Reflections Blog

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REFLECTIONS ON OUR TRAVELLING, a thought from Paul Harding


Reverend Ginni is on her holidays at PAX deadline time so you have to make do with me again! It is very much the time of year that we turn our minds to travelling, whether it be within the UK, a little further afield with our European “friends” or on a long-haul voyage of discovery. I was reminded of just how much many of us travel by our village What’s App group at Easter. Someone sent Easter greetings from their holiday destination and before long many others joined in from near and far. Luckily, we left some at base camp to oversee the Easter Vigil. We are not alone in travelling, if we reflect on the New Testament, so many of Jesus’s experiences, teachings, miracles and conversions happened as he travelled. The distances might not have been as far but it needs putting into the context of travelling on foot with no other means of communication than word of mouth. Jesus’s three-year travelling ministry was no more than 100 miles from his home but on those journeys, amongst other things he met his disciples, healed the sick and calmed the storms on the Sea of Galilee. Whilst Jackie and mine own adventurous travels are curtailed at the moment, a wonderful three-week family holiday a few years back in Sri Lanka was brought into sharp focus with the news of the terrible tragedy that the country has suffered. At the time of our visit they were still badly affected by the internal conflict but their people were friendly, welcoming, generally peaceful and very stoic. It is very sad that having put their historic problems behind them and reopened so much more of the country to visitors they have been hit by such a horrendous attack. I feel our time there means we have an even greater sense of their loss and I am sure the same applies to many who have travelled to parts of the world and met inspirational people who then are faced with natural or human created tragedies and disasters. This brings into sharp focus that whilst we attend church, we trust in safety, so many Christians around the world do so in fear of persecution. How we return from our travels and reflect the experiences we have had or the cultures we have seen is very varied. We reflect on this each Christmas at St. Ippolyts Church in the wonderful array of nativity sets that have been collected from around the world and brought back to enhance and broaden our understanding of how others see Christmas. Also, each year the Women’s World Day of Prayer, held this year locally at the Baptist Chapel in Little Wymondley, shares the experiences of a different country and the challenges particularly for the women. This year women all over the world were praying and learning about life for the women in Slovenia. What is important is that we return and share our experiences and broaden our church and communities’ understanding of the wonders and the challenges facing people around the world. Travel related experiences certainly play a major part in the debates that we have at our village Men’s Breakfast Group. Our next breakfast is rumoured to be Lebanese. It is important that our travelling experiences are reflected in our PCC decisions, our church activities and prayers, helping us to think outside our own local issues to the challenges of others around the UK and the rest of the world and in so doing enriching our churches and communities. I will close on that note and await the pearls of wisdom Reverend Ginni has to relate to us on her return from Norfolk, which incidentally is about the same distance from home that Jesus travelled on his ministry. Paul Harding
Weekly Pew Sheet, the Fourth Sunday after Easter.