Monday, 23 February 2009

Sunday next before Lent - Transfiguration and daily life

I've managed to take a few days off during the school half-term holiday. Because we stayed at home in the Vicarage, there was always the issue: "Do I answer the phone?" Thankfully "Caller Display" and an answering machine meant there wasn't too much "work" to deal with.

But there's still the question of how to use the time profitably - and make it feel that it has been "time off." So we did make the effort to get out of the house. There was still ice on the ponds at Wallington Hall, and most of the gardens at Belsay were closed as the snows melted with all the attendant issues of flooding and water-logging. But we really felt the weather was on our side when we drove across the Pennines to the Lake District. With continuing Achilles Tendon problems, the most I felt I could tackle was an ascent of Catbells. As ever, it was worth it. Just a few hundred feet up and the perspective changes dramatically.

I finished off the week in the garden, not doing anything creative but clearing away the clutter of last year's growth. The wonderful thing about getting rid of the dead grass, moss and sad-looking greenery was to uncover the tiny plants pushing their way through so soon after the ice and snow have receded. The snowdrops are out already, and the first shoots of crocuses and daffodils too. I suspect that if I hadn't cleared the general mess away, many of those plants would have grown up, flowered and died without me noticing.

So there's a parable for this time of year. Get up and away to put yourself in the place of transfiguring glory. Get to grips with the messiness of life and clear away what you can, so that you can find those shoots of new life.

Having said that, you might be glad to know that I didn't preach at our main Eucharist yesterday. But our Reader, Rosie Junemann did, and you can find what she had to say about Transfiguration by following this link.

And let's all cheer up - it'll soon be Lent!

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