Letter from the Vicarage - August 2017
BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This morning when I walked up on Frensham Common with my two chocolate Labrador puppies, as I have since we got them last September, my breath was taken away again at the wondrous sight of nature. Whilst walking in the winter all was quite stark, diminished and dark, but when spring came the wondrous broom was pungent with its vanilla scent and brilliant in its brightness of yellow and the bracken stalks started to rise from the damp ground. As the bracken grew towards the rising sun, it demonstrated what is called circinate vernation (a term I learnt when I took A Level Biology) – when every stem, frond and leaf unfurl so that the plant can get energy for growth from the sun and become a magnificent plant. Now in the Summer the bracken is almost as high – like the corn in the song from Oklahoma - ‘as an elephants eye’ and there is an abundance of pinkie-purple heather all along the pathways – truly a sight to behold and one for which I am so grateful to be able to see. All this together with the changing weather and different panoramic skies through the seasons speak to my body, mind and soul of the scope of that which I call God.
Some may call God the ‘energy of creation’ or the ‘power of life’. Some may just put all this wonder down to biology, physics and chemistry and try to explain the glory and grace of life away. Too many others take its beauty for granted and disrespect it and diminish it by leaving their rubbish around (which upsets me to the extent that I am always picking up other peoples’ mess on my dog walks). Sadly these ‘disrespectors’ may never have a soul connection moment with God because they take everything for granted – they only care for what they want to have and want to do, and yet they have neither created nor cared for even the very ground they stand on…
Where, I ask, is the gratefulness and grace? How has it been lost? Some may say that life is for living and they simply take, take, take for their own increase. This selfishness, in economic terms, is always to the detriment of non-valued others. Those ‘others’ are saying “why is there so much suffering in the world…?” And whilst God and religion seem to be blamed most of the time regarding suffering, it seems to me that there is much to be questioned about historical and now modern regressive tribalism and corruption which use religion as a smoke screen for ulterior hidden motives of power and control.
I believe that life and living is a privilege. It has been given to us and we live in the grace of life. There is suffering in the world, but I believe humanity has made it exponentially worse than the ‘organic suffering’ (for want of a better word) that is within natural processes of life and death. God never promised that the wholeness of life would be easy, and actually it shouldn’t be easy. Humans don’t value things that they come by easily; Humans value those things that they have worked for.
And so it is with God (which surely makes sense as humans are created with the consciousness of God). Do not believe for one Nano-second that creating Creation was an easy thing – however you want to try to explain it. In my June blessings from the Vicarage I wrote about the Big Bang as the bursting of God’s heart of love and value for all creation – the very ‘emptying out’ or ‘given-ness’ of God that all life might exist was not and still is not, something that isn’t costly (using an economic term again). The given-ness of Jesus Christ on the cross was not ‘cheap’: the anointed and utterly connected One of God died and rose again to reveal to humanity the natural processes of life and death, resurrection and reincorporation into the God of Life. God - the Eternal Continuity of Life, of which humanity is just a part, was revealed through Jesus Christ.
When I walk out in these beautiful places on marvellous summer days, I realise how small I am in the Eternal Continuity of Life, but that is okay because I know God loves me alongside everything else and has shown me that I am a valued part of creation and connected to everything through Jesus Christ ‘s journey. I am so grateful for the grace of this knowledge and knowing how utterly connected I am, it makes me want to love and care for our countryside, and for all creation.
How connected do you feel?
With love and prayers,