Category: Reflections

Summer’s End

We are coming to the end of a hot, dry summer, the soft, gentle rainfall of the last few weeks was welcome. Grass, dried as yellow straw, now starts to revive, but already the churchyard trees have shed many leaves and the thoughts of many friends will be on taking up where they left off, as holidays and seasonal breaks end.

The Hydrangea in the front garden is now fading, its blooms dusty.

Everything, loses its beauty in time. But also in time fresh new, wonderful things appear to take their place. In just a little time the gardeners will be hiding new bulbs and seeds for Spring, as treasures in the earth to be rediscovered after snow and frost. But first Autumn.

St Giles of Provence, the Saint for whom Rowley’s Parish Church was named is remembered on the 1st September. In his story Giles had a friendship with one special hind whom he loved and protected to his own hurt, the ending of his story tells us that the Lord is able to heal our hurts and use them for good.

1st September to 4th October is Creation-tide, St Francis of Assisi being remembered on the 4th October. Creation-tide and St Francis who delighted in creation and Lady Poverty bring to mind the responsibility mankind has towards all living things, the earth, the seas, all created things.

From both St Giles and St Francis we can learn the lessons of love, of kindness and generosity, but they themselves learned them from our Heavenly Teacher.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Luke 12. 6)

Yes, I know the Lord Jesus uses this to show how precious His children are to our Heavenly Father, but what earthly Father does not show his love and delight when little hands take their breakfast crumbs to feed the birds, or save a little of lunch to give them.

Marian and Brian keep a large storage box on the lady chapel steps so that we can put in our gifts to Loaves n’ fishes Food Bank – some can put in more than others; that does not matter – like the widows mite, and the cup of cold water given to one of Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 10:42).. a tin of baked beans, a block of chocolate are noticed in Heaven when they come with love from a poorer person just and count like a whole shopping bag full from a richer one, and all have a reward, no act of kindness and love goes unnoticed.

May your last days of Summer and Creation-tide be blessed as God reveals to your heart the treasures and riches of His Father’s heart. Delight in everything His hand has made and given.

For He satisfies the longing soul, (psalm 107.9) NKJ )
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Fruit takes time to ripen

All good things take time. I find this to be a rule of life. Morning Tea needs a little time to brew, cakes need time to bake in the oven, Bread needs time for yeast to work .. unless of course you prefer your bread ‘flat’ … seed sown takes time … before the flowers appear or harvests are gathered in.

So it is with the fruit of the Spirit, it takes time, it takes patience. Christians, like babies and little children need time, to just sit and let the Lord’s good showers of blessing and the warmth of His presence do their work; and to allow our Heavenly Gardener to do His Work and take away the things that hinder growth.

Not very nice, at first, those little snips hurt our pride, but here’s how the writer of Hebrews puts it:

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful, nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

May all our moments and days be blessed!

(Hebrews 12:11. NKJV)

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet

My staff of faith to walk upon,

My script of joy, immortal diet,

My bottle of Salvation,

My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,

And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

(Sir Walter Raleigh [1552~1618]}

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

I read the words on a favourite paperweight and reflect on the thousands of feet which have set out on the pilgrimage of faith in the 800 plus years that a church has stood on top of Rowley’s hill, The year Walter Raleigh was born the first church building was already more than 300 years old, that church numbered amongst its worshippers, Isabella, cousin to Henry VIII, so amongst those thousands of feet, at least one pair of noble feet, but mostly those pilgrim feet were humble feet, farmers, cottagers, then miners, quarry workers, nailers and chain makers; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters; not many wealthy or wise; but all determined to be a pilgrim for Christ.

The Prayer Desk waits quietly for the next Priest in St Giles long history to take up the list of names and pray for today’s pilgrims and those who will come put on gospel shoes and take the one step that begins a journey of a thousand miles.

But before that one, first step, a prayer,

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me: for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24)

No one has ever taken, so I believe that one first step on the upward journey to where Jesus waits, without His prayer, He stands, always at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.

It is the desire of the Lord Jesus that where He is, We should be where He is ~

I say Amen and pray for all the pilgrims on the road today, and the ones who will believe because of their word, the up shoe laces before taking one step,

~~~~~ then another.

one step, then another.

The Difference is Prayer

I got up early one morning

And rushed right into the day;

I had so much to accomplish

That I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,

And heavier came each task.

“Why doesn’t God help me?

I wondered.

He answered, “You didn’t ask.”

I wanted to see joy and beauty,

But the day toiled on grey and bleak.

I wondered why God didn’t show me,

He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

I tried to come into God’s presence,

I used all my keys at the lock.

God gently and lovingly chided,

“My child, you didn’t knock”

I woke up early this morning,

And paused before entering the day:

I had so much to accomplish

That I had to take time to pray.

(author unknown)

If our Lord Jesus needed to pray, so do I.

I read in Mark 1.v35

“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”

If our Lord showed His Father reverence and honour in the way He prayed and spoke His Holy Name, calling His Lord, “Father” ~ so should I.

Our Master taught us to Ask, Seek and Knock. Lady Julian of Norwich referred to the Lord as our Courteous Lord. So He is. And deserving of our Courtesy.

To pray makes a difference, how we pray is how we are received.

The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are His!

Keep Looking Up

A lovely bright morning, the bare trees are showing spring green. Whatever litters the path beneath my feet, I can look up and touch the sky.

When my days are grey and drizzle. Remind me, Lord to look up, I know You “Keep my feet” ~

You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for ever more”

Jesus said, that His followers would know trouble in this world; but in Himself peace,

Lord, when I am troubled, remind me to “Look up!”

Between Times

I love the sea, but live far from it. I dream of going down to the sea and sailing again. In the days of wind and sail, I think I would have been happy. I am one of those strange people who like wind and lively seas.

When taking on board our church magazine – I was told I could call it what I liked, so instead of St Giles Parish Magazine. I chose, Tides and Tidings.

Tides, because big ships sail with the tide, there is no ship bigger than ‘The Church’ ..church has often been viewed as the ‘Ark’ that’s why our wooden vaulted ceiling looks like an upside down boat. Not that St Giles is upside down, but the church is called to turn the world upside down for Jesus. We are still in Eastertide, from now until Ascension Day, (10th May) still thinking of Jesus showing himself to His friends, women as well as men, before finally saying ‘Goodbye’ and ascending to His Father and Our Father, and then (Acts 1: 4) ‘Wait for the Promise of the Father’

And then when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, the Father sent the Holy Spirit, a great wind to turn the tide in the church’s favour, filling waiting disciples with boldness to begin to reach to all corners of the earth with Tidings of salvation in Jesus’ Name.

I was reminded, in recent days, of these words, from ‘Pilgrim’ (Dom Helder Camara)

When your ship,

Being moored in harbour, gives the illusion

Of being a house;

When your ship

Begins to put down roots

In the stagnant water by the quay; put out to sea!

Save your boat’s journeying soul and your own pilgrim soul,

Cost what it may”

St Giles is in between times in more ways than one, Reverend Ian Shelton retired in January, leaving us to await the appointment of a new Incumbent, or to use ship’s talk Captain. We are in interregnum but we know we have to be ready to sail on the tide, on our new Captain’s orders … so we are still busy, welcoming passengers on board, Baptisms, Marriages, Funerals, and all our normal Services are happening on time, church is cleaned, decks swabbed, churchyard maintained, hall open for kick boxers, Theatrkidz and much more … so I guess we won’t be putting down roots as we wait…. just getting seaworthy….

“For Lo, The Winter Is Past…

The winter has been long and cold. Snow, ice, wind and rain: visits to the churchyard have meant bundling up in layers, wrapping yourself around in scarf, hat over ears, two pairs of gloves, and socks but now… well here come the daffodils welcoming us to Evening Prayer.


“The flowers appear on the earth: the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:12)

“In the darkness, in the quiet, we had come to anoint Him. Heavy hearted, drenched in sorrow, how could we live without Him.

Suddenly we saw there an angel all in white.

Then we knew that He had risen.”

So sang, St Giles Singers. Out in the churchyard the Daffodils join in the chorus:

“We have seen the risen Lord, we have heard His gentle voice saying “Be not afraid” We have felt His conquering power, known the glory of this hour.

“We have seen the Risen Lord. We have seen the Risen Lord”