Pastor’s Thoughts – August 2013

Dear friends,

July has certainly been hot! My suspicion is that August will probably correct that! We love to complain about the weather: it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too windy. It seems to me though, that this year has been unusual. We had a cold winter with quite a bit of snow. Spring was warm and wet, summer, hot. It’s just like the seasons are supposed to be in this country, and that seems to be different from the last few years.

Seasons happen because of the rotation of the earth around the sun and our weather is affected primarily by the wind and the sea. Being an island means that our weather is always less predictable than it would be if we lived in the middle of a continent. That’s just simple geography. So there are some things we can expect and many things that will vary from year to year.

Of course, we also use the word “season” to depict a period of time during which something happens. The Glorious Twelfth denotes the start of the grouse shooting season (not that grouse shooting is very big in Bishop’s Stortford!) We’re in the middle of the cricket season and this month sees the start of the football season.

What about seasons in our lives? There are periods of time marked by particular events, school, college, beginning work, maybe families, grandchildren, retirement etc – you can think of many others. During each season we also have to tackle the prevailing weather – family crises, economic situations, sickness etc.

When Robert Bolt wrote his play about Sir Thomas More he called it A Man for All Seasons. He took the title from a quote about More by a contemporary of his, Robert Whittington. In 1520 Whittington wrote “More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons.” So here is the point of this article – are
we people for all seasons? Is this a church for all seasons?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us of the seasons of life: There is a time for everything and a season for
every activity under the heavens. Are we equipped for all seasons? In truth very few of us are, that’s why we need to be a church for all seasons. As Christians we are not declaring to the world that we are supermen and superwomen who can take on the world single-handed. God did not intend for us to face every season and every blast of weather on our own. That’s why we need to be a church for all seasons, so that
together we can help each other through every season of life. That’s what we mean by family and community – that’s what we’re called to be for each other.

I get frustrated at times when I hear of someone who is in obvious need but hasn’t shared that with anyone. There is no shame in having people stand with you and there is no need to deal with things alone, we help each other. Equally you may have some experience of dealing with things in your life that could be helpful for other people to know about. People are always saying to me: “It’s great when people share the stories of their lives. Can we have that more often please?” One of the reasons that we publish sermon titles in advance is so that anyone who may have something to share that’s relevant to those topics can have an opportunity to let me know.

Yours in Christ

John