I was thinking the other day, in one of my more amusing moments, that I might rename the Vicarage Garden. A number of possibilities passed through my mind, which, on reflection and in the circumstances, seemed perhaps a little flippant. Be that as it may, it has to be said that there has been an awful lot going on in that patch of land I am at this moment looking towards from my study window. The rose garden has been extended, areas of moss have been turfed, two new vegetable patches has been dug and planted, a patio has been laid, new bird boxes and feeders have been erected, boulders have been relocated from along the pathway leading from Church, the mountain of leaves beneath the bamboo screen has been cleared away, several tonnes of golden gravel support areas of seating, the grass has been reseeded in places, and a rather nice lantern now hangs at the back of the Vicarage. There is always plenty to do and what busy bees we have been!
The week in which I find myself composing these words has seen the “reopening of the Church” (is this an oxymoron? I rather think so). The faithful were enabled to re-enter their own building and, unsurprisingly and very much in character, the first visitor to cross the threshold was the oldest St Annes-ite. I shan’t name them for fear of impertinence and having my ears boxed the next time I meet her, but we can probably work out who that particular person is. The inside of Church had been well prepared and I am grateful to those individuals who, with meticulous professionalism and thoughtful care, made sure that “guidance” was followed in order that people would feel confident when they turned up to say their prayers. Rather like the Vicarage garden, what busy bees they have been.
“Getting your finger out” is a somewhat crude expression that I find myself using from time to time. However, I think we will all agree that nothing much is achieved in life without some degree of effort. In recent months we have had to navigate our way around all sorts of cascading information, direction, advice, confusing signals that have on occasion baffled and a plethora of material that would overwhelm the most efficient of us. We have also had to find ways to maintain the fellowship of the Church and our life of prayer.
However, we have continued to bat on (as I often say) and we have done quite a bit of metaphorical landscaping. During times for individual prayer and in the absence of formal services, I have read prayers and Bible readings from within the Sanctuary that have been augmented by recorded choral and music from Taize; we do the same type of thing at the Watch on Maundy Thursday. No doubt we will continue our ecclesiastical landscaping, moving forward, optimistically, prayerfully, hopefully and faithfully, trusting God to give us the strength that all we need to maintain the little section of his vineyard that we are entrusted us with.
Keep the Faith…..now where’s my spade!