Just a thought....

Passion flower

It is not just the seasons that are changing from autumn to winter this time of year, it is also how we respond to the challenges we encounter and embrace the hope that surrounds us.

Over the last couple of weeks, the view from our living room towards Chobham has been displaying beautiful autumnal colours with hues of yellow, orange, red and brown. Most of the trees are losing their leaves for the winter in preparation for the new growth in the spring. In the middle of this continuous fall of leaves, I was struck by two things. Firstly, the conifers and other evergreen shrubs seem to stand out with stunning festive foliage and red berries for Christmas; and excellent food and protection for wildlife. Secondly, I noticed one beautiful white passion flower, which has burst open amid the evergreen foliage of rhododendrons in our garden.

How strange, I thought, that I should notice this changing scene as if for the first time! It is not strange at all! Its beauty has been there along, sometimes visible, sometimes hidden and waiting to burst open.

The second Covid-19 lockdown has provided me with a great opportunity to slow down and notice the things that I, like many of us, have either been too busy to notice, or have taken for-granted. As W H Davies asks in his poem entitled ‘Leisure’,

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare? A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”.

To notice things like this single passion flower, with its tendrils, filaments, stigma, anthers and spear-shaped leaves, which stands as a symbol representing the passion of Christ who, in the turmoil of the time, reached out and offered humanity great hope and life. To notice that it is like a brightly shining star on a dark night, reminding us of the love and beauty of creation that God, who in his infinite love, mercy and wisdom, has spread around us.

Looking forward to Christmas, and to the Good News of Jesus’ birth being told again this year, let us embrace the hope and new life around us. I wonder what new things we might discover!                                 Rev Bev    

St Michael and All Angels