I am writing this on the hottest day of the year so far. A day that has followed several very hot days. Before I go on, please know this, I’m not going to moan about the weather. The sun is glorious, its warmth is welcome, the cool waters of Cornwall are invigorating. It can bring the best out of people (and I might add the worst too, out of the hot and bothered), but with the sun out and the blue sky stretching ahead of you, some things seem just a bit more possible than they did before. Those jobs in the allotment you’ve been putting off are there for the taking. The very delayed walk on the beach has come. Even that once lost opportunity to have a long G and T (substitute with drink of choice) with your feet up has now returned. Somehow the world feels a little bit better. Somehow more whole and more restored when the sun is shining.
Having said that, the heat can get a bit much and therefore escaping to the shade is definitely needed from time to time. Additionally, more time should be given to our loved ones who don’t cope as well in the hot weather, in the same way they don’t cope well in the cold. Which is really my point. For some the weather comes as a blessing and for others a curse.
At the beginning of May I was asked to lead a Rogation Service for a neighbouring parish. Rogation Sunday is a very special service in which the community asks for God’s blessing upon the fields, the herds, the newly seeded crops and the tools of farming. In my talk to a church full of farmers I likened good farming to good discipleship. I said, “a good farmer doesn’t just pray for rain, but prepares for it!”. I thought I’d made a strong case for the idea of preparing for God’s blessing and expecting it, rather than praying for it and wondering whether it will come at all.
As soon as I said this, laughter struck a good portion of my audience. After the service one of the farmers came to me and said, “your in Cornwall son, there’s never any need to pray for rain!” He was right, we get plenty of rain.
The bible is full of references to weather. Rain, wind, sun and snow are all described equally as blessing as well as disaster. It is one of the many areas in which Scripture and Science are aligned – in scripture and in textbooks weather is describe as chaotic, unpredictable, uncertain and indeterminate. Yes, we have the seasons, day and night, but even in this ordered creation we still know to fear the weather for its power and ferocity. Sadly, our chaotic weather patterns are more frequently a disaster than they are a blessing due to the impact our 21st century lifestyle is having on the global climate.
Unpredictable weather is also a used as a metaphor in scripture for the unpredictability of life. This was evident in Job’s life, as well as in the disciples who found themselves overwhelmed by the storm over the Sea of Galilee. In every case anchoring one’s self to God was the calming influence both over the waves, wind and thunder, as well as over life’s tempest.
Whilst we still experience one of the hottest summers on record maybe we could think about where one might go to anchor ourselves to God, and keep cool. The coolest places are definitely churches. These old stone buildings that remain open during the day are the perfect refuge from the sun. They are also wonderful places of faith that speak of God’s power over chaos, his comfort in our struggles, and his healing over wounds. Cornwall has many beautiful church buildings why not find some shade!
All Saints Highertown is open most days for prayer and some cool shade. Please pop in, you'd be very welcomed.
Rev Jeremy Putnam
The beginning of June saw the second annual ‘Every Woman’s Hope Conference’ which was on the topic of wholeness which has had me thinking ever since what do we mean when we talk about being whole.
Often we talk about having a ‘gap’ in our lives.
I read often how losing a loved one feels like we have a ‘gap’, how the breakdown in a relationship leaves a ‘hole’ or even how injury from a sport can leave an athlete with a space that needs to be filled.
But what do we mean by wholeness?
What do we consider whole and how can we be whole when we are surrounded by so much brokenness.
Just a few weeks ago I encountered a lady who, for whatever reason, was of the option that my husband and I not having children was not a whole life. The words she used were of defeat, giving in, not having enough faith and not being whole if we did not have children.
The details of the rest of the conversation are not important as the underlying idea of what makes us whole.
She could not see that in (her conceived idea of) my brokenness of not being able to have children I could still be whole and live out a live fulfilled to God’s glory. After all, the bible never tells us that being childless is bad, wrong, broken or otherwise. Yes, there are stories where God allows ‘barren’ women to conceive but there is nothing ever mentioned about them being broken in this aspect of their life. It is purely a world view that you are somehow lacking if this is your lot.
The bible tells us ‘with God all things are possible’ (Matt 19:26) which I truly believe. God is greater than my imagination, my will, my desire and my ability to grasp what he is saying, to name but a few.
He is also able to make us whole in whatever brokenness.
The bible also talks about peace which passes all understanding. The kind of peace that in the midst of all the things life can throw at us we still feel. It makes no sense. It is not of this world. The world reaction is of fight or flight but God can give us the peace which we cannot understand.
If can give us that then the God of all possibilities can make us whole in our brokenness.
But what do I mean?
I mean that in our ‘broken’ bodies, however that might manifest, for me it is a combination of medication conditions that makes life hard and children impossible (medically at least) but in that I can still be whole in Christ.
I can still life a life that brings Glory to him.
I might not live a life that world thinks of as successful, as in a fulltime well paid job that allows me to own a big house, fast car and 3 holidays a year and 2.4 children, but the bible also tells me ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world’ (Romans 12:2) and ‘Do not store up treasures on earth’ (Matt 6:19).
Our wholeness should not come from what the world tells us we need, how we should look, what we should strive to be, but from God.
A God who wanted to heal our broken world so much he sent his only Son to pay the price to bring us a different kind of wholeness. A wholeness that is another level of peace we can never ever understand.
We can be broken, the world can be broken, yet we are made whole in Christ.
This months article was written by Mrs Lydia Remick (Licensed Lay Minister)
A collection of thoughts and reflections from the people of All Saints.