Ros's September 2019 letter
This week has been one of opposites. One day I spent all on my own having a day of retreat in order to consider and pray for the situation we find ourselves in the world & in the church today, and to ponder and pray for the future. Another day I met up with some friends who have been there for me over the years that I've been in ministry. It was a day of remembering, catchin gup with where we are now and our hopes for the future. Both days had their similarities but were also very different.
I stayed at the Manse for a few days, but other times I was out and about, including having a morning at Hardwick Hall Estate and Gardens. That day gave me plenty of food for thought and set me off thinking about how extreme opposites can live in harmony and add to the beauty of life. There were formal gardens interspersed with wildlife havens. There were flowers, seeds and fruit on the same plants. There was an ornate, well preserved hall and an old crumbling ruin that was having to have essential maintenance done so access was prohibited. As I wandered around I was struck about how this is often the case in my life. Some areas are flourishing and other areas are crumbling.Some areas are attractive and tended and other areas are overgrown and wild. I has certainly made me think.
Talking of wildernesses... I've been looking at the Manse garden, which hopefully will be transformed this weekend. It certainly is overgrown and in need of some pruning and TLC. Looking at it, there are many weeds to be cleared but there are also a rose and honeysuckle that are flowering abundantly. Today I became aware of the smell of lavender but had to look hard to find the plant in amongst the weeds. It was only the smell that indicated the presence of the plant and I had to look hard for any other evidence. In our lives we can often be a mass of contradictions with beauty lurking in amongst the wilderness. We sometimes sing a song 'May the fragrance of Jesus fill my life'. The lavender plant reminded me of that. What fragrance do we leave? How much wilderness is there in us. What is blooming despite the lack of care and tending? What are the weeds that I need to work on and remove from my life?
All this reminds me of Jesus' words, 'My Father is the gardener' in JOhn 15:1.
I pray that this month will bring you refreshment and restoration.