March 2022: From The Minister’s Idyll
At the time of writing the sun is beating down, the temperature is rising and the lawn has my name on it as soon as I get a moment. Spring is looking good and many visitors will soon be joining us here in Sidmouth for a break and to attend Keswick in Devon and later the Folk Festival. We say a warm word of welcome to all you who visit.
I can remember going to wonderful places in the country and around the coast and thinking it must be wonderful to live here. Working here must be so much easier and more pleasant than being in a city or town. Over the years I have had the privilege of working in both country and seaside locations, I have been blessed. As for being “easier and more pleasant” well it’s true in parts. At the end of the day work is work and while a nice view can give a little relief for that moment when we look up even the most idyllic location can present difficulties (seagull anyone) or be taken for granted.
And it’s not only the Church that finds this to be the case. Our Health Centre will be ready for the extra workload of the Season, many of the shops are counting on eager visitors, the lifeboat crew will attend more ‘shouts’ in the next few months and this small town’s roads and pavements will be thronged with people, because cars can’t get near the place.
But still when I go away on holiday and see people at work I still entertain that notion of ease and pleasantness in the life of those I see just going about their daily work. We all keep warm those little dreams of the great life experience. Coveting our neighbour’s goods is not recommended and it’s given Law in the Ten Commandments. Most of us think in terms of wanting our neighbours house or car, but it also covers lifestyle, location, community and even climate. The interesting time comes, though, when people get their hearts desire. When I lived in the countryside I did enjoy it. But it was not heaven all the time, the weather could be brutal, the power supply was erratic, village tensions could prove interesting and it was a 30 mile round-trip to the supermarket/garage/hospital/cinema. So nothing is perfect. There was also a beast which I actually heard one night in winter.
Contentment is a quality we do not cultivate enough, being happy with our lot and accepting the day is not a core value for many. It should be our goal. In Genesis 33 Jacob and Esau both declare that they have enough. They had not felt that previously but here they show an understanding that may help us to enjoy the day and to glad with what we have been given. It is something to ponder and pray about.
So enjoy the day and every day and know God’s blessing in your life.