If you have walked past the rectory recently you will have seen a gradual transformation at the front as Julie has been working hard to reclaim some of the garden from the shrubs, weeds and trees that have gradually colonised it over the years. So by dint of chainsaw, hedge trimmer, rake, spade, and a local guy who removes tree stumps, its now almost ready for preparing and planting. Julie tells me that there will be daffodils, pansies, and something called ranunculous (which I had to look up) as well as some turf laid to extend the lawn. I feel I should point out that all this hard work has been down to Julie, who has a clear vision of what the end result should be.
So now it is a case of waiting and watering, along with trust that these seemingly dead and withered bulbs will spring to life next year. Gods gift of the natural world around us is something that we should never take for
granted, and that is particularly true for us who live in a beautiful rural community.
This has reminded me of how we all face times when our lives and the future seem very uncertain, no more so than during the current pandemic, and at the end of the day we simply have to leave the situation with God, like those bulbs hidden under the soil, trusting that what is good will spring back to life again.
As I write this letter, we are uncertain of so many things which lie ahead of us, such as will lockdown really end at the beginning of December? When will the vaccines be ready? How will we be able to celebrate Christmas and who will we be able to share it with? When will life return to some kind of normality next year, and what will that look like anyway? For Harbury and Ladbroke there’s that additional factor of the building and renovation projects that affect our worship in church buildings, even when we are allowed back in.
But in all of the hardship and challenges of this past 9 months, I hope all of us will recognise that God has never ceased to work around us. Seeds have been sown, new life has sprouted in some unexpected places, and he has provided and blessed even when we didn’t expect it. But the future is still very much an undiscovered country, and as his people, when the time is right, we will need to take time to pray, listen, and discern Gods new vision for our purpose and our mission in these changed times. He was, is, and always will be faithful, and, like the natural world around us there will still be growth and fruitfulness ahead, even if, like our garden, some pruning and restructuring is required!