot, and are a solace.

“The burden is not mine to bear,
It is the Lord’s and He will share
The weight and cause my soul to rest,
Knowing that He alone knows best
The way to lead me on in faith
To hold His hand and trust is safe,
Trust Him His promises to keep,
Dwell in His love for me so deep.

O search me Lord and try my ways,
Teach me to live through all my days
In holy fear and love for Thee,
With simple faith: my earnest plea.
To live according to thy
perfect will, my life thy
Heart with pleasure fill.
So lead me Lord ’til at thy throne I give thee
Back what is Thine own.

Precious though church buildings, bricks and mortar are, they are not as precious in God’s sight as one trusting soul who trusts and kneels, and submits all to Him.

Snow Lady

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I took this picture of Leucanthemum ‘Snow Lady‘ before planting her outside in the back garden, she is rather lovely, clean, white, bright, fresh as a daisy, but how will she fare now she’s outside; will she stay clean and white, will she survive! Greenfly, slugs, snails, wind, too much rain, too little rain, planting anything is an act of faith, and also of hope. Once upon a time ‘Snow Lady’ was no more than a grain of hope, a seed which a gardener took and sowed…

Three babies were bought to be baptised yesterday, clean, fresh as daisies; they were bought in faith, in hope with prayer to receive the sign of the cross, to be baptised. I know, not all Christian churches receive little ones like this, many parents desire to let their children make their own decision when old enough, yes, it is true, some will never get around to doing that; yes it’s equally true that not every parent or godparent is going to keep the promises made on a child’s behalf, it’s vexing and arguable, but, if these three little ones had been carried to Jesus, would He have turned them away with no blessing, no prayer?

When the first baby photos are taken we can’t see, we don’t see what will be, we don’t see how a child will turn out that is the truth, and it is also true that in creating human beings, although the Almighty had more than an idea of what would be, and how things would certainly turn out – He still did it anyway!

What do you think?
Is God the best example we have of sowing in faith and hope?
What does that say of the value, the promise the potential of all of us, what does it say about the Love of God for the whole of creation?

I leave these questions with you, as seeds for your thoughts or otherwise?

…,The Best Is a Yet To Be…

The lady speaker was about to retire and as she finished her message gave to each listener a bookmark, I have treasured mine for many years. My journal recalls my feelings at that time; the words were an encouragement which carried the sense that their giver was our Father, of whom we sing,

You are older than the world can be,
You are younger than the life in me.
Ever old and ever new,
Keep me travelling along with you.”

(From the Hymn One more Step along the world I go” -Sidney Carter b1915)

In my early twenties, the word of The Lord came to me, “Keep faith sweetheart” Not keep the faith but keep faith. Seems to me, that the two expressions have very different meaning, to keep faith with The Lord is to do just that to stand by the promises we make, to put our hand in His to walk where He leads, even if we don’t know where we are going in the human way of knowing, or when we are doubtful of afraid.

We walk by faith not by sight.

Years fly by, but what are a thousand years to the Maker of them?

We are both older now, the giver of the bookmark is still witnessing and teaching from the scriptures, and the one who received still content to keep on travelling along with God, and discovering every day that His best, is poured out for me, every day something new, the Joy of the Lord is the strength of my heart.

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