01 Mar Vicars’ blog – March 2019 – Time for…
With the warmer weather, I have been looking at my garden and seeing that there are several things that need doing: tidy up, cut some plants back, put compost down to feed the plants and soon I will be sowing new seeds. ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the sun’. So says the writer of Ecclesiastes. Yes, this is in the Bible! ‘A time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to weep and a time to laugh…’ What is Lent a time for? The six weeks up to Easter is a good time to tend our soul, much like we do a garden in the spring. Our spiritual health is as important as our physical health.
John Ortberg tells a story of a town high in the Alps that straddled the banks of a beautiful stream. The stream was fed by springs that were old as the earth and deep as the sea. The water was clear like crystal. Children laughed and played beside it; swans and geese swam on it. You could see the rocks and the sand and the rainbow trout that swarmed at the bottom of the stream.
High in the hills, far beyond anyone’s sight, lived an old man who served as Keeper of the Springs. He had been hired so long ago that now no one could remember a time when he wasn’t there. He would travel from one spring to another in the hills, removing branches or fallen leaves or debris that might pollute the water. But his work was unseen.
One year the town council decided they had better things to do with their money. No one supervised the old man anyway. They had roads to repair and taxes to collect and services to offer and giving money to an unseen stream-cleaner had become a luxury they could no longer afford. So, the old man left his post. High in the mountains, the springs went untended; twigs and branches and worse muddied the liquid flow. Mud and silt compacted the creek bed; farm wastes turned parts of the stream into stagnant bogs. For a time, no one in the village noticed.
But after a while, the water was not the same. It began to look brackish. The swans flew away to live elsewhere. The water no longer had a crisp scent that drew children to play by it. Some people in the town began to grow ill. All noticed the loss of sparkling beauty that used to flow between the banks of the streams that fed the town. The life of the village depended on the stream, and the life of the stream depended on the keeper. The city council reconvened, the money was found, the old man was rehired.
After yet another time, the springs were cleaned, the stream was pure, children played again on its banks, illness was replaced by health, the swans came home, and the village came back to life. The life of a village depended on the health of the stream.
The stream is your soul. And you are the keeper.
We are also interested in the health and growth of our church. Do please read the Reports form the Working groups and all areas of church life and we look forward to seeing you at the Annual Church meeting on Wednesday 3rd April at St John’s to hear more about where the Lord is leading us in the year ahead.
Jonny and Cathy