Lay Reader's Letter
I suspect many people would be surprised by the amount of time I spend working and relaxing in my garden, but it's a hobby I really enjoy. The annual cycles of the changing weather patterns and of preparing the ground, sowing and harvesting help to make me more aware of God's creative power. Springtime in the garden is a period of intense activity with beds to prepare, seeds to sow, lawns to tend and weeding to be done. It is a time when the miracle that is nature seems to be most evident. What once appeared dead is now alive and blossoming. After a cold and snowy winter the world has come back to life and the birds can't wait to start singing to welcome in each new day.
No doubt, many of you have been busy in your own gardens and, perhaps, on a particularly sunny afternoon you may have even joined in with the singing of the birds. Yes, of course, you will probably have experienced an aching back for your hard work, but that is no reason why you shouldn't pause to sing God's praises.
Now, with the long hot days of summer upon us we can hopefully look forward to a warm and pleasant summer. This month, on 14 June, some people will be opening their gardens. I hope you will support their efforts and join in what has become one of the most relaxed and enjoyable social events in our villages. By supporting this event you will not only help to raise money to be shared between St Mary's Fabric Fund and our Parish Project, Merlin, but you will also be able to join in the most excellent of jobs that can be done in a garden - simply to stand back, to look and gaze in wonder - What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?
For, if you pause and give yourself half a chance, you might just catch a glimpse of the wonder of God. You may see it in a rosebud, or a daisy; you may smell it in a newly mown lawn; you may hear it in the sound of the birds or feel it in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The transformation of a compost heap from kitchen waste to finest soil may help you to recognise the transforming and loving power of God in your own life to bring good out of the worst human circumstances.
And, just as seeing someone else's garden may inspire you to go and plant some seeds of your own so, if you get into the habit of looking for, and seeing, God in your life, you may find yourself sowing different kinds of seeds - seeds of kindness, seeds of love, seeds of joy. And you may begin to clear out some of the weeds that invade the little patches that are our lives. Some can be easily handled - weeds of grumbling, impatience and pettiness - others are more deeply rooted and need more effort to eradicate - weeds of hatred, anger, pride and violence.
Yes, life can be like gardening but, unlike gardening where certain times are best for sowing or weeding, in life we can sow good seeds at anytime. Just think what a difference it would make if everyone of us made a special effort to sow just a few good seeds every day.
Gordon - Lay Reader at St Mary's Eaton Bray
- February 2009
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About the Vicar's Letter
The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.
The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the Vicar's Letter area for these.