Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones

Walking in Nottingham University Park, we crossed the lower end of the lake by walking over the stepping stones. It is a beautiful spot with waterfall and rocks, surrounded by mature trees — a mini-paradise. This is a place we visited when I was a young child up to my adulthood. So many steps taken along that road to where I am now. Never did I think I would write books, or train to be a teacher or designer. But I did think about God, even if I never imagined serving Him through the Church. I may have since trained for the Ministry, studied theology at degree level, practised my faith through Church duties (including services, funerals, pastoral care, preaching) but I doubt that my faith has changed little over all those years. It is simple and enduring. God IS and in Him I live and have my being. As a young child of seven I gave my heart to Jesus. Did I understand what I was doing? Maybe not, but as then, I believe that when we give, we never take back. Has all my theology and training been of worth? Yes, indeed. It has answered questions about inconsistency within the Bible, shown up what tragedies occur when religion takes up ‘weapons’ and strays beyond the WAY of simplicity.

We crossed those stepping stones and ended up the other side of the lake and back to where we started. Just like my faith — enriched.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Streams Of Living Water Flow

We drove around Thirlmere Reservoir last Friday. The Revervoir provides water to people as far away as Manchester. When rain ceased to fall for some months earlier on, the levels in the reservoir became very low indeed and restrictions were imposed.
A hose pipe ban was not generally popular but it was the only sane thing to do. Of course, a few locals considered it OUR water that others were wasting. They objected because they were not allowed to use their hose to wash a car or had to resort to watering cans to water their garden. We catch water in butts and use cans anyway, so it was no problem to us. Even so, it makes people realise that water is precious and should not be taken for granted.
It reminded me of the Living Water offered by Jesus. Do we take that for granted too?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Solomon in all his glory?

A simple rose, exquisite colour and form. And a heavenly scent. Here it is in early autumn, a sparkling raindrops enhancing it's robes far better than a monarch's crown. What greater treasure can be found? What greater clothing can be worn?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let Your Light Shine

Sometimes we get so tired that it is hard to keep cheerful. We may ache and it is hard not to relieve stress by allowing ourselves a little moan. Nothing wrong in that. Better to be truthful than put on a permanent grin.
We had a pleasant walk last Saturday. We drove to Canal Foot — a small community at the sea end of the local canal — parked the car and took a small walk. Having a few problems at present we did not go far. To our delight the tide had come in. It is rare to see it so high. I wondered what happened when a strong wind coincided with a full tide. Were the bungalows at the side of the narrow road safe? apparently yes.
We walked by the delightful houses a little further up and, not being able to walk over the rocky shoreline because of the tide, we followed the footpath that went upwards to fields with views towards the local monument on Hoad Hill. It has been recently renovated and now it stands out white against the sky. It looks like a lighthouse but no rays of light will ever shine out over the sea. But it stands out in the daytime and it does get lit up at night.
We managed to get back to the car just as my knees were getting troublesome. It had been a wonderfully refreshing short walk. I never cease to wonder how blessed we are. I loved the dark clouds and reflections in the sea. Ever changing, ever mysterious.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

For We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray

Sometimes we have to sit back and ask ourselves where we are going.
It is easy to get into a rut. Or find ourselves at a dead end with no sense of direction.
We had a visit by five Herdwick Sheep a couple of weeks ago. Evidently they had been loose around the immediate area for a few days. They are lovely creatures and I had no objection to their visit as long as they didn't stay long. (We made sure of that) It was the tup's fault. A handsome male, that tup. Those ewes wouldn't let him out of their sight — where he went the ewes were sure to go. Too often humans can be just like those sheep.
But we don't need another person to send us astray. We can follow an ideal, an ambition, a desire, an obsession. Then maybe stop and realise somewhere along the road we have lost 'our way'.
I have done that more than once. I have been sitting and doing a bit of thinking today. New patterns for a way forward have come to mind.
However, at the moment I'm more concerned for a group of people (who consider themselves Christian) that could, through the preaching of one man, cause the death of very many (if not thousands) of people. What are they trying to prove by burning the holy book of another religion? The only destruction our stray sheep could do would be to ruin a patch of garden. Let's hope these zealots will see the light before setting fire to a bonfire which could sweep across continents leaving nothing but hatred and death in its wake.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Where Streams of Living Water Flow… Ulverston Canal

Where Streams of Living Water Flow… Ulverston Canal

There is nothing like water reflecting nature to calm the spirit.

Here in Ulverston we have a short canal that once was connected to the sea and busy with boats. At some time in the future it will become a marina. But for now it is a place of relaxation set, as it is, in pleasant countryside — even if it does have an industrial complex at one side near to the coast. People smile in greeting and dogs wag their tails. Wild life adds beauty and gentle movement. Just to gaze into the rippling water beneath the overhanging trees releases tension, and enriches the soul. Joy creeps in where once was sadness.