Unprecedented Times

Time is a strange phenomenon, but these are unprecedented times. 

However, there are some things that we know will happen, births and deaths among them. Today is my grandson’s seventh birthday. It seems like just yesterday that he was kicking his way out of the womb! He is just as lively today. 

On a sadder note, my good friend and long time colleague in the ministry, the Revd David Gardner has died. I learnt about ministry from David while on placement with him in Greenwich during my initial training. Throughout my years in ministry he was a stalwart supporter. When I was working at Church House in London David was on the group that produced the new hymn book, Rejoice & Sing. Later, he was one of the retired ministers I visited in East Midlands Synod. 

Other things that continue to happen, including weeds growing but also vegetables. This is the time of year when I return from the allotment with bags and bags of produce. There is a lot of spinach this year and the Rhubarb Chard is a bright new addition to my crops. It is of course courgette season, though thankfully we are not overwhelmed (yet). Other harvests include beetroot, potatoes and carrots. I have also begun to gather the first few cherry tomatoes, autumn raspberries, blackberries and a small cucumber. 

One of the features of this year, so far, is how much time I have spent outdoors. Of course the allotment accounts for most of the hours, but I have been spending many days sitting in the garden and watching the white fluffy clouds float by in the blue sky. And even Quaker worship has been outdoors for the last month. I could not help but reflect on how being under the open sky feels like a metaphor for the unity of life on Earth. Not only in the sunlight but also in the star-filled night sky we are held together, our life and times are joined with this planet. 

The time will come when a new normal emerges, but the shape that will take is as yet unknown.

All times seem to be unprecedented. 

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