From the Rectory – A good walk
18 May 2020
Have you been for any good walks lately? Not long ago such a question may have brought forth reflection on well-known but perhaps distant places; holidays remembered. Today a good walk has to be, well, in walking distance. Walking is ‘in’; a means to escape the confines of lockdown; get some fresh air, walk the dog (even if he is only 3 inch-long). and stay legal. A good walk, like much else, has had to become local.
Step out along a path, pause quietly for a moment, look and listen. Nothing moves but the leaves of a nearby tree, yet the land is alive. Creatures great and small leave tell-tale marks of their presence. Bird-song tells of birds you can’t see, birds speak of insects and seeds they feed on. Vegetation speaks of the health of the soil and all that lives within it. Surrounded by signs of life, how often do we pass by and barely notice?
This weekend is Rogation-tide. Traditionally a time when communities came together to pray God’s blessing on crops and livestock. In recent years I have joined the walk from Stonham Aspal to Stonham Parva for worship, before heading for tea in Earl Stonham. On a sunny day, with good company and far enough from the road to hear skylarks not motor traffic, it’s a good walk. En route we pray God’s blessing on field and crop. What is that crop, whose land is this, what birds are they and what challenges are we called to pray for? (High on today’s list I’m sure is gentle rain).
This Rogation walk is more than a good leg-stretch followed by tea and cake; it is the opportunity to enjoy the gifts of God in creation joined with the fruits of human labour and ingenuity. A timely reminder that this is God’s world, and he calls us all to care for it as good stewards.
This year, though denied the opportunity to walk the land together, if we put our mind to it every country walk can be an opportunity for prayer and praise, an experience to be enjoyed. And if you can’t walk today, pause a while, remember a good walk you’ve had, near or far, and be thankful. Have another good walk.
The pew sheet for this week is now available in the Download section.