As the evening drew on, I stood looking out across the fields. It has been a bright, if cool day, and I was enjoying a moment of solitude before the evening office.
We live in challenging times; it feels as if there is a competition to paint the darkest picture of what is coming next. Crises and troubles break on us like waves on the shore; tumbling over each other, seldom giving rest. Whatever our circumstances, this affects us all.
Yet today the sun had shone. Now, standing quietly alone, I found a moment of peace, and clarity of spirit. Behind me stood the parish church; symbol and testimony to the life of its community; a life played out over centuries in the presence of Almighty God.
Centuries of hopes and fears; prosperity and poverty; peace and war; are written into the very fabric of the place. Here, a memorial tablet speaks of a young life cut tragically short by war or disease; nearby another testifies to acts of charity and selfless generosity; yet another of a long life well lived. Beneath the soil, unmarked and known now only to God, lie the mortal remains of countless generations who have made this their home. They, too, are part of our history. Contemplating, not eternity, but at least a thousand years of local history, helps place today’s anxieties in perspective.
Speaking to a crowd whose lives were far more precarious than ours, Jesus once said; Can you add a single hour to your life by worrying? Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or wear, your heavenly Father knows you need these things. Strive first for the kingdom of God’ (Matthew. 6: 25-33 – extracts)
Looking around this little corner of God’s kingdom on earth, and reflecting on the lives of those who have gone before us here, I remember that Jesus also said do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof – King James translation). Today the sun shone, the view was peaceful as the evening drew on. Let that be sufficient for today ……
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 12 February 2023 can be found here