• Rev. Caroline

Climb more mountains?

This is the time of year for abandoned Christmas trees – laid out on pavements or propped up on garden walls awaiting the special collection organised by the City Council. Such a forlorn sight is a poignant reminder that the “festive season” is well and truly over.

Even if there is still a redundant tree lying at your gate, you have probably put away all the decorations, until next year. But here’s a thought, prompted by our minister Anita in her sermon on Sunday (Baptism of the Lord; Epiphany 1) - Sunday 10 January 2021 – Meadowside St Paul's l/w St Andrew's Online Worship (

I’m not quoting her exactly – you’d do better to listen to her than rely on my hearsay – but her words had the effect of popping some ideas into my head. Well, questions really, such as:

Am I more grateful now than I used to be for the so-called simple things of life, like enjoying a coffee with friends (including after the church service)? Or visiting somewhere more than five miles from home? Or going to a shop without the thought that there might be a queue to get in?

These are personal to me but might strike some chords with you. Take a moment, if you wish, to consider what questions you would ask yourself.

I’m reminded of a poem I once read, in which the writer says that if she had her life to live all over again, she would “take more chances, climb more mountains, swim more rivers”.

We’re not all risk takers, nor indeed great outdoors types, but we surely understand the gist of what’s being said here. Life is for living! As we say in the Nicene Creed (which can be found at number 649 in CH4): “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life”.

God alone can answer now the questions I’ve posed above, and time will tell. Of course we’re not always good at being patient and, like the psalmist before us, these might be the questions uppermost in our mind:

“How long, O Lord?

Will you forget me for ever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”

You can read the whole text at Psalm 13 – and if you do, linger over the last couple of lines if you can:

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”

Taking a leaf out of Anita’s book, I’m going to write down my questions as well as the psalm writer’s words of praise.Then I will crawl into the furthest reaches of the cupboard under the stairs so that I can put them away with the Christmas decorations, for further exploration and consideration next Advent.

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