Vicar's Letter - June 2017

    Vicar’s letter – How Does Your Garden Grow?

In my job I am often drawn into working with pictures or symbols that help us to understand things. The Bible contains lots of these in the stories and teaching that make up our faith. We all know that Jesus used parables; stories that provoked a response, in order to get across the truth that he wanted to pass on to the crowds or his disciples. I have found that once I come across a good means of explaining things it sits in my mind for days and sometimes weeks. This has happened recently with the picture of life being a bit like a garden. There are lots of ways that my life reflects my garden and new ones keeping popping into my thoughts.

The first thing to say is that I like to think that I am in control of my garden just as I like to think that I am in control of my life. But in fact despite all my best efforts there are still things outside of my control that can crash in upon it. An unexpected frost or a spell of very dry weather results in all sorts of damage, just as we can be taken by surprise in life when a calamity comes upon us. Our lives can be damaged or disfigured by these tragedies and yet the basic components will survive. There may need to be some tender loving care or replanting but we know that life goes on and we will recover.

Then there is the reality that a healthy garden requires some hard work at times. If I want to grow those vegetables then the small patch of earth devoted to them needs to be dug up and turned over. For the lawn to look good there is the need to get it cut regularly. It needs attention or things start to deteriorate. I know that the health of our garden relies on energy being put into it. It is the same with our lives. We cannot expect to stay physically or emotionally healthy without some commitment to these aspects our lives.  

And then there are the weeds. I would like to think that my life is free from all the distractions that stop me from being the best person that I can be. Yet I am constantly coming up against things that need to be pulled out like stubborn weeds. The roots of these weaknesses go deep down into my personality. Whenever I see them popping up I try to kill them off as quickly as I can. They are signs that there are areas of my life that I need to reflect upon and deal with. There is the hope that gradually the areas free from the weeds are extending but just as in the garden this cannot be guaranteed.

In the end a garden should be a place to spend time and relax but it should also bear fruit. A life that leaves a real legacy is one that has been of benefit to others. We may not always be in control of what happens to us in our lives, but we can choose how we respond. If we are prepared to work to plant good things for the future then we will bear good fruit that will last.

May your life be blessed with abundance and fruitfulness,                          Neil

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