From the Sanctuary
When I first bought my house twenty-six years ago, the ‘garden’ was just grass – about the size of a tennis court. In the middle of it was a concrete post to support the clothesline that extended to the house. In a corner of the ‘garden’ was a severely cobwebbed greenhouse with a “Triffid”
(a tall yellow Verbascum) growing out of a broken pane of glass in the roof of the greenhouse. Two apple trees topped, and tailed, my rough-grass-tennis-court-size-of-a-lawn. It was hardly a ‘garden’.
Over the years, my garden has gradually been transformed into a cottage garden that I utterly delight in and feel blessed to have nourishing my life. It is a real sanctuary of peace and wildlife. It was never designed to any set plan. Its development started when I had two godchildren, then aged two, come to stay shortly after I moved in. The danger of them running into the greenhouse with catastrophic consequences was real; and so a trellis was put up at the side of the greenhouse to stop them from running into the glass. A garden bed then had to be created at the base of the trellis, into which a honeysuckle, a clematis and a rose were planted and trained onto the trellis. Then bit, by bit, over time (but without a plan), the garden as it is today, ‘emerged’.
I have occasionally planted gifts of plants from students and friends, some perennials and bulbs of my choice, and scattered some seeds ‘to see what happens’; but the garden looks after itself in the main – and self-seeds. There isn’t much lawn left now, as most of it has become garden beds and gravel paths. I have no idea from year to year, what will emerge and blossom, or where in the garden they will grow. This year, foxgloves are in the ascendance, only to be very sparse the next year. Next year, aquilegias (or Granny’s bonnets) may bless the landscape along with the forget-me-nots. The snapdragons are about to show their colour along with the poppies. It is a wonder to observe from day-to-day what has emerged to bless my sanctum.
So it is the same with life. I have no plan of my life. I hate it when, at an interview, they ask the question, “Where do you see yourself as being in the next five years?” I have absolutely no idea! And yet having no plan, allows life as God intends my life to be, to emerge.
Often we kid ourselves that we are in control of our lives – but that is a delusion; a falsity. That doesn’t mean that occasionally it isn’t worth the effort to plant something that I want in my garden, or in my life. But ultimately, it will be as God intends it to be. There is a wonderful freedom and acceptance in that, providing that we can step back and observe with wonder, the life that is God-provided – rather than bear the frustration of not having things our way. I wonder how your life has been provided for, and if you can see the blessings in it?
This will be the first year since 2019 that we have been able to hold our Summer Fayre. Please reserve the date: 23rd July in your diaries and don’t forget to tell your friends to come along from 2 p.m. onwards. We will have plenty for you to spend your money on, meet friends and have a chat in the garden—weather permitting, and at the same time, provide funds to keep our lovely church growing. We are having the Arnfield Brass Band coming along to play for us and so it should be a very special occasion.
Our bi-annual Synod will be held from 14th—18th July and we ask for your prayers that the business of the church will be dealt with in a prayerful manner. Peter (our Minister)and Glenys (our Deputy) will be present to represent Dukinfield on this occasion.
Over many years the 2nd Sunday of July has been kept as Sea Sunday, with a special focus on prayer for all seafarers. The Mission to Seafarers supports the work of sailors facing difficult waters, piracy, and separation from loved ones for long periods at sea. However, we can also experience storms in our own lives. In Acts 27 we read how Paul was being taken as a prisoner to Rome, when he was caught in a storm off Crete. After 14 days they were shipwrecked on the island of Malta.
Paul had warned the crew that it wasn’t a safe time of year to sail: “I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives.” However, Paul’s words were ignored, and the ship sailed into a violent storm. By the third day they ‘finally gave up all hope of being saved.’ How do we face up to storms in our lives? Do we worry and panic? God doesn’t necessarily prevent storms from taking place, but we can trust His purpose through them.
Paul urged the sailors to “keep courage, because not one of you will be lost, only the ship will be destroyed.” His confidence rested on an angelic promise: “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” Only the sovereign God, who created the wind and waves, can promise to save people from a storm. What does this mean for us in our circumstances today?
‘Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. Grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.’ (Amazing Grace: John Newton).
What’s On in July and August 2022
|Family Service with
led by Br Peter
|Church Committee at Crewe
|M.W.A. Meeting in Church
led by Br Martin Smith
led by Sr Susan Flint
|SUMMER FAYRE IN CHURCH
|from 2 p.m.
led by Sr Sue Selby
|Youth Service/Church Parade
led by Sr Glenys Marshall
|Family Service with
led by Br Peter
led by Sr Gillian Taylor
|Family Service led by
Br Stuart Phillips and/or
Sr Dorothy Evans
led by Br Peter
Please note that from 14th – 18th July, our Minister, Peter will be at our Provincial Synod at Swanwick.