Have you ever sat in a churchyard? Their connection with spooky stories may have put you off, but it is an experience which I highly recommend. We have five churchyards in our Benefice. All are “working”, in that they have room for more burials, but all are also havens of peace. Through the year they offer an ever changing display of wildflowers; from Mundham’s snowdrop carpet, through Seething’s jewel-like primroses dotted across the grass, giving way to the glorious bluebells and on to Brooke’s ox-eye daisies - via the daffodils and cherry blossom which line the road edge there. A keen eye and some time spent will find a host of other wild plants and grasses, some of which are quite rare. Alongside all these growing things you will find insects, wildlife and birds, some attracted to the relative safety of “God’s acre”, particularly the pheasants and partridges who choose to bring up their broods there, and others drawn by sources of food or bedding. A good ten minutes in the quiet will attune your ear beyond the birdsong to the buzz of the busy bees and the gentle chirp of the grasshoppers and on a warm summer’s day the scent of the flowers wafts on the breeze. It is an opportunity for peace - and contemplation.
Sitting in such an oasis of calm may cause us to ponder the wider world; a world which faces challenges not just in the countryside, but across the oceans and in the very air we breath. Such thoughts must surely encourage us to ask ourselves what our responsibility to this world is and why it is being spoiled by overdevelopment, pollution and lack of consideration. Whilst progress and development can bring great good one must wonder whether they come at a price.
The relatively unspoiled haven of our churchyards may focus our minds on what it is that we can do to share our responsibility as stewards of the earth. What changes do we need to make to our lives to ensure that our children and grandchildren will also hear the bees and watch the changing flowers grow? We need to think globally and act locally. We can ensure that those who represent us in decision making know our concerns and make choices that redress the damage that is being done. Individually we can amend our lifestyles in small ways to reduce pollution and conserve resources like plastic and water. The Bible says that God created humans to take care of the world, now, more than at any time before, it is important that we take up this responsibility - before it is too late.
With prayers for our future,
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