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Dreaming of Dormice, and the Wind in the Reeds

July 12, 2014

I have been reading the parable of the sower from Matthew 13, hoping that the Spirit would bring it alive for me. But the parable of the sower is so well know, over-used even, that it’s not that easy to find inspiration. It is the subject of Sunday School colouring, and school presentations. I tried to think about sowers but failed. So I thought some more and all that came to mind were dormice!

Dormice have a real charm to them and they are very rare in England. But what kept bringing them to mind was seeing a poster about them at Lopham Fen near where I live in Norfolk. Aparently, a new colony of these cute furry bundles have been found on that reserve. Another attaction to somewhere already imensely beautiful and precious; packed with wildlife, common and increadilby rare. It is also a place of real peace. If the cares of the world are starting to choke you like thorns then you could do much worse than to go down there and listen to the wind in the reeds for a while. Listen and let the cares fall away.

If you’re like me you know what you need to do. I hear Jesus’ words and set out to do them but I so easily get distracted, particularly when I’m really busy. Pervesely often that business is business being a Christian minister. I can stop and read my Bible. I can stop and pray or wait silently for God. But sometimes I find that I really need to get away. Sometimes physically being at home will lead me into more distractions and more business. So I need to get out.

A walk or a few winding lanes on my motorbike often hit the spot, but sometimes I need to sit awhile somewere quiet and beautiful. I had a favourite spot up on the North York Moors, but that is a little far to go now. So I am constantly on the look out for new special places; places that I can get to when I need them. On Friday I discovered Lopham Fen and added it to my little collection of special places.

Having been led by doormice to a special place for me to be close to God, I now can go back to the parable of the sower. I can hear the warnings there. My mind is a little clearer, and my spiritual glasses cleaner. I can return to the business of living my life for Christ alert for anything seeking to snatch away what has been sown in me. I know even more clearly that I have to let my faith grow into every part of my life so that it has strong roots and cannot be pulled out.

I know again that I need to be on my guard for all the things that would crowd out the Spirit’s light and choke my contentment. But the whispers keep coming, “He’s earning more than you”, “bet he doesn’t work half as hard” – “You’d love a bike like that – why haven’t you bought one then?” So subtle, but so powerful in the way that those sneeking thoughts slither under my guard. I know that I have all I need or really want, but part of me always wants more. So I can be fertile ground for the thorns and need to weed them out, pulling them up by the roots.

Then I can try and be fruitful, for a little while at least, until the next time. I know the whispers will be back, the subtle temptations will return, but for now I just see dormice and hear the rustling of the wind in the reeds.

God bless.

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