Final Weekly Meditation 2/7/21

I suspect some of you are wondering (if you can see the picture of the swan) why that particular picture? Well I suppose like many of you I am reminded of the phrase “Swan song”. The swan song is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. The phrase refers to an ancient belief that swans sing a beautiful song just before their death since they have been silent for most of their lifetime (Wikipedia). There are several stories about how this story made its way into our language, my favourite is an ancient one.

A certain rich man bought in the market a Goose and a Swan. He fed the one for his table and kept the other for the sake of its song. When the time came for killing the Goose, the cook went to get him at night, when it was dark, and he was not able to distinguish one bird from the other. By mistake he caught the Swan instead of the Goose. The Swan, threatened with death, burst forth into song and thus made himself known by his voice, and preserved his life by his melody.

It is said there is no truth in the idea that a swan will sing just before its death but the phrase still is used for that final act. My hope and prayer is that the Gospel message you have heard will be shared by everyone of you, not just as a final act but as a daily offering to the Lord. As to what will be my final act of sharing in the Loughborough Circuit will be at our open-air shared worship at Quorn on July 11th, 10-30 am. Chance to sing!

John Pugh (Rev)  Wymeswold Methodist

 

 

Weekly Meditation 25/6/21

If you’ve recently spent any time in uniform the photo will either fill you with lots of memories or just send a shiver down your spine! Most non-military individuals will refer to it as camouflage, but to those who’ve served it’s DPM or Disruptive Patterned Material. Yes there are several designs dependant on where in the world you served or even when. This one worked well amongst personnel serving in Northern Europe, wearing it in a desert terrain didn’t work so well. Obviously there a more sandy colour would work far better.

Whatever force you served with it was all about hiding in plain sight, in fact wearing the correct material it is even possible to stand in plain sight, say in front of a forest and, providing you don’t move you will not be seen. If you use a computer on a regular basis and you’re bored look up the use of camouflage on the internet. Wildlife uses it all the time, try looking at moths, octopuses and chameleons sometime. Soldiers are trained to use natural foliage to break up their outline to blend in with their natural surroundings.

The problem today is that people want to hide in plain sight, they are often encouraged not to stand out in the crowd. The idea that if they don’t stand out they won’t get picked on, they won’t be given extra work to do. In fact if anything they will slip underneath the radar and will end up having a nice easy life. There used to be a well known saying especially amongst National Service personnel – “Don’t volunteer for anything!” This would be echoed by the Regular troops who’d learned the hard way, if anything get someone else to do the hard work whilst you make out you’re doing them a favour.

Some Christians hide themselves in plain sight amongst the wider population. They don’t stand out in any way, no-one can tell they are different. Yet it used to be said that Christians stood out because of what they said, how they said it and how they acted. The big question for today is are you a camouflaged Christian? Or do you truly stand out and up for Jesus Christ? Are there Christians around you that you don’t know about? If there are some why not challenge them to stand out and up for Jesus with you

John Pugh  (Rev)  Wymeswold Methodist

Weekly Meditation 18/6/21

How many of you are old enough to remember Max Bygraves singing “You need hands”? I’m certain there will be some of you who will claim that they’re much too young to go that far back. I could claim (quite rightly) that I was in Infant School and heard him on the radio which my mother constantly seem to listen to. Children seem to pick up words of pop songs far more quickly than adults, quick test of your memory which popular song do you remember from furthest back? Challenge your friends and family to see who has the best memory.

The Jews were well known for memorising huge chunks of scripture from an early age. So much so that when Jesus spoke of the Scriptures he could draw their minds to a particular spot in the prophetic writings of a particular prophet. We would have to rely on chapter and verses to look it up, imagine what it would be like without that aid. Whilst we are never challenged to attempt that discipline there will be times when we remember short verses or even passages as a whole. As a member of the school choir based at a Church of England Junior School we were encouraged to recite certain passages as a choral reading each Christmastide.

So, when it comes to Luke’s account of the shepherds, the angels and the journey from the sheep to the stable, the King James Version is still engrained in my head. “There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night …” (I still don’t need to look it up!). We also followed up with Matthew’s account of the Magi travelling to find the newborn Messiah and how they expected him to be in the palace. With hindsight they weren’t all that bright or wise were they?

Going back to the start though – your hands, how do you use them? Do you use them each and every day for Jesus? There’s an old rhyme which contains the words “He (Jesus) has no hands but our hands to do his work today ..” Are your hands the sort that reach out to help? To offer comfort? Support? Give strength to those weaker than ourselves? Consider the hands of Jesus, what he offered us, included those nail scarred hands.

John Pugh (Rev)  Wymeswold Methodist

Weekly Meditation 11/6/21

Over 26 years as a TA Chaplain I spent a number of hours on various Army Ranges hearing many commands that were never aimed (excuse the pun) at me. Commands such as “Watch and shoot, watch and shoot” I remember clearly. I also remember spending time in the Butts, deep trenches where soldiers worked the targets up and down. Even though we were quite safe where we were to hear bullets whizzing overhead was off-putting to say the least. I could well imagine what men have felt under fire especially those who landed on D-Day without any real cover from heavy machine gun fire. Veterans who’ve seen “Saving Private Ryan” have said the opening scenes are frighteningly realistic

For me the nearest I come to aiming at a target is as an archer, one of my hobbies. I know these targets will not fire back at me whilst in my head I become a modern day Robin Hood. Needless to say his memory will never be threatened by my accuracy! I suppose I could be better if I used the modern bows with counterweights and sights and pulleys. However like in my other love of photography I like to do things right the old fashioned way.

It’s about going for gold, trying to get the arrows as clustered together as ever you can, if you can get them in the inner gold even better. Keep the tension strong, maintain the anchor point, make sure you’ve nocked the arrow, breathe, release. All of this and more to be consistent in your shooting. Yet having done all that it is still possible to miss the target, a sudden unexpected gust of wind can take you by surprise. Occasionally a muscle spasm can also hit at any time and make you appear foolish.

That missing the target gave rise to one of the words that have come into Christian language translated as sin. We aim to do our best for God, but despite our best intentions too often we miss the mark It’s a Greek word Hamartia – spelled in Greek this way: ἁμαρτία. It’s also an archery term for when someone didn’t hit the target or put more simply missing the mark. When we translate this word in scripture we translate it as sin. Knowing what God lays down for us as His aim, which is perfection, and we often miss, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident. Doesn’t mean though we should stop trying our best should it?

John Pugh

 

Weekly Meditation 4/6/21

More than once I have held the model railway engine tight in my fist (to those who like details the accompanying photo shows an N gauge LNER General Purpose Tank Engine in LNER green). I have then said to a gathered Primary School assembly “The original item of that which I have in my hand weighed 85 tons, do you believe I can hold this in my hand?” I have been very clear about the statement and usually the children haven’t really listened so they hear 85 tons in my hand and I couldn’t possibly hold that much therefore the answer is “No!”. The end result was that I would ask if they thought I didn’t tell the truth – the end result was some confusion.

I would them hold up this tiny N gauge model, show it and say I’d told the truth, the original engine did weigh 85 tons. The model though, is just that, part of my model railway collection. I emphasised though that I always told them the truth, anything they heard from me they could trust. I would never lie to them about anything, I would always tell them the truth no matter how difficult the topic.

That makes you think though doesn’t it? I remember watching the film “Carry on up the Khyber” some years ago, seeing Charles Hawtree and another actor, dressed as British Infantry guarding the Khyber Pass (actually a farm gate somewhere in Wales I think!) After a rather hasty attack the other soldier is wounded then comforted by Charles, the wounded soldier asks how he is and the traditional response comes back it’s not too bad. The wounded soldier (Ginge) responds that he wants the truth and Charles responds “Alright Ginge, you’re dying !” (Ginge dies dramatically!)

Telling the truth comes in many forms and ways and sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do. Many of us have struggled with this whole concept and maybe more than once have we told a “white lie” because somehow it felt less cruel than the truth? Be truthful now especially gentlemen when your wife/partner has asked “Does my bottom look big in this?” (ladies it can apply to you too). Does there follow a lie or are we followers of the Margaret Thatcher School of Response and are we economical with the truth? Is truth what falls from your mind and mouth and is it guided by the Holy Spirit in all things?

John Pugh (Rev)   Wymeswold Methodist

 

 

Collection for a Retirement Gift to Roger Kirkbride, Our Pharmacist

Roger has retired from the Pharmacy in Wymeswold where he has served The Wolds Community diligently for the last 11 years. Not only has he fought hard to maintain the pharmacy and introduced new services but he has provided invaluable advice and support to individuals in a warm, approachable and always professional manner.

We understand that many of you will have individually thanked him, however, as his retirement has happened suddenly many people may not be aware that he has left.

We feel strongly that his contribution to the community should be recognised. For this purpose collection boxes for donations will be available in the Pharmacy and Granvilles until Monday, May 10th. The proceeds will be used to buy a garden token for Roger.

Susan Paterson and Audrey Murray

Wymeswold Duck Races and Open Gardens

Wymeswold Village Presents “A Weekend of Family Fun”, 11th and 12th September 2021.

The Duck Races and Open Gardens committees are joining forces this year to bring you all a well-deserved village event!

Saturday 11th September: Wymeswold Duck Races – ‘Goes on Tour!’  The Duck Race is going ‘on tour’ to Wymeswold Playing Fields for this year.

Sunday 12th September: Wymeswold Open Gardens. We are appealing for gardens – whether you have opened previously, or this is your first time.  We would like to have as big a diversity of gardens as possible.  Large, small, established or newly-planted.  Due to a later date we can showcase more fruit and vegetable gardens along with late summer/early Autumn flowers.

Contact Andy: andythegardener@googlemail.com or 07956 861305