Marion and I have just recently returned from holiday on the Isle of Wight. I hadn’t visited the island for at least twenty years and I’d forgotten how nice it was. While Marion and her sister and brother-in-law were undertaking the considerable feat of walking the entire island coastal path – a distance of 80 miles plus I spent my days out in the countryside or by the sea with my binoculars. In six days I say 40 different bird species. Who needs, “Springwatch?”
As well as observing a pair of peregrine falcons, the highlight of my birding was coming across a family of ravens in Bembridge harbour. I was told by the locals that the ravens, the largest members of the crow family, were attracted to the area by the fact that the lady who owned the harbour tea stall fed them. This reminded me of the incident recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible in 1st Kings chapter 17 where rather than feeding ravens – the prophet, Elijah, was fed by ravens thus enabling him not only to survive in a hostile environment but gave him the strength to carry on in his mission to speak God’s word.
Elijah was ministered to by ravens – often we receive help and encouragement from the most unlikely sources. Elijah understood the ravens were sent by God – let us be alive to God’s encouragement in our own lives which often comes to us in ways we don’t expect. Also we too can be like the ravens – providing produce for the food banks is just one example of “raven ministry!!”
While on the subject, the writer of Psalm 147 uses ravens as an illustration of God’s kindness and care for his creation –
“The Lord covers the sky with clouds,
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.”
I am writing this on the morning of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just after I have seen a young couple who are getting married at Emmanuel in September. All this wedding talk brought to my mind the number of times the marriage motive and wedding themes are mentioned in the Bible. … Continue reading Royal Wedding
I am writing this a few days after the UK together with our allies in the US and France have launched airstrikes against the chemical warfare installations in Syria. Regardless of our political persuasions all right thinking people can surely only be appalled at the use of such horrendous weapons by the Assad regime against … Continue reading For evil to triumph…
Easter Sunday this year is on 1st April – quite early in the spring. Because of our particularly cold winter, the daffodils are a bit late in blooming in our gardens but they are coming out now just in time for Easter. These spring flowers are natural and beautiful symbols of the new life which … Continue reading New Life
Although Easter is not until 1st April, the month of March contains two very important Sundays in the Lenten Season – Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. At first, apart from both being Sundays there doesn’t seem much connection between these two dates in the Church’s year. But there is a connection and the connection is … Continue reading Why did Jesus have two donkeys?
Easter is early this year – 1st April in fact, so Lent too is early beginning on St Valentine’s Day (14th February) which is also Ash Wednesday. What are you giving up for Lent? Giving up things for Lent is, of course, a matter of personal choice and not a requirement of our Reformed faith. … Continue reading What are you giving up for Lent?
By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will be just getting underway. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters. Mainly to several kind elderly aunties who had sent me Christmas … Continue reading “Thank You” letters
“Bah!! Humbug!!” These words we associate with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol”. This expression and calling someone a “bit of a Scrooge” are commonly used idioms to describe people who don’t enter into the Christmas celebrations with much enthusiasm. Odd as it may seem, in days gone … Continue reading Bah!! Humbug!!
It is 100 years ago this year that the United States entered the First World War on the Allied side. It was a US Senator, Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) of California who in 1917 observed “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Ironically Johnson died on 6th August 1945 the day the Allies dropped the … Continue reading Truth
We celebrated harvest at Emmanuel a little earlier than usual this year and I am grateful to everyone for their part in making it such a joyful celebration. In early October in the Jewish community another harvest festival called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew, takes place. This is a week-long festival whose … Continue reading Sukkot
September is the month of beginning again. Schools return, university terms start as do all the host of church and secular activities that take a summer break. September to me always seems a more sensible time to celebrate New Year than 1st January which was the date the Romans chose and we have followed on … Continue reading New Year?
During our recent holiday on the beautiful Isle of Arran among the places of interest Marion and I visited was what is known as, “The King’s Cave.” This is a cave where it is said in the year 1306, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, fleeing from the wrath of England’s King Edward the first, had” … Continue reading The King’s Cave