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John Goodridge’s Reflection  - 27th September

It is quite surprising how quickly the days have become shorter and we are having to put on lights that much earlier. It seems that summer is past. We now enter the season of Autumn, which recalls, harvest, the colours of autumn trees and later falling leaves. Early morning mists, having to clean car windscreens, spider webs glistening in the sun, the sound of crows, starlings, and robins and for some the smell of garden fires. It can also be for many a foreboding time, a dread of winter, dark nights, and loneliness. Cold days and now the anxiety of what lies before us in terms of Covid19 and other winter ailments.

Autumn can also be an exciting time, when schools and Universities have returned, people taking up new educational courses, new challenges, perhaps new hobbies, all of which gives us something to aim for and enjoy. There is also a sense of the romantic at this time, a sense of mystery and awe as nature begins to slow down and allows itself for renewal and transformation. Have you ever walked through a woodland with the autumn sunshine streaming through the colourful trees together with a sense of silence, now that the business of birdlife has stopped, together with the smell of fallen leaves and earthiness?

For me as a teenager there was the excitement of participating in the Bishop’s Cup competitions involving groups of teenagers navigating through the countryside during the night, which always took place in October. Playing rugby on soft pitches, before the frosts came, and experiencing dense fog, when you could not see the ball or at times the other players.

I expect we are all getting a little worried about the weeks and months ahead as we experience another semi lockdown with additional restrictions being placed on various towns, universities, and counties. The threat to students of not being able to go home for Christmas, all of which seems rather draconian, especially if you live in a student room on campus.

Did you hear about the optimist who declared that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true and Twixt the optimist and the pessimist the difference is droll, the optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist the hole.  As someone said, “There is nothing to look forward to, not even Christmas?”  Do you remember the PM saying it should all be over by Christmas? I think that was also said in September 1914. On the other hand, we as Christians live in hope, hope that things can only get better, to believe that God is in all of this and that nothing will keep us from his love and care.  Mind you, say that to a depressed 19 year old living away from home and not being able to socialize at University, the elderly living on their own, the young mum worried about her children’s education and family finances and I think you may have a very negative response. It is not easy to preach those words yet alone live them at times like this. However, if we look back at history, we know only too well that society does get through these situations, and things do get better, although life as they knew it changed and that it will be the same for all of us. Let us remember all things pass.

I have just had my flu jab this week and I hope that it will reduce the likelihood of me catching flu or limiting its effects. Even though we have a vaccine it must be updated to cope with the mutations that happens with viruses. The biochemists working across the world to produce a vaccine against Covid 19, have their work cut out, trying to produce a suitable vaccine quickly before any major mutations happen. I think we all agree that this is our hope for the future.

So as we settle into Autumn and enjoy the season let us try to be positive about our lives and thank God that where we live the R number is comparatively low and we do not face too many restrictions.

Finally, a poem entitled All Things Pass.

All Things Pass

All things pass

A sunrise does not last all morning

All things pass

A cloudburst does not last all day

All things pass

Nor a sunset all night

All things pass

What always changes?

Earth…sky…thunder…

Mountain…water…

Wind…fire…lake…

These change

And if these do not last.

Do man’s visions last?

Do man’s illusions?

Take things as they come

All things Pass.

Lao-Tzu (6th century BC) Translations by Timothy Leary 1920-1996)


God Bless

John