27, Hazle Close
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June 6th 2020
From the Vicarage – Trinity Sunday 2020
Much as I have loved the sunshine of recent weeks, I am glad to have a day or two off from running around with the watering cans, as finally some small quantities of rain fall onto the baked earth, after the sunniest and driest Spring for over 150 years since records began. These past weeks have been most extraordinary not only because of the ‘Lockdown’ situation we have found ourselves in, but also for the stunning weather, especially considering it came immediately after we had just experienced the wettest winter since records began too, with severe flooding the length and breadth of our Diocese from the River Severn in the north, to the River Wye in the south, and every river and stream in between. Being confined to our homes during this period has enabled many of us blessed with gardens or living in the countryside to take great note of the natural world around us, as we slowed our pace and were witnesses to the world’s annual Spring awakening. This extraordinary Spring ‘gifted’ us an awareness of the natural world as if in slow motion - shoots appearing from the ground beneath us, buds breaking out from shrubs around us, whilst leaves unfurled, and blossoms bloomed and then set on the branches of the trees that are above us.
I have always quite enjoyed gardening since working on family allotments as a child. In my two previous Vicarages as well as wrestling with the inevitable weeds in overgrown parts of their gardens, I was able to grow, nurture and ultimately enjoy some fruits from my labours each Autumn. This year with a new Vicarage garden to discover, and unexpectedly more evenings free (of meetings!) to explore it, I have had more opportunities than usual to dig, plant or mow after a day’s work. This year I have sown and grown more seeds, and it has felt like a daily miracle to shake out the contents of those packets, and scatter/plant them in pots or trays of compost, and then over a few hours or days, to witness them come to life. At first marveling as tiny shoots appeared, then transformed into characteristic leaves and thereafter grew sufficiently in stature and strength to be planted out. Since lockdown potatoes, radishes, lettuces, spinach, French, runner and broad beans, peas and carrots, tomatoes and courgettes are now in!
Whilst we have had so much time to experience these wonders, like the extraordinary birdsong infused into the quiet of a world, hushed by greater inactivity, and been witnesses to that ‘resurrection’ of the plants and trees around us after the barrenness of winter’s depths. We have been blessed with the opportunity to rediscover and appreciate again that the ‘Natural World’ that sustains us, has its own time frame and rhythm - new life occurred, irrespective of, and totally unconcerned by, the pandemic. ‘Nature’ was called forth by its Creator, and responded by bringing the joy of its own glory. How sad then to see so many scenes from beaches, National parks and beauty spots around the country after last weekend’s visitors had taken their first day trips out as restrictions were being eased and left so much rubbish behind, that hundreds of bags were litter picked in the aftermath of those influxes. It was as if a ‘gift’ of time had been wasted, and nothing learnt in renewing our respect for the earth that sustains us.
Today’s reading from the beginning of Genesis (Chapter 1 and the first few verses of Chapter 2) reminds us of the wonders of creation with each part called into being in its own time – light, sky, earth, sea, sun and moon, living creatures of the sky, sea and land, culminating in humankind – assigned the duty of care for all creation. Each step of creation’s progression is described as being ‘good’ and within that timescale too, is the allocation of a necessary day of rest. Hopefully after our recent experiences of some inactivity, we will seek to rebuild that necessary ‘rest’ in creation back into our rhythms of life to receive the physical, mental and spiritual benefits and refocus to consume less of the earth’s resources.
Today on Trinity Sunday the Church adjusts its focus from the ‘events’ of Jesus’ life, which we have marked in their seasons from Advent to Pentecost. Now we refocus into this ‘Ordinary’ (If only!) time to look deeper into Jesus’ teachings in the months ahead. Now is a time and opportunity to explore the foundations that underpin our understanding of being in our world, living not only for ourselves, but for one another as Jesus calls each of us to be. As our Reader Brian Bowers suggests on this Trinity Sunday: - “We can see God as a reality of our world in which we live; Jesus the example of what we are called to become and the Spirit providing us with the energy to be involved”.