Message from Rev'd Gary 

Footprints of Jesus

Looking Out for Number One

Over the past few years, as a nation, as a community and as individuals, we have been through some pretty tough times, even though our troubles pale into insignificance compared to what the people of Ukraine are suffering. But there is one particular aspect of life today that I have seen, and which has rightly been welcomed and celebrated. So many people have stepped up to the mark to volunteer in community efforts to make life just a little more bearable for others, simply popping round to make sure their neighbours are OK, or picking up the phone for a chat. For those generous, kind-hearted souls the idea of ‘looking out for number one’ has been superseded by the notion of looking out for their neighbour.

When I first came to Pirbright I lived on my own, and I remember buying a cookbook: Delia Smith’s ‘One Is Fun’. I rarely used it, normally choosing to take the easy option and buy ready meals or eat out (and that’s not much fun by yourself, believe me).

I always used to tell people that I never minded being alone but I did mind being lonely – and there is a difference. I did feel very lonely sometimes, and that is most definitely not fun. At the time I was very much ‘looking out for number one’.

Being alone has some benefits. For a start you don’t have the same responsibilities that you have if you are in a steady relationship, or have a family. You have to learn to share all the responsibilities that come with living with other people.

Perhaps inevitably in times of pandemics, geopolitical turmoil, rising prices and social upheaval, some folk might be heard saying, ‘where is God in all this? Why isn’t he with us, as he promised to be?’ Then I am reminded of a poem called ‘Footsteps in the Sand’ written in 1936, when the world was emerging from the Great Depression and would soon be faced with the horrors of World War II. The writer is walking on the beach; looking back there are two sets of footprints. But then one set disappears, just as the writer is facing who knows what sort of trouble in their life. ‘Where are you, God, when I need you most?’ ‘My child, that is when I am carrying you’.

God will never desert us. There may be just one set of footprints on our sandy beach right now, but if we look closely we might see that they go just a little deeper than they did. Alone we may sometimes be; lonely we should need never to be. God will always be there with us.

Rev'd Gary Williamson


Bluebell wood