The United Reformed Church Chesham
June/July 2009 Newsletter
Blue skies entice us out of doors and sunshine definitely means more smiles than frowns. As we come into the holiday season, I hope it will be a time for pausing and refreshment for all of you, whether you manage a time away or stay at home. June will be a busy month in the church with four Mondays of the 'Unwrapped' course and our church Away Day. We are only away at Ley Hill this year so do pop in, if you can't make all the day. In this Bible year, Revd Dr Susan Durber will be giving us new insights into Jesus' stories, the parables, and we will be sharing a day of learning, fun and fellowship together. (More details inside on all the coming activities).
Thinking of being out of doors, if you were set the challenge to build a road between two places, or if this is rather extreme, a path between two features in a garden, how would you set about the task? The easiest choice is perhaps a straight A to B 'as the crow flies'; the shortest and most direct route. Roman roads tended to be straight and direct, but as someone recently said to me, this was probably because they were building on the foundations of already established tracks. Unfortunately, the landscape is rarely flat, with no obstacles. In your construction of a large road or a small path, you will need to overcome obstructions by going round them, climbing up and over them, or even removing them. You will certainly need help with the task and I'm sure will want to celebrate the achievement when it is completed.
Sometimes life seems too hard and the obstacles too great, but there are some amazing stories from the Bible and from life, which can encourage us. Many of the parables show how following Jesus is the right path and can turn lives around. Recently I visited the farmhouse, near Grantham, where Isaac Newton grew up. We remember him for his scientific achievements, which made him famous. In fact it is amazing he survived and grew up to achieve anything. His father an illiterate farmer died before he was born and being premature in the seventeenth century, his mother doubted he would live. He grew up on the farm and had to work hard, although he was hopeless helping on the farm. His schooling was limited, but an uncle saw his potential and eventually he went to Cambridge University. He had to do chores for the other students to pay his way. When he graduated, the plague swept through England and he returned to the safety of the farm. There he watched an apple fall from a garden tree and the theory of gravity followed. This was also the period of the Civil War and his family had to be careful to try to please both sides. Many of the neighbouring families were slaughtered in the fighting. Isaac came through all these difficulties to become one of the most famous Englishmen. He was perhaps rather an eccentric and there were some black parts in his life, but he did believe in God and his faith was important in his life. Life's experiences can many times add colour to the paths we tread.
Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life. (John 14:6) The path of our lives from beginning to end will not be 'as the crow flies'. Jesus knew this and offered himself as the way - so if we follow his lead we will overcome the obstacles. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelations 22:13) If we build the path of our lives with Jesus, he will help us to achieve the best route for us and he will be there from the beginning and at the end when we will celebrate the joy of eternal life.