It was dark as we drove cautiously along the lane. Slowly I became aware of a pale shape moving on the edge of the road in front: a cyclist unlit; a pedestrian facing the wrong way? The shape divided, one part melted into the hedgerow, the other moved slowly into the middle of the road. Now I could see in front of us, clearly unfazed by my car, a young buck standing motionless; crowned with splendid antlers. For a few moments we just watched each other. Then, as if satisfied that I was of no consequence to him, the buck moved sedately off the road and disappeared back into the night. The road clear once more, we, too, continued on our way; marvelling at our unexpected treat.
The deer are ever present but we rarely see them. I wonder, what they make of us? Do they watch from the thickets as we rush about our business? Do they wait until we’ve moved on before stepping out? Or are they also so wrapped in their own affairs that they rarely notice us either? We breath the same air, live on the same land, are creatures of the same loving God. Our paths cross more often than we think, though we see each other rarely. How much more do we miss in our haste?
December is a busy time for many, and not just here at the Rectory. But for a moment, my busyness is done; I’m drafting this in peace and quiet while outside the window rain slowly falls once again. We all need rest as well as activity; humans and animals as much as plants and soil. God built into our lives the principle of rest. We have darkness and light, seasons, days, years, sabbath and Jubilee; all encompass a rhythm for being; all have their place. We ignore it at our peril, but ignore it we do.
Now a new year dawns and with this will come new challenges, of that I’m sure. Perhaps the greatest challenge will be to take these moments of peace when they come and not to seek to fill each passing moment with activity.
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 9 January 2022 can be found here