To think about...
'You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.' Winston Churchill
Family News
NOTES FROM THE MINISTER
9 September 2019

I have, I am sure, quoted in one place or another, the words of My Fair Lady's Eliza Doolittle, ‘Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words!'

This month's letter forces a similar sentiment from me. I have tried several times to ‘find' a start point for what, after prayer and reflection, I feel I should say, if only to just one person, but to no avail. Traffic lights in Bath, the Tufty Club and the necessary after lunch nap in infants school have all been put onto the page and then have been deleted. Perhaps, to quote from another musical, The Sound of Music, I should just ‘start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.'

Jeremiah 17, verses 7 - 8, says, "But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Across the valley from my parents' house is a wood. It's on quite a steep hillside and at its base, in the bottom of the valley, is a river. This means, during periods of drought, you see the effect of water supply quite clearly. The trees lining the river bank, which has never run dry, retain their lushness whilst those further up the hillside begin to exhibit leaf loss, much as you see during the Autumn.

As I look, in periods of dryness, I wonder what the trees at the top would give to be further down the hillside with their roots taking from the cool waters flowing by towards the weir. This then causes the wondering, why it is that we, so often, decide to up sticks and move away from the source of our sustenance and refreshment, namely God?

Is it because we think the view might be better higher up? Is it because we are swayed by the voices of the world which encourage us to find a ‘better' life in it? Maybe it's because, having experienced the water of life, we feel empowered without understanding that moving away from it will, very soon, mean such empowerment ebbs away? Perhaps, it's because we believe God has made a mistake and we shouldn't be where we are planted anyway.

Whatever the reason, so often we have no qualms about going in the direction we think is the right one for us. But, ask yourself this, when you do, do you feel blessed? Really blessed? Blessed as you know only God can bless you? Probably not! There is no shame in confessing that you have gone away from God. When you do so He will plant you back where you belong.

In ‘The Sound of Music' Maria sings, ‘for here you are, standing there, loving me.' With similar passion, God loves you. Know, therefore, that His way, hard though it may seem, is the best for you and remember, as Jeremiah says, ‘Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him!'