Vicar’s Letter July 2024

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Don’t you just love this time of year (June)? We are now, at the time of writing, on the longest day of the year, which I always remember as my late paternal grandmother’s birthday.

This year, I have a growing sense of interest in the idea of ‘rewilding’.  Why do I mention this now…well in three days time I am going to see a film by the same title; and for many years now I have been trying to do the same with my surroundings.  Leaving big areas un-mown and left to nature has given me such joy and amazement to see the insects thriving on the wildflowers and long grasses.  It has also given me the impetus to learn the names of some plants.  This year’s discovery is ‘speedwell’ – such an intricate yet small blue flower with miniature nettle-like leaves.  There is a natural beauty in seeing the likes of Cow Parsley, Buttercups, Vetch, and Dog Rose as I walk along country hedgerows.

Spiritual Needs

All of this; getting back to nature, restoring wild insect-rich zones, and turning back the clock on the ever-increasing depletion of soil nutrients through over-cultivation, makes me think spiritually of our need as a nation and individually to turn our minds and hearts back to the giver of life; the One who created and formed us and the beauty of the world around us.

Here’s what the prophet Jeremiah says:

“This is what the Lord says:
Stand at the crossroads and look;
Ask for the ancient paths,
Ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah chapter 6, verse 16

In some ways, it may seem counter-cultural to promote a return to biblical values and church-going in our Western diverse and secular society, but I think we need to hear those words for our generation loud and clear.  To return to the living Word of God, to desire to know Him and His will and purposes for our lives has to be an urgent message for our ears today.

Much of my interest in ‘rewilding’ may seem contrary to modern farming practices.  But I can remember growing up when, for example, many neighbouring farmers were ripping out hedgerows all in the name of progress.  However, I am thankful that my own forebears were doing the opposite: planting trees, valuing green spaces and loving the hedgerows surrounding each field.  Don’t get me wrong – we need to provide ever-increasing amounts of food for our burgeoning populations – but I am glad that inbuilt desire to enjoy and see a rich, diverse landscape was heeded.

During this summer season, may we all find and follow those ‘ancient paths’ and that ‘good way.’

God’s blessing and peace.

Rev Charles Burton 

Published in the July issue of the parish magazines.

Image with thanks, from Unsplash

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