The Good Shepherd
‘the pace of life’
Alan took a long time to realise that the walking and exploring he had embarked on in the summer holiday had much to teach him. He had mapped out the ancient iron age roots of our forebears and was retracing their steady progress. What he had to learn was the height and stride of the smaller ancestor meant that he had to reduce his daily distance to coordinate with their natural stopping places. This lead to a reappraisal and allowed time for consideration and thought.
At this moment in time the worth of folk and the work they do is under scrutiny and frequently being reassessed and recognised afresh for what it is worth.
The Thursday evening tribute is a marker of this. A coming together and thanking the protectors of our nation’s health. The care home workers, the delivery folk, all who have stepped up to a newly demanding way of life and mutual support. Many risking their life and good health and that of their families for neighbours and patients. There is no greater service than to spend the life we have in the service of others.
A simpler way of life is beckoning and one that is more interdependent than we may have thought possible. Modern technology gives access to visual conversations with families and allows working from home, (as was done in the woollen cottage industries of yesteryear). Our lives have always been part of and contributors to a greater reality, a tapestry of lights and shades where love, that golden thread, remains as a constant, beyond anxiety and pain and decay.
A little book I cherish reflects an earlier age, a time that echoes our deepest wells of being. It is entitled “The Church and the Land.”
It contains services for Plough Sunday, Rogation Tide, Lammas Day and Harvest Thanksgiving.
In my rural Cumbrian parishes we observed ‘Plough Sunday’, the first stirrings of spring and all that means. Rogation Tide took us out and about the Parish, visiting the River Lune and praying for those ‘who had business in deep waters and the great outer oceans’. Lammas Day celebrated the first sheaf, milled into flour and made into a loaf which became for us the ‘sacramental bread’.
The harvest festival is still the crown of the year, deep with meaning, many of us living far from our rural roots who have never ploughed a field or scythed the corn. It remains as a moment of re-collective togetherness, sharing and gratitude.
The rural theme is continued in our thought for today from the Good Shepherd Gospel for Sunday: Our Lord as Shepherd presents a figure of trust and care. Travelling in the front of the people of faith and those who would believe, the shepherd speaks quietly in the silence and comforts those who fear.
A robust figure in fact and in history, the Good Shepherd gives a firmness of step to us all and a renewed confidence, travelling at our own pace in smaller steps of regard we live and move through our journey of life with joy and courage.
Graham W Bettridge
Hon Chaplain Parcevall Hall
Please note: there is a film taken recently of Parcevall Hall chapel on our Facebook page. Other films will be uploaded in the near future.