Vicars Monthly Letter

My Dear Friends,

Sometimes less is more, don’t you think? I know many of you will have tried hard to stick with the concept of ‘dry January’ or even a Veganuary after the excesses of Christmas and New Year. Next month The Church starts Lent on Ash Wednesday (2nd March), when Christians go into a season of fasting and spiritual direction and growth.

It’s struck me on my regular dog walks around the benefice, that at this time of year, when the trees are starkly bare and the borders are devoid of flowers, that there is beauty, a purity even, in the little that we have around us. We are so lucky to be surrounded by countryside, but in the depths of winter it can seem bleak and cold. Yet go out and look at the scenery, as I do when I walk the dog, and the tiniest detail can offer great joy. I think what has epitomised this concept for me is the snowdrop. Today I noticed a small group of them and I stopped to marvel at how simple, yet how exquisite they are. Because although I say simple, each flower was magnificent in its detail. The petals are the whitest white, their edges scalloped like a petticoat. And as if white alone was not enough, Nature had painted a tiny brushstroke of green on the inner frilled petals, just as a finishing touch.

Now although I love many of the flowers in the garden in the height of summer, highly scented roses and sweet peas with their colours and perfume being among my favourites, none of these are as simple as a snowdrop. The clematis growers and dahlia lovers among you out there will be clamouring that your beloved cultivars are more deserving of a place in the garden than the common snowdrop, but the more I study this simple flower, the more I begin to understand why there are snowdrop fanatics. Galanthophiles, as they are known, rave about the subtle variations in this well-known species and rare bulbs can exchange hands for hundred of pounds. 

Now I’m quite happy to enjoy whatever variety of snowdrop is popping up, it has no scent, it is only available in white and green and it is one of the smallest flowers grown in our gardens. But, and this is an important but, it is one of the first to emerge not long after the shortest day and the longest night. Those fingers of green leaves bravely push through the frosty soil, to reveal a tightly closed white bud. 

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin (Matthew 6:28) 

and yet they bring us joy and hope. So let us celebrate the simple and the pure in our lives, let us embrace less is more and let us be touched by the green signs of life emerging from the darkness of the earth. As we still experience the dark mornings and evenings and the grey uncertain days of Covid. Let us look to that little white flower, that seems so fragile and yet in reality is so strong. Look not only to a small white flower but to the one true pure light, the light of Christ that dispels all darkness. 

Your priest and friend.




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