October’s Letter 2

October’s Letter 2

The Rector’s October Letter

 

“Radiate Beauty”

 

Autumn brings an abundance of autumn colours and textures. The reds, oranges, yellows, golds and rust tones of autumn delight the senses in landscapes and rich sunsets, inspiring poets and visual artists. Take the time to radiate your own beauty and creativity to the world.

 

“Connect with Your Shadow”

After the long, bright sunlit days of summer, autumn brings earlier sunsets and longer shadows.  It’s an ideal time for thoughtful introspection and shining the light of awareness on our own shadow parts.

The above is on a website which reflects on Autumn.  In England in October it’s more of heading towards winter yet this reflection can still speak to us.  In the Derbyshire Dales I think there is always beauty. Whether in the fields around us, the Whitworth Park or in the plantation in South Darley.  These views will touch the soul or psyche if we are still and let it.  For some it speaks of the grace of creation which was millions of years in the making.  It speaks to the Christian of life, death and new life, for after every autumn and winter comes a refreshing spring.  The beauty around us is another revelation of God with us. If we wrap up warmly and simply stand looking at our area, I think we can receive peace in our souls.  Don’t we all need peace?

The second reflection above, Connect with Your Shadow, is just as important as the first.  None of us are perfect, none of us are the full perfect person.  We are a mixture of love and selfishness of self-interest and care of others. Yet we are all on a journey; a journey which is helped by nature around us. The evenings get colder and darker more quickly than we’d like but we can use the additional time indoors to reflect on our lives and faith walk.

We all have to be aware of the difference between ‘navel gazing’ and self-reflection, however. The reason for Christians to reflect on their lives is to ask the question “How can I serve God and my fellow people better?”  This is challenging because it’s asking us to put others first. In the Covid-19 outbreak we ‘ve heard of many acts of heroic virtue and yet sadly we ‘ve also heard of selfishness.  Don’t think the church is any different.  Some Christians who think that they are very holy can be very self-centred or even parish-centred. For example, the underlying rumble that can be heard of ‘My parish is more important or bigger than yours!!’

This of course is rubbish. I’d even say it is anti-Christian.  God loves all people exactly the same. The above elitist mentality has, in the past, hurt many people. I hope people of our communities know that to me no one or no church is more important than any other.  The Autumnal message from God is a stark reminder that time moves on. Our journey to God and our service of humanity has finite time. John Wesley wrote a prayer about doing as much good in the time we have.

We are surrounded by beauty.  Let’s ask ourselves how can we bring more beauty to our lives, the lives of our family, friends and the whole community.

Let us reflect on the beauty around us and let it remind us we are on a journey.  At the end of that journey Jesus will ask us, ‘Have you loved my people and my world?’  What will our answer be? For all people of faith and no faith surely that is the point of our lives? In the Autumn of our days do we leave the world better than we found it?  I find it very moving at funerals when people share the wonderful stories of a person’s life.  Often, that person has not been aware of the goodness and light they’ve brought into other’s lives. May we all be less selfish and negative and more loving and more hope-filled and may the seasons help us reflect on our lives in the love of an Amazing God.  I hope the following two prayers help you. Keep safe.

Kindest Regards. Stephen Monk                                                        4

 

In the fading of the summer sun,
the shortening of days, cooling breeze,
swallows’ flight and moonlight rays
A. WE SEE THE CREATOR’S HAND

In the browning of leaves once green,
morning mists, autumn chill,
fruit that falls, frost’s first kiss
A. WE SEE THE CREATOR’S HAND

 

 

We see signs of summer’s passing in golden leaves,
shortening days, misty mornings, autumn glow.
We sense its passing in rain that dampens,
winds that chill, Harvest’s bounty placed on show.
Creator God, who brings forth
both green shoot and hoar frost,
sunrise and sunset,
we bring our thanks
for seeds that have grown,
harvests gathered,
storehouses filled,
mouths fed.
And, as your good earth rests
through winter’s cold embrace,
we look forward to its re-awakening
when kissed by Spring’s first touch.