To Spring by Elaine Heptonstall

We moved into our present house in March last year so I spent time in the garden seeing what was growing already and planting bulbs for this Spring.  Already there are shoots of irises, crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils and I’m impatient to see them in flower!

Daily I walk around looking at progress: a millimetre here, another shoot there, then a sharp frost checks everything.  How long, I wonder, will I have to wait.

But I’m not the only one waiting, there are the bees and the insects too and, one day, the sun will feel warm again, the grip of winter will relax, and the flowers will bloom for their insect visitors and for me.

The pandemic has locked in our lives like that sharp frost and we may feel that we’re going nowhere at the moment.  But there is growth, a spreading of roots underground in different directions – it may be in technology, in learning how to do things differently, in taking up a new interest.  As Christians we are often told to “Wait patiently for the Lord”, “to watch and pray”  it’s not easy, but it’s at times like these when we can draw closer in our relationship with God and listen to what his plans are for our lives and those around us.  In his loving presence we can look forward to Spring.

Elaine Heptonstall

The God of small things by Hilton Carr

The God of small things

I was walking and musing about the building of the temple (as you do??) . I thought how many dimensions and details are given. This started me thinking of those who ensured them.

For every dimension someone must have held a measure while the mason marked the point.

For every cloth someone must have provided the needles and thread.

So often we focus on those up front, or listed as active in the Church.

God acknowledges them for their work.

But God also sees those who do “Small things” like holding string, polishing trumpets, Cleaning Priests Garments in the temple preparation.

For us, no matter how small our contribution, no matter how we think of ourselves, God sees and Nods.

At this time, we need to know that God knows what we can and cannot do, He cherishes our heart.

However limited we may feel at present, God is there, encouraging us. If you cannot do Great things just listen and do Small things.

Know that whether you stand before a Church or Assembly, or simply do a simple act of kindness [ Small thing] to further Gods Kingdom He says “Well Done”.

God Rejoices whether you do small things just for Him, or according to His Love and Purposes for others.

He is the God of Amazing Things, but also of small things.

He is Our God.

Hilton

Snow! By Juliet Bohun

Snow!

Snow! Oh, no! What snow?

Every day this week I have been sent pictures by my sister in Durham and my friends in North Yorkshire and Lancashire of snow. I hate snow! My first winter was the bitterly cold winter of 1947. I don’t remember it of course but have photos and been told stories – of how my pram couldn’t be pushed in the snow and how difficult it was to get coal and keep warm.

In the mid 1980’s, I spent two winters in Nova Scotia in Canada. The first snow fell in November and the last snowfall was in May. All those of us who had a sidewalk were obliged to clear it by 10.00am each morning and you were not allowed to park in the road, to keep it clear for the snow plough. I have two memories of having to drive in a terrible snowstorm, one to an invitation to dinner with my husband’s captain – one couldn’t refuse! – and one to sing in a performance of the Verdi Requiem, praying that all the traffic lights on the way would stay green!

Having spent most of my adult life in Hampshire, I decided that when I retired in 2005, I would like to return to my roots in Yorkshire, although ended up living just over the border in Lancashire. So, I dragged my poor husband away from his roots to mine – to many snowy winters. Another snowstorm, another concert, this time a carol concert which I had to get to – conditions so awful I made my husband drive! Another, on Greenhow Hill, near Pateley Bridge, where we had to be towed up. This time my husband made me drive! In 2013, having shovelled snow for four heavy snowfalls, I vowed never, ever, to shovel anymore snow. So, if it snows here, you won’t see me.

Oh, no! I have just seen pictures of Liphook in the snow and the weather forecast!

Juliet Bohun

Wonderings on this Season by Antonia

Wonderings on this Season

I was thinking about this current season – bare trees, diminished activities, loss of physical freedom – and wondering… It looks and often feels like a diminishment, a curtailing of life, but I wonder if there is another way of seeing it. Maybe if I can see it as a pruning, then it could be a time of growth – just as Winter precedes Spring.

John 15.2 reads   “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”.

Maybe if we were to ask the Lord in this season, where we are restrained from being physically free – “What do you desire to grow in my heart?” “What do you desire to do in my heart?” You might hear that still small voice reply with love.

I finish with part of a poem, which many of us read during our school years. It was written for a real person and about Charles 1, but the last two stanzas could be written for now, although they were written from Gatehouse Prison, adjoining Westminster Abbey.

When (like committed linnets) I

With shriller throat shall sing

The sweetness, Mercy, Majesty,

And glories of my King;

When I shall voice aloud how good

He is, how Great should be,

Enlarged Winds, that curl the Flood,

Know no such Liberty.

Stone Walls do not a Prison make,

Nor Iron bars a Cage;

Minds innocent and quiet take

That for an Hermitage,

If I have freedom in my Love,

And in my soul am free,

Angels alone that soar above,

Enjoy such Liberty.

 

(Colonel Richard Lovelace, written in 1642)

 

Antonia C-B                   4.01.2021