Summer

No rain today, the sky is blue, grass is green and all is right with the world.
Childish thought, I know, and it just seems that way with me at the present moment. Weeds are green too and I have plenty of those, possibly I should be out there right now, pulling up the weeds, or perhaps giving doors, fence posts and walls a sparkling new coat of paint. Summer is the time to get all these things done; at least that was mentioned in Church this morning (not my own church-when there are five Sundays in a month, we go visiting a neighbouring church or they come to us). This morning we were at St Pauls’- the lady who led the prayers – prayed for all the missing ones, assuming that was where people were,
When I was younger, oh so much younger than today, weeding, decorating, housework and cooking, were not on my agenda, instead I was able, courtesy of my parents who attended to all these to enjoy the sunshine, warmth and the odd shower was easily coped with. A child’s perspective is so very much simpler. When she was in her eighties, troubled with arthritis, and this and that, my mum used to say, ‘I know I’m old. My body tells me so but inside I’m still a little girl.’

Lovely thought, so let me share with you some words remembered from School Assemblies,
Glad that I live am I;
That the sky is blue;
Glad for the country lanes,
And the fall of dew.

After the sun, the rain,
After the rain the sun;
This is the way of life,
Till the work be done.

All that we need to do,
Be we low or high,
Is to see that we grow,
Nearer to God on high

The words are by Li­zette W. Reese and come from The Way­side Lute (1909 alt)- so they were written just a little while before the great fire of 1913, and before the country lanes in our small corner of the world began to be swallowed up by urban sprawl, or disappear as the size of the quarries grew. Now let me hasten to add, that I wasn’t born until well after the WW2, still a little girl really, (5ft isn’t tall)- but I was still fortunate to have been born in a country lane and regret that I no longer have to keep an eye on horses and cows in the fields we used as short cuts. That is life, all things change, and change often changes back again. The big quarry we are told is now going to be filled and converted back to green fields, although that will take 2 or 3 decades to achieve.

In the meantime we shall have sunshine and rain, rain and sunshine, and I shall still be looking out for daisies in the green grass and hopefully taking care that I grow ‘nearer to God on high.’

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News, New and Old

Newspaper Clipping 1913
Newspaper Clipping 1913

Even in the quietest of lifetimes and places news is sometimes made.

On Saturday 15th June, 2013, a Memorial Service was held at St Giles for a former teacher at a long Primary School her husband has been found guilty of her murder although Althea’s body has yet to be found. The Service was requested and organised by former colleagues and friends from school and Brownies, she moved away from our area several years ago but the numbers of people attending the service on a rainy morning bore testimony to someone who had earned love and respect during her work in the Community.  This was in fact, a second Memorial Service, permission was given by Althea’s family for this one which enabled friends from school and elsewhere who had not been able to attend the first, to remember and celebrate their friend’s life on home ground.

Events like this reveal the Ministry of a Church Building made of brick and glass and memories, on Saturday the place, the time became entries in personal diaries and journals together with notes of what was said, what was done, who was there, and the umbrellas forgotten and left behind; this was a gathering of hundreds.

A handful gathered on the Sunday evening when recollection was made of another event which made headlines in 1913. One the 18th June that year the third church on the same spot in Rowley was burned to the ground.  The village was sparsely populated in those days, the fastest method of transport for most was foot and bike but the newspaper accounts tell us that a crowd of 30,000 were quickly drawn to observe the events.  The Fire engine and crew on arrival were frustrated by the lack of adequate water supply, the fire raged, the stained glass windows melted, and it took heroic measures to secure the bell tower, ancient bells were saved, together with a Brass Altar Cross, door handle and one lectern.  Ancient historical documents dating from the medieval church (c1199) were destroyed.

Until 1923, when enough funds were eventually raised, (World War 1 intervened), worship, marriages, baptisms, funerals were held in the neighbouring Labour Club (Pub), Church School and sometimes in the open air within the blackened walls where the grass sprang up.

Where was God?

Well, God was knocking on heart doors, and they were despite the great losses sustained by Rowley families in the Great War, and social deprivation opened to let Him in… just a few months after the dedication of the present building 192 people from a small village were confirmed by the Bishop. 

The cause of the 1913 fire has never been officially named; Women’s Suffrage supporters, disgruntled men who had lost jobs, many possibilities have been put forward, but Mystery Prevails. As for the 192 confirmed, that can only have been the fire of the Holy Spirit.

What I love about my church building is that it is a place of shelter for all who need it and not just the overtly religious.  Here people in love come to be married, children are baptised and we do the last thing we can for those we love in funeral services, it is a place where memories are made, tears shed, and where laughter celebrates time shared. It is the place where God is sought and found, where He is worshipped and where He blesses.

What about your church building?

 

 

 

 

First Things First

First things first and that is thank you to iggandfriends and Elizabeth Yalian at http:/ hiseyeonthissparrow for their kind nominations for awards; I haven’t taken them up on this but feel it very right to express that I felt both touched and grateful; however I really don’t think my small effort merits awards, but, perhaps one day I may be fortunate enough to reach their own high standards and those of other writers in WordPress.

Perhaps, also one day I may be able to match the courage, frankness and generosity of spirit of some of the over-comers on WordPress in their ongoing struggles with addictions, personal hurts and all kinds of weakness. As a person who has been graciously spared so many of this life’s battles, I admire the strength of character of people like Robin Claire over at a Christian Overcomer, and Wayne ‘At the Bottom of a Bottle’ and praise God for His grace in their lives. Although not exactly the same as nominating for an award here is my personal salute to them.

Then there are the writers, poets, artists, photographs and others, it would take quite a while to put into my poor words, how much I owe to each person I follow. WordPress is an inspiring community to belong to, and I am grateful to all those people I am meeting daily, to those who share my faith and beliefs and to those who do not, for opening a door and making me welcome in their small corner of the world, for sharing their talents, time, intellect, humour, humanity, and dare I word, much undervalued today, love.

A Mind Which Is Not Bored

A Prayer found in Chester Cathedral

Give me a good digestion,
Lord,
And also something to digest;
Give me a healthy body,
Lord,
With sense to keep it at its best.

Give me a healthy mind,
Good Lord,
To keep the good and pure in sight;
Which seeing sin is not appalled,
But finds a way to set it right.

Give me a mind which is not
bored,
That does not whimper, whine or sigh;
Don’t let me worry
Overmuch
About the fussy thing
Called ‘I’.

Give me a sense of humour, Lord,
Give me the grace to see a joke;
To get some happiness from life,
And pass it on to other folk.

Anonymous

I like this poem. It deals with some of our every day, (we hardly know they are our faults) in a light hearted and kind way. Nobody likes an unkind tongue, but the gentle touch of a poet can be very effective in getting the message home. My ladies group loved this Poem because especially the whimpering, whining and sighing bit!

Happy weekend to all.