Well, we come to November and the Trick and Treating is over, I can hear the bangs and whooshes of sky borne rockets, somewhere there are bonfires celebrating November 5th in advance and the uncovering of the dastardly plot to blow up the King and parliament .. In the dark of a winter long past two of the plotters sought refuge in Rowley Hall (unfortunately demolished in the 1960s), which stood a stone throw from the church. Of course the hapless plotters were all caught and a terrible penalty was paid. Perhaps the thought of being hung,, drawn, quartered and burnt at the stake was regarded as an effective deterrent in those days… At any rate these are dark thoughts on a dark night, full of bangs.
Before it was light this morning, some modern day villains wrecked the west porch roof, they had a mind, (if that is an expression to be used of mindless folk) to strip the lead flashings and make money from the sale. Unfortunately that particular roof has been stripped before and the flashings were a substitute; discovering that must have been a shock so they tore up the roof tiles. Heavy rain has been forecast overnight, so three of the men from church have spent the afternoon with a local builder trying to cover the roof over and avert a flood and damage to the church interior until proper repairs can be carried out.
Perhaps that is why I feel slightly low in spirits.
Here is a poem from Thomas Hood (1789-1845). Possibly he wrote this when feeling a little down himself.
No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –
BUT, today we have kept All Saints Sunday and I have reminded myself that the Saints with a capital ‘S’ and with a small ‘s’ (those ordinary folk who just do their best, like you and I) – had and have their times of trial, they knew the feeling of wanting to throw in the towel, and give up. However they didn’t. Like Jesus before them they were sure that everlasting joy awaited them if they but kept to the King’s highway … Isaiah calls it (chapter 35 v. 8) – The Way of Holiness, and says that wicked fools such as lead thieves will never go about on it. The promise that the desert and the parched land will be glad; and that the wilderness will rejoice and blossom, that like the crocus it will burst into bloom that it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy with which Isaiah begins this chapter .. Was I think given to all saints great and small, it is a promise which God will keep.
The painting is called November Afternoon and by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893)
I like it because it evokes in me a feeling that however misty, damp, sad November can be that path through the trees will lead straight home … I will just keep my feet on the path then, and remind myself “that I will enter Zion with singing.” – so it is good to practice right now.
Joy to all who love The Lord!