Just this last week I have experienced two pleasant surprises. As many of you know I dabble with Meccano when the opportunity arises, and, after building about fifty clocks of various designs I have managed to build one that actually works. Secondly I discovered a very welcome guest in my garden late one night in the shape of a small hedgehog.
What has all this to do with a Christian message? I feel that perseverance and patience does eventually pay off in what ever sphere of life or faith we are in. As I pray for the Churches in our area I find it easier if I can picture the members of the relevant congregations. Sometimes it feels as though the numbers are dwindling and then all of a sudden God sends us some more people to care for. This also occurs in the world outside our buildings, when, through our daily contacts with people we show God’s care for them in the way we act and live. Little do we realise that for some a smile and hello could be the only contact they have with the world outside their home, the highlight of their day. People are getting more and more insular with the widespread growth of the internet for shopping and other social media sites. The sudden cancellation of a bus route whether through dwindling numbers of passengers or the difficulty of accessing places can mean a person does not meet anyone for days on end, becoming more and more house bound and lonely and depressed. The loss of a loved one may leave their partner, not just full of grief but also suddenly very alone and vulnerable. These days of families living far apart causes major problems for them, they cannot spend the time they would like with their parents or children.
The arrival of the hedgehog has answered all the little signs, from the drag marks on the lawn on a dewy morning to the sudden absence of slugs and snails. This happened at a time when the Gospel readings were talking of us watching the weather and winds to know what to expect next when to plant, when to harvest. It is also a timely reminder of our need to care for this wonderful planet that God has given us to live on. We have been hearing of our young people taking a stand against more and more pollution. The forest fires in the Amazon destroying the rainforest, the hurricanes that are becoming more prevalent and more violent, causing more damage and more sadly more deaths and injuries. What can I do? I hear you say. I know it is increasingly more difficult for people in rural areas to do without cars but perhaps trying to cut out one journey a week will help. It may seem insignificant in the great scheme of things but every little drop helps to fill a puddle, and every little puddle helps to fill a brook, etc, etc.
Love and Peace,
An article about the Church's Ministry by Reverend Ann Tarper, Retired Stipendiary Minister