Regular readers will know I have been taking a break. While Mary and I were away, we left the Rectory in the hands of some of our neighbours (From the Rectory 18th June). I know that they took their responsibilities seriously. Looking out of the kitchen window one evening this last week I saw the cock pheasant strolling purposefully across the lawn. Behind him a pigeon and a young blackbird both searched for supper. Meanwhile, St Francis stood quietly; watching and praying.
What Mr Pheasant was unable to arrange was grass cutting. That task fell to me on my return; which only goes to prove just how much the care of the Rectory is a team effort. Of course, the many birds, animals and insects that frequent our garden play their part whether we are here or not. Life goes on day and night, summer and winter; it is just that, after a period of absence, or when you retire quietly to a safe distance, you notice things that might otherwise pass you by.
What is true of the garden applies to all aspects of life; at work, in the family, wherever. We are all part of a team; often many different teams. Sometimes, as with a football 11, the other team members are all known to us and we have very clearly defined roles to play. On other occasions we think (or fear) we are indispensable – or irrelevant. Whatever the contribution, if a community falls apart when one person steps back for a few days, then what might that say about the true nature of that community?
But back to the Rectory. The sun shines, the pheasant is still keeping an eye on proceedings and St Francis prays. Of course, it is not their rectory, nor for that matter, is it mine. Ultimately it doesn’t belong to the church either. As the psalmist reminds us, The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Ps 24:1).
For the moment this is home to us all. We are stewards and with that comes a responsibility to care for it in a way which enables us to hand it on, fit for our successors.
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 2 July 23 can be found here