The sun is shining, the sky a wintry blue, tree branches are dancing; time for a walk.
Down the gravel drive and on to the grassy path along the field margin. Here the land slopes gently away revealing a vista of open fields. As the summer advanced this view gently changed from green to golden brown, as crops grew and ripened. Now the land lies bare, winter is approaching.
Moving on I reach the lane; the view changes, as does the weather. Beneath my feet grass gives way to tarmac; beside me open fields turn to hedgerows. Picking my way around muddy puddles, I bow my head as rain slowly begins to fall; fine, misty and wet. Yet the sun continues to shine. I look up once more.
At the edge of the lane, the verge is grassy; a deep fresh growth encouraged by still-warm soil and refreshing rain. Raindrops glisten in the sun, small jewels decorating all they touch. Hedgerows gleam in autumn colours of gold and brown, rich red and green. I am treated to a free display of natural beauty. A vision to sustain me when the winter days draw in and grey dominates the landscape.
One day, Jesus took 3 of his disciples up a mountain to pray. Unbeknown to his friends, his time was nearly up; they were en route to Jerusalem together for the last time. As they prayed the disciples saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus; a collective vision or a transformation? [Matt: 17; 1-8] It must have been an amazing moment. Peter tried to capture it, freeze it in time, but it was not to be. The moment passed, as all time does, but the memory lingered. Yes, and more than the memory. Here was a touch of the divine to carry with them as they climbed back down the mountain; a touch to sustain them through the challenging times ahead.
We have had a challenging year and the challenges are far from over. As the year draws to a close it is tempting to look on the bare field and go no further. Keep walking, look up, the Son is still with us; even when all we see is rain. Remember, this winter’s bare field will hold next summer’s harvest.
Rev. Philip Payne
The Pew Sheet for 11 October can be found in Downloads