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March Pastoral Letter from Simon

01 March 2017

Dear Friends,

Last week saw the Half Term school holidays, which meant that Jilly and I managed to have a rare day off together. So, on Friday last, we journeyed on our annual pilgrimage to Kingston Lacy to see the snowdrops. It would be wrong to say that I set off on this adventure with total enthusiasm. In fact, it would be nearer the truth to say that, with some reluctance on my part, we journeyed to Kingston Lacy to see the snowdrops.

However, I must admit that the scene in the gardens was stunning. Before us was a carpet of white snowdrops interspersed with golden yellow daffodils in bud. Cyclamen and Crocuses (or is it Croci) joined nature’s spring chorus and it was indeed very beautiful.

Now my gardening and plant knowledge could easily be written on the back of a very small postage stamp; to me one snowdrop looks exactly the same as any other snowdrop. However, I was intrigued to read the information board that told us that in the Kingston Lacy gardens there are actually forty different types of snowdrops. And on closer inspection we could indeed see the subtle differences in the various varieties. I further learnt that these rather fragile plants thrive on the cold damp conditions of this time of year and, as I gazed at the wonderful signs of forthcoming spring, I could only marvel at how hardy these delicate plants are.

This magnificent vista reminded me so much of the church; a whole variety of differing people coming together in beautiful accord to form something very lovely. Each plant, each bloom supporting each other and each adding to the joyous God given scene, each declaring that spring is just around the corner.

This month we begin our journey through Lent; Ash Wednesday falls on Wednesday 1 st March; a season in which we prepare to celebrate the greatest event in the history of this world.

We remember that God allowed his Son to go through the hideous ordeal of crucifixion, a form of execution that was normally reserved for the vilest of criminals. However, this is a time when we particularly turn our thoughts to the resurrection of our Lord and we remember that on the third day he rose in glorious triumph.

We worship a truly living, loving Lord. Lent and Easter is a time when we focus on new life, new opportunities, and new hope and, here again, the superb panorama of the Kingston Lacy gardens comes to mind. Those hardy spring blooms surely remind us that God is a wondrous God and, as his precious blooms, as his body on earth the church, we need to.

Unfortunately, whilst we looked upon the array of spring flowers and marvelled at the God given beauty of nature, we were disappointed when we arrived at the Kingston Lacy tearoom in eager anticipation of a bowl of soup and a much needed cup of tea. The queues were enormous, with a waiting time of approximately an hour, followed by the challenge of finding an empty table. I couldn’t help but think that having been blessed by the greatness of God, we had been let down by the efforts of human hands - another lesson for us all perhaps.

Yours in the excitement of Easter witness, Simon



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