St Peter & St Paul
South Petherton, with the Seavingtons
and the Lambrooks
The Rector’s Letter for December/January
I’m reading a wonderful book at the moment called The Old Ways, in which Robert Mcfarlane reflects, often most profoundly, on the significance and place of pathways. If you are reading in the lead up to Christmas consider it is an official gift recommendation (but not for me, obviously!) and it will, I’m sure, be coming to a sermon near you soon in some shape or form!
One of a number of things that has stuck with me from the reading of the book is the notion that pathways are in and of themselves, through their being and walking, a place of times meeting. It is summed up succinctly in the words that the author himself quotes,
“Since to follow a trail is to remember how it goes, making one’s way in the present is itself a recollection of the past ... onward movement is itself a return”.
There are lots of ways that we might apply this, but what about letting it speak to the season of Advent and Christmas? These seasons themselves can be understood as meetings of time on a path.
We have the history of God with creation – of covenant, of story, of experience, of Scripture, of the re-telling of the tale today. We have the personal journey that beings us to this particular set of recollections – the year past, the re-visiting of the journey towards nativity, a new ‘us’ on a familiar journey. We have the anticipation of finding something new, some new birth in the most well-trodden of footsteps.
Some questions then for our own journey through Advent and Christmas. Perhaps some questions that might fuel your own prayers.
What do you re-member of last year’s Christmas presents (material, circumstantial, spoken, seen, felt.....)? What still shines for you?
What do you bring with you this year on the path? What is your present?
What do you anticipate in the meeting afresh of God with us? What do you hope? What do you want? What do you need?
Whilst I’m feeling literary, another quote from T. S. Eliot (from Little Gidding) to carry with us on our (return) seasonal journey.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to
arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.
See you somewhere on the road!
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