Graham Scott-Brown writes

The Interregnum . . .

 The expectancy, nay more, certainty that spring is on the way and will be followed by summer, life, growth and fruitfulness.

Over the years I have seen muntjac deer in my garden only twice but recently there has been a visitor on a regular basis. It comes almost up to the window at the back of the house and has a special penchant for mowing the violet patch there. Margaret loves it but I can’t help thinking “what will happen this summer?” If this brazen intruder comes right up to the house to browse on my violets what will it do to my peas, beans, lettuces, courgettes and spinach out of sight at the bottom of the garden. (Can anyone lend me an air gun, but don’t tell Margaret!) So, expectancy is tinged with anxiety.

What will the New Broom do? What will they not do that I think they should do? The parish profile says that “We need someone who can think strategically and work with the congregation to implement necessary change”. Will I like it or will it move me out of my comfort zone? Also we need someone who will “challenge us to take the good news of Jesus to the residents of Faringdon more effectively”. What will that involve?

I have enormously appreciated the variety in worship that the interregnum has brought us (Barbara chanting the Te Deum antiphonally, so many people rushing forward in the Church to proclaim their allegiance to Jesus and other unusual events). I look towards the end of the interregnum with great expectancy not untinged with anxiety.

One thing gives me courage. In heaven they have never heard of interregnums. Jesus is king of kings, unchanging, for ever and ever. Just as in the first three chapters of Revelation he knew exactly what was happening in each church, their strengths and weaknesses, and what their especial needs were, so he knows us both individually and corporately and what our special needs are now.

“Lord Jesus send us the person of your choosing, the one fitted to bring life and blessing to Faringdon.”

Graham Scott Brown

Some of a ‘young’ man’s thoughts in Spring

I don’t know about you, but I feel this Spring started in December last year when I saw primroses in bloom before Christmas! A whole range of shrubs and flowers have appeared much earlier than normal – a very confused magnolia grandiflora in Coach Lane flowered three times last year. Before Spring’s all over, I thought I’d better write about this glorious season, because it makes me think that God’s will is the same for all creation.

What on earth do I mean by that? Well, I think God’s will is the same for, say, the primrose and the daffodil, as it is for us. That is, to somehow bring something beautiful out, to ready us through the dark days of our lives for a good that we can’t predict, and to produce in us, in spite of all the difficulties we have to meet and contend with, or maybe perhaps through those very difficulties, the best that could possibly be. That’s quite a thought isn’t it? Someone once said that Mother Nature was God’s oldest evangelist, and she can preach a cracking good sermon, a sermon that speaks to us of courage, determination, patience and hope.

Go outside your home and spend some time contemplating the lovely things of springtime. Maybe because we pass them every day we miss their beauty and their meaning. Familiarity often breeds indifference. In my walks with Jennifer round our town’s streets, I feel blessed by God, and those hard-working gardeners, who provide us with so many lovely sights – we do try to let the gardeners know we appreciate the gardens they share with us.

We shouldn’t drive our cars blindly along country roads with an eye only on the speedometer or satnav. Let’s drive a bit slower and take in a bit more of our surroundings. Maybe we should try to stop for a minute or two by that copse over there, where in a few weeks we’ll be able to see the sheen of blue and breathe in lungfuls of perfumed bluebell air.

Stop somewhere, anywhere, where something of all this beauty is, and when you’ve stopped, think. Think with a reverence for this surrounding natural beauty and that will quietly bring us closer to our Creator God.

Think! Think about the great magic and variety of nature that we see and experience in springtime. We might suppose that primroses are lovely little things when we find them just dotted about here and there at the bottom of a hedge. But if they were the only flower there, it would be rather boring, wouldn’t it? The daffodil is beautiful too, but in quite a different way. And what about violets, or my favourite, harebells? They have an almost unique delicacy and gracefulness that are all their own. The glory of each flower is in being itself, in becoming perfectly what God designed it to be, and then in blending with all the other flowers into that great harmony of beauty which somehow includes and transcends them all.

And what about us? Does something similar apply to humans too? Well, to put it bluntly, if you’re a primrose, don’t worry because you’re not a daffodil. If you’re a daffodil, don’t wag your head condescendingly over the violet. We, you and I, are meant to be unique, each of us a new individual creation. We do ourselves no good at all if we waste our energy trying to be the spitting image of ‘celebs’ or ‘stars’, or try to reshape our bodies so that we are the wrinkle-free, ‘right’ proportion of flesh to fat with a well-defined ‘six-pack’ or ‘hour-glass’ figure.

I think human life is meant to be a blend – a blend of colours, a blend of varieties, a blend of individualities. The value of each doesn’t diminish, but is enhanced by the value of the others. Each one is different, but each adds to each just that little touch of human excellence that was lacking. All blend together into that great harmony of many separate chords that I’m sure is the symphony that is God’s will for human life.

For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies,

for the love which from our birth over and around us lies,

Lord of all, to thee we raise This our sacrifice of praise.  FS Pierpoint